The Journey to Finding My Niche Hasn't Ended: Thoughts at 29

I’ve been in this weird funk lately. The motivation is there but in places that affect me after work or aren’t work related at all. I guess this is ok, however my creative juices take over during the work day and it’s all I can think about.  A lot of life changes have happened and will be happening in my life. They are all exciting, however no concrete game plan has been hashed out, hence the weird funk. I am calling this funk, my "Oh Sh*t moment"! 2 weeks ago was my 29th birthday. Yay, let’s live it up last year in my 20s - not really the thoughts and feelings I had. Anxiety set in, like overwhelming anxiety. April will celebrate 3 years at the Foundation I work for and a little over 6 years in my career, not that long of time but enough time to reflect and really think to myself, is this where I want to be, is there where I want to be going? Not knowing what your life will be like after college... if you have found your niche.... and if you are on the right path... these thoughts can happen at any point in your life and, at 1 year away from 30... well I’m having my moment.

So what did I decide to do about it? I took action!! I sent an email to a friend and career coach to help me get back on track and reflect. We set up a time to talk and it was during the conversation that I was able to hear myself say everything that was bottled up in my head and admit to them. One thing, that actually didn’t click right away until writing this post was, you cannot dwell on the future or what hasn’t happened yet. I personally have been looking at all of the “what ifs”, when really my focus needs to be more in the present.

So to reflect and be TOTALLY vulnerable right now: On the call we spoke primarily about my fears, what motivates me, how would I describe myself in my own personal statement, my strengths, weaknesses, values.. the list just goes on. Overall, it was a weird feeling that hit me, admitting my fears. Ok, I'm 100% an adult, I have lots of responsibility, I am in a mid-level career, and I have spent lots of time reflecting on my 20s and where I have come. My head also has been spinning with these crazy thoughts - am I good enough, where is my career going, where do I want my career to go, how do I want to grow professionally. Can anyone relate? 

On this call we really broke down everything in my head and the overall outcome: I have fears. The fear of the unknown, the fear of knowing my strengths and how I can use them to my fullest potential, and the fear of is this where I want my career to go. When we finished our call, I gave myself an assignment. The assignment was to write out my strengths and weaknesses. Simple assignment, but something I have not done is years, so I felt now is a good time. My list is on-going for both and most likely will change as I move within my career, but for now, this is what I have come up with:


  • Compassionate
  • Action - oriented
  • Strategic thinker
  • Energetic
  • Team - oriented
  • Creative
  • Communicative
  • Organized
  • Social/ people-person
  • open- minded
  • Patient  


  • Indifferent
  • Stubborn
  • Fearful

While doing this assignment I did some research and came across an article that discusses values and how your personal values coincide with your work values.  

To share, my core values are (not in any order):

  • Family
  • Connection
  • Happiness
  • Adventure
  • Philanthropy
  • Simplicity
  • Friendship
  • Balance
  • Success/ Achievement
  • Passion
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Knowledge
  • Creativity
  • Strength

I share my lists with you as accountability to myself and to let you know what is going through my head (in my last year in my 20s) and for you to create your own lists of strengths, weaknesses and core values. Additionally, I have not updated my resume in over 3 years and felt that while going through this process, now would be a good time to re-design, edit and revamp it. Getting a better understanding of my strengths, weaknesses, and core values is allowing me to breakdown my resume even more and really acknowledge my skill sets.

Additionally, some questions to also think about as you dig deeper into your lists:

  • What are your biggest fears and worries?
  • What does your inner chatter tell you at night?
  • What stresses you out?
  • What do you want to change in your life right now?
  • How do you WANT to feel?
  • What would you be able to do if you could find a solution to overcome your fears and stress?
  • What are your struggles or roadblocks?
Let’s keep this conversation going and please share your strengths, weaknesses, core values or answers to the dig deeper questions

Written by: Shaunna Murphy