When I was 22 years old, I was in the world of the counterterrorism, working in national security for the Pentagon. Now, I’m a career coach, inspiring and teaching people how to truly find their bliss in their careers.
Why did I make this transition?
There was a moment I realized I wasn’t cut out to be a spy… The moment I held a gun for the first time. Realizing I was in the wrong job was terrifying, but I eventually understood that even though my ‘plan’ had fallen apart, I didn’t have to.
There’s a big difference between what you love and who you are. For example, learning about politics was something I loved, but career coaching allows me to be who I am. And believe me, being paid to being who you are is the way to go in your career.
So how do you know if you’re on the right career path, if you’re really doing the work that aligns with your true self? It’s time to ask yourself these three questions, that sit at the foundation of my career coaching practice.
- What am I good at?
You’re constantly told to find your passion, yet in college you need to pick a major way before you decide who you want to be. In this regard, passion doesn’t necessarily equal success. You could be incredibly passionate about something the way I was about counterterrorism, but realize you’re talented at and aligned with something completely different.
It’s never too late (or early!) to ask for help. If you’re not sure what you’re good at, or you’re afraid to let go of your passion, try seeking out advice from friends, family, or a career coach!
- What do people tell me I’m good at?
You might not know what you’re good at, or what your values are… but other people see it in you. Do your friends go to you for specific advice? Do people ask you to teach them something? What do your coworkers or professors praise you for?
Don’t be so blinded by your passion that you overlook who you are. Your world is constantly giving you hints about your talents… It’s up to you to be open to them, and receive them with an open heart.
- What’s holding me back?
The average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts a day. Unfortunately, 80% of these thoughts are negative, and 95% are repetitive. This means you have tens of thousands of repetitive negative thoughts swimming around in your head day in and day out. Probably the biggest universal thought? I’m not good enough.
This thought keeps you from striving and thriving. Repetitive negative self-talk can lead to low self-esteem, aggression, and poor work performance.But you’re not stuck in this pattern! Remember that you are not your thoughts. You have control, and can change your thought patterns to help you succeed. Question your thoughts, really dive deep into why you feel a certain way, and you’ll be on the path to unlocking your authentic career path.
Making a career change can be scary — trust me, I know. But figuring out whether or not you’re on the right path for yourself is so important to your success and happiness that it’s worth braving the unknown. You never know where you’ll end up! Ask yourself these questions and really live with them, so you can unpack your true self and career.
Ashley Stahl coaches job seekers to find their purpose and land more job offers. She also runs CAKE Publishing, a ghostwriting house that helps influencers create content.