7 Skills You Need to Develop a Career that You Love

Do you wish that you had the ability to find a career that uses your superpowers? What can you do to make your dream career a reality?

Creating a career that you love doesn’t magically happen. It takes work. I refuse to blow smoke up your butt and tell you how easy it is, because then you’ll curse my name all around the internet.

I would rather focus on helping you build a career based on your core needs. This takes time.

You have to know what truly makes you happy, so you can create the career that fits your needs as well as the market.

Too many people will say that if you just follow your dream then the money will flow into your life. This can be partially true. What most people fail to recognize is the importance of aligning your needs with other people’s needs.

My Story

I wanted a more dynamic career. I was working in jobs that didn’t interest me. That’s when I went out and started trying out different interests on the side. I tested out various careers in marketing, teaching, Yoga, writing, massage, career development, professional speaking, and a few others.

I didn’t just quit my job and jump right in, which was a good thing. If I would have gone into Yoga or massage I wouldn’t have found a career that I loved.

I dabbled in research, blogging about these topics, working part-time in certain industries, and talking with professionals. I never had a problem talking to professional Yoga teachers, professional speakers, or coaches. The more I talked with these people the more I began to understand what I wanted out of my career.

I knew I wanted many levels of interaction, so pure writing was out. I realized that I loved to teach and I was good at it, but didn’t want to teach Math to kids that didn’t enjoy learning. I also wanted to speak to large groups of people. I loved the rush. The rush of happiness from my work as a big part of why I do what I do.

Watch the Signs

There are signs everywhere you are. Notice what advice people seek from you. Notice what gets you excited. Notice what you love to do at work and away from it. I still remember when I did my first Superpower Coaching session I felt a rush of happiness. I was good at it. The best part is during my last coaching session I felt that same rush. The feeling hasn’t died off.

I did lack core skills as I built my career and it was all trial and error. Hopefully this article helps fast forwards you past my errors and encourages you to build on your core skills that will help you develop a career that you love.

Here are 7 skills that you can develop in order to help you succeed:

1. Help others

Relationships are vital to your success. You’ve seen people get jobs because they know other people. You’ve seen people make deals because both sides trusted each other. You need to figure out how you can help people, so that they will learn to trust you. Once you’ve gained trust, the relationships will come.

Building relationships can help you discover what you love because you’ll be able to see how people react to your help. If they are excited, then you’ve made a good impression. You know that you have connected with the other people’s needs. Now notice how you feel about the work. Did you get lost in the process of creation? Was it drudgery? If you dreaded the process then you aren’t in the right field.

Seems pretty simple, right? For many reason it’s a lot harder than it looks. Just don’t be afraid to reach out 95% of the time people will love that you did.

Offer to help people in your industry of choice. Offer to help out online. Offer to help your friends in this certain area. Then practice, build, practice, build, practice and build some more.

2. Stop worrying about the time

When you are doing something you love, time ceases to matter. You’ll notice that an hour of work feels like only five minutes went by. This is a great indication that you are finding the work flow.

If you aren’t finding the work flow then you have to find the root cause. You probably aren’t connecting to the work. If you can’t find meaning in what you do, then the work will never be enjoyable.

We’ll talk more about how to build your skills of working in the moment in #7.

3. Find meaning

You must believe in something greater than yourself. It’s a simple equation.

Your work is more important than doing things to just pass the time. Your work should be more important than watching TV or sleeping in late or hanging out with friends for extended periods of time.

If you aren’t doing this work then you aren’t making other people’s lives better. People who actually feel a little pain when they are not doing the work are the ones who totally connect with their work. They feel this gravitational pull to do work that will make other people happy.

If you are at work and you would rather be doing something else then you have an obvious message. I’m not talking about when you just feel frustrated during a tedious task. We all have work that we don’t like doing. I’m talking about hating your job all the time. If this is how you feel, then you know you are in the wrong career.

4. Understand your goals

Down deep you have aspirations. Your goal may be to make people laugh. It may be to teach people the importance of saving the environment. It may be to remake your company into a “eco friendly” organization. Whatever it is, you must have a crystal clear understanding of what your goals are because only then can you make a plan to make your goals a reality.

A lot of people make the mistake of imagining themselves at the top of the mountain. They don’t actually see themselves doing the hard work to reach their goals.

You must visualize yourself enjoying the process of the work. When you can see yourself feeling good and accomplishing tasks to reach your goal, your goals will be attainable.

5. Connect with your heart

Your heart knows when each action is a vibrational match with your true desires. If you are procrastinating and you know your heart isn’t in it then why continue? Why suffer?

Let go of what you think you should be doing and actually do work that fits with your strengths and passions.

Try sitting down in a quiet room and listen to what your heart needs. If you’ve never tried this before your heart won’t want to talk right away, but just keep at it. Eventually it will give in and tell you what passions to follow.

6. Make friends, not allies

Many people try to make allies instead of creating friendships. The short term relationships (allies) are good for a little while, but the friendships that you make will help you last through the long haul.

Every great career is based on the long haul. We don’t remember the CEO of a big company that only lasts for 18 months. We remember Jack Welch because he ran GE for over 20 years. That’s leadership based on friendships and trust.

You need to develop friendships and let the business deal happen naturally. Not all friendships will close deals, but that’s ok because you have something even better: someone to talk to when you need help making a tough decision.

7. Follow the joy

You’ve probably worked on projects that feels like pure bliss. You are creative problem solving and before you know it four hours have gone by and you can’t believe you’ve had so much fun. This is that place of joy where work doesn’t feel tedious.

