What do you really want to do with your life?

If the thought of spending the next 20 years doing the same work you’ve been doing makes you want to crawl back under the covers, here are five questions to ponder. These questions won’t tell you if you should become a novelist, get your MBA, open your own coffee and book shop, or work in IT.   Your own answers, however, will suggest whether you should stay in your burned out, ho-hum, not really happy career or get up the gumption to follow your bliss in a different direction.

So, sit down with a cup of something hot and soothing, and write out the answers to the questions.  You don’t have to write complete sentences. The grammar police won’t care.  You can even use bullet points to get your ideas down – but it is important to write down the answers.  You can see where you are in black and white and begin to look for patterns and possibilities.  Write the date at the top of the page (yes, just like you did in school) so you will remember just how you were feeling on this particular date in your life.

1 –  Do you have to pretend to be someone else to get through your work day?  Do you have to put on a persona or can you just be yourself?  Does your job allow you to work with people who share your ideas and values?
2 – Does this job fit you so well that sometimes work feels like play?  Do the actual tasks you carry out day-to-day energize you and feed your soul or leave you feeling drained and burned out?  What values do you find yourself living out in your work?
3- What compromises do you find yourself making to stay in this job?  Think about family, personal growth, achievement, stability, etc.
4- How do feel about what you accomplish each day – the end result or product of your work?  Are you proud of what you do?  
5- Pull out your crystal ball and look into the future.  Is this really what you want to be doing for the rest of your life?   In five years, what would you like to be doing?  In ten years, where do you want to be in your career?

For more help pondering these and other vocational questions, check out the Pinnacle Vocational Coaching Intensive that begins in January. Available for individuals or in a group format, this vocational discernment program offers vocational coaching, weekly readings and fieldwork assignments, and a structured process for sorting out what’s next in your life. Pinnacle Career Coach, Anita Flowers, works with everyone from high school students to retirees to help them find their passion and vocation in life.

Anita Flowers, Pinnacle Associate