How to Identify Your ‘Hell Yes!’ Career Goals

Reading time: 3 minutes

A short while back, I found myself flipping through the pages of a book at my local bookstore, stumbling upon the renowned mantra by entrepreneur and author Derek Sivers: ‘If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no!‘.

While this quote might seem fairly self-explanatory, it implies that if you’re not immediately enthusiastic about an opportunity, your default response should be a definitive ‘Hell, no!’

Nonetheless, it’s advisable to channel your time and energy toward things that genuinely inspire and captivate you.

This led me to ponder: What does it mean to instantly say ‘Hell, no!’ when faced with something that doesn’t instantaneously excite me?

The ‘Hell Yes’ Mentality: Deciding with Certainty

The ‘hell yes’ mentality can aid in prioritizing your goals and values. By being clear about what truly ignites your passion, you avoid wasting time on goals that don’t align with your life’s vision, thereby reinforcing your clarity and focus.

Another positive aspect is that this approach prevents settling for mediocrity. Only by pursuing things that genuinely excite us do we push ourselves out of our comfort zone and strive for excellence.

Nonetheless, while this quote might seem like good advice at first glance, it’s important to critically assess this mindset. One of its potential pitfalls is that it might lead to avoiding anything outside your comfort zone or anything requiring effort and persistence.

To illustrate, imagine you’re considering a new career path. You research and come across a company that sounds interesting, but you’re not 100% certain if it’s a ‘hell yes.’ You might be tempted to reject the opportunity altogether, rather than taking the time to see if it’s a good fit.

Likewise, this idea applies over a longer period of time. While it’s good to trust your gut feelings and pay attention to any red flags, the mindset of ‘hell yes or no’ might make you quit too soon when things aren’t clear or when you’re feeling unsure. You might quit university, or give up on a job you’ve had for a long time.

Alternative Perspectives: Finding Your Own Path

Reflect on Your Top Values #1: Your values guide your decisions and actions. Rather than asking yourself if something or someone is a ‘hell yes,’ consider whether it aligns with your values and goals. Could this new opportunity help you develop new skills, meet new people, or broaden your horizons? Even if you’re not enthusiastic at this moment, it might be worth delving deeper and investing effort.

Envision Your Ideal Future #2: Imagine yourself 5 or 10 years older. What does your ideal future look like? What professional path are you pursuing? What lifestyle and relationships do you envision?

Experiment with the New #3: Sometimes, we don’t know what excites us until we try it. Explore new hobbies and activities. You might discover a new passion or interest you never knew you had.

Draw Inspiration from Others #4: Look to individuals who inspire you to find ideas and motivation. Witnessing others’ achievements can help you identify goals that truly inspire you.

Uncover Your Own Goals #5: Often, we feel compelled to pursue certain career goals that aren’t truly our own. Question whether your goal genuinely aligns with your values and desires, or if it’s something you feel pressured to chase. By taking the time to differentiate between goals that are genuinely yours and those imposed upon you, you can ensure that the goals you pursue hold meaning for you.

Remember, the crux lies in following your individual course, not someone else’s.

Your own goals will always be a ‘hell yes.’

The next time you’re faced with an opportunity, instead of merely considering whether it’s a ‘hell yes’, ask:

  • Does it align with my values and vision?
  • Could fear of leaving my comfort zone be influencing my decision?
  • Do I see an opportunity for personal growth?
  • Is it MY goal?

If your answer is yes, then the response is also a resounding ‘hell yes.’

If the answer is no, don’t hesitate to step back and find something that suits you better.

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