This flow is a great indicator that you are working with your strengths and passions.

Notice when your flow state happens and why. This is your sweet spot. You need to be able to access this sweet spot as much as you can. If you hit your flow state during a certain time of day, then try to do your difficult tasks during this time. If you hit your flow state with certain types of work then keep track of this. The better you can understand your flow state, the more often you can reach it.

How about you?

What skill would you add that has helped you build a career that you love?

What skill would you most like to have so you can transition into a career that you love?

What do you think is the most important skill to doing work that you love?

* Need help leveraging your superpowers in your career? Then check out my Superpower Coaching to see how I can help you.

* Kristi over at Kikolani has a great guest post about the Pros and Cons of a Home Based Business.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like these too:

> The Law of Attraction and Your Career

> Negotiate Your Way to Great Work

Comments

  1. Hi Karl — I liked the point that, when we actually find something that deeply interests us, concerns about “but that’s going to take so much time” fall by the wayside. When we’re asking “but how long will it take?” that may be a clue that we’re on a path we’re not really inspired by.

    • Hi Chris, When we love what we do we don’t want the day to end. It’s this natural pull toward happiness that we need to focus on. You are right, when we focus on time it’s a great indication that something is missing from the equation.

  2. I love the career advice to “make friends, not allies.” I have never heard anyone say that before but when I look back on my career, most of the best opportunities came through friends recommending me for something great. Maybe it is time for career strategists to stop giving the uptight advice to avoid mixing business with anything personal! Thanks for the interesting article, Karl!

    • Hi Janet, I’m glad you agree. Too often we go into a meeting with an agenda and come out feeling empty. We need to bring more of our personal selves to the table and enjoy the connection, not what the meeting will give us.

  3. Building bridges is especially important in today’s networked world, and it’s how you get things done as you move up the ladder, or when you have to work across boundaries.

    • Hi J.D., Finding connections with other people is a great way to learn. When we take the time to understand other people we find ways to help them. It’s this help that they will want to return. It’s all about Karma. The more helpful we are the more people will want to help us.

  4. This is an AMAZING post and so true. You’ve hit the nail on the head here. I love that you including connecting with the heart. So many people use their head when it comes to career. However, if you want to love something and really want it to fulfill you in a deep way, you have to go deep within yourself and listen to something more powerful.

    Also, thanks for sharing your own personal journey. It’s always so great to hear how people got where they are.

    • Hi Chrissy, It all comes back to listening to our core needs. The only way we can create a career that we love is if we understand how to connect our needs with society’s needs. This can take some time, but it’s all a part of the journey.

  5. Karl,
    I agree with creating friendships and I’m thankful we are friends. These are all great steps and I think the one for me to take to the next level is forgetting about time!

    • Hi Tess, When we do creative work time shouldn’t matter. I know we live in a culture that pushes for productivity, but overdoing it will only stress us out. We have to find that sweet spot where time has no meaning.

      I like to do this by focusing on the present moment as I work. When my thoughts drift back to time and productivity I gently remind myself to stay engaged. If I have to do this too often in a short amount of time I move on to another project or take a break, so I’m abiding by what I need instead of being a big bully to myself.

  6. Hi Karl

    I love the way you approached testing out different fields to find the career you love. So often people just have no clue as to what they want to do, to be happy and fulfilled, but they do nothing about it. They just sulk and say I don’t know what I want to do with my life…. but you took awesome action!

    And I love the 7 points you outlined – they are just brilliant, from friends and passions to finding meaning, this is all the nice, deeper stuff that really makes a difference and most importantly long term!

    • Hi Evita, We have to dig deep to find that long term solution. That means listening to our hearts and taking small actions that allow us to learn and tweak. I think you’ve done the same thing, it’s why you love what you do.

  7. I definitely go by the time. If time flies, I know I’m doing the “right” thing. And I recently extended a workshop by 1/2 hour (I asked participants first, of course) because it was going so well and people wanted more. I didn’t get paid more, I did it because I knew it was the “right” thing to do and it felt good…for me and them. That’s a big one for me. Also, when things come naturally and there is less struggle, I know I’m in the right place.

  8. Great article, Karl. I just added it to my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/lovingmywork.

  9. Hi Karl,

    Great article and good for you for being willing to remind people that it takes patience, time, and some effort to build a dream career. Far too many people have now been lulled into believing that if they just think about it and visualize it, create a vision board, etc, everything will suddenly materialize in their lives for them with no further effort on their part. What the visualization and visual cues do is to remind us of our focus or the goal we’re trying to reach–it still takes work to bring the dream into reality.

    I really liked your point about connecting with your heart and what it says about a path we’re pursuing. It isn’t by accident that we use phrases like “My heart just isn’t in this task or job”,or we feel “encouraged”. Something to think about in terms of listening to what your heart has to say about something: all those words like courage, encourage, etc, all have their roots in the French word for heart–coeur. We’re not really supported or encouraged in our culture to look within and listen to that quiet little voice of our spirit/soul talking to us, but it’s vitally important that we do so.

    • Hi Sue, Connecting with our heart is so very important to doing great work. It’s a very under-appreciated talent. We are such a results oriented society that we forget that without truly believing in what we do we won’t get the results that will meet everyone’s needs.

  10. Excellent points! Thanks a lot for sharing them.

  11. Great points! Especially love the one on understanding your goals and that you have to enjoy the “process” of the work. That’s important no matter what you do. (We try to help people understand what they will enjoy doing and what will motivate them with our free MAPP career test.)