Almost all of us are stuck in something we don’t want to do. We labor day-in, day-out without meaning or joy until one day we are ready to kick the bucket.
Life is not meant to be led this way. If you do not know your dreams, your goals then someone else will make you work for theirs. Life is too short for that.
It is time to find out who you truly are, what you really desire from this life and then go after it . This requires you to discover your niche.
So, what do you understand by ‘niche’?
A simple google search reveals the following:
Niche generally means
a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.
a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person is best fitted i.e., your life’s calling, your vocation.
For our article, we will consider second one.
Niche is something that fits you perfectly. Something that you must want for yourself.
Why it’s necessary to find your niche?
We have discussed what a niche is, but why do we need to figure it out in the first place?
A pertinent question.
Before moving forward, try answering the following questions:
Do you feel frustrated, sad, dissatisfied and unhappy to be stuck in a job which, although pays well but, has probably drained the very life out of you?
Have you ever felt that there is something more to your life than the proverbial 9 – 5 routine?
Do you feel you have lost your purpose in life and are just going through motions?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above questions then you are probably in a wrong niche, doing something you shouldn’t be doing, have resigned to your fate and probably just biding time until you kick the bucket!
Let me narrate another scenario via a short story:
Alarm rings. Usually, you hit snooze but it’s different today, for you are excited to go to work and not because you want to but solely for the reason that its Friday.
You already have plans to meet your friends or if you are an introvert like myself then you might have plans to watch that favourite movie on Netflix or HBO. It is the happiest day of your entire week because for the next two days you won’t have to worry about anything else.
You enjoy these days to the hilt. You enjoy like there is no tomorrow.
Then Sunday evening arrives. Suddenly your eyes glance the moving hands of the clock. It’s 8 pm.
And it hits you, that in fact there is a tomorrow, when you’ll have to drag yourself back to work.
You grab that bear, settle in your sofa, cursing your luck and the next thing you know it’s already 9 am in the morning.
And like every other Monday, you get ready for another day of misery dressed up as work.
Is this how you imagine rest of your life to be?
But, if your life sounds anything like this then you have also been lured into a classic modern-day trap. A trap for which we are actually trained right from our childhoods.
‘The conditioning trap’
Your brain is conditioned to make you want certain things in your life. It is made to believe that if you don’t get these things by a certain age then you are a failure.
We are trained to see a well-paying job, a nice house, a car etc as markers of our success and ultimately our personal happiness.
But, this conditioning traps us by forcing us to do whatever we can to achieve these objectives. Money becomes our only prime consideration and ultimately, we are trapped in jobs we don’t want to do for the rest of our lives.
You feel dissatisfied, grumpy and unfulfilled.
But the question is how did you fell into this trap?
The short answer: You didn’t have a clue what to do with your life so you did what others told you.
And that is precisely the reason why you must find a way to discover your niche and calling because it is the only way you’ll save yourself from the trap.
Hence, if you do not discover your niche then you are destined to lead an unhappy and mediocre life. Do you want that? No one does!
Moreover, we have a responsibility to find our niche because only if we do things which are aligned with our nature can we give back to this society with full sincerity & dedication.
This world indeed be a better place if all of us are engaged in work which is truly in sync with our inner selves.
Society teaches us nothing to help us discover our niche
Considering how critical it is to know your niche, one would assume it would be first thing that anyone is taught in this world but that’s seldom on the menu.
Everyone around us is equally untrained in finding their niche. Teachers have no idea. Parents have no idea. No one offers any concrete advice as to how to go about it.
We are taught every damn subject on this earth but not a word on how to find our true calling! Society trains and conditions us to follow a set path.
Go to school. Pass out from college. Get a job. Get married. Have kids. Raise them. Get old. Die.
So, it is solely our duty to educate ourselves as to how we can find it. We must do it ourselves.
How to find your niche? – niche finding made easy!
It is a daunting task to find one’s calling in life. Sometimes despite doing everything people are unable to find it. I have a solution for this too but I’ll discuss it towards the end.
These are the methods which I discovered, and actually utilized to find my niche, while researching:
- TMP method
- Deliberate practice test
- Death test
- The Art of Work method
1]. TMP model
[T = Talent, M = Market, P = Passion]
Every method available online which claims to help you discover your niche is centered around this model. This model is centered around three things,
This model states that you will find your niche at the intersection of the above three.
We all have a flair towards something in our life. An activity which we seem to do with ease while others struggle at it. This is your gift, your raw talent.
As per Cambridge dictionary,
Talent is a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught
For eg: You might have a knack for playing soccer or you might be good in maths and coding or you might be good at drawing things or building things from scratch etc
Passion is different from talent.
