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Using Psychology to Find the Best Career or Job

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I talk to so many people who are unhappy with where they are and who got there by thinking too much. Yes, you read that correctly. Many people are in careers that they chose because the forecasts were good for that industry, or their strengths or skill sets fit with the requirements. This stuff isn’t bad, but in my opinion it’s not enough. We're not really taught that there is any other way to go about it-but there is.

The gift (if there is one) of this new economic climate is that a lot of people are making a lot less money, and now feel liberated to take the risk of following a new career path. The money and the busyness have, up to now, provided a buffer against feeling those nagging doubts that said, “is this IT?” It’s actually exhilarating to start asking these questions-and discovering the answers.

The wonderful psychologist Carl Rogers said that if we get too concerned with the outside world and what society wants of us, we lose sight of what we truly, authentically want, and it can become difficult to access that information when we need it. Here’s my quick and dirty list for getting back to basics and starting this exploration.

1) Start a meditation/mindfulness practice. Meditation is a daily practice in getting quiet with yourself and figuring out what you want most. You’ll be shocked at the ideas and insights that pop up when you’re trying not to think. Here's a free one I made to help my clients--feel free to use it.

2) Go back over your resume and look at past jobs. Which parts of each job did you enjoy the most? Compile all these parts into a comprehensive list. Put all these pieces together and you start to get a clearer version of what you like.

3) Carry a journal or notebook with you every day. Write down any ideas or insights that get you excited. You’re not trying to figure out HOW-you’re just getting excited.

4) Give yourself permission to think big. Too often we shoot down our good ideas before they even have a chance to breathe and develop.

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