How to Create a Career You Love
Christie Whitehill is the founder and CEO of Tech Ready Women, here she shares her tips on finding a fulfilling career you’re passionate about.
When I was 15 if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would not have been able to tell you. You see I wasn’t very academic, and to be honest although I finished high school I only just passed. I’m a creative and I learn by doing, which isn’t always the way things are taught in school.
I lacked a lot of self confidence as a result of not fitting in, or feeling “smart” enough and I had no purpose or direction of what I wanted to do with my life. Fast forward to today (almost 20 years!) and I am running my own business, doing something I’m truly passionate about.
But how did following my passion led me to create a fulfilling career doing something I absolutely love? Well, I can tell you that I didn’t find out overnight. It took some “out of my comfort zone” experiences of trying new things, as well as some personal discovery to learn what I was really good at.
Before I share with you my tips, keep in mind that everyone has their own path to take in life and there is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing your own path. You might be feeling pressure from the people around you to choose a certain university or career path that might not feel right, or you have fears that may be holding you back. That is OK!
Along your journey you will come across certain hurdles that may feel like they’re stopping you from achieving your goals. Pay attention in these moments because it’s feedback on whether you’re listening to outside opinions or that “mean girl” voice in your head telling you, you can’t do something. But that stops today, because you should follow your dreams and here’s why…
You won’t know until you try…
If you’ve never tried something, how do you know if it’s something you’ll like or not? If you asked me 15 years ago if I was going to be a tech entrepreneur, I would have said no way! It wasn’t even something I had considered. My curiosity in trying new things and not being afraid to give something a go led me to where I am today. My advice is to volunteer your time, get a part time job, read different books or go to an educational workshops or talks. You never know where the spark of inspiration will come from for you.
Work on squashing that mean girl...
Everyone has one...well boys have ‘mean boys’ and it’s that voice in your head that can sometimes tell you your not good at something or everyone might talk about you if you put yourself out there. These thoughts are not helpful and we can be our own worst critic! I’ve been practicing squashing my ‘mean girl’ for a long time now and I don’t let her say too much these days. When she does come up though, I practice a few different techniques. I sit quietly and meditate - because quieting the mind can help you see a clearer direction and path for your life, as well as help you manage unwanted stress that comes with uncertainty. I also love to listen to uplifting talks on YouTube or TED talks, as well as practicing yoga and regular exercise.
Pay attention to the things you love to do…
If you’re unsure about what you love to do, take a piece of paper and write down 10 things that make you happy. It could be anything… like listening to music, seeing your friends, helping your classmates, or collecting flowers. Next write down what you love to daydream or think about most, what kind of books do you like to read? These will give you clues as to how you like to spend your time. Look around you, what’s in your room, in your “space”. You can then research careers that allow you to do those things. For me, I love anything to do with personal and professional development. I love life long learning and I love to share what I learn with others, this is why I created Tech Ready Women.
Upskill in the areas you think you’re not so great at...
So I was never great at math in school, but understanding the numbers in business is really important. So to get great at the numbers, I enrolled in some extra curricular courses that were related to math in business. I now proudly build a financial model which is something I was never able to do before. I might not be the best at it, but I wanted to achieve my business goals and ensure I had basic competency in this area so I dedicated some time to learning the new skill.
All of these tips gave me the confidence to pursue something I had no idea I’d be great at or love to do everyday. I could spend all day naming the countless barriers which may have stopped me from succeeding, but this blog would be way too long. So just start by following these tips, I promise you will be on your way to learning what you’d love to do with your life.
Christie Whitehill, is a leading entrepreneur and mentor in the Australian tech startup space. She is the CEO, Founder of Tech Ready Women.Discover More!