Craft Your Personal Purpose and Define Your Career Path
The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are -Carl Jung
Don’t let your ADHD or other challenges keep you back from a life of purpose and a career you love. Start to define your own personal purpose with this guide and create, what you want from your life despite your struggles.
Why Define Your Purpose?
When you act without purpose, you risk being reactive instead of proactive. This means that instead of consciously making the decisions that lead to the life you want, you simply react to what falls into your lap.
You can create a proactive life – one where you consciously determine your likes, dislikes, goals, and plans to reach those goals – by learning about yourself, and applying your self-knowledge to your career decisions.
We are all a combination of our genetic traits, like innate skills and talents, and our personal history and experiences.
Personal history includes our expectations, what we are familiar with, and what seems realistic or unrealistic to us. For example, if you grew up around doctors, you might see it as realistic to become a doctor yourself; but if you had no family members or family friends who were doctors growing up, then becoming a doctor might seem out of reach.
This expectation has nothing to do with your innate potential.
These learned attitudes can hold us back from pursuing careers that are well-suited to our goals. That’s why it is so important to consciously analyze what you enjoy, and what you want out of a career – and then investigate which careers will allow you to best fulfill your purpose.
By defining your personal purpose and learning about yourself, you’ll give yourself goals to strive for and tools to engage with the challenges and curveballs of life head on!
When you live with purpose, you become passionate about living. You are in touch with your drives and passions, and have a purpose you’ve chosen to keep you focused and motivated. To start making the most of your life, the first step is to create this personal purpose.
A Good Place to Start: Investigate Your Inner Narrative
Below, I’ve listed some questions to help you identify your passions. Spend some time with these questions to get into the headspace of paying attention to your own joys and strengths, with a sharp eye out for why these things make you happy. These are only a few of the questions that can help you to see the patterns of what brings you joy, what stresses you out, and what you are really good at.
To get the most out of these questions, please answer them honestly.
- What motivates me in life?
- What have I wanted, but never gotten, in life?
- What energizes me? How?
- What brings me the most joy? Why?
- What are my biggest interests?
- What do I REALLY REALLY want in life?
- Who do I enjoy being around? Why?
Now, how can you turn these loves and desires into a statement of purpose for the next several years of your life?
Is there a passion, skill, or craft that you want to devote your life to perfecting? Is there an area of study that you want to devote your life to advancing? Is building wealth your top priority? Or is there a type of challenge you’d like to devote your life to helping others overcome?
There are countless possible answers, but some could look like this:
- My purpose in life is to help end world hunger.
- My purpose in life is to help people look and feel their best.
- My purpose in life is to empower others through education.
- My purpose in life is to care for the sick.
- My purpose in life is to become an artist whose work moves people.
- My purpose in life is to change laws and policies to create a better world.
- My purpose in life is to build as much wealth as possible for my family in future generations.
Consider which way of contributing might suit you best. For example, are you a people person, or do you prefer to work alone? Do you like to do hands-on work, or do you prefer to study and work out theories?
Consider these possible professions that correspond with the type of life purpose:
- A person could help end world hunger by being a scientist, a politician, or a founder or employee of an organization devoted to hunger relief.
- A person could help others to look and feel their best as a fitness trainer, a cosmetologist, a nutritionist, or a fashion designer.
- A person could empower others through education as a school teacher, a founder or staff member of an adult or extracurricular education program, or a producer of educational media.
Note that even within each of these purposes, many different careers requiring different skills are necessary to fulfill them. Defining your personal purpose helps you choose your life goals, and possible career paths to reach them!
To read more about finding your passion career, purchase my book
Informational interviewing might just be the best way to get a job and yet it is underused by most job seekers. Whenever I work with a career development client and we get to the informational interviewing step, I am met with hesitance and resistance. I get it! Cold calling is a scary and dreaded way to talk to a potential employer, but it is so effective!
Really, the problem is that It is misunderstood and overlooked as a means to get a foot in the door for a job.
