November 26, 2013

Identify What Makes You Happy

The first step to living in the grey is to identify what makes you happy. For many people, that is not as easy as it sounds. If you have been living in the black-and-white for a while, getting in touch with your passions can feel like a luxury. In this post, we offer up some simple ways to start (re)discovering what makes you happy:

1. Be a Detective

With electronics constantly buzzing and flashing at us, it can be hard to find time sans distractions to focus on self-reflection. Take a different (and less intimidating) approach by paying attention to what is already going on in your life. Look at everyday things from a different perspective and take clues from what relaxes you or brings you energy.

It can be as simple as hanging out with a group of friends. Does coordinating plans make you happy or do you find it draining? If you enjoy it, maybe that means you have a hidden passion for logistics. On the flip side, you might not be a planner and prefer instead to just be told where to show up. That’s also great knowledge to have in your quest for what makes you happy. Don’t forget, figuring out what you are passionate about also means knowing what you are not passionate about.

2. Explore

We love this tip from Eva Werk: “Walk into a bookstore and see where you end up. Do you gravitate to the cooking section? Self-help? Sports? Find topics that interest you and go dig deeper into the subject.”

Can’t make it to the bookstore? Look at your browser history. What types of websites do you visit during your free time?

3. Look Forward to Being Wrong

Discovering what makes you happy is a process. You might think you are passionate about something only to discover you don’t really enjoy it. Don’t force yourself into anything you think you “should” like. Instead, commend yourself for testing your assumptions.

Once you realize something no longer energizes you, don’t be discouraged and don’t con yourself into thinking that your only option is to go back to a black-and-white life. Stay in a growth mindset and learn from every step you take in your process.

4. Learn Your Alphabet

“Our skills, resources and assets are like letters in the alphabet and we can re-use and recombine them in many different ways,” Seth Godin.

When you’re on the quest to find work that you love, consider your past experiences, skills and strengths to be letters of your alphabet. Think about the letters you’ve used the most and why. Be creative and think about how you can recombine these letters to find new ways to bring fulfillment to your career.

Do you find these tips helpful? Let us know if you have any to add!

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