To the outside observer, it seems like they’ve won the career lottery—that by some stroke of luck or circumstance, they’ve found the one thing they love so much that it doesn’t even feel like work, and they’re getting paid well to do it.
In reality, their good fortune has nothing to do with chance. There’s a method for finding your perfect job, and Chris Guillebeau, author of Born for this, has created a practical guide for how to do it—whether within a traditional company or business, or by striking out on your own.
There’s more than one possible path to career success, but you want to find the best one—the thing you were born to do. You want to win the career lottery and discover a job or vocation that doesn’t feel like work. Achieving this goal will require changes in mindset, strategy, and action.
Do you love your job so much that you’d do it if you didn’t need the money?
Work isn’t everything in life, but we spend a great deal of our lives at work. Some people, it seems, really do have it all. These people take to their working roles as if it’s the absolute best possible fit for them—it’s as though they were born to fulfill a certain role. If you’ve ever worked on something you took great pleasure in, yet you also got paid for it, you know what this is about. And if you haven’t experienced this career bliss yourself, you may have observed it in others.
These are the winners of the career lottery; they are people who found what they were meant to do. They’re happier because of it, and they are likely more successful, too.
How did you get there?
There may be a few superhumans out there who know from age five exactly what they want to do when they grow up, and what form it will take. For the rest of us, it’s almost never that simple. Jobs and careers don’t fall from the sky to land at our feet, where we simply pick them up and accept them as the perfect fit for life.
Figuring it out takes time and experience, and probably some setbacks along the way. Finding the work you were meant to do is rarely a linear journey. It’s a process of exploring many little twists and turns that lead us to the place we ultimately belong.
The winning ticket
How did lottery winners get so lucky?
Without a ticket, you have zero chance of success. Also, lottery winners didn’t purchase the ticket–they also had to follow up with at least a few actions. If they bought the winning ticket and never checked the numbers, the choice to buy the tiket was meaningless. Finally, they had to present themselves as winners, sign all the disclosure forms, agree to pay all required taxes, and have their photo taken while holding up that ridiculously oversized check.
These actions may seem simple, but every year millions of dollars in winnings (real money!) are never claimed.
Now for some great news: while the actual lottery is nearly impossible to win, the career lottery isn’t. With the career lottery, however, you have a great deal of influence over the results. The actions you take now will directly affect the opportunities available to you in the future. That’s why it’s so important to take the right kinds of actions.
Always bet on yourself
We play the game of life, especially the part about career planning, a lot like a roulette wheel. We make decisions based on intuition, and we tend to make the same mistakes over and over.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Instead of playing randomly, we need to play methodically and intelligently. Like any game you’d find in those Vega casinos, most of the career strategies you’ll read about involve a certain amount of risk. The key isn’t avoid it completely–because where’s the fun in that?–but to develop a foolproof system and manage it smartly, just like the casinos.
[bluebox] When you are trying to win the career lottery, sometimes the winning ticket is right in front of you. The answer to your most pressing questions–and the path to the work you were born to do–may come from the people you interact with every day.[/bluebox]
[bluebox]You might not be facing a dilemma between a life of crime or an endless stream of record label royalties, but you too face choices on how to build for the future. The best method for choosing between two or move viable paths or opportunities? First, expand your options. Then start limiting them.[/bluebox]
[bluebox]Stop playing the numbers game and never send out another resumé. Instead of betting the odds, play the game that improves your odds.[/bluebox]
Complement Born for this with Larry Smith on Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career.