There’s so much pressure as you get older to have already found your “perfect career.” These days it’s not so easy. The best way to finding your purpose is to get in the right mindset and be open to new experiences.
1. Envision your future
Describe to yourself the kind of life you want to live. Your priorities and behaviors align with your future once this vision is crystal clear. Let this inspire your every move.
2. Have an open mind
Keep those future goals in mind, but don’t be so closed off that you miss possible opportunities. There were things about certain previous jobs I disliked, but overall appreciated because it gave me experience as a nurse. I’ve also met wonderful colleagues that I still keep in touch with. If you end up doing something you dislike, you can look back on it as experience you’ve gained, connections you’ve made, and possibly lead yourself to better opportunities.
3. Don’t be afraid to start from square one
It’s hard to leave what you’re comfortable with to start something new. I was nervous to leave the bedside and transition into my current role as a research nurse. I also don’t like feeling like a newbie. At my previous job I was comfortable with the workflow and being with my coworkers. I wasn’t sure how I’d adjust, but I’ve come to discover that I love being a research nurse! I’m amazed at how much I learn every day and have now made new connections with colleagues. You have the capacity to learn so much and adapt to your environment! Trust the learning process.
4. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses
Harness them and don’t let your pride get the best of you. I love to learn and teach, but it’s ironic because I’m the worst test taker. In my lifetime I’ve had to take my driver’s permit test, board exam, and oncology certification exam twice. There’s something about testing that gives me anxiety. For a while I stressed myself out about it, wondering why others can pass exams with flying colors while I struggle for a bit before I do. It was embarrassing, until I accepted this as a weakness. Take your weaknesses as challenges. Build on these factors to find what you’re truly best at.
5. Accept criticism
Constructive vs. not. You’ll come across different personalities in your life; those who will sugar coat salty statements and those who are abrupt and rash. It’s hard for me to not take things personally. Over the years I have learned to grow a thick skin and take it with a grain of salt. When criticism happens, self-reflect so you can possibly make small changes in your behavior that will make a positive difference.
As millennials we’re constantly growing in our personal and professional lives. Sometimes we don’t know what our purpose is, but getting out there with the willingness to learn will eventually lead us there or to something better.
- Consider a skill that you’ve received compliments on many times. Have you also considered that one of your strengths?
- If you were to gain more experience in that strength and make it work for you, would you love doing it?