"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."
Chris Guillebeau, the best-selling author of The $100 Start-up and The Happiness of Pursuit, knows a thing or two about finding your ideal career. He used his well-followed blog to launch a successful career as an author, travelled to every country in the world and did it on his own terms. His most recent book, Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do is a roadmap to finding our own career lottery.
The book is action-oriented and filled with numerous tips on maximizing career options as well as suggestions for creating additional income streams while still fully employed. The best place to start is with the Joy Money Flow model.
Joy Money Flow
"To find the work you were meant to do, you need to find the right combination of joy, money and flow."
Guillebeau’s solution for career success is the Joy Money Flow model, which is a three-part template for figuring out what you want to do.
- Joy – What makes us happy?
- Money – Will someone pay us to do it?
- Flow – Do we lose track of time while doing something we love?
According to the author, we don’t have to choose between our love of work and making a living. We can have both. In addition, our values change throughout our lives. We may begin our career focused on finding happiness and flow, but gradually transition to jobs providing more financial security as we get older and have increasing financial obligations.
So, where does one start? He suggests making a list of all the possibilities you can think of (including your current and past roles). Eliminate any ideas that don’t have the opportunity to produce any income, followed by those where your skillset is not unique. What’s left is a great starting point to begin building your dream career.
The author also makes a valid point that “our careers are rarely as ordered or intentional as we tend to assume.” Industries can change, our interests and priorities can shift and personal growth can stagnate. Hence, the importance of developing more than one income stream and pursuing self-employment.
Self-employment is the new pension
"Sometimes the job you want doesn’t exist-and usually when that happens it’s because you don’t actually want a job, you want full control of your income and career. Many people who work for themselves believe this is actually the safest and most secure career path."
Most entrepreneurs don’t start out wanting to build their own empire. The drive for independence usually stems from dissatisfaction with the status quo or having an itch be in control of their destiny. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to quit your job to become an entrepreneur full-time. Guillebeau suggests starting a side hustle, which he defines as “a means of earning money apart from your job.”
Side hustles are ideal for discovering your passions, with the added benefit of bringing in some income. It’s a great way to test the business idea before fully committing. He also suggests starting the business with a low level of investment, to minimize the financial risks. The key to happiness in your new venture is to merge what you enjoy doing with what people are willing to pay.
So what kind of side hustle can you start? The focus should be on providing solutions, whether by selling something, providing a consulting service (such as a how-to guide) or just joining the sharing economy as a provider. Countless people have started driving their cars part-time for Uber or rented out the extra room in their house with Airbnb to supplement their income.
What’s your Plan B?
"Learn to evaluate risks, make better choices, and create a series of backup plans that will allow you to take the right kinds of chances."
Since life doesn’t always work out as planned, we need to have something to fall back on. The author lists several risk-mitigating strategies to enhance the possibilities of career success.
The first step is to list all the possible things that can go wrong with a particular opportunity. Being fully aware what the risks are going in can enhance your confidence. Or it might make you realize that the risks aren’t worth it.
Having more than one source of income and keeping your expenses lower than your earnings can “allow you to take on more risks in the search for your lottery-winning career.” Guillebeau considers these as career insurance and they can provide peace of mind when things don’t go as planned.
Also, in today’s inter-connected world, relationships are an important asset. He strongly encourages us to consider ways to be helpful and friendly to colleagues and friends. This shouldn’t be difficult with all the social media tools available today. Staying connected to your network pays dividends in the long-term.
Lastly, sharpening your soft skills can be one of the best investments you can make in yourself, in addition to boosting your transferable abilities. These competencies can be used in any career and increase your value. The four skillsets that Guillebeau considers valuable are writing, negotiation, conflict management, and follow-up.
Chris Guillebeau’s Born for This encourages personal responsibility for our own careers and is a valuable take charge manual for finding what you were born to do. So figure out what makes you happy and create a side hustle. What were you born to do?