How to Figure Out What You Want To Do with Your Life

How to Figure Out What You want to do with your lifeI've developed relationships with several readers over the past year as writer of this blog.   One reader specifically has been getting the interviews but the companies either don't hire anyone,  leave the position open for the 'perfect' candidate or is a company not worth working for.  This reader has had a very interesting career as a Technical Writer and Trainer, among other things.  She is geographically limited as she can't travel more than an hour outside her home location and isn't relocating duye to family issues.  At this point she is very frustrated and thinking of giving up the job search.

At this point, some of you may be saying, 'well, she shouldn't be so picky' or 'she has to go where the jobs are'. 

I take an opposite approach.  You 'Work to Live, Not Live to Work'.   You should not have to give up the things most important to you (ie;family, friends, etc…).    My attitude really doesn't matter though as the real issue is …SHE NEEDS A JOB.   So she and I spoke the other day on how to figure out what you want to do with your life.

So How do you figure out what you want to do?   Here are several methods:

1.  Create 3 columns on a piece of paper:   

        a.What you Love Doing (if you could do this everyday you'd be in heaven) – boating, coaching, writing, working with kids, sewing,  making beer, etc…

       b. What you Are Really Good at Doing – great organizer, writing, parenting, speed skating, making quiche, etc..

       c.  What skills have you learned from your work or education – chemistry, training, recruiting, managing, computer programming, etc…

    After you've made these 3 lists start matching them up what could be a great new business for you.  For example using the lists above this person may really love making beer.  If they could do this every day they would.  This person may have learned to be a great organizer and at work is always the person who trains people and is a great manager.     If they could wake up every morning and do a combination of these skills what types of jobs come to mind?    

Invite friends over and start brainstorming over some of that homemade beer you made.


2.  Use a Fishbone Diagram to Find Out What you can do

    What's a fishbone diagram?  Very simply, The technique can help to structure the process of identifying possible causes of a problem .  I like to use it to figure out what are the things I like to do,  do real well and am trained to do (similar to above) and brainstorm off a chart.  Here's how it works:

  • On a broad sheet of paper, draw a long arrow horizontally across the middle of the page pointing to the right, and label the arrowhead with the title of the issue to be explained. This is the ‘backbone’ of the ‘fish’.
  • Draw spurs coming off the ‘backbone’ at about 45 degrees, one for every item you like to do, are trained to or are good at.   Highlight any causes that appear more than once – they may be significant.
  • So if you have a line that says Training.  From that line you draw lines attached to it that are jobs that use that skill..
  • Eventually there are lots of job ideas that come off the main skill.
  • Circle anything that seems to be reappearing and use these ideas to come up with new job opportunities


There's an old story about a South African Farmer who wanted to be rich so he sold his farm and travelled all over Africa to find his riches.  He died destitute and poor never finding what he was seeking.  A farmer who bought his property was fishing in the stream on the farm he had purchased and found a beautiful rock. He put the rock on the mantle in his living room.  A couple years later a visitor saw the rock and asked where he found it.  The farmer said in his stream and that his property is littered with these beautiful rocks.  The man examined it and took it to a University who told the man that this rock may be the largest uncarved diamond ever known.  The Farmer found out his land was littered with the largest diamond find ever.  

The first farmer did not try to investigate what he already possessed and went searching.  The moral is if you spend the time to think through what you enjoy doing, are trained to do and have the skills to do you might just go in a direction that you will be extremely passionate about and be incredibly successful at.




 William G Morgan, the Job Swami, is the Regional Manager and an Executive IT & Sales Recruiter with Segula Technologies, Inc.   He can be reached at (610)579-3216 if you are looking for great people or are looking for next employment.


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