Potential is a funny old thing. Some people seem to know from when they’re a very young child that they’re destined for one career other or another. Yet the majority of us can reach middle age before we gain a true understanding of what really drives us. Coming to know our true calling through a slow process of self-actualization and life events that trigger a realization means that your vocation in life can be harder to discover than you realize. So if you’re struggling, here’s how you can get in touch with yourself and understand how to be best fulfilled in life:

Spread Your Roots

Trialling lots of different things in a certain capacity can make you more sure of where you’re headed. But instead of diving into giving up your first career, consider how the two could complement each other. Discovered a want to work with children? It doesn’t have to be your full time job. Volunteering work could give you what you need and fit around your current life- it’s just about focusing on making a difference. Tempted to quit everything and become a writer? Make time for writing as a hobby and you may find that you’re far freer not having to give up your job security, but doing it as a hobby. Just because you love doing something doesn’t mean it always translates into loving it as a career!

Study What You Love

An education in the area you’re hoping to pursue is invaluable, and diving into a subject will quickly let you know if it’s really for you. If the learning is rewarding, it’s a safe bet that the practice will also suit you. Specialist programs of study can often be taken part-time to fit around existing commitments. So whether it’s becoming involved in social work or earning a criminology ba, getting qualified in what you love to do may be more flexible than you think.

Combine Your Talents

Everyone has an unique set of skills, but it’s not any one quality that will inform you of how to fulfill your dreams- but rather, it’s all in the combination of where your strengths lie. So look for careers that combine all of your main skills and strengths. It might be organization, building relationships and attention to detail, in which case an events planner role could be ideal for you. Or it could be encouraging others, being analytical and caring- where a job as a pharmacist may suit. It’s the particular intersection of your skills that will give you the best steer on what it is that will make your heart sing every Monday morning.

Let Go of ‘The Best’

As children we are told it’s good to be ‘the best’ at any given task, and we carry this thinking with us into adulthood. It can actually stop us from achieving full potential though, so step away from the idea and accept that you can still make an amazing contribution to the world without having to lead the field in your chosen area. Whatever you have to do, handle it with grace and good humor. Contributing to your goals and finding your calling in life without becoming single minded is a very fine art.

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