By Mary Dino, adapted from the NVH Answers series

I am stuck in a job that feels like a dead-end, but I don’t know what else I really want to do or how to even take the first step out of the work situation I am in. What should I do?

In our culture, the jobs we do and the careers we have define who we are and our place in the world. Our career paths seem linked to status, wealth, influence, and desirability. Because of this, what we do for a living can be mistaken for actually living a fulfilling life, and our sense of self-worth can rise and fall based on the occurrences of our workday.

It sometimes seems easy to pinpoint what is driving low job satisfaction—limited availability of jobs, poor or unsafe work environments, low pay, punitive supervisory culture, lack of intellectual stimulation or opportunities to build skills, or even a difficult commute. These things can, of course, be true. The hard part might be finding the motivation to actually change your circumstances even though you keep telling yourself (and others) that you want to.

Still, other times we may find ourselves dissatisfied with what seems like a good job, or the right job, or a job that others say you are “so lucky to have” or are “born to do.” You may also think you should feel lucky to have such a great job (“I shouldn’t complain….”), but your heart is just not in it and it drains your energy.

Your Higher Self is who you are at the deepest level and can help you to uncover the career path that will be most fulfilling. It can provide you with the guidance you need and the steps you can take to pursue this path. Through connection, reflection, and reception you will discover what insights your Higher Self has for you.

Ask Your Higher Self

Here are a series of questions you can ask your Higher Self to help you uncover your life’s purpose and how to fulfill it through your career. Connect with your Higher Self and ask:

  • What is behind the dissatisfaction I am experiencing with my current job?
  • What is my life purpose?
    • What type of work would help me fulfill this purpose?
  • What would the benefit be to me? To others?
  • Do I need any new skills to do this kind of work?
  • Am I really ready to make this change?
    • If yes, what is my first step?
    • If no, what is blocking me from taking the steps needed for change?

Ask Your Higher Mind

Alternatively, you can try the exercise:

Make a list of the pros and cons of your current job. Take a few minutes to meditate on each item. Begin with a mind-meditation—what does your rational mind say to you? Once you’ve received the answer from your mind, place this answer in your heart, and observe the intuitive heart response—what does your heart say?

Your mind-response and your heart-response may differ. Repeat this process until the two responses are in sync. This indicates the heart-mind answer you are seeking from the Higher Self is correct.

No matter which exercise you choose, take your time to complete it.

Because of familial or cultural conditioning behind the career paths we choose, it might take time to “hear” what your Higher Self is really communicating to you.

When you complete the exercise, make sure that you place the answers in your mind and heart and ask your Higher Self if there is anything else that you need to know.

One final consideration for those on a spiritual path: those who are spiritually inclined often believe you must follow a career trajectory that explicitly serves others, like working for a non-profit that serves disenfranchised populations. While service in itself is an important part of spiritual growth, you can be of service to others in any career field. It’s all in your approach—the way you interact with others and the integrity you bring to all aspects of your life, including your job. Approaching your chosen field and colleagues with an open heart is what will have a far-reaching and positive impact.

As you connect with the Higher Self to explore career opportunities and seek to fulfill your life’s purpose, remain open-minded and accept that change is possible. And remember to be compassionate with yourself. Though inner-self work and reflection may not be the easiest course, it leads you to a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

If you are interested in learning more about finding fulfillment through aligning your career path and your spiritual path, check out Karma, Destiny, and Your Career.