The clues to your ideal career lie in the subtleties of your life. Pay close attention to the activities and experiences that trigger you in both positive and negative ways. You have to drill down. Passion is useless without precision. Turn over some rocks and notice your emotions as you discover what lives there.
1. Be a paleontologist.
Here are eight key steps to ensuring you stay on track:
Dig through your life and pull out the artifacts that point to your strengths. Be open to what you find. Throw no evidence away. Start with one clear detail that you know to be true, and then slowly widen your lens. When do you experience concentrations of positive energy? What are the topics that you find yourself pondering most frequently? What are the ideas that keep you awake at night? What ambitions did you set aside when you were younger because you "couldn't make a living doing that"? Using right now as the starting point, review your life and look for clues. Which jobs do you wish you could have stuck with if some of the circumstances were different? What "mistakes" or "accidents" can you reflect on and find new meaning in? What were the significant moments that shaped you? What chance meetings stand out for you? What are some things that others have said about you that have stuck with you over the years? What show did you never miss on TV when you were a kid?
2. Get specific.
Create clear, detailed, action-oriented strength statements to guide you in your search. "I feel strong when I..." is the best way to start these statements. Ensure you are describing an activity that you are doing and not something that is happening to you.
3. Do your research.
Research roles that will give you the opportunity to use your strengths most of the time.