The process I use to help folks find their “right fit work” involves them getting to know themselves better. When you know what you like to do, it’s easier to find jobs that allow you to do what you like to do. Similarly, you can find a job in which you’ll be happy once you’re aware of the situations, culture, type of organizations, and roles toward which you naturally and repeatedly gravitate. We all have patterns in our lives; the key is asking yourself the right questions in order to identify those patterns. Once we know our patterns, we can stop fighting them and instead work with them.

Knowing your natural inclinations doesn’t mean being trapped by them. What it means is that you know what you are dealing with when you enter a situation that’s outside your comfort zone. Instead of saying “oh, what’s wrong with me that I can’t succeed in my job/career?”, you can say “oh, now I see how challenging this job/career is for me, because I have had to force myself to fit into it; it’s not a natural fit.”

It’s kind of like buying clothes that don’t fit – they can make you uncomfortable and definitely are not flattering. Clothing should accent our positives and minimize our shortfalls. Even worse is buying shoes that don’t fit – they are uncomfortable and can be literally crippling.

I remember as a teenager being very attached to wearing a size 7 shoe. I’m not sure why I associated that size shoe with being the right size for me, the size that meant I was graceful, attractive and “right-sized” for a girl. But I did, and that meant I insisted on buying size 7 shoes. For a while, I was a size 7 so all was OK. However, my feet continued to grow, and I still insisted on buying a size 7 when my foot needed a 7 1/2. I would talk with my friends about “breaking in my feet” instead of “breaking in the shoe.” All of them shared my kind of delusion so we all had painful blisters and bloody heels. this was my “normal.”

Finally, when I had grown to be a size 8, I learned that I could avoid the pain simply by getting a shoe that fit my foot. I did not have to fit myself into the shoe. Actually, I could not fit myself into the shoe. It was not the right size, much less the “right fit.”

So two things happened to get me to seek the “right fit” of shoe:

  1. I got new information and used it: it was not normal for one’s feet to hurt in a shoe. A right-fitting shoe was almost immediately comfortable and did not produce blisters or blood.
  2. I was forced into it psychologically when my foot grew. I had to make the leap from the lady-like size 7 to the galumphing size 8, so I might as well buy a shoe that fit. If I was no longer a candidate for “elegant lady,” why not be comfortable?

I tell this story to illustrate how an idea can take hold and control our actions. I see it happen with many people regarding work. They get attached to working at a big name company or in a specific profession, because of the prestige or the family heritage or the money. And then when they are unhappy, they blame themselves. Much as I could not shave pieces off my foot to fit myself into a size 7 shoe, neither can we shave pieces of ourselves off to fit ourselves into the job or career we’ve decided is the right one for us.

Once you come into and own your own abilities, you can see opportunities all around you beginning to open up.