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Choosing your career is one of the most important decisions you will make, yet you often hear people say that they are stuck in a career that an eighteen-year-old chose for them.  They are, of course, referring to themselves, when they were eighteen. 

They may say that, because of how different the careers they chose for themselves turned out to be from what they initially thought they would, but most likely they are expressing that they would have made a different choice, if they knew themselves then, the way they do now.

Whether you are choosing your first career or you are the person that made that statement and needs to choose a second (or next) career, you do not have to make that important choice uninformed.  There are a few simple steps to make a more informed decision, and it all has to do with some introspection.  Truly knowing yourself and understanding how to use your self-knowledge can help you choose a career where you will be inspired to go to work and feel fulfilled at the end of the day.

Even when young people do not yet know exactly what career they want to pursue, they will all tell you they want to be happy, successful and often, wealthy.  Although second career seekers are more inclined to look for fulfilling careers, the new generations now even seek that right from the outset.  The good news is that you can get all that, but you need to understand that you cannot pursue any of those, they are the results of pursuing a life and career that energises you, one with personal purpose or meaning and by creating value for other people.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century, said that “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” (1) (2).  Happiness, therefore, is not something you can pursue and achieve; it is the result of living a life with purpose and meaning.

Victor E Frankl, regarded as one of the foremost representatives of existential psychology, came to believe that, as human beings, we are primarily motivated by a "will to meaning", which he described as "the desire to find meaning and purpose in life" (2).  In logotherapy, Frankl's specific psychotherapeutic approach, people are not advised as to what they should find meaningful, they are challenged to find what is meaningful to them (2).  So, purpose and meaning are very personal.

You are encouraged to find and define your purpose.  The Purpose in Life (PIL) Questionnaire measures your will in pursuing meaning and helps guide you toward understanding what your purpose is (4).  The PIL is usually used as a foundation document for what is called Socratic Dialogue, a highly challenging and questioning logotherapeutic technique evoking critical and creative thought and which allows the person to discover and realise the meaning – the unique responsibilities and tasks of his or her own life.  You may also choose to do an in-depth programme such as the Find your Life Purpose Life Coaching Programme, which will guide you over several sessions to finding your purpose.

Simon Sinek sees your purpose as a constant; he says “Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY—our driving purpose, cause or belief—never changes” (5).  David Bohm, a Scientist who was deeply interested in exploring the nature of consciousness, with particular attention to the role of thought as it relates to attention, motivation, and conflict in the individual and in society (6) saw "our fortune as an enfolding purpose and our path as an unfolding process" (7).

Not only is purpose a key to happiness – it is also the key to success.  Earl Nightingale, an author dealing mostly with the subjects of human character development, motivation, and meaningful existence, explained to the world that the key to success is “the progressive realization of a worthy cause” (8).  Working passionately towards your purpose, is key to success.  The other key part to success, was best described by Albert Einstein, when he advised: “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” (7)

Your purpose and your value creation are what will attract others to you and your business (7).  Only when you create value, will you attract money.  People will exchange their money for the value you create, if they perceive the value of your services or products to be worth more than the value they attach to the amount of money you charge in exchange for it.   

Value, in turn, is also key to wealth creation, as explained by Roger Hamilton's Wealth Equation, in his Wealth Dynamics System (7).  Wealth, according to Roger Hamilton, "is not how much money you have, it is what you are left with when you lose all your money" (7).  What he means is that you are "wealthy", when others recognise in you, your ability to create value.   

Wealth Dynamics incorporates personality profiling as a method of determining your flow.  Although the concept of flow has been claimed to have existed for thousands of years under other names, it was recognised as a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity and named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a distinguished Professor of Psychology (10) (11).  Being in flow is a mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time (11).

We have all experienced flow many times.  Remember that time you had important work to be done for early the next day, and during the early hours of the morning were amazed at how you kept going without getting tired at all?  You were in flow; you were doing the kind of work that energises you.  You will also, recall a time when you the task had you "so tired" early the evening, that you "had to go to bed" and you would set the alarm early the next morning to get up to finish the job.  That task was the type of work that drains your energy – it had nothing to do with you being really tired.  This is the reason why it is crucial that you choose a career that will require the kind of work that energises you.  I am sure you appreciate the difference it will make to both your success and job satisfaction.

