Build your career like the Harbour Bridge
Wondering what the heck you’re meant to be doing in the world?
Wondering whether you’re in the right place?
Well, you shouldn’t be.
Not because you’re failing, not because there’s something wrong with you. Just because you’re still building your Harbour Bridge.
What the heck is your Harbour Bridge? Well, let’s stop first and look around.
Your friends might be starting things like little businesses, Instagram pages, blogs, personal websites and Youtube channels. They might write about their day, or they might share travel videos. These things are actually pretty typical. Pretty normal.
But how do you make money doing them? How are they going to make money doing these things? How do they relate to the career?
Hint: it may not be direct. It may be indirect. You see, these things are just the start, the first Door.
Because if you take no actions, if you don’t create anything, or do anything creatively then you get stuck here:
Zero is impossible to change if you keep doing exactly what you’re doing now. Unless you’re lucky like me that is.
The universe cared so much about what I was doing it sent an earthquake and then years later a global pandemic to shake me towards what I was meant to be doing.
It’s when you really start searching and doing things, that things become interesting:
Now this is not just limited to any of these forms, but for a growth-minded young person, these early projects, hobbies or endeavors might look small and trivial. Perhaps they never grow to be much more than a small art project.
But what this really is, is the first sign of self-expression. The first idea, the first concept. Things start to open up from the point, that is you, and then move towards the world. That is to say, there is more of you that is now out in the world.
Lo and behold, what happens? By doing things, new people see what you’re doing and start conversations with you. They bring you new opportunities. You learn more.
And so more doors open for you. Through these doors, you begin to see more of the world. For example, my work for a nonprofit in my early 20’s gave me a broader perspective of the world by exposing me to both Nepalese and Eastern culture.
As you move, the most aligned life you can find begins to move towards you, as the things that resonate with you from within begin to attract problems that complement them.
There are market realities (what you can be paid for) and social realities (what the world needs). For example, I believe the world will pay for education and community but not as easily self-awareness. Yet, what it needs is self-awareness.
On the other end of the equation, coming from you are the things you love that might be more than a one-off hobby (what you’re good at). (Note, you find what these things are by doing interest mapping and answering the Audience-of-None question).
Through both my nonprofit and real estate work, I learnt a lot about business, investing, writing, marketing, myself and, most importantly, learning itself. I came to appreciate how these sorts of projects and experiences can make us more and reveal to us more about the world.
At the next stage of my personal evolution, I’ve been combining what I love, what I’m good at, what the world needs and what I can be paid for into education work. Here I get to traverse many of my interests, spend more time writing, and offer something to the world I feel it needs in a sustainable way (which is to say, it pays for my Minimum Viable Lifestyle).
The bridge is not built left-to-right, or right-to-left. It must converge and meet in the middle.
It is not just about what you love,
Or what you’re good at
Or what you can be paid for
Or what the world needs
It is about the combination of all these things.
These four questions come not from me, but from the Japanese Ikigai. They are your life checklist in a way.
- What you love?
- What are you good at?
- What can you be paid for?
- What does the world need?
Don’t stop till you’ve combined them. Don’t rush them. Be patient. Try things. Do things. Open Doors.
One on their own is not the complete you.
Special thanks to James Fricker, Patrick Quigley and Andonis Sakatis.
Recommended reading includes The Bucket.