When you think of people who really know how to choose an awesome career path, you probably think of musicians and actors or actresses.
Living in Nashville, the vision of a fiddler sawing his bow to Devil Went Down to Georgia in a rowdy bar on a Saturday night makes me reconsider my career path. Am I as enthusiastic when I’m sitting at this desk as he is on stage?
There are many times in our careers where we have the choice to continue down our current path or choose a new one. Whether you’re at the beginning, middle, or end of a career, you can make the right choice about your next career move more apparent by focusing on a few factors.
Beyond your interests, talents and skills, financial goals, and educational training is your personality—a major indicator of career and job satisfaction that many people tend to overlook.
According to CEO of Spark Endeavors and author of Sparked, Jonathan Fields, you have a unique imprint for work that makes you come alive.
“These imprints not only determine what type of work or effort we’re drawn to (and repelled from), they also tend to come with a host of common behaviors, quirks, and attachments,” Jonathan writes in Sparked. “I call these imprints ‘Sparketypes®,’ which is an easy shorthand for the source code level driver of work that makes you come alive.”
For people evaluating career paths, Jonathan suggests discovering your Sparketype, which exists at the sweet spot of the following 5 domains that double as factors you should consider as you build your career.
Choosing a Career Path Based on Your Personality
Jonathan defines purpose as “Knowing you’re moving toward something you believe in.”
Even if you don’t feel like your career is on track, you most likely have a feeling about your calling. It might be difficult to uncover at first, especially if you’ve been suppressing your purpose in favor of making more money or earning a distinguished title, but it’s there.
Start by thinking about what you consider your most important work. Is it anything you’ve built or created? Is it a time you stood up for something or someone you believed in? Have you enjoyed any opportunity you’ve taken to bring people together, plot a course to success, and then take them there with you?
These are all indicators of your purpose, and one of the most important factors to choosing a career path.
Jonathan defines engagement as “Excitement, energy, and enthusiasm for the pursuit of that something.”
In other words, think about the work that makes you feel most alive. Some examples of this are:
- Entertaining people, no matter the setting or context
- Helping others learn something
- Being free to pursue a deeply meaningful question or seek to solve a big problem
- Speaking up on behalf of people, populations or ideas that most need it
When you decide which tasks or activities utilize the best parts of you, you’ll get closer to determining who you are and what you’re meant to do for a career.
Jonathan defines meaningfulness as “The feeling that what you do and who you are matters.”
Imagine if you were financially set for life. How would you spend your days? Whether you would take charge and lead people to accomplish meaningful goals or mentor, advise or coach people, in a personal way will have an impact on the kind of career path you should choose to pursue.
- Expressed potential.
Jonathan defines expressed potential as “The sensation of being fully you and not having to hide, bringing all of your potential to the experience, and leaving nothing untapped.”
Since you were young, there have probably been certain things people have gravitated to you for and activities people have looked to you to lead. Maybe you were the kid who got everyone together, then led them on an adventure, mission, or quest. Perhaps you’re the friend in your group who is known for giving great advice.
Look to the constants in your life that have always tapped into your expressed potential when you’re looking to start or change your career.
Jonathan defines flow as “The blissful experience of getting lost in an activity, losing time, and becoming absorbed in the task.”
Think of the activities or tasks you get immersed in. For some people, it’s the process of creation or solving big, challenging problems. For others, it’s the process of teaching and seeing the light of understanding turn on that motivates and sustains a flow state.
Whatever these activities are for you, the career path you choose should provide ample opportunity for you to engage in them.
Choosing a career path that is uniquely yours!
Need help finding a career path that matches your purpose, engagement, meaningfulness, expressed potential, and flow? Do you just want to make sure your current role meets these important factors for a long and fulfilling career?