Finding Your Passion

My productive morning of cleaning was followed by an afternoon of listless soul-searching and Internet research. Lately I’ve been reading career books like What Color Is Your Parachute?, Do What You Are, and Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. I’ve also been taking several career tests, such as this Career Interest Game that uses Holland codes to help you assess what kinds of jobs might interest you. It’s not really much of a game so much as a scenario. Given descriptions of six different groups of people at a party, you are asked to pick the top three groups you would gravitate toward. Your choices reveal your three-letter Holland code and the associated careers for that code, giving you some insight into other jobs you might like to pursue. I also found a Holland code quiz that is a bit more straightforward, and perhaps more accurate—with the game, I selected IAR (Investigative, Artistic, Realistic); with the quiz, my result was IAC (Investigative, Artistic, Conventional). Either way, the top two were IA, and some further research on a Myers-Briggs personality type forum revealed that testing highly as “investigative” is a common thread among those with my personality type (INTJ).

Why all this searching? In general, I like what I do, but I can’t seem to shake that feeling of wanting more—a career that’s a bit more challenging and innovative, that lets me constantly learn and develop, and allows me to make some positive impact on the world, in some way changing lives for the better. Is this too ambitious? I don’t think so, and after I viewed this mesmerizing TED talk from economist Larry Smith, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. I may still be stumbling and groping blindly in the dark, but at least I know there’s a light switch somewhere around here. And with enough effort, I’m bound to strike it.

Enneagrams

enneagram

Image source: www.claritymind.com

Last night at dinner I got into a conversation about enneagram types and realized I wasn’t entirely sure what my type is. Colin had a copy of The Essential Enneagram at home, so when we got in I started reading. I came to the conclusion that I’m either a 1 or a 5. The following descriptions of these types are from www.enneagraminstitute.com/.

Type 1 – “The Perfectionist” AKA “The Reformer”

Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their best: wise, discerning, realistic, and noble. Can be morally heroic.

Type 5 – “The Observer” AKA “The Investigator”

Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

I tended more toward 5, but then read this about the subtleties between them in The Essential Enneagram: “Perfectionists…are quite intense, suppress their desires, and seek to improve themselves and others, while Observers detach from feelings in order to protect themselves from being intruded upon and to conserve energy.” I am constantly trying to improve (whether through work, diet, book-learnin’, fitness) and absolutely encourage those around me to do the same. But suppress my desires? That’s something I hadn’t thought about. It could explain why I haven’t taken a proper vacation in a few years. I battle with feelings of guilt if I take too much time off (say, a week) and start to feel as though I’m missing out on things. Loss of control can be hard to stomach, especially when it comes to editing manuscripts and finalizing products—what am I missing out on that I could have made better? Given that, now I think I’m likely a 1.

And You?

What’s your enneagram type? If you don’t know it, you can take a free online test to find out, or check out this free e-book (PDF) for more info. Your results may be a surprise.