Think of an information interview meeting as a networking opportunity. This is a one-on-one meeting with a key person in a field that you have a high interest in.
It may be that you have preconceived ideas about a particular career. Information interviewing can give you a better sense of what it would be like to work in the field you’ve chosen. It is first-hand, realistic, information you can use to form your idea of your ideal career.
An informational interview is less formal than a real interview. It allows you the opportunity to show off your personality, your skills, interests, and aptitude in a semi-relaxed atmosphere. Because of this, you will likely come across as more authentic to the interviewer. An informational interview gives a prospective employer better insight into who you are, and how you might be a good fit for the organization in the near future. This is a win-win situation for everyone.
“Foot in the door”
At the typical interview that follows an application, you might feel that you’re in an interview mill—the interviewer bored with all the candidates and simply saying, “Next. Next,” after each interview. This may leave you feeling less than confident in your ability to outperform the next person. With an information interview, you aren’t going to be competing for a time slot, and chances are the interviewer has 15-20 minutes they can carve out of their busy day to talk shop. Many people enjoy this opportunity to talk about themselves, and about how they got to where they are, as well as to help young job-seekers find a springboard from which to launch their careers.
Because informational interviews are less formal—and stressful—the conversations usually flow easier. Remember, you aren’t there to ask for a job. You’re only there to learn. You want information that will help guide you in the direction of the career best suited for YOU. This means you are the one in control of the questions and the outcome of the interview. This is a great time to let your guard down a little, let your true personality shine, as well as briefly showcase how your skills benefit the company. You can also take the opportunity to ask more strategic questions—questions that help you, but perhaps would not be appropriate at a real interview. You can ask about benefits, salary, and even the social climate of the organization without portraying yourself in a negative light.
Gain insight, and Practice Interviewing
This is the opportunity for you to come in prepared to ask the right questions. People enjoy telling their story and you can get a real sense of what the company or career might be like, and so determine whether your chosen career is truly a good fit for you.
Additionally, if some parts of the interview process intimidate you, this is an excellent way to come up with a game-plan and practice. Remember practice ONLY makes for improvement.
If you feel a connection with the person you meet with, you may well have lucked into a mentoring relationship opportunity. Your interviewer might really be impressed with the initiative you show by requesting an informational interview, and may be willing to offer further advice and support. And this goes both ways. Because of the rapport you build in this interview, you yourself might ask for further guidance via follow ups which we’ll talk about later in this chapter.
How to conduct yourself at the interview
- You should regard each interview as a business appointment and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- Write a THANK YOU NOTE to the people you have interviewed. Report back to them if you have followed up on any suggestions.
The last thing to remember is that informational interviews are extremely effective. How effective? According to Dr. Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the web, “While one out of every 200 resumes (some studies put the number as high as 1,500 resumes) results in a job offer, one out of every 12 informational interviews results in a job offer.”
Informational Interviews are so effective that despite that the stated aim is NOT to get a job, many Informational Interviews still end up with a job offer.
So, go ahead and pick up that phone, you may just land a job!
To read more about interviewing, resumes and finding your passion career, purchase my book
Key Qualities Valued by Employers
how do you rate yourself ?
Being a good employee goes beyond being smart and talented. There are so many qualities employers and human resource managers are constantly on a look out for when recruiting a new employee for their organizations.
How do you stack up?
As an employee or an applicant, understanding these unique employee traits can help improve your chances of promotion and success at the workplace. Here are the top qualities valued by employees. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5. If you get a score of 36 or less, you may want to seek out resources to improve in these key areas.
