Do you jump out of bed in the morning and rush to a job you love?

For many people work is just a way to pay the bills and survive, but with some planning and reflection work can much more than this.

If we take time to consider who we are and what’s most important to us we can build a career that fits with our personality and meshes with our strengths.

The process of career planning takes time and effort but the investment is worth it. Having clarity on the type of work that will help you flourish will save you a massive headache down the road.

Here are four ingredients to get started with designing your ideal career.

1. Passions

What do you love to do? What holds your interest? We all have personal interests and things we enjoy doing. Consider what you’re passionate about and explore ways to turn this into your livelihood.

We live at a time where it’s more possible than ever to create a career from our passions and interests. It takes creativity and hard work of course, but the resources and knowledge are abundantly available.

2. Strengths

We all have natural talents and skills. There’s probably something you’ve always been good at but have taken it for granted because it came so naturally to you. When we give some thought to what we’re best at we can often incorporate this into our career consideration.

Don’t let your skillset limit your options though. Skills can be developed with deliberate practice, and you can get improve your weakness. Nonetheless, exploring your natural strengths is a valuable starting point to get direction in researching career options.

3. Values

What’s most important to you when it comes to your work? Do you want a consistent routine or daily variety? Do you want flexibility with time or stable structured hours? Do you want to work with people or do you prefer work that’s more solitary?

For some people money is most important. As long as they make the big bucks they’ll work long grueling hours. For others, they want work that feels meaningful and gives them a more balanced lifestyle.

These are your work values and the more aligned your career is with these features of your work, the greater your fulfillment and job-satisfaction will be.

Learn more about work values here.

4. Contribution

What do you stand for? How do you want to make a difference? To have greater job-satisfaction we need to feel a sense of meaning and contribution from our work.

One way to enhance a sense of meaning is to create a work mission for yourself, or to consider an organization’s mission that you connect with.  This will give you an inspiring reason to do what you do and leave you feeling a sense of significance from your career. Find a mission you believe in and explore how you can make a difference in your work.

Combine the ingredients

After you’ve considered your passions, strengths, values, and the contribution you want to make, do some research and explore how you can most closely align these four elements.

What type of work most closely fits with your passions, strengths, values, and contribution?

Your ideal career is at the intersection of these four facets. There may not be a career that’s an exact match, so take your time and consider what qualities of your career is a non-negotiable and what you’re willing to compromise if anything.

The more you can mold a position to fit these aspects the more likely you are to have a thriving career.

Photo credit: Ilmicrofono Oggiono