Let’s face it: you know within five minutes of talking to someone if you’re on the same page and if you ever want to see the person again. I think that’s the truth of it. I’ve had so many interviews and conversations the past few months I swear I’d make a stellar career search consultant (seriously could be an epic side hustle). Dating analogies aside, which totally work for job searching by the way, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned has to do with finding your tribe or the people you choose to join forces with.
People often write to-do lists to get organized, but have you ever crafted a to-be list? Use this tool to define what ideals and traits you seek to embody. Use it as a guide in determining relationship standards in your personal and professional livelihoods. I have and the benefits are immense. Approach your vocation and professional cohorts like you would your dearest friends. You’ll be spending a lot of time together after all.
It all comes down to the people. You can work for the coolest, trendiest company and have a stellar, super prestigious title but if you can’t connect with the people you work with on a genuine level you won’t come close to feeling happy or fulfilled. When you connect with people you sense you have a lot to learn from, who you admire and respect, whose feedback you will take seriously, who you’re not afraid to approach with challenging questions—look no further, you’ve found your in.
As far as my ideals go, I stay on the prowl for people who embody the traits that I too strive to emanate:
- Make direct eye contact
- Honest communicator
- Not afraid to ask difficult questions
- Genuine caring attitude
- Engaged and dedicated in work aspirations/projects
- Clearly communicate values and purpose
- Help others achieve growth and success
- Positive attitude that empowers other people to thrive
- Collaborative and approachable
Simple enough, right? Ideals aren’t supposed to be perfect rules. They are simple guidelines for growth. The kind of change I seek for my engrained tendencies and attitudes can sometimes feel slow but as long as I keep striving for growth, I’m on the right path.
If I answer honestly it’s usually always me. Fear is my worst enemy keeping me from pursuing my dreams.
A friend recently recalled a day when a life/career coach facilitated a workshop on finding your passion. The coach asked a group of women to go around in a circle and each announce what they’re most passionate about. Many responses indicated apprehension at having to share such personal information albeit with a group of people that might judge. Most women explained their passion prefaced with “Oh I don’t really know but..” or “I’m not really sure I have any idea.”
The second part of the exercise challenged the women to take the same question and instead reflect on their answers by writing silently for a minute. The second round of shares indicated a startling clear truth: each person intuitively knows their passion. Sometimes it’s just scary to say what your dreams are out loud, especially if they seem incredibly daunting.
Think about what you would do in a heartbeat if you had a day to spend doing anything your heart desires–without money, responsibilities, peer pressure or validation in the mix. What makes you happy and fills you up with purpose and joy? What are you doing when you feel like you’re in the right place and in tune with the world around you? When you’re in that place look no further because it’s likely you’re doing what you’re meant to do. You have arrived.
Now the question remains of just doing it. Maybe you know that working with others in a volunteer or non-profit capacity is what fills you up but you’re afraid that starting at an entry level non-profit position won’t provide enough for you to survive (trust me, I’ve been there). Sure, that’s a possibility for the short term but be hopeful. If I’ve learned anything it’s that doing what you’re meant to do can make difficult work look and feel easy while others might look at you wondering how you do it.
If you’re in the groove and dedicating yourself fully to your passionate ambition, trust that you will be provided for immensely, I promise. Trusting your instinct is so hard, but once we practice doing it, it becomes easier. You might eventually start to remember that most times you have all the answers you’re looking for. You’ve known them all along.