I recently was chatting with a young woman in her early 20s who is slowly working her way through college. “I’m not great at school and am trying to find my ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to a career,” she told me. That made me wonder how she – and other young people struggling to decide on a career direction – can find that “sweet spot” that will enable them to build a career based on more than just the salary they expect to make.
Who better to turn to than Katelyn Richards of Crafted Careers? A self-described “serial career pivoter and long-time recruiter turned career coach and strategist” who co-founded a coaching program/online course called The Sweet Spot, Richards helps job seekers identify their ideal career trajectory.
“There is actually a Japanese term for your career sweet spot – it’s called your Ikigai or reason for being,” Richards say. Ikigai, she explains, is the intersection of four specific things; asking yourself questions that fall under each of those four categories is one way to find it.
What did you enjoy doing as a child or in your early adult years?
What do you do now in your spare time that makes you happy?
Do you know your strengths and skills? What are they?
What do people ask you to help them with?
What and who inspires you?
What makes you annoyed or frustrated that you want to change?
What service or product could you sell (what would people pay you for)?
What research can you do to find out about jobs you don’t even know exist in your area of interest?
Ken Coleman, nationally syndicated radio host of The Ken Coleman Show and author of “From Paycheck To Purpose: The Clear Path to Doing Work You Love,” explains it this way: “The sweet spot is simply this: the intersection of what you do best (your talent) and what you love to do most (your passion),” he says.
Like Richards, Coleman suggests asking several questions to help uncover where that sweet spot lies.
He asks, “What comes easy to you? What have people complimented you on? Where have you created effective results?” Those three questions, he says, will help clarify a path forward.
“Clarity is your superpower. You’ve got to think about who you are, what contribution you want to make, and why you want to make that impact,” says Coleman, who notes that The Career Clarity Guide is one resource that can help people find the sweet spot they’re seeking. “This clarity will help you identify your dream job – it will give you confidence and courage to step out on the path.”
Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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