3 Ways to Build a Career You Love

In my previous blog post, I gave an overview of author and Georgetown University professor Cal Newport’s new book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, in which he argues why skills really do trump passion.

In this article, he says:

“there’s little evidence that most people have pre-existing passions that can be transformed into a career…. Instead of daydreaming about what else is out there, turn your attention toward getting the most out of what you have now. Aim to cultivate passion, not follow it.”

Newport provided 3 strategies that anyone – at any point in their career – can follow to build a career they love:

Focus on what you offer your job, not what your job offers you

Competence in a job or skill gives you more freedom over what you do and how you do it.  Ask yourself, “How do I get better?” to put yourself on the path to a compelling career.

Leverage your value

Once you have gained competency and autonomy in a job – and are therefore valuable to your organization – you can leverage that value to move closer to your dream lifestyle. Though it can be hard, be patient as you build your skills and be ready to take advantage of your value once you have earned it.

Seek flexibility, not specificity

When you are choosing between positions or deciding whether or not to leavea current position, prioritize flexibility. Ask yourself, “Will this job offer me interesting options if I start to become really good at what I do?” This ensures you won’t focus on specifics of the job, which will change, but rather on the flexibility you will have to create your dream job.

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