If you’re a student or young professional, you may not have found the career path you know you want to pursue long-term. Even if you have been working for decades, you might feel that you need a major career change for a more fulfilling life.
Sometimes, the answer is not immediately clear; you have to engage in some self-discovery to find the career path that speaks most to you.
Though self-discovery is not necessarily easy or a quick fix, you will find that it’s worth all the time and effort it takes to understand where your heart is leading you next.
So, here are 5 different forms of self-discovery if you need some inspiration!
Traveling to new places, either within your country of origin or in a new country, can open you up to new ideas and perspectives, introduce you to new people, and provide you with just enough change to shake the right career loose from your brain.
You can travel on your own if you have the resources and funds, backpacking through a new country or road tripping to unseen destinations.
Or, you can choose to travel with a group of people through a study abroad program or volunteer organization. Traveling while volunteering could be an even more intense and rewarding way to discover the best career path for you.
If you decide to travel with a study abroad program or charitable organization, check out some scholarship options that might help fund your trip!
Finding an internship or new part-time position can also help you discover new aspects of yourself you might not have known about before.
Seek out an internship or job in an industry entirely different from your field of study or previous job to learn something new.
You don’t even have to intern in a field that you hope to work within. If you have the funds available to take some time to intern, you can explore an industry that interests you but that you never thought could make for a viable career path.
You might surprise yourself.
This might seem like often-utilized advice from younger years, but journaling continues to be a helpful tool for self-discovery.
In creative self-help book The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron advises readers to write three pages of loose-leaf journaling every morning in a habit she calls “morning pages.” These pages are meant to help you dump all of your potentially unhelpful thoughts or to-do lists to allow for more creative ones to take their place.
This type of journaling can be helpful, or you can simply journal whenever you feel the need to reflect and work through an idea in your mind.
If you travel or try a new internship, a journal can help you organize your thoughts about the experience and work toward an understanding of the path you’d like to take next.
Another effective way to discover some new elements of your abilities and interests is to go back to school!
Of course, you don’t need to go back to an expensive college or university (unless you want to). You can find plenty of educational resources that are more temporary than a formal degree program.
Even if you decide to take some art classes, an improv class, an online coding course, or even study to become a healer, you could find that learning a new skill rejuvenates you and opens your mind to new possibilities.
While you’re figuring out your next move, find a class that falls within your budget, and learn for the sake of learning. You might find your new path in the process.
You should also consider volunteering, either in your community or even abroad, to practice some self-reflection and look within while working for a worthy cause.
Volunteering to help those in need and advocating for issues about which you are passionate can help you find perspective and gratitude for your own life.
Volunteering might also lead you to a new career path based on an issue you’d like to solve or a non-profit you absolutely love.
Whether or not you go into the field of helping others through your job, taking time to volunteer your time and energy will certainly teach you important lessons about yourself and the world and help you contribute to positive change in the process.
Whatever method of self-discovery you choose, looking within will certainly help you find the career path that’s right for you. And the great news is, you can also repeat the process the next time you need a change.
Life is too short not to follow a path that you love!