How to Ignite Your Pilot Light

Don't worry if your "true calling" hasn't shown up yet.

You can get an education, a job, and go to work. But your career doesn’t really start until you find something that gets you fired up inside. It’s called internal motivation. Until you have that to drive you, you’ll find yourself drifting – just going through the motions.

Some people know from childhood.
They have it easy. Something captures their imagination, and they just know. This is what they want to do. This is what they will do. They are convinced, committed and locked in on their life’s work. I don’t know how they know, and I’m sure they couldn’t explain it, but it’s real. Their pilot light just spontaneously kicks to life early, and tells them “this is the direction for me to go.” And they never look back.

What do you look for? Something you like, of course.
You’re looking for something that attracts you on 2 key levels: emotional and logical. You want it to give you an emotional response, but it also has to make sense. You can’t just settle on something because you like to do it, or because it’s something fun. “Hey, I love swimming, fishing, working with dogs, etc. Why don’t I make that my career?” Maybe some people have done that, but there are some other considerations. Hobbies don’t necessarily make fun businesses. It’s different when you have to do it all the time. Turning a hobby into a career often turns something fun into a chore. It’s also a lot more stressful when you have to perform at a professional level, and do it well enough to consistently make money with it.

Eventually you work through these issues.
The older you get, the more you realize you’ll need money, and it makes you a lot more realistic. Doing that fun thing as a career may not give you the income you know you’re going to require. That’s where you have to make some tough decisions.

The key is to find your best available option of things you can get excited about doing – things that people pay money for. It’s got to be legitimate, however. Just because you wished it was a high-paying activity won’t make it so. When you’re young, you’re usually idealistic, and have your own ideas about how the world should work. But the world doesn’t care about your opinions. You have to take the world as you find it. You have to deal with it as it is. You make decisions and move forward until better options come. Just because your true calling doesn’t seem to have shown up today doesn’t mean it might not tomorrow. You keep moving, and one day – BOOM! – it will be there, staring you in the face.

Getting past this issue can be a real struggle.
It can create a lot of anxiety. There can be a lot of indecision in choosing a major in college. There can be a lot of job changes until something speaks to you. All you can do is stay on the hunt until you find an industry, a company, an activity, an opportunity, a niche, or a special situation that seems just right. Eventually you’ll run across something that seems like a fit – where you feel like you belong and you’re excited about your possibilities.

Something stirs inside. It’s a mysterious something that excites you, intrigues you, and above all, interests you more than anything else you’ve found. Without even thinking about it, you notice: hey, my pilot light is on! You jump in and start to move forward. Things are different now. Now you have a new energy. You feel you’re doing something special; that this is just the right thing for you.

You look back and realize it’s been worth the struggle – now your career can begin because you’ve finally found something you really want to do.

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