Have you ever wondered how many different jobs exist? Really, we must have millions of different kinds of work to be done, problems to be solved, issues to be tackled, products to be created, services to be offered. Some types of work probably lack a convenient or title, and more and more people are working on a contract basis, on projects that never get a formal name.

If you're trying to figure out "what's next?" in your career, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of career choices out there. With so many things to do, how do you make a choice that fits for you?

Last week, a prospective client called me. He's at a career crossroads. He's been doing the same type of work in marketing for over ten years. He's bored. Feeling unfulfilled. Ready for a change. But unsure what he might do next.

Sound familiar?

As I listened to him, I noticed he began to speak faster and faster. He was anxious to describe what he's been seeing in the world of jobs and employment.

He mused about green jobs, and whether he might try his hand at that type of work, since he predicted the need for this environmentally-beneficial work is likely to increase. He told me, for example, that by 2030, 75% of the buildings in the United States will need to be rehabilitated to be more energy efficient.

Next, he wondered aloud about whether he should enter the healthcare field. He pointed to the growing number of baby boomers, saying "You know, they're not getting any younger and will need medical care. This must be a growth industry, and statistics are showing this, right?"

Doing his best to follow the economy and see into the future, he then told me, "I believe the market has not hit bottom yet. The commercial real estate sector will be hit soon and we'll see further declines in the stock market," and then his voice trailed off, "So I'm afraid that perhaps any job I get could be vulnerable to being lost."

EconomiccrisisThe more he told me about the different options, the greater the stress in his voice. He admitted, "I feel confused and I'm starting to panic. I mean, come on, unemployment has hit 9.1% nationally!"

I understand his panic. What caused these fearful feelings? And how did he overcome them and move forward?

If you look at the common theme behind all the information this gentleman was sharing with me, you might notice that he's talking about issues outside of himself. He's looking at the future of green jobs, about the prospects for the healthcare industry, and considering what's happening to the overall economy. None of these is within his control.

So of course, of course, it's confusing to plot your own direction when you start outside yourself. The options are endless. The sea of possibilities is much too large to evaluate.

So what do you do instead?

Begin within.

When you're needing to find your direction, your compass is inside of you. It's in your heart and gut to tell you what you really desire. What's meaningful to you. What you need to energize and move you.

No, neither your heart nor your gut is likely to scream out a job title (like "product manager" or "garbage collector" or "university administrator" and tell you, "Go get that job.")

What your heart and your gut CAN tell you is what matters to you. Start there.

Below are the four key steps I recommend to getting clear about what's next:

First, take the time to get calm. Let out a sigh, and release all the frustrations of trying too hard. Then, allow yourself to breathe in and out, slowly, at your own natural rhythm, for three to five breaths. That will get oxygen flowing to your brain, so you can think more clearly, and so you can focus your attention inward.

Handsonheart Second, put a hand on your heart and ask your heart to tell you about the qualities of what you are seeking in work. Maybe you'll get back, "nice co-workers," and "a beautiful setting," "doing creative activities." You might need to do this a few times, each time, writing your list.

If your heart speaks back with something that sounds negative, turn it around. For example, if it tells you "no more long commute," then you know you'd be happier with a shorter commute. Write that down.

HandsonbellyThird, put a hand on your gut and ask it what you're needing to pursue your heart's desire. You might sense, "courage" or "a call to my former manager." Trust whatever comes.

Your heart and your gut have real wisdom for you, if you allow your innate embodied intelligence to emerge.

Fourth, now engage your mind in brainstorming the types of opportunities that match what you're seeking. Put your mind in the service of your heart and gut, so that your thoughts stay focused. Otherwise, you'll wind up just looking at whatever looks good "out there," and ignoring what's within you.

You deserve to have work that fits you. To attain work that feels right "in your bones," the place to start is to create your "work from within!"

If you want to explore any of these steps in more detail, I invite you to consider a Work from Within workshop, or one of the affordable self-help resources you can use on your own.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Bernstein is a Coach, Author & Speaker. She helps you to listen to your mind AND your body so you get total wisdom for all your career and life moves. After spending two decades in management consulting and marketing positions at companies including Intel and Accenture, she decided to follow her heart and pursued a PhD in Somatic (mind/body) Psychology, a perfect complement to the MBA she received nearly a decade earlier. She is the founder of Work form Within. As she says, "It all comes together when you work from within!"