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Career

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Confidence and Self-Perception

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One of my friends constantly repeats this famous Marcus Garvey quote to me whenever I begin to wallow in self-pity. It portrays a very powerful message that I'm only now beginning to embrace. If suffering from a severe lack of confidence was a recognized psychological condition, I would be diagnosed with it. Lacking self-confidence only produces defeat and causes you to see every challenge as an insurmountable obstacle. Don't get it twisted though. Having confidence doesn't mean being narcissistic or full of too much pride. Confidence requires having a healthy view of one's self and abilities while humbly accepting the fact that there will always be others out there who are better than you. So, how can someone who has a negative self-image develop this healthy sense of confidence? This is a question that I constantly ask myself and I think I have finally discovered some possible answers.

Find What You Love

There is something magical about finding something that you're truly passionate about. I have found that I truly enjoy writing and I function at my best when I am sitting in front of my laptop pouring my thoughts onto the computer screen. When you realize that something really comes to you naturally, you begin to truly believe that you have something to offer to the world. Finding a passion is more difficult for some people than others. However, it isn't impossible. Keep dabbling in things that interest you and one day you'll truly discover what really makes your heart sing.

Constantly Look for Learning Opportunities

Oftentimes the areas where we lack confidence are the areas where we have the most inadequacies. It's easy to be confident in something you're naturally gifted at, but it's much harder to feel that same level of confidence in something you feel you lack the ability to do. I fervently believe that each of us can do anything that we set out minds to. I know the areas in which I feel most inadequate and I have decided that, instead of lamenting on how incapable I feel, I am going to constantly look for advice from those who are gifted in the area and do my own research. Once I do these things and implement what I've learnt, I am sure improvement will follow.

Believe in Yourself

No one else is going to feel as strongly about your dreams as you do. You are the master of your happiness and emotions. It is amazing how simply saying the words "I can" with great conviction can change the way you perceive and act on things. The word can't should not be in your vocabulary. Believe in the beautiful person you are and have the potential to become.

Don't be defeated by your lack of confidence. Make a decision today to truly believe in who you are so that you can move forward into your destiny.

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Embracing Your Career

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Hard work, sweat, hardships and failures are a common feature of most of our lives. We go to school for roughly 18 years and leave with a qualification that enables us to get employment. For some of us, what we do makes us so unhappy and unfulfilled that we dread waking up and going to work each day. However, there is something that a friend of mine said to me last week that is constantly in my head. I was telling him that I want a job in which I could see myself advancing which I don't see possible in teaching since I have no desire to be in educational leadership. He said to me, "Don't worry about advancing your career. Focus on advancing by becoming the best teacher you can be."

Those words caused me to change my outlook because I realised that I was looking at what  I do as a job instead of a career. When we view what we do as a job it becomes laborious, time consuming, and joyless. However, when we change our perspective and view what we do as a career we begin to see opportunities and ways in which we can make what we do something we enjoy. So, with this new found perspective, I began to ask myself how do I begin to enjoy what I do?

Do What You Are

The first step for choosing the right career is to understand your personality type and the jobs that would best suit your strengths and weaknesses. The Myers-Briggs personality profile is commonly used and provides an excellent, in-depth description of who you are and what you can do based on some questions you answer. The first time I did this assessment was with the JobBank which is owned and operated by Dr. Leachim Semaj. The profile I was given was that of an INFJ and the jobs that were listed as suiting my personality were doctor, teacher, pshychologist, social worker, human resource manager etc. Since I was in no position to do medicine, I decided to do teaching and throughout my teaching practice and first eight months of work I HATED it. I was so unhappy and wondered if that profile was really for me so I redid it online and guess what? I got the same result. Nevertheless,  I was adamant that I needed to change careers and so I began to look into doing a masters in finance and applying for jobs in the financial sector. I went to interviews and thought I would get jobs but didn't and the tuition fees for the degree I wanted to do were exorbitant. So, I was once more in a predicament. This is when my mother said to me that she believes that I would be miserable in finance because that career just does not fit my personality. I'm not analytical and aggressive and therefore really would not fit into the financial world. Consequently, I decided to change how I look at my job and that change in perspective has led me to believe that education is where I should be. If I do what I am then I will excel at it and become passionate about it. The same is true for you...understand who you are and choose the right career.

