It’s time to let go of the myth that some people just “know” what they want to be in life. And the rest of us are just waiting to get struck by lightning. Because it doesn’t work that way.
Hindsight is always 20/20, so successful people often sound like they knew what they were doing all along. Others like to claim that they “always” wanted to be an artist or an architect or a writer. Who knows, maybe they did. But if so, I’m quite sure that’s a rare experience.
Most people don’t know with any kind of conviction what they want to be when they grow up. Instead, they just go ahead and get started trying stuff, and hopefully they recognize a good thing when they stumble into it. For most of us, finding your “calling” looks a lot more like a process of elimination than a process of spontaneous discovery.
In this regard, I think that finding fulfilling work is a lot like finding love: Sure, some people fall in love with their high school sweetheart and live happily ever after, but most of us have to date a bunch of people and figure out what we like (and what we don’t like) before settling down with “the one.” The simple process of trial-and-error helps us uncover and refine what’s meaningful.