Careers

5 questions to help you figure out what to do with your life, from a bestselling author and psychologist

Research shows that the happiest people have careers that give them a sense of purpose.

But according to organizational psychologist and executive coach Tasha Eurich, most of us don't know what we're looking for.

In her recently-published book "Insight," she explains how self-awareness, or being in tune with who you are and how others perceive you, is a professional's "meta skill".

"The reason I call it the meta skill is that it's underlying, or foundational, to all the skills that are required to succeed in the 21st century," Eurich says in a TEDX talk.

By understanding yourself and how others perceive you, you can develop other in-demand soft skills, such as having emotional intelligence, being a team player and communicating clearly.

Tasha Eurich, author of "Insight."
Tasha Eurich, author of "Insight."

While a significant portion of Eurich's method involves soliciting feedback from trusted people in your life, the first step is to gain more insight about yourself.

Here are 5 questions that can help you figure out what you want from your career:

  1. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up and what drew you to this profession?
  2. Is the way you're currently spending your time meaningful and gratifying to you? Is there anything you feel is missing?
  3. Imagine that you are an impartial party reading a list of your values and passions. What might a person like this want to do and experience in his or her life?
  4. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
  5. Imagine that you only had one year left on earth. How would you spend that time?
"Insight is underlying, or foundational, to all the skills that are required to succeed in the 21st century." -Tasha Eurich, bestselling author and executive coach

Once you have the answers to these questions, examine parts of your life you can change to help you reach these goals. Eurich suggests approaching these aspirations without sadness or self-loathing, and instead focusing solely on improvement.

When you have a better idea of your goals, you can map out the changes you want to make in your life using a visual trick from a former Google career coach.

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