As per Cambridge dictionary,
Passion is an extreme interest in doing something, such as a hobby, activity, etc
You enjoy doing this activity. You can do it for hours and hours without getting tired because you have a strong feeling of interest towards it. Time passes swiftly when you are engaged in it
You generally have a feeling of flow state while you are involved in such an activity
Flow state is a mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity
If, while doing anything, you experience such a flow state then it might be a strong indicator that you are passionate about it.
This is the third component of the TMP model. Here you evaluate your chosen area of activity with the corresponding market opportunities.
You make it sure that whatever you pick can be monetized, has a market for it and people exist who will buy what you are offering.
Listen! I am all for doing it just for the love of it and I wish the world worked that way but it doesn’t!
You want to be able to pay the bills on time, buy a nice car maybe, purchase that big house you have been dreaming about, be able to treat your wife to a nice dinner at that fancy restaurant or to be able to buy anything at will.
That can only happen if you have money in the bank.
And money will come only if your chosen niche has a market. It doesn’t need to be huge in size but it should be there.
A note of caution
Talent, skill and passion are all different things. Please do not confuse them.
- Talent is a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught
- Skill is an ability to doan activity or job well, especially because you have practised it
- Passion is an extreme interest in doing something, such as a hobby, activity, etc
Intersection of Talent, Market and Passion
Talent, passion and market on their own have no value to you.
- Talent without passion = you will frustrate easily
- Passion without talent = you will not go far and give up
- Talent & Passion without market = Bills suck!
So, as you can see, you need something which satisfies all of the above parameters. Of course, it is not going to be easy. You still need to pour blood and sweat to transform your dreams into reality.
Next three are not your standard methods. They are based on my reading, and research that I put while trying to find my own niche.
2]. Deliberate practice test
This method will confirm whether the activity that you have chosen is your true niche or not!
Put an activity that you think is your niche or calling through painful practice. See if you still want to continue or if you want to quit? Masters go through pain to reach their level.
But, remember that practice here doesn’t imply what we have come to associate with it over the years. It is different kind of practice. Deliberate Practice to be precise.
As per James Clear, author of the Atomic Habits,
Deliberate practice refers to a special type of practice that is purposeful and systematic. While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance.
It involves deep work which means exhausting yourself completely while failing over & over until you finally succeed and learn not only the right way to do something, but the best way (Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code)
The purpose behind making you go through this painful experience is because if you have chosen a right niche for yourself then you won’t mind indulging in deliberate practice again and again every day until you attain mastery over your vocation.
3]. Death Test
No, I am not going to ask you to die here
You simply visualise.
Will you have any regrets of not doing something if you were to die today?
That regret may point you in the direction of your possible niche.
In a world where at every point we are conditioned to aim for safety, security & stability, it becomes a heroic deed to be able to pursue what one truly wants.
These desires slowly, over time turn into regrets. Most of us die with them.
So, imagine your death for therein you may find secrets to a fulfilling life.
4]. Jeff Goins method
No. The name is not given by Jeff Goins. That is a creative leeway I took while naming this method because it has been given in Jeff Goin’s famous book The Art of Work. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to find his niche. He lists the following steps for anyone looking to find their niche:
Step 1: Try to recall and note major events in your life
Step 2: Note everything. Even the silly & irrelevant events too
Step 3: Do you note any repeating theme or thread?
What if no method works for me?
It’s completely fine.
It might happen that none of the above idea works for you and you still have no clue as to what your niche is.
In this case, what I would suggest you to do is to take the leap i.e., find and start doing any activity which you might be interested in presently or about which you are only 10 to 20 % sure that it might be your niche.
Do it with full dedication.
The worst that could happen is that you could fail but risk of not committing is even more dangerous as it leads to -nothing!
You fail, you can course-correct, learn and move on.
But if you do not take a decision then you make sure that you stay where you are.
It is highly likely that you’ll find something worthwhile along the way.
What if I have no passion?
Most are never able to find their passion and assume that they are destined for mediocrity.
There is another school of thought which rejects the belief that passion is necessary.
The best resource to know more about this is Cal Newport’s magnificent book – ‘So Good they can’t ignore you’
Read it. Newport argues that passion is not necessary and just talent & skill will do the job. After reading this book I guarantee that you’ll have found something for yourself.
A life in which you have something to aim for, that is, a life of purpose is a life well-lived. Finding your niche should be your topmost priority and I hope this article helps you do that.
And once you do, come back and share your story with me.
Would love to hear it!
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