- Good Communication: Good communication is very important in the workplace. Employees who communicate well are those who listen attentively, understand the message before responding. They also know that inappropriate communication can lead to misunderstanding within and outside the organization. (score__)
- Positive Attitude: Employees with a positive attitude to work do not moan at menial tasks; instead, they accept constructive criticism with a smile on their faces. They have happy behaviors that are contagious and always optimistic about getting their works done on time. (score__)
- Flexible and Adaptable: Employees who are flexible and adaptable are willing to move from one task, setting, or location to the other at ease. They possess the emotional intelligence that helps them adapt to situations at all times. (score__)
- Strives for Excellence: All organizations need employees who strive for excellence. They have the right skill and experience needed to ensure that all members of their teams deliver nothing but outstanding results. (score__)
- Good Work Ethic: In today’s workplace that is filled with so many distractions, finding employees with good work ethics tend to be difficult. However, employees who have the right work ethics know when to block distractions on their jobs. (score__)
- Accepts Responsibility: Great employees are those ready to accept responsibilities for their actions and apologize for their wrongdoings without taking offense. (score__)
- Produces High Quality: Exceptional employees are not just ready to meet target; they also ensure that they deliver an in-depth result with great quality. (score__)
- Produces High Quantity: Good employees are not just after the quality of their projects; they also ensure that they achieve more in terms of quantity. (score__)
- Highly Reliable: Highly reliable Employees are honest people who are willing to admit their mistake, follow instructions, show up to work on time, and stick to deadlines. (score__)
- Eager to learn: Employees who are eager to learn are enthusiastic and ambitious people that strive for success. They build a great working environment that inspires new ideas and ensures that co-workers are engaged. (score__)
- Ability to Problem Solve: Problem-solving skill is one of the great qualities all employees must possess. Employees who possess these skill set goals for themselves, aspire to learn, follow instructions, and work towards producing excellent results only. (score__)
- Takes Initiative Creative: All employees need to be creative and think outside the box when carrying out some task in order to ensure that they achieve great results. (score__)
Employees interested in self-development must be willing to carry out a critical assessment of how well they are performing at work using the qualities employers value. How did you do rating yourself? Were you honest? This will help discover areas you can improve on to increase your chances of promotion and success on the job.
If you are an ADHD Fidgeter, check this article out!
Something about having a fidget toy in my hand while concentrating on important documents at work really helps me stay focused! – Michelle
Ever wondered why paying attention to what the teacher said was such a task back in school? Did you experience aimless thinking, fidgeting with stationeries, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, physical aggression and difficulty concentrating? Were you the usual quintessential characteristics of a troublemaking kid? Did you simultaneously love staying organized and could remember details as if etched in your brain?
Wait! Do these symptoms still describe you as an adult?! These are characteristic symptoms of a mental disorder called ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
According to the reports of The A.D.D. Resource Center, there has been a 42 percent growth in the number of ADHD patients in the past eight years. It is very common disorder affecting over 11% of the U.S population according to NCES and is on the rise. The symptoms can often be classified as characteristics of any one without the disorder and can be a little difficult to diagnose without a professional trained in identifying the severity of symptoms. It has spread its roots further into our society as we become more educated about the condition. As a result, the number of adults facing this disorder is and will keep on increasing.
Apart from the treatments and therapies available, there’s another interesting, handy, pocket-friendly and easy to find option to help you with ADHD, which is fidget toys! Today various kinds of fidget toys can be easily found online and at nearby stores as well. These toys have been designed and created to help adults focus and concentrate better at work and can also be a great deal of help to keep stress at bay.
So, here is a list of ten amazing fidget toys for adults!
- Rubik’s Cube:
- It is proven to better hand-eye coordination
- Improves concentration
- Helps one think faster
- It is clinically proven to sharpen reflexes
- Fidget Spinner:
- Renders instant stress relief
- It is a discreet, handy and compact fidget toy
- It also boosts memory
- Enhances focus and creativity
- Flippy Chain:
- It comes in a portable and handy design
- It is tiny and fits in the pocket
- Apt for silent fidgeting as all adults may like as well as heavy-duty fidgeting
- With the material used for manufacturing, it is a durable fidget toy
- Fidget ball:
- It is compact and handy; the diameter is only around one inch
- An amazing tool for improving the dexterity of your fingers
- Provides a relaxing sensory stimulation
- It also reduces pain
- Fidget Cube:
- It is a great option for providing relief from anxiety
- Also keeps stress at bay
- It’s a combination of various stress-relieving fidgeting tools on different faces
- Apt for rotation, pressing buttons and discing up and down
- Fidget Pen:
- You can simultaneously work and fidget without other employees or co-workers noticing
- Multi fidgeting functions contained in a single package!