So, to select a career with the highest probability of leading to happiness, success and wealth, you need to do at least three things:

  1. Identify and define your purpose.
  2. Understand how you will create value within the pursuit of your purpose.
  3. Know your Wealth Dynamics Profile and, therefore, the type of work that energises you.

There is, however, one more key to success.  Simon Sinek, an expert in leadership and the art of success describes success as a team sport (9).  Wealth Dynamics is not only key to selecting your career; it will also help your understand team dynamics – how to select team members, how to allocate the work and how to work effectively as a team.  Imagine the difference in the success of your enterprise, when your team is not only functionally capable of the work that needs to be done, but all team members are energised by their work and do not mind working until the early hours of the morning, when needed.

To assist you in your journey to selecting the career that will inspire you to go to work and feel fulfilled at the end of the day, you can:

  • Complete the Purpose in Life (PIL) test here or enrol on the Discover your Life Purpose Life Coaching Programme.
  • Attend the Business Fundamentals Course for an introduction to Value Creation and learn how to start your own Business.
  • Do the Wealth Dynamics Profile Test here or enrol on the Career Coaching Curriculum.

“The two most important days in life are the day you were born and the day you discover the reason why.” – Mark Twain

Additional Info

  • References:
    1 Wikipedia. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: 02 13, 2021.]
    2 Duncan, Rodger Dean. The Why Of Work: Purpose And Meaning Really Do Matter. Forbes. [Online] 09 11, 2018. [Cited: 02 13, 2021.]
    3 Moore, C, Viljoen, H G and Meyer, W F. Personology: From inidvidual to ecosystem. 5th. Cape Town, SA : Pearson, 2018.
    4 Crumbaugh, James C and Maholick, Leonard T. 1964, An experimental study in existentialism: The psychometric approach to Frankl’s concept of noogenic neurosis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 20, pp. 200-207/589-596.
    5 Sinek, Simon. The GOLDEN Circle & Start With WHY | Simon Sinek's Ultimate Guide to SUCCESS. YouTube. [Online] May 11, 2019. [Cited: 02 13, 2021.]
    6 Wikipedia. David Bohm. Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: 02 13, 2021.]
    7 Hamilton, Roger James. Your Life, Your Legacy: An Entrepreneur Guide to Finding Your Flow. s.l. : The Entrepreneurs Institute, 2009.
    8 Nightingale , Earl. The Strangest Secret. [Spoken word album] s.l. : Nightingale-McHugh Company, 1956.
    9 Wikipedia. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: 02 13, 2020.]
    10 Wikipedia. Flow (psychology). Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: 2 13, 2020.]
    11 Moya, Bernardo. Success is a team sport, interview with author Simon Sinek. The Best You Magazine. [Online] October 23, 2015. [Cited: 02 13, 2020.]
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Geordie van der Nest

Geordie van der Nest is a Certified Executive, Career and Life Coach.

He is the Registrar of Management Consultants  at the Institute for Management Consultants and Master Coaches of South Africa, Program Director at OpenCircle (for Real Business Achievement) and Managing Director and Principal Life Coach at Heads-up Life.

He is an Accredited Executive Associate of the Institute for Independent Business International (IIBI), a Certified Management Consultant by the Institute for Management Consultants and Master Coaches of South Africa (IMCSA) and a Certified 7 Stage Business Advisor (C7C).  He is a certified Professional Life Coach, Master Coach and a Career Coach.

Geordie has 12 years' experience as an Executive and 15 years as an Executive Coach and Business Advisor.  

He worked in several types of businesses, in various industries, from start-ups to global corporations.  He holds an Executive MBA from Henley Business School of the University of Reading, UK (2018) and is currently studying towards his Honours in Psychology.

He has a passion for helping people succeed in their Careers and at Life.

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