If you enjoy your job, count yourself lucky! Not everyone does. This guide is designed to help you find a career that you love so you feel happy and fulfilled daily. More importantly, it helps you find meaning and purpose in what you do.
Striving toward a satisfying career has nothing to do with money and promotions. The secret is to enjoy the process and the path that leads you there.
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Think of Your Career Like a Romance
Loving what you do for work completely changes your life. Like relationships, finding true love may require going out on many dates or being in several relationships to figure out what you want and need. The same is true for your career.
Take each job experience as an opportunity for self-examination to gain clarity around your strengths and skillset. Also, each experience helps you determine what's best for you regarding working environments, leadership styles, and company culture.
Know Yourself Well
First and foremost, get clear on your values and find a company with a culture that aligns with your values. If they hire accordingly and everyone else is on the same page, it will make the day-to-day more enjoyable to be amongst a like-minded tribe that is both mission and vision-driven.
Have you heard of the saying, soar with your strengths? I cannot stress how important it is to figure out your strengths and find a place or role that allows you to utilize them.
And just as importantly, be honest with yourself about your weaknesses. So you can, in turn, convey that information to leaders or delegate tasks to others who are strong in those areas. Remember that something you hate to do; someone else loves to do!
Having self-awareness by paying attention to what motivates you and how you operate with various personality types and business environments will unlock the key to your success in whatever you do.
Aim for Purpose, Passion & Wealth Creation vs. Making Money
There is an entire culture telling us we need to hustle and grind so we can "secure the bag." I'm not saying money isn't important, but when you focus on that as your sole reason for work, it often leads to unhappiness and feelings of unfulfillment. The very word grind by definition means "hard, dull work." Who wants that?
When aligned and in flow with your passion and purpose, it's no longer about chasing "the bag”, but about having abundance in all areas of your life, and it chases you.
Focusing on your purpose and passion increases your happiness quotient, making life and work more enjoyable.
The second part of this equation is learning how to create wealth versus making money. There's a difference. Exchanging time for money is work. Making money work for you while you sleep, travel, or pursue your passions is wealth creation. Wealth creation gives you emotional freedom and time. This newly found time allows you to do what you love, even if that thing you love doesn't make a ton of money. You'll do it because you love it, and you won't care how much money you make if you're not worried about paying bills.
Are you struggling to figure out your purpose or your passion? Answer the following questions and don't be afraid to dig deep. The more you answer from your heart, the closer you will be to figuring it out.
- What do you like about your current job?
- What industries or companies excite you?
- Within that industry or company, what can you envision yourself doing?
- What's something you like to do in your personal life and could spend all your time doing it?
- What types of work environments fit your personality best?
- If you could bring something you love to do into your work, what would that be?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your best skill sets?
Give yourself time to pursue your passions and follow them wherever they lead you. And remember, it's a process and a journey, so make sure you enjoy the ride while connecting your career to fulfillment and gratification.
Make a Plan for Your Career
Get clear on your long-term goal, and then work the action plan backward. Think about the stepping stones you need to take to achieve that goal. If you just recently entered a management position, consider taking a first-time management training. For instance, are you at a manager level and want to become a Director or Vice President? Answer these questions:
- What additional roles do you need to step into to lead you to your desired position?
- Who do you need to know along the way?
- What's the realistic timeline to achieve that role?
- What soft skills do you need to upgrade to become an executive leader? i.e., public speaking, managing people, written or verbal communication
Do you want to launch your own business?
- What strengths and skillsets do you need to fill in where you're not so great? i.e., accounting, operations, sales, marketing
- Do you know a mentor or business coach in that industry?
- Can you financially afford to quit your job and leap now?
- Will this be your side hustle in the mornings, evenings, and weekends until you generate enough revenue to jump into it full-time?
Undecided between a mentor or a coach? Check out our post: Business coach and mentor: what is the difference?
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Network, Network, Network!
It's impossible to build a successful career without help. If you're stagnant and not growing, you need to evaluate your inner circle. Growth comes when you step out of your comfort zone, so you must surround yourself with people who motivate and challenge you to grow. The right people will always push you to the next level.
My life coach once said, "Remember, the company you keep is the energy you keep." Start hanging out with people you consider intelligent, brilliant, or successful. Establish connections with positive-minded, goal-oriented people in your personal and professional life. Create or join a mastermind group with these like-minded individuals or people you want to model after. They will help you stay motivated and inspired when you come up against challenges and help you stay accountable for your career goals.
