3 Concrete Questions For Soul-Searching

Andrew Neel on Unsplash.com

My first Japanese Job Training Seminar on Saturday was so much fun! In my opinion, one of the best sections was the soul-digging section, which I think is applicable to anyone trying to figure out their next step in life (regardless if you want to use Japanese or not). 

If you’re thinking of brainstorming your next step in life, why not check these out yourself? 

  1. (Personally) What do you love doing so much, that time just seems to slip by when you are doing it?
  2. (Japanese-related) What about the Japanese language/culture do you love?
  3. (Professionally) What skill sets come easy to you?

Let’s learn about each of these in detail – and grab a paper/pen to brainstorm your answers. 

(Personally) What do you love doing so much, that time just seems to slip by when you are doing it?

What comes easy to you? What fills you with happiness when you do it? This has nothing to do with a career; think only about what you LOVE to do. Come up with a list as long as you want it to be, and consider sports, games, hobbies, etc.

For me, that answer is easy. I love to do puzzles, and time just seems to fly like crazy when I’m working on one. I have to set timers, and even then it seems like only a fraction of the time went by. 

I also love to read, write, network and help people out, and there is never a bother to do these activities. The only problem is to have enough time to do them long enough!

(Japanese-related) What about the Japanese language/culture do you love?

What is it about the language and/or culture that interests you? Is it reading/writing (i.e. books, kanji, keigo, translating)? 

What about speaking/listening (i.e. conversations, karaoke, interpreting)? 

Finally, perhaps there is something more than the language that makes you giddy with excitement, such as manga, anime, music, travel, food, or art?

Write down your answers, and write as much as you want. What could you lose yourself in and not look at the clock when doing so? 

P.S. There is no “right” answer – it’s only what is right for you!

(Professionally) What skill sets come easy to you?

Think about what industries you’re interested in. 

What skill sets come easy to you (i.e. speaking, negotiating, planning, organizing)? 

What is your dream job? 

What about a career can potentially make your heart go pitter patter? (Yes, it’s possible!)

Now look at the lists that you just created. What is your unique gift that can combine with your Japanese language/cultural skills to make an actual career? There is no correct answer, and the answer may not even show up in your mind right away. That’s fine. Just the fact that you brainstormed these questions will help you in your job search. 

The good news is that there are plenty of job options out there, so you can experiment and see what calls your name! The bad news is that there are plenty of job options out there, so it causes overwhelm and inaction. The point, however, is to take one step at a time. 二兎を追うものは一兎をも得ず (nito o ou mono ha itto o mo emu)… “If you run after two hares, you will catch neither.”

Of course, there are plenty of books and articles out there on how to zone in on your top skills and figure out your true calling. They are all amazing and useful, I’m sure. Heck, I’ve read through many myself. It doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you take the time to think about what you truly want. What is it that you desire? Then take that one next step to get there.

So what is your next step? What is one thing you can do that will move you forward towards your next goal? I love to get your feedback, and you can add it in the comments below, on social media, or to me directly here.

Andrew Neel on Unsplash.com

2 thoughts on “3 Concrete Questions For Soul-Searching”

  1. I feel like this post speaks directly to me! I’ve been looking for and struggling to find my career calling, so these questions really give me something to think about. I haven’t even written my answers down yet, but I can already tell they’ll offer me some insight and hopefully help me to move forward. Thank you for all the help you offer with this blog – the senpai success stories are encouraging and your advice is so valuable!

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