- Has detachable and reconfigurable parts
- Looks and works just like a regular pen
7. Infinite Bubble Wrap:
- It is one of the best known stress and anxiety relievers
- Pocket-friendly and satisfying to vent frustration
- Reusable and doesn’t create wastage
- Multi-purpose usage as it also acts as a keychain!
- Edamame Keychain:
- One of the best stress ball toys
- Compact and easily portable
- Serves as both stress- reliever and keychain
- Amazing substitute for stress balls
- Roller Chain:
- Fits best for quiet fidgeting at workplace
- For soft and comfortable fidgeting experience
- Available in various vibrant colour options
- Compact and fits around the top of your finger!
- Tangle Toys:
- It has a sleek therapeutic design, works well for wellness of hand and mind
- Fragments are attached with joints; they can all move and twist individually
- Easy relieving tangling movement
- It strengthens, restores and rehabilitates the finger and hand joints
These were just a few topping the list. There are a lot of other good fidgeting toys for adults available today such as tiny shift lever, begleri beads, magnetic modular pen, tiny sand garden to make patterns, moon drop desk fidget and some not-so-conventional options such as kinetic sand and slime. So, explore and choose the fidget toy that best busts the bubbles of stress hovering around you.
Now, fidget away under that conference table!
Your strength in the workplace and dispelling the myths along your path
When you have ADHD you’ve probably been told to look for a job that will accommodate your ADHD weaknesses.
Over and over, people tell you to become a firefighter, a hairdresser, or join the military. “You’ll do great because these jobs will let you move around a lot. You won’t have to sit still! They’re better for someone who has ADHD.”
There’s nothing at all wrong with these jobs.
But are they REALLY right for YOU?
Many people have found careers they love that are different than those said to be “right” for someone with ADHD. You’re one of a kind. Having ADHD is only one facet to consider when choosing a career. You don’t belong in a box!
One thing I have found with people with ADHD is that they are consistently inconsistent and break the mold in all areas of their life! The unpredictable nature can lead to incredible surprises in their life and careers. Given the right resources and support, people are breaking many myths out there about the perfect job for someone with ADHD.
1. The Myth Of Business Ownership
An example I hear a lot is “All people with ADHD are creative and should own a business.”
Not true! BUT it is entirely possible.
While many ADHDers are great idea generators, they often lack the organizational skills needed to sustain a successful business. Without the structures and systems in place to help run the day to day tasks, you may find it overwhelming to get the business actually started.
I don’t discourage you from turning your big idea into a successful business. You may be creative and a risk taker. Those qualities make you perfect to start a business but be aware you may need help instead of trying to do it alone.
Create the structure in which both you and your business can succeed. Choose your business model wisely and set up the business using all the resources available to you.
A good business coach who helps clients with ADHD can assist you to create systems, processes, tools, and structures that will work WITH your strengths and ADHD qualities, and keep you moving toward your goals.
2. The Myth of Detailed Work
“A job that has a lot of detailed work would not be a good fit for someone with ADHD”
Yes, You Can Do Detailed Work!……that interests you.
Do you ever get so lost in doing something you love that time flies? You don’t hear people who are calling your name, and you even forget to eat.
If you already know you can concentrate for long periods of time on something you find interesting, your ability to hyperfocus can help you excel. So if you love crunching numbers, and you don’t give up until you find the right answer, you might be an excellent mathematician or accountant.
