Three Steps to Kickstart Your Journey to a Job You Love

I’ve had some shitty jobs. I’ve had some shitty bosses. And, if we’re being totally honest here, I’ve been a shitty boss.

Figuring out what you want to do and how you want to spend most of the waking hours of your life, is really hard. Most people never get it right. Most people are not happy with their jobs or the path they’ve chosen. For the few that do get it right, understanding how to do it really well might be even more challenging.

No one teaches you this. In fact, our schools and society teach the opposite. They teach us to fit into square boxes, that a job is a job is a job, and that ultimately, you need to bring home a paycheck and get over it. No one shows you how to understand what your passions are or how to set yourself up to be fulfilled in your career. No one really shows you how to be remarkable at your job.

There are some good books and resources out there (and a lot of bad ones), but sometimes that’s just not enough. Sometimes you just feel stuck.

I know this because I’ve been there.

I’ve had those mornings when I didn’t think I’d be able to drag myself out of bed. Then, once I got to the office, it took every ounce of energy (and so much coffee) not to run back home and hide under the covers. I’ve had the life sucked out of me by work. And it seemed hopeless. How would I ever find another job? Maybe I just wasn’t good enough to hack it? What did I really want to do anyway?

I’ve also had great jobs and felt totally lost and gobbled up by the responsibilities. I had no idea how to do what was being asked (and what wasn’t being asked). I’ve been in over my head and terrified that someone was going to find out. What if someone found out that I really wasn’t cut out for this? Maybe it was just luck that they gave me this position? Did they mix me up with another candidate by accident? Why do all these people keep asking me for answers; don’t they know I have no clue?!

I’ve also been on the other side. I’ve been fortunate enough to have jobs that allowed me to take initiative and design incredible products and experiences. I’ve had bosses that have challenged me and supported me in ways that helped me go further than I ever thought possible. And I’ve done the same for others; helping them want more, achieve more, and change their leadership game.

It’s the combination of those fears of stuckness and the passion behind these other moments of clarity and growth that led me to create Launch Project. I am driven by the knowledge that you can leave behind those crappy bosses, jobs, and experiences and create more for yourself and for those around you.

I built Launch Project to help you get answers:

  • What’s right for me?
  • How will I know?
  • How do I find it?
  • Ok, got it; now what do I do?

You must be inspired by your work and inspire others to do remarkable work. I say that as an imperative because life is short. Really short. And you spend so many of your waking hours at work or thinking about work. You must love your work!

And be really good at it.

Sure, sounds great, right? But what can you actually do to figure this out and make this happen? For purposes of this post, I want to focus on those of you who are stuck and trying to figure out what it is you really want to do (more for those of you who have already found that passion and want to figure out how to launch forward coming soon, though step 1 would be a good place for you to start too). Here are some simple steps to get you moving:

  1. Focus on your values. When was the last time you actually sat down and thought about what you value? What is most important to you? Not to your mom, or your partner, or your friends; to you. Maybe you don’t even know how to do this or what values really are.

Whatever you do, don’t google “values” and try to choose yours off a list. Take some time to think about a moment - maybe more than one - when you felt truly alive and fulfilled. Focus on what you were doing, what was going on around you. Really go back to that moment and ask what made it so important and resonant for you. Close your eyes and relish in it.

Notice what words are coming to you. Start thinking about what you valued in that moment. You’ll begin to start seeing some patterns and be able to get started on a list of values. I recommend 4-7 values, with the recognition that these will evolve and grow over time.

2. Hone in on your areas of interest. I know, you don’t know what they are. That’s ok. In this case, feel free to look at a list of functions, industries, etc. Maybe like this one. Feel free to google a different one.

Again, close your eyes for a minute and let all the ideas you’ve ever had wash over you. Remember when you wanted to be an astronaut? And then you learned about the math and physics involved. Maybe you thought about becoming a vet, and then you learned the field was too competitive (it is!). How about when you came up with an idea for your own business, and then just got too scared by reality. Just let those ideas come and go without judgment.

Then, write down every industry, function, job title that sounds interesting to you. Give yourself no more than five minutes. Seriously, set a timer and cut yourself off.

Now, set the timer again, no more than three minutes. Circle the 5-7 most interesting jobs or functions. Don’t overthink it.

3. Crosswalk them. Take your values and cross them with your areas of interest. For each job/function/industry, ask yourself how it aligns with that specific value. What do you know for sure? What do you have questions about? What are you noticing?

My guess is you’re starting to learn something about yourself - what’s important to you and where you may need to start redirecting. You may also wind up with a lot more questions than answers. That’s totally normal… and good.

From here, you begin your journey - your launch, if you will - and start getting answers and spending more time figuring out what makes you tick. And, if you’re thinking, I can’t believe I’m back to square one again, please just don’t. Chances are you’ve never been here, and you’ve never been here in this moment. Something is opening up and changing and you are ready to take on a new set of challenges.

There are lots of directions you can go from here as you seek your answers. You can begin your networking journey and use these questions as fodder for all of your coffee dates (more about how to do that here). You may just want to take some time to sit with this and let it sink in (tips on how I “be” in this post). And you might need to focus on staying engaged in your current job while you figure out your next move. Or, perhaps you are ready for a serious conversation with an unbiased professional who can help you weed through your choices and options. I offer free 30-minute consultations if you want to learn more.

Whatever is right for you right now, follow it. Seriously, life is short, and you’ve got a lot to offer. So, what are you waiting for?

It’s time to launch.