But isn’t there something more?

If you’re asking this question, don’t feel silly. It’s OK to ask this question in today’s economic climate. In fact, this is a great time to ask such a question. Think of it as beginning to invest in your career future. Ask and explore now, and you’ll be ready when the economy opens up and recovers. You can find your “right fit” work.

Think of it as the career equivalent of “buying low.” You’re putting time and energy into figuring out what you want to do in the future that is more fulfilling. Just as people are spotting economic opportunities, there are career opportunities that will emerge from this horrible, scary economy. Invest in yourself today for a better result tomorrow.

Start looking at what you dream or fantasize about doing.

Don’t worry so much about whether something is achievable or not. Now is not the time to ask “Is what I want a fantasy or achievable?” First of all, Dreams are achievable. Second, fantasy is useful to guide us toward our “right fit.”

Now notice what you are interested in and drawn to.

What websites do you visit? Which items pull your attention first? What magazines do you subscribe to? When you open a newspaper, what articles do you read almost or all the way through? If you decide to take a class, what are you drawn to? Even if you decide not to take it and instead take something “practical,” what sparked your interest?

Actually, pay close attention to the class you “wish” you could take but it really isn’t practical or realistic or useful or something you should spend any time on. That may be the biggest clue to what your potential passion is, to your future “right fit.”

In the noticing, you will start to identify things and activities that are meaningful to you and in which you want to invest time and energy.

Think back to times you did something that you really enjoyed and that you felt you did well.

Make a list of all the projects, activities, and accomplishments you can remember, back to your childhood, including school, play and work. Write down what you liked about each one of them. What is it that makes you especially proud, satisfied and/or happy? What impact did your effort make? Looking at all of them, can you identify any common themes? Perhaps you liked helping people, or making things look beautiful, or improving a system, or building something. The themes will tell you what makes you happiest.

Take one of these and write in great detail how you went about the project. Talk about how it made you feel. There will be clues here to how you like working and to the kind of culture you enjoy.

In the exploring process, it’s helpful to put aside judgment.

This is merely the exploration phase, the time when you get to know a little more about the topic or issue or field that sparked your interest. There’s no lifetime commitment called for, simply information gathering.

When you start to explore a new field, by definition you know very little about it. In gathering more information, you will start to be affected by the new information – it may resonate with you and spur you on to learn more, or you will shy away from further exploration.

A gut reaction is a fantastic guide during your “information gathering.” Scientists have found that we actually have a second brain in our stomachs. So your gut is literally processing information, especially emotional information, to help us make better decisions.