Or your ability to focus and solve technical problems may make the fields of computer science or networking consultant a great fit for you.
Steven who loved the sciences and mathematical problem solving tasks had a hard time focusing in high school with classes he found boring. He had earned poor grades limiting his college choices. So, he decided to enter a community college to learn better study skills before transferring to a four year college. He loaded up his classes with science and math. He needed help with his organizational skills and follow through on the subjects he did not enjoy. The results were nearly straight As. He is now pursuing a medical degree in orthopedics. This requires intense schooling, high concentration levels and precise skills in a fast pace environment. I have full confidence he found his niche!
The ability to hyperfocus on something that interests and stimulates you are strengths that can pay off huge and will provide clues to a rewarding job for you.
3. The Myth of Conquering your Weaknesses to get Hired
Advice given to many ADHDers, “Identify your weaknesses, then work to improve them.”
Ignore that advice!
Instead, develop your strengths and find ways to work around your weaknesses with support and systems in place. Not only will you feel happier, you’ll achieve more by focusing on your strengths.
Albert Einstein displayed many traits of having ADHD. He was forgetful and disorganized. Yet, his ability to focus, to look at problems differently, and to ask creative questions made him one of the most famous scientists in history.
But can you imagine if he’d chosen to focus on his weaknesses instead of his strengths? I’m not sure anyone would be as excited about Einstein the amazing organizer!
So, if you love science but don’t have organizational skills because of your ADHD, you could still be a science super achiever with a good mindset and the right resources in place to support you.
4. The Myth that People with ADHD Don’t Get things Done
Technology can be your best friend!
When a system is in place and a good routine is established, ADHD people can achieve monumental tasks!
People with ADHD often tell me their main goals for self improvement are time management, organization and accountability. Technology has been a tool that many of my clients rely on for day to day tasks. Once they have found a system that works for them, their productivity soars.
An example of what I call a “Champion Todoist” is Joe who worked in the construction field. He was in a supervisory role that required him to answer calls, emails and follow up with paperwork daily. The pace was fast and the information felt like a super highway of “to do lists”. Everyday seemed like he was going to combat to put out fires and delegate commands without getting his to do list completed. Although he felt his ADHD helped him mutl-task, he came home exhausted and feeling defeated. He had a fear that he would lose his job. Through our discussions it was clear that his routine had become reacting to the day rather than responding to it.
He created goals and a system he could follow and put it into actionable steps:
1. Find a time to focus without disruption
2. Find systems for organizing emails
3. Develop a method to respond to demands
4. Prioritize important items
5. Track daily success
Once he was able to step back and brainstorm ideas to help him establish a routine, he could embrace his demands. He felt empowered and in charge of his workflow. His worries subsided and he was able to focus on building his leadership skills. He implemented new ideas with better routines for the entire company that increased overall productivity.
He became a “Champion Todoist”.
5. A Credible Myth: ADHD Can be a Powerful Gift
While ADHD brings a lot of weaknesses, it also brings intense emotions and highly focused areas of interests that I call “The Power of ADHD”.
Simone Biles is the most decorated US gymnast in history. She also has ADHD, and has spoken openly about her diagnosis. As she says, it just means her brain works a little differently. Biles refuses to let ADHD limit her achievements. She engaged her super natural ability to hyperfocus on something and go beyond the norm.
Famous musicians Adam Levine and Justin Timberlake are other people who have gone beyond stereotypes of a person with ADHD. They have learned to harness the out of the box creativity that’s a characteristic of some people with ADHD, and use it to fuel success as a dancer, singer, and songwriter.
When you learn to view your ADHD as a powerful tool, you’ll open up many career possibilities you didn’t know were possible.
So….Ditch Those Myths that are Limiting Beliefs and act on the ones that serve your journey to success.
Everyone has some type of challenge in their life that can hold them back from success. I challenge you to look at your limiting belief from a different perspective: What has this challenge brought into your life that can be used as an asset for developing a career that is meant JUST FOR YOU?
