How curiosity can help you find your next career
Get inspiration, motivation, and new career ideas!
"Oh-oh, what’s curiosity got to do, got to do with it?"
(sing this out-loud to the tune of Tina Turner’s
"What’s love got to do with it?")
If you hung out around my house, you’d notice a funny little habit I have of singing songs that blend everyday phrases with the tunes of popular songs (like the example above). I change the words of the song to fit whatever I’m doing or thinking in the moment. It’s fun! For me anyway. My husband humors me and my girls give me strange looks. Hopefully it brought you a smile. :)
ANYWAY, what does curiosity “got to do with” your career? A lot! Curiosity unlocks the inspiration, motivation, and open-mindedness that's so critical to finding fulfilling work.
Curiosity re(connects) you with what motivates and inspires you
If you’re reading this newsletter, it probably means you’re not entirely happy with your job. Maybe you’re bored and feel a little numb by the end of each hum drum day. Maybe you’re highly stressed or completely burnt out and just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Either way, I imagine you're not feeling much inspiration or spark as you try to find better work. Curiosity can light a little fire in your process of career exploration, (re)connect you with what brings you joy and makes you wonder, and motivate you to learn and grow. In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert shares the story of a time in her career when she was struggling to find inspiration for her next book. At the moment, there was nothing she was passionate about (it's totally normal not to have a passion, btw). So she asked herself this question: “Is there anything you’re interested in right now, Liz? Anything? Even a tiny bit? No matter how mundane or small?” Her answer (which surprised her) was “gardening.” It was just a "tiny speck of interest" that captured her attention for a moment. "It barely had a pulse," but she didn't ignore it. She started planting some veggies to see what happened, then she followed the trail of her curiosity. Long story short, she became fascinated with the origins of her plants, which led to oodles of research, which led to a book topic that inspired her, which led to a book about a fictional family of botanical explorers called The Signature of All Things. Gilbert didn't know what would inspire her to write her next book, but she was open-minded and curious. What she discovered about plants and botany motivated her to write. You may not know what you want to do next for work, but being open-minded and curious can inspire you to explore options that excite you and motivate you to find and make your next career move.
Curiosity leads to new career ideas
As you read above, author Elizabeth Gilbert started out exploring one nascent interest, gardening, and ended up discovering a totally new book idea. Imagine what you might discover about your career options by starting to notice and explore what you’re curious about! Even the most mundane or seemingly inconsequential topic or question could lead to the discovery of a career path you previously knew nothing about. Before I started my work as a career coach, I took a year to care for my family and explore my career options. During that time, I started noticing a spark of curiosity about the political divide in the U.S. I was drawn to articles and stories about the tension between republicans and democrats and the work being done to bring them together in conversation. I thought that my interest in political depolarization might be a clue for what I might do next for work, so I followed where my curiosity was leading me. I talked to people creating spaces for dialogue between liberals and conservatives, participated in one of these dialogues myself, and volunteered with an organization focused on addressing the political divide. I re-discovered the field of conflict transformation that I was introduced to in graduate school and learned about relevant jobs. Ultimately, I decided not to pursue work related to political depolarization, but now I know how and where to look if some day I change my mind. The whole process was a powerful reminder to me that my curiosity is something worth listening to.
Curiosity shifts your mindset from scarcity to abundance
At times, you might feel like you're boxed in to just a few career paths...that your skills or experiences limit you. This belief is completely normal, and it's focused on scarcity: "there's nothing out there for me." Following your curiosity can create an important shift to abundance: "there's so much available to me!" It can turn a list of only a few possible career options into a list of many opportunities that you feel excited to explore.
Tapping into your curiosity - I can help!
Kids are naturally curious! A "hike" with my young daughters is more like a crawl because they want to stop every 10 feet to examine a stick or a rock more closely. As a "grown up," I'm more focused on the destination and what's needed to get there. Unfortunately, this "gettin' stuff done" mindset isn't very compatible with curiosity, and when push comes to shove, curiosity is usually the one that slinks off into the background.
You'll need to coax your curiosity back out of its hiding place! Through 1-on-1 coaching, I can help you welcome curiosity back into your every day and provide a career lens on where your curiosity is leading you! Read more about 1-on-1 customized coaching with me.
I'd love to hear what you think! Has curiosity ever played a role in your career path? Share with me and others in the comments below or send me an email at email@example.com.