How to choose a career path and get the life you want

The Coaching Institute's head trainer Matt Lavars on the most important thing to look for during your work life.

Confused by how to choose a career path that's right for you? With Australian workers now changing jobs 12 times on average during their lifetime, it's an important question.

During the global pandemic, careers with flexible workplaces and conditions—life coaching is at the top of the list—have boomed and people are now already looking to future proof their job choices and businesses.

No matter what age or stage you're at, first of all, one of the most important things to get right when you start looking for a career is to try and work out what your values are.

The way you do that is to think about what's most important to you. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is success really important, or contribution?
  • Do I like a workplace with a healthy amount of pressure?
  • Am I the type of person who is more comfort driven?
  • Is stability high on my list, or do I prefer adventure?

The answers will help you get clarity about what roles are suited to your natural abilities and strengths.

Your values and strengths will determine how much money you can earn.

If you are someone driven by comfort and doesn't like adventure or pressure, the chances of you earning over a quarter of a million dollars in a year are pretty low.

If you want a job that gives you heaps of security and minimal stress, it's probably not going to pay over 100K a year, so if you have those values and want to earn more money, you might have to start changing your attitude and developing strengths in another area.

Every now and then, I think, 'I wouldn't mind a job where I rocked up every day and got paid no matter what', but I'd have to take a massive pay cut to compensate for less pressure.

In terms of balance, The Coaching Institute is perfect.

So, step one in knowing how to choose a career path is your values and values.

Two is working out what roles are a match for your strengths and what is natural within you.

Three would be to find an organisation that has the same values as you, or you can find an organisation that has the values you want to have. Aspirational values.

If you're not a values match, you can't succeed.

Ultimately, a great way to pick a business or a career would be thinking about who you would like to become and what type of environment will help you get there.

And it can’t last, if you’re not a values match you can’t succeed.

For example, I know I want to grow and be the best person I can be so I'd hate to work in an environment  that doesn't have a culture around progression. I wouldn't be able to do it.

That doesn't suit me, although it will suit people who think 'I don't want to grow, I'm happy without change.'

Who you want to become should match the DNA of the business.

I think knowing how to choose a career path is achievable for everyone, although there's no one size fits all that works.

You should aim to do something you can put your heart and soul into, which for me for eight years has been coaching and training.

Your perfect job could be working at your uncle's boot shop. It could be becoming prime minister.

It if fits with your values and who you want to become, go for it.

You'll find if if the job and the company are a good match, you'll get good at it and be proud of it. And remember, you can be the best supermarket shelf packer ever and that's fantastic.

Probably a mistake that a lot of people make, especially millenials, is they think they need to be contributing. I see contribution as a buzz word. I don't think you have to contribute in a charity sense to fulfil yourself, any job if you're doing it properly means contribution.

If you work in a shoe shop your contribution is helping people have shoes.

Every job I've ever had, I've always liked it. I washed dishes for two or three years and quite enjoyed it. I rocked up, hung out, washed dishes, talked shit, thought 'cool, I can pay my rent'.

At that time it was a match for my values. Things change.

Your professional life will too, but on every step along the way it's great to know how to choose a career path like coaching that will serve you.

Matt Lavars life coaching

Matt Lavars is one of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend.

Matt Lavars