Finding Your “Niche”

The US Bureau of Labor claims that people spend 8.8 hours per workday at work or doing work related activity. Nothing wrong with that, but if you don’t enjoy those 8.8 hours than it’s to be a long day indeed.

If you don’t look forward to going to work each day because you haven’t found your niche, well, you’re not alone. For me, it was a journey of understanding and acknowledging my traits, finding the environment I enjoy, and then taking charge!

First things first, get to know yourself. Assuming that you can afford $150, take the MBTI online to find your personality type. Trust me; anything that adds to your self-knowledge is a plus. This will give you a more objective look into what kind of environment allows you to thrive. And that’s important, because it’s not just what type of work, or how much it pays. What matters is, what environment do you thrive in? (Competitive or Collaborative, Inclusive or Secluded?)

You see, it doesn’t matter if you really like making jellybeans, because if the jellybean factory is a hostile environment – then you’re not going to like it! Instead, ask yourself what values are important. Then compare your personal values to the company you want to work for. Moreover, give up forcing yourself to stay in a self-depleting environment just because making jellybeans is what you’ve always dreamed of doing.

Next, evaluate your strengths. This is important, because if you’re using your strengths rather than weaknesses, obviously you’re going to be more confident and successful. Ok, what are your strengths? Some people’s talents and passions are obvious, for others like me it’s a journey of trials. Are you great at leading people, organizing, learning, advising, managing programs, managing people, speaking, or teaching?

A great tool that helped shorten my journey was a book by Tom Rath called “Strengths Finder”, which helped me identify my top strengths and even more than that, it provided tools that allowed me to take action – A great read – Highly recommended.

Using your strengths to achieve success equals more money, but money doesn’t solve everything. Initially, success measured in financial compensation may be the best motivator, but it’s not sustainable. So what is sustainable motivation?

Those familiar with ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ know that underneath it all are: 1. physical needs, 2. security, 3. admiration of loved ones, then 4. admiration of peers, and at the top of Maslow’s pyramid is something called self-actualization. A term that Kurt Goldstein originally used to describe the motive behind realizing one’s full potential.

We are always striving to satisfy a need. Naturally, you’re going to want to identify your needs. So ask yourself – are you looking for results, recognition, or inclusion? Luckily, to find what drives you there are plenty of resources at your fingertips.

1. Firo-B or Element-B, otherwise known as interpersonal relations orientation behavior, tests how much interaction you want from others.

2. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is widely used for views of self, the world, and interpersonal relationships.

3. Finally, the Motivating Potential Score (MPS) is a formula for how likely a particular job impacts satisfaction.


After using these tools and getting a clear understanding of your work psyche and identifying underlying motivators, the next step is to communicate these in your job environment. Telling your bosses and even co-workers what motivates you can have a tremendous effect on shaping your work environment.

Beyond that, imagine going one step further by showing management what your test results were. From there you can judge how they react as an indicator for whether it’s an empowering work environment. In addition to asking others to accommodate your favored motivation techniques, take a look at self-motivation techniques. Share these techniques also so that your co-workers can hold you accountable to the goals you set.

Part of your goals are going to be more than just job related however. Your self-actualization can be a part of it. Now how do you do that?

1. By including what drives you,

2. Choosing a purpose that is worthy of your time,

3. And keeping your focus on what matters.

At some point having an empowered life entails asking the fundamental question of… What are my intentions? And believe it or not, that takes courage.

Looking through the ego’s deception and finally admitting what you really want is a tremendous accomplishment on the road to finding your niche. Once this is accomplished, then take the strengths you’ve discovered and explore ways to use them to empower the purpose you’ve chosen.

Here are a couple of suggestions to support your vision. Create a vision board and draw up a statement of intent.

In the meantime check your attitude and ask yourself if you’re thinking positively. Are you bringing a positive energy to the workplace? If there is such a thing as a universal human condition than cynicism is probably it. Without checking negative thoughts they can become an obsession. Instead think of how you impact others and redirect to positive and productive thoughts by writing a gratitude list. Writing such a list will become much easier once you move into your niche.

Making a niche ‘your niche’ is going to require follow up in order to keep it from sliding back into business as usual. What I mean by follow up is keeping personal records of effectiveness, productivity, health, and happiness. Review your performance over time and see if you’re being true to yourself, how you feel when you think about your job, and does this match an environment that you thrive in.

Document the results, celebrate wins, and allow yourself to start fresh if you aren’t meeting your goals. And please let us know of your successes and failures in the comment section below.

The Best Psychology Degree Online – An Honest Review

Online psychology degrees are the most popular social science degrees. There are 13 main branches of psychology to consider.


  1. Abnormal psychology – is essentially the study of what is normal and abnormal, but it also entails a search for psychological or biological causes. (Is it your upbringing, or your genes?)
  2. Behavioral psychology – or behaviorism, is more akin to a philosophy degree. Behaviorists tend to be writers who publish their experiments from an almost philosophical standpoint.
  3. Biopsychology – otherwise known as behavioral neuroscience, this is a