Network with leaders and executives in your desired department or field of interest. If you work in a corporate job, find an executive to sponsor you. As your sponsor, they should go to bat for you and help you break down any barriers standing in the way of your organization, and advocate on your behalf with their peers.
Lastly, getting to know people outside of work and finding common interests helps build relationships and forge deeper bonds. Check out our Life and career coaching: FAQs or 15 Types of Coaching Inside and Outside The Workplace to learn more about the benefits of having a coach.
Get Comfortable with Success, Money, & Wealth Creation
We often get in the way of our success because we're not comfortable with all that can come with it, such as money, fame, responsibility, or living a life filled with abundance. Our self-sabotage is often due to limiting beliefs we may have cultivated from growing up. For example, did you ever hear phrases like the following:
- "That's only for rich people."
- "Just find a good job with benefits and work hard."
- "We could never afford that."
Even if your dream job was handed to you on a silver platter, it’s likely you won’t receive and enjoy it entirely if your mindset is rooted in scarcity or fear. You will always think it's too good to be true or you're not deserving in the back of your mind.
You can achieve anything you want, but you can't have what you're not ready for mentally and emotionally. You must level up and address any limiting beliefs you have about your capabilities as a leader, your capacity to take on more responsibility, make more money, or opportunities to create abundance.
To be successful, you must develop an abundant mindset and habits of highly successful people. These habits will require discipline and a temporary delay of gratification.
I'm not selling books, but I wish I could give everyone on the planet these three personal development books:
You Were Born Rich gives you a proven system for using the potential you have locked inside of you to achieve financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual prosperity. Bob Proctor opens your eyes to the deep talent and ability within you.
You Were Born Rich contains a complete plan for developing the untapped potential in every aspect of your life, including:
- Begin to relate to money as you should, not how society thinks or tells you how you should.
- Take careful inventory of your thoughts and current financial condition because the two ARE related!
- Understand why every millionaire is a Master Image Maker who understands the absolute necessity of building the right images in one's mind.
- Learn how to truly let go and turn your imagery over to a Power within and around you that immediately sets you to work on materializing the images you hold in your mind.
- Introduce one of the most powerful words, "expectation," into your daily life.
- Finally, understand why some people keep attracting what they do not want, while others attract precisely what they do want, and the steps to take to be a member of the latter group.
- Come to understand the true meaning of "risk-taking."
- Sharpen your effectiveness by implementing the principles behind "The Razor's Edge."
- Why do some people keep getting the same results year after year? You'll learn why and how to avoid it here.
- Finally, learn how to easily open the doors to all the wealth and abundance you seek.
Think and Grow Rich has sold over 100 million copies worldwide since its first publication during the Great Depression. Napoleon Hill presents a "Philosophy of Achievement" in 13 principles drawn from the success stories of such greats as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and other millionaires of his time. It reveals the secrets that can bring you abundance. You can find true and lasting success by suppressing negative thoughts and focusing on the long term. Napoleon Hill details his philosophy through the following 13 principles:
- Specialized Knowledge
- Organized Planning
- Power of the Master Mind
- The Mystery of Sex Transmutation
- The Subconscious Mind
- The Brain
- The Sixth Sense
Did you know that only 10 percent of the world's millionaires are women? This measly percentage makes it difficult for women to wield the economic power to create lasting equality. All women of color, please read We Should All Be Millionaires. In this book, Rachel Rodgers— a Black woman, mother of four, attorney, business owner, and self-made millionaire— shares the lessons she's learned both in her journey to accumulating wealth and in coaching hundreds of women through their seven-figure journey.
To further understand the importance of organizational culture and how to improve it, refer to our in-depth article on how to identify and correct negative workplace culture.
If you're interested in exploring the cost of business coaching, check out our detailed guide on how much a business coach costs.
Whether it's a lack of confidence, knowledge gaps in wealth-building, imposter syndrome, or a poor mindset about money, this book shows you how to clear every obstacle in your way.
We Should All Be Millionaires will forever change how you think about money and your ability to earn it.
This book details a realistic, achievable, step-by-step path to create the support, confidence, and plan to own your success and become the millionaire the world needs you to be.
You will learn:
- Why earning more money is not "selfish" or "greedy" but, in fact, a revolutionary act that brings the economy into balance and creates a better world for all.
- Why financial advice you've heard in the past (like "skip your daily latte to save money") is absolute, patriarchal nonsense.
- How women and people of color have been shut out of the ability to build wealth for centuries, and how we can fix this problem.
- How to stop making broke-ass decisions that leave you feeling emotionally and financially depleted and start making million-dollar decisions instead.
- Why aiming to earn $100K per year is not enough, and why you need to be setting your goals much higher.
- Strategies to bring more money in the door and fatten your bank account immediately.
It's time to construct an entirely new attitude about money, claim your power, and build the financial security you need to stop surviving and start thriving.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Learn how to communicate well with others, no matter what job you have. Here are some things to consider:
- When it comes to conflict, do you respond, or do you react?
- If something isn't going well, do you complain or offer solutions?
- Do you communicate your workplace needs and career goals to your leaders?
- Do you qualitatively advocate for yourself when it comes to your accomplishments vs. being boastful?
When it comes time for a review or a promotion, you must advocate for yourself and quantify your work in meaningful terms - this means knowing what matters most to your company. A general rule of thumb, do you contribute to the bottom line in the following ways:
- Do you help the company save or make money?
- Have you found efficiencies to save time and increase production or productivity?
- Do you contribute to employee morale with a positive attitude?
- Are you a team player contributing equally or above and beyond the team goals?
- Are you a team player? Are you supportive of your colleagues?
- Do you accept responsibility and step up to the plate when other people won't?
Remember, be confident in your abilities, but don't be afraid to be authentic and vulnerable; ask for help when needed.
Challenge Yourself To Grow Every Day
Try and do a few simple things every day to grow and expand yourself. It will help develop your confidence, and others will also notice how you're showing up both personally and professionally.
- Do at least one thing you don't like every day.
- Go a day without complaining.
- Look for the good in every situation.
- Pursue more education or training to help you move ahead.
- Develop your leadership skills.
- Take the time to learn new skills.
- Try new things at work.
- Be present and engage in your daily work.
And you never know. Over time, you might find yourself in the situation of wanting to become an executive coach.
Cultivate a Positive Mindset & Celebrate Your Wins
Achieving your career goals and desires means you will have to be your own cheerleader every day. Cultivate a sense of optimism about your future career prospects, get excited about your progress and accomplishments, and make sure you celebrate them. Feeling those endorphins will keep you motivated on the hard days.
We live in a social media world where everyone seems to be living their best life out loud, which fuels the desire for instant gratification, but you have to keep your expectations realistic. Remember, social media is nothing but a highlight reel of someone's life. Do not compare their highlight reel to your behind-the-scenes footage. We all have setbacks and failures. It's inevitable, but don't let them define you. Do what you can to stop comparing yourself to others—practice self-compassion.
You have the power to make yourself happier in your job or find a new career if you know how to approach it positively. Cultivating habits like reading books and making changes like surrounding yourself with like-minded achievers and communicating more effectively can make a big difference in your trajectory. Navigating your career is a process and a journey; set yourself up for success by growing and enjoying the ride because the more you learn and lean into what brings you joy, the more you step into your potential and purpose.
Do what you can to stop comparing yourself to others—practice self-compassion. For more on this topic, check out Be the best version of you: 11 tips for living your best life. For additional resources on self-reflection and personal growth, check out our post on 45 Self-Reflection Questions to Nurture Your Mind, Body, and Soul.
About the Author: Remy Meraz is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zella Life, a life and career coaching platform bridging the diversity gap in workforce development. Her unique insight comes from a career where she was often the only woman or person of color in the corporate room. After an adult diagnosis of ADHD, chronic anxiety, and being told she would have to be on medication for the rest of her life, she was able to eliminate medication by transforming her life through coaching. It’s these experiences and a passion for connecting diversity to equity for the BIPOC community that has moved her to dedicate her life to democratizing coaching in an affordable and accessible way to underserved communities.
Read more about: Life Coaching
About Julian Lewis
Julian Lewis is a driven and accomplished professional with a passion for driving positive change in the business world. He is the co-founder and COO at Zella Life.
His own experience as a professional of color in a Fortune 500 company led him to discover the limitations for advancement that many professionals like himself face. Determined to reach his full potential, Julian became an established business coach and entrepreneur, committed to supporting others in their pursuit of personal and professional growth.
Today, Julian is a recognized corporate trainer, coach, and leader, known for his ability to leverage real-life experiences and evidence-based methodologies to affect positive change within individuals and organizations. As the leader of Zella Life's coaching division, he is dedicated to empowering individuals and businesses to achieve their full potential.