How to Find the Career Path That’s Right for You: A Guide to Helping Your Head and Your Heart Work Together

african american woman holding school books choosing a career path

Let’s start by imagining yourself wandering through a giant corn maze. Ever been to one? The stalks have green leafy husks and stand taller than you. You can’t see over them, and the maze walls are so stalky and crowded you couldn’t possibly see through them. So, to get through the maze, you just keep walking and turning corners, knowing at some point, you’ll work your way toward the exit. 

And when the exit takes longer than expected to find, you get a little twinge of anxiety, but you just keep hoping it will reveal itself. And it does. One way or another, you find your way out. 

But sometimes you take a few wrong turns, only to find the exit you stumble upon is on the far side of the cornfield —nowhere near where you parked or where the concession stand and your friends are, but either way, you turn out ok. 

Choosing a career path is kinda like being in a corn maze. 

Not knowing where the exit is, makes it hard to decide on the ‘correct’ turns to get you there.

It’s even more challenging if the career you think you’re after takes 6-10 years to achieve.

You know you want to be successful in some career, but how do you get there? 

…And where is ‘there’??

Confused yet? You’re not alone.

My goal is to help you begin sorting through what you want, so your personal life goals and career journey can flow harmoniously to achieve your dreams.

Trying to figure out what the right path is for you?

I frequently speak to women who are dealing with this problem. They know they want a career and are interested in joining the medical field, like a nurse, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy

They’re often unsure what they want for their future medical career and have a hard time nailing it down because there are so many factors to consider when deciding on a medical field career path. 

Most common life choices women think about when choosing a career path in the medical profession:

✔ being on a different path than friends

✔ having children 

✔ raising a family

✔ finances and debt

✔ length of school or training

✔ desired income

✔ time dedication

✔ growth opportunities

As a woman staring down the road to your future, you carry a heavy weight on your shoulders to create your family-life vision and fulfill your dreams and desires as a successful female.

I get it. This is heavy stuff and it can easily cloud your thoughts.

The weight of these life decisions causes you to feel overwhelmed and unsure of the next steps to move forward. These emotions have the power to paralyze and demotivate you because finding the ‘right’ answer rides on your ability to make the correct choices moving forward. 

This is where the head and the heart can’t get on the same page, and you feel like you’re at a standstill.

Understand your heart so it can talk to your head.

Part of our struggle when trying to find a solution in life is the battle between our heart and our head. It holds up the works. 

It’s like two cars coming towards each other down a narrow alley. They come to a dead stop because they’re in each other’s way. 

Your head and your heart have a standoff because they both want to have a voice.

Planning for the future is difficult because we want to ensure we keep our emotional and practical needs in mind. 

Uncover what your heart desires.

This is where you grab a pen and paper. No more volleying ideas around in your head with no tangible outcome. Because instead of critically thinking about the tangled problem, we end up running thoughts through our heads in a loop, never to come to the conclusion we were hoping for.

To understand your heart, you must get specific on your dreams and goals.

What would make your heart happy in the future?

Ask yourself a series of questions. Try your best to give detailed answers.

  • How do you want your family life to look? One kid or five, there’s a difference!
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What do you want to be able to do in your free time?
  • What job do you see yourself doing?
  • Do you have a boss, or do you want to be the boss?
  • What solution would you love to provide to the people you work for/with?
  • What inspires you —keeps you up at night thinking and craving to learn more?

These are only some of the questions I encourage my coaching students to answer.

If everything was perfect and worked out for them, what do they see? 

How about you? What future do you see?

This exercise is challenging for some people because I’m asking them to see beyond their current situation. But to figure out the path, you must figure out your desired destination.

What good is a map if you don’t know where you want to go?

Now let your head have a word.

The practical part of our mind, our brain, wants to know “How?”. 

Our brain wants to figure out a path, and it’ll use its memories and skillsets to calculate a way to move you forward. 

Everyone processes information differently, but the end goal remains the same. 

…How do I choose my career path and cut through the brain clutter to find my way?

Your brain analyzes and determines if things are possible, if you should be afraid and how you’re going to navigate the uncharted terrain. 

The head can play two sides.

It can be your cheerleader but also be your devil’s advocate —the “what-if’” guy, which leads to doubt. 

You don’t always have to listen to your head, but you should at least hear it out.

This is the area of analysis where we get more specific. 

  • What type of job could you do most days and not dread the menial tasks associated with it? 
  • What value do you want to bring to people, to the world? 
  • Are there any job tasks that you know you might not love but wouldn’t mind doing anyway? 
  • What job do you think you’d be sooo good at?
  • What job do you think you’d probably be ok at, but you love the idea of doing it so much you’d train until you were a pro?
  • Imagine your perfect job and think of all the horrible duties that might go along with it —the mundane, the redundant, the hassles, the uncomfortable. Could you deal with them knowing the other part of your job is so fulfilling?
  • What jobs could you do, BUT would make you hate Monday mornings? Write them down and scratch them out asap. Those are not for you!

I love this part of the exercise because this is where you begin to gain clarity and confidence. And those are the two things that are going to carry you to your dream life. Through thick and thin.

This is just the beginning.

Stay tuned for more on how to understand your journey to a career in the medical field.

Please let me know if this made a difference for you in any way. Share it with someone who needs this guidance.

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