Finding your true calling

It’s predicted that the average person will spend one third of their lives at work, so it’s important that you find the most enjoyable career path for you, right? With an ever-growing landscape of opportunities and a stronger emphasis than ever before to ‘do what you love’, the thought of discovering the right career for you, and ultimately your true calling can feel incredibly overwhelming.

I started my career in Financial Services. Eight years later, I’m now working in Marketing & Advertising, leading the Influencer Marketing division for the UK’s largest Media Agency, and I can truly say I’ve found my true calling and thrive in what I do. How did I get here? Through having an open-mind, taking risks, listening to my intuition and trusting the process of my individual journey.

I can’t promise that you’ll read this article and immediately figure out what your true calling is, and that’s okay. But hopefully I can share some useful tips to help get you started.

So, where​ to begin?

Pay attention to what you’re good at

There’s an ancient Japanese concept called Ikigai, that​ roughly translates to "a reason for being". It’s a formula for understanding your purpose in life, made up of four components:

  1. What you love
  2. What you are good at
  3. What the world needs
  4. What you can get paid for

When you map out these four components like below, you start to uncover what could be your passion, mission, vocation, and profession.

To get started, all you need to do is grab a pen and paper and ask yourself all four questions. Regarding your career path, you’ll need to take some time to understand what you’re good at, and what you can potentially be paid for.

Personality tests such as 16personalities​,​ Myers​ Briggs ​and Strengths​ Finder​ will help you understand more about your personality, your drivers, and strengths and weaknesses. They may also suggest some career paths that people with similar personality types to you have taken.

Be curious and build up a diverse range of experience

There are so many potential career paths available, that it can feel like a bit of a minefield to understand what might suit you. The truth is, most people don’t land on their feet straight away. You may have to try out multiple job functions, companies, and sectors before you really understand what it is that you love to do.

To help you get a head start you should make the most of the resources you have at your fingertips before you start applying for roles. Some suggestions:

  • Listen in and consume content from experts across multiple industries - that could be on IG Lives, Podcasts, Webinars, Networking Events, or even Clubhouse talks. (If​ you’re interested in the Creative Industries, Ok​ Mentor has plenty of events to choose from!)
  • Try to build a network before you need it. A great way to do this is to reach out to people that you think have interesting jobs and ask to hear about their journey and advice they may have for you. This could be friends of friends, family friends, or even people you don’t know. If you’re writing a dissertation, why not reach out to an industry expert to get their input? LinkedIn is the best place to start making connections, but make sure you keep your messages friendly and to the point.
  • Get creative with how you build up experience and document everything on your CV and/or portfolio. Whether it’s course projects, voluntary experience, side hustles, or paid work, say yes to every opportunity you can and document it to build out your CV. Offering your time and help to the people you reach out to for industry expertise could also be a great way to help you build your network of connections for when you start to apply for jobs.

Don’t panic and trust the process

Some people spend their lifetime in search of their true calling, it’s something that simply can’t be rushed. But the great news is, if you’ve read this far then you’re already on the right path to discovering it.

Everyone’s career and life journey is entirely individual to them, so try not to compare yourself to your peers, or worry too much about what your parents want you to do. Enjoy the process of exploring different fields and opportunities, and trust that your true calling will discover you when you’re ready.

A reading list to get you started…

  • Ikigai by Héctor García
  • Find Your Why by Simon Sinek
  • Purpose by Jessica Huie

Author: Emily Trenouth, Head of Influencer Marketing at MediaCom