1. Try many different things.
Find a job or build a business based on whatever you like to do when you aren’t working. If you don’t know what you like, try different things. Test out everything from operations to sales. Travel and take hula-dancing and pizza-making classes. Putting yourself in a position to do that might mean working a side hustle after your nine-to-five job. Email people asking for a month-long internship to learn from them for free. Try as many things as possible, because you won’t get anywhere by guessing.
2. Become an expert at what you enjoy doing.
Think about how you want to spend your time long term. Take online classes to become an expert at what you love to do. When you’re the most knowledgeable person in your area of expertise, doors will open for you. Reflect on what you find interesting and what you enjoy about your job. Is it being behind your computer or interacting with colleagues? Author Jim Collins talks about finding the intersection of what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what you can get paid for. Read about others’ careers and consider the path you wish you had. If you think, “I would have loved to do that,” that tells you something. I had the perfect job after graduate school, but I decided instead to build a company from scratch. Remember, nothing is permanent. Every decision won’t be perfect, but you can always make a change and learn along the way!
3. Step outside of your comfort zone.
Explore your passions and what’s right for you, which will change over time. Life is a journey; so look at every job as a steppingstone toward your destination. What are you good at? What makes you happy? Write down your answers and see if they give you direction. Consider companies with learning opportunities and a boss you admire, because your working environment will dictate much of your satisfaction.
If you aren’t interested in what you’re doing, you probably aren’t operating at your best; so check in with yourself occasionally. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results. Network, explore opportunities within your company, and get involved in organizations you’re passionate about. Building new connections can get you to the next chapter.
4. Look to your past.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs feel unfulfilled from time to time. It’s how you channel that unsettled feeling that ultimately builds character and points you in the right direction. My suggestion? Look at your past. Take an inventory of the moments in life that brought you the most happiness. Perhaps it was a school trip abroad, a high school project you loved working on, or simply a hobby that you no longer have time for. Try to recall memories where you felt excited and passionate; then reflect on how you can recreate those feelings in your career today. You’ll be amazed at how a little reflection and open-mindedness can help you get back on track and doing what you love. Life is too short not to.
5. Get comfortable with failure.
My dad (also an entrepreneur) gave me permission to fail at every sport. And I did! But he taught me that it’s important to try, with feeling, because you never know what you’ll be good at. The more you fail, the more comfortable you become in your skin, and the more you find what you do and don’t like and where your talents lie.
So dive into your current job and identify what parts of it make you giddy. Then you’ll have some direction of where to go. If you work in customer service but have an eye for fashion, for example, volunteer to help the product designer for the next season. If the new role excites you, have a chat with your boss and see if they can help you make the transition permanent.