Be Open Minded

Every teacher dreams of having the perfect class where students sit, listen and fully understand what is being taught. Very rarely does a teacher have such a class and it is therefore important for me to be realistic about my expectations. Doing this has helped me to be less disappointed and enjoy my students more. Take the same approach to your career...be realistic about your expectations and you will find that you enjoy what you do more.

Look For Opportunities

In every career, there is always an opportunity to get a better job or advance in some way. You just have to be patient and keep your eyes and ears open and while you are doing that, you should put 110% percent into what you do. You may never know who is watching you not only at work but when you are out in a social atmosphere. Make the right impressions and the right opportunities will come along.

The majority of our lives is spent working hard and earning money so that we can provide for our families and enjoy retirement.  It is therefore critical for you to choose the right career from the get go and learn to embrace it.

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Learning to Grow

I have found myself in somewhat of a conundrum. At this stage in my life I want to advance in my career but I have absolutely no idea what career path I really want to embark on. It has always been said that you should do what fits your personality but what happens when all of the career paths that fit your personality are not what you necessarily want to do? I have always been interested in finance but I find it tedious and cumbersome to focus on details. I prefer to make an impact on people's lives which is why I figured that the career I want to embark on is that of a financial advisor. I am now realising, however, that the route to get there is one that I am nether qualified for nor willing to take.  I know that I do not wish to stay in education but what else can I really do? I have NO money to waste doing a masters degree that will result in me ending up in a job that I will be miserable in. So, what should I really do?

I know that I am not the only one faced with the deafening sounds of confusion as it relates to career choices. Although I do not have all the answers and I am also still confused, I believe that the following tips can help us all to make the right decisions for our futures.

Know Who You Are

Oftentimes the root of our problem is that we don't understand what makes us who we are and appreciate all the facets of our beings. We are all embarking on a lifelong journey of self discovery but at each stage of the journey there are some core aspects of ourselves that never change. Years ago I decided that I needed to understand who I am because I seemed like such an outcast amongst my friends and peers. This resulted in me doing the Myers-Briggs personality profile and the result of that profile showed that I have an INFJ personality. Knowing this about myself helped me to understand and appreciate that I value organisation, structure, internal thought, and situations where I can make a positive impact on people's lives. Understanding this has helped me to narrow down my career choices and I therefore believe that doing this test is a good place for anyone to start.

Understand Your Passion

I am still trying to figure out what my passion is but I believe that when you are passionate about the work you do, your work experience becomes much more enjoyable. The key to finding the right career is to do something that will make you eager to go to work each day. Many of us enter careers because they pay well and waste 40 to 50 years of our lives being unhappy with what we do. A career should be about much more than money, it should be about doing what we love to do.

Seek Advice

Most of us know people who have been through and seen it all. Seeking the advice of those older and wiser than us can be very helpful. Those who have been through it all can give us tips concerning what not to do and can help us to make the right career choices based on the potential they see in us. Although this advice can sometimes prove to do more harm than good, it never hurts to garner some nuggets of wisdom from those who have been through the storm.

Make the Sacrifices 

Advancing in your career or making a career shift is going to require tremendous sacrifice. Your savings will be depleted as you seek to further your education and the time that you used to have to spend freely with your friends will vanish. When the pressure becomes unbearable, however, never forget that it will all be worth it in the end. Make the sacrifices and keep your eyes on the prize.

Choosing the right career that will allow you to grow is important since most of your life is spent working. Make the best use of the prime years of your life and do what you need to do to make the right career choices.

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