150 years ago peoples’ jobs were primarily determined by what they had a talent for – people worked at crafts and provided services based on their natural skills and interests. In modern times, most of us end up choosing careers for all sorts of reasons that have little or nothing to do with what we enjoy and are naturally good at. We end up in careers that are inherently wrong fits for us and we languish in cubicles or stress out in jobs we don’t like. What if we got in touch with our hidden talents and found a way to utilize our natural gifts to do work that we found satisfying, or even fun? Here are 12 questions for you to ponder to help you discover what might become your life’s work:
1. What do you love to do? Think about your hobbies, interests, recreational and volunteer activities. Most of us enjoy doing things we are good at, so our leisure activities can be indicators of your gifts and talents.
2. Recall an event when you were so absorbed in what you were doing that you completely lost track of time. What activity were you engaged in? How did it make you feel?
3. What do you naturally do well? What actions are easy for you? (for example: writing stories, fixing things, analyzing trends, cooking, organizing events, managing money, remembering facts, teaching, envisioning new ways of being, resolving disputes, creating beauty, etc.)
4. What are five things in your life, past or present, which you are most proud of or feel were your most successful accomplishments?
5. Is there a cause, a movement, or an idea that you feel committed to and passionate about? What would you “put it all on the line” for?
6. Think of a time when you experienced a breakthrough
realization. Can you describe what you were doing and where you were when you had an “ah ha” moment?
7. Looking back over your life up to now, do you see any repeating incidents, patterns or themes? What can they tell you about what you like (or don’t like) to do with your time?
8. What do you daydream or fantasize about doing? Have you ever said, “Some day I’d like to do that?” What would that be?
9. Can you think of a time when you were watching or reading about another person’s accomplishment(s) and wished you could do that? Is there a person living or dead that you greatly admire? What do you most admire that person for?
10. Do you have a sense that you have things yet to accomplish? Try to identify those. From the perspective of being at the end of your life and looking back, what will it feel like if you never attempt to do these things? What do you still want to do in your life?
11. What kind of work would you do if you knew you could not fail and money was not an issue? Think big here! Would you work on saving the environment, advocate for social justice issues, create art or write direct a motion picture?
12. What do you want to be remembered for? How will you have contributed to the world?