Do NOT skip past careers that you would love, because you believe your ADHD means you can’t do them.
It’s time to ditch limiting beliefs and go for what you want!
Explore The Possibilities
I encourage you to take time and explore what interests you. The websites: O*NET Online and My Next Move have good information on jobs and their future.You can investigate many different job descriptions, skills needed, educational requirements and pay.
Fire up your imagination!
No More Holding Back
Become a success story of someone with ADHD who stopped holding themselves back from a career they loved and just went for it. Learn to use ADHD as a strength instead of feeling ashamed of the diagnosis. See where you go next in your career journey. It will change your life.
It’s exciting when you find a way to break through the barriers you thought limited you from achieving your dream career!
Explore your possibilities and continue to break the mold!
Michelle Raz, M.Ed, is an ADHD Specialist, Board Certified Coach, Career Services Specialist, Author of Happiness + Passion + Purpose, Blogger, Webinar host and owner of Raz Coaching. She is dedicated to helping people work with their unique challenges, find their true passion in life, a career they will love and helping them connect the dots to get there.
Published for Attention Magazine June 2019 @chadd.org
Interview Tactics for Tough Questions: especially for ADHDers
How do you answer this interview question that is so commonly used?
What are your weaknesses?
For someone with ADHD this question can seem so clear and easy to answer. In fact, I have had clients tell me that they readily gave the good, bad and ugly during their interview which led to 0 follow up interviews. Why?
Though this question might look simple, it is a tough one that requires a detailed and well-thought answer because good intentions of being honest could point out flaws that may stop you from getting the job.
You would think an employer would like honesty and knows that no one is perfect. But the purpose of this question goes deeper than looking into honesty. It is about perspective.
That is why it is very important that you get yourself prepared ahead of time while on a lookout for a job and remember that when an employer asks of your weaknesses, they are not interested in the negatives.
They really want to know how adaptable and effective you are at making yourself a better person.
Here are more common interview questions and how to deal with them in a job interview:
How well do you work under pressure? We are on a tight schedule and have deadlines to complete projects.
So many job seekers and even professional experience difficulties in managing their time and completing their to-do list within eight hours of work. Talk about prioritizing and pinpointing the most vital task of the day and tackling them first. Talk about your strategies on what works for you and focus on solutions.
- Deadlines & Procrastination
Just like time management, procrastination is also a weakness which makes you put off a job because you aren’t prepared mentally for it. Frame your response to this and put you in a positive light. Discuss how you take actionable steps by dividing your task into smaller chunks so that the project doesn’t seem too overwhelming. Or how you reward yourself for completing difficult tasks. Focus on what works for you to get motivated when it is daunting. This exercise may just reinforce what to actually do by creating a positive mindset to get it done.
How do you handle stress in the workplace?
Getting stressed at the workplace is natural. The key here is to talk about how you handle stress and not let it get in the way of your work goals. What do you do to help manage your stress levels? Discuss what you do like: yoga, meditation, running, walking, team sports etc. You could give an example of a situation of how you handled yours stress in the past in a positive light.
Tell me about yourself
- How do you work with people? Are you an introvert or extrovert?
If you say that you are an introvert and like to work alone, this may come across negative and be a deal breaker. Personality is important in the workplace and seeming aloof or withdrawn around people who are outspoken could appear to be a weakness. But personalities in the workplace should be balanced with people who compliment each other. If you have a big project and need it to get done, it would be difficult to get anything accomplished with a lot of outspoken leaders without a solution-oriented person. Talk about how you balance a team with careful thought out solution oriented discussions. You like to reflect on best ways to handle situations or that you are a quiet leader who leads more be example than saying.
You cannot possibly predict what your questions will be at an interview. Most employers seek a capable team player who will enhance the workplace environment. The key is to show how you could fit in with their organization, strategize problems and be someone who is reflective striving for self-improvement daily.
Now go Land That Job!
Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.