You are your longest companion By Angé Baard.
Getting to know yourself so that you’re able to steer your own career early on in life is something that is exceptionally powerful, and this opportunity shouldn’t be taken lightly.
We’re fortunate to be living in an age where industry ‘categories’ are a lot more fluid. Gone are the days of, “you are either a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, a teacher, or a nurse, and if not, I don’t understand what you do.” This mentality has radically shifted (thank goodness) because many of us still wouldn’t fit in today.
As with any opportunity, this also opens up layers and many levels of confusion – we have become spoilt for choice, and then the choices, at times, become overwhelming and then, where do we go from there? What’s the next step? Procrastination, perhaps?
So, how do I choose my career?
Many scholars would argue that the best way to choose a career path for yourself is to truly get to know yourself. What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? What makes your heart race and your head spin? Where does your passion really lie, and can you shape a lucrative career for yourself by following your dreams?
Psychometric testing is another incredible tool to help you identify key areas of strengths and weaknesses. But, this also comes at a cost, takes time and can lead to ‘analysis-paralysis’. Often, we’re still left with the question of, “ok, but what now?” Can you really be guided by an overview on your tendencies for behaviour, cognitive ability and personality, or is there more that you need to consider?
Where do I start?
In my view, ‘START’ is the operative word.
Start with yourself. Set yourself some realistic goals, create timelines for yourself, take a risk and sign up for new experiences (may it be an internship, a waitressing stint, a mock interview with a parent, a coffee chat with someone you regard as successful or read a thought-provoking book – the possibilities are endless).
Another suggestion is to try a free, online personality test. The world of business is rooted in behavioural psychology, and while I’m certainly not claiming that this test is 100% accurate, it’s a tool that I recommend to my friends and family. It sparks all the right conversations and will empower you to become more aware and to build your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – something that you can develop over time. *https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test
Why is empathy highlighted?
Well, essentially, it’s the journey that you go through when getting to know yourself – what you’re brilliant at, what you really should leave to other people to handle, how you influence the world around you, and how you affect others (and let’s be honest, life is a team sport – you’re no island, and the quicker we realise we need empathy to understand others, the better for us all).
In conclusion, get to know yourself, in whichever way you feel will be most valuable. Careers can shift, things will change, life gets in the way when we least expect it to, but stop making excuses, and START. Trust the process, enjoy it, and work your butt off. Know that sometimes you’ll fail, but when you get up again, you won’t be starting from the beginning, because you’ll know yourself a whole lot better (and, after all, you are your longest companion).
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