This is a guest post by Salma El-Shurafa.

After you graduate from school and begin working in your very first job, it can be difficult to feel like you know what you’re doing and that you are somewhere you belong. In most cases, you might feel a bit aimless, but it could be worse – you could show up to work without having any actual goal to work for.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you already have a purpose? A calling to answer and fulfill?

If you’re still aimlessly wandering in your work, then it may be high time to find your career identity. This is the kind of person you are that distinguishes you from others in an organization. It’s what gives meaning to your daily undertakings and provides a direction and purpose for your presence at your workplace.

So, whether you’re forced to reconsider what you’ve long thought your true calling was, or you are just about to embark on the journey to find it, finding your career identity can help.

This article can assist you in discovering your calling through methods that assess your career identity.

How to Find Your True Calling: 5 Tips

Finding one’s career identity is a journey that should never be rushed. Although some individuals are lucky enough to figure it out from the very beginning, most people need more time and effort to do the same.

To help you make this winding road easier to traverse, below are five tips you should try in order to find your true calling by determining your identity at work:


OneDon’t be afraid to explore different roles

Trying on new hats is arguably the most straightforward way to narrow down the pathways that can lead you to your career identity. After all, what better way to determine if a job is right for you than by trying it out?

If you take a job that you’re unsure of and end up growing to hate it, you still get something from the experience – you’ll know to cross it off your list and divert your attention to other options.

Rather than taking this as a mistake, you can consider it a learning curve. Remember that both failures and successes help mold and push you to become someone fitted for your true calling.

So, don’t be afraid to take on jobs you are not sure of as they can help clear the path towards your true calling. Who knows? You might even pick up a skill or two along the way.


twoThink about what your career heroes would do

Career heroes are people – experts in a specific niche or industry – whom you idolize. They are those who earned your trust enough that you would choose to continue following and learning from them through the years.

Unless you already have a list of people you consider heroes, think about those whom you look up to because of the work they do. They are most likely the people you follow on social media whose emails and newsletters you always read.

Once you identify these heroes, the next step is to look at what they are doing. While it may seem like nothing out of the ordinary from the outside, there is bound to be something special about them when you look a bit closer. After all, how can they remain worthy of admiration if they aren’t?

List down the actions that they take throughout their careers and pinpoint how these make you feel like a fan. Those that made you feel supported and trust them more are potentially the reasons why they succeeded and are worth taking into consideration when seeking your calling.


threeTake career identity tests and workshops

Another straightforward process of determining a person’s career identity is to conduct a self-assessment. Career identity tests help you identify your inclination toward a specific career based on four aspects:

  • Interests– These include all the things you enjoy doing.
  • Values– These are the things that you consider most important, such as status, achievement, and autonomy.
  • Personality– This covers your motivations, needs, attitude, and individual traits.
  • Aptitude– This includes your skills and everything else you do well.

Once implemented correctly, self-assessments help you use these aspects to identify your uniqueness and, ultimately, find the job that suits you best. While you can use these for other purposes, they work best to determine the correct path you must take to reach your true calling. Here is a great list of free aptitude tests that you can practice at home prepared by Wikijobs.

From there, you can also take career identity workshops to help hone the skills you have, establish your strengths, and develop a plan to overcome your weaknesses – all according to your unique interests, values, and personality.


Take risks

Many people who encounter failure when figuring out their calling beat themselves up for it. This may be due to the added pressure to “have it all figured out” brought about by today’s social media-influenced cultural norm.

Because of this, people are either afraid to take risks or pretend to have it all figured out even if they haven’t. But this is a fallacy.

The truth is that most people actually have no idea what they’re doing and are just following the trends. Everyone is just looking around, trying to see which ones work and what don’t.

Many people fear failure. But as silly as it may be, not wanting to fail is understandable. After all, the word itself should not even be in your vocabulary if you’re a true-blue high achiever.

Take New York Times best-selling author Ramit Sethi, for example. Instead of using the word “failure,” he refers to unsuccessful attempts as tests that didn’t work. This kind of mindset is a shift from the catastrophic nature of “failure” to a more insightful “testing,” which implies that you’re continuously seeking the right solution for a problem.


Determine what you suffer for

When people think of a purposeful life, they are often under the impression that it is exciting and stress-free. This is far from the truth.

Rather than pretending it isn’t there, you must acknowledge suffering as a fact of life, as “Man’s Search For Meaning” author Viktor Frankl has.

You see, Frankl was a concentration camp survivor and a witness to suffering. But what he realized during his time at Auschwitz – the most barbaric World War II concentration camp — is that suffering happens to everyone, just in different ways.

The key is to find something that’s worth suffering for.


Know What You Are Made Of

Figuring out what you’re made of is an excellent way to determine what you’re made for. Determine your career identity to find out your true calling using the secrets listed in this article and find a job that suits you best.


About the Guest Post Author:

Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.