How to Make Smart Career Choices

5 Big Steps: How to Make a Smart Career Choice

how to make smart career choices


Step 1: Let Go of “Finding” Your Career

Your first step is a shift in thinking, do you want “have a job” or “go on a career?” Going on a career is a process, think of yourself as a verb. Lots of people choose the career title, “Should I be a doctor or lawyer?” and end up as a noun that makes them pretty unhappy. 


Step 2: Choose the Building Blocks

Design your career piece-wise, one element at a time. Each piece is like a LEGO block. It’s difficult to commit to your life’s work in one big leap, think in terms of smaller building blocks. Following are the key design specs to help you with how to make smart career choices.

Purpose and Meaning

What are you willing to stick your neck out for? People who enjoy their work stand out in the crowd; they go to work because the want to and are often full of energy. When we work at something that really matters to us personally, we satisfy that part of us that wants to make a difference.

Natural Ability

One of the best gifts to give yourself is to discover your inborn talents. Your strengths are rooted in your brain circuits, quietly shaping how you perceive, think, decide, and interact with the world. The key is to interpret your talent “whispers” or hunches about what you’re really good at. Why do you like the stuff that you like? Once you know your talents you’ll be able to whittle your interests down to the things that fit your core nature. With your inner talent compass, you can begin forming a clear sense of the kind of work that will use the abilities that come naturally to you. Understanding your natural talents is the best kept secret to making good career choices and excelling at what you do.

Personality Traits

Your personality characteristics also shape your “liking for” this or over that. Traits create an innate pull toward certain passions, desires, dreams, aspirations and beliefs. Your personality traits, including your quirks and sensibilities, are important components to build into what you do everyday.

Workplace Environment

Does your workplace environment support what you do best? Imagine a gifted F16 fighter pilot working for a commercial airline, flying a sky bus with 200 passengers through rolling maneuvers. A workplace that fits you should synch up with your who you are and appreciate what you do best.


Step 3: Visualize and Design Career Paths

Creating a vision for a custom-fit career is a step-by-step process of exploring exciting combinations of all your key elements noted above. Like Picasso with ten blank canvases, visualize a bunch of cool futures that pull all your design elements into a variety of well-suited, exciting, custom-designed career prototypes.


Step 4: Go on Career Quests

The next step is to do a reality check your best career prototypes. The great contributors of our time demonstrated an important behavior: experimentation. Before you commit to your career, take it for a test drive. It’s very wise to go on lots of dates your potential career before you decide to marry it. A test drive is essentially a “career quest” to go explore unknown frontiers to see whether you’ll actually like the real world version of the careers you’ve imaged.  


Step 5: Choose Your Career

Your commitments are your intentions and the first step toward taking actions that create results in your life. To commit is to say, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” Highly rewarding work is hard to find ready-made, you have to design and build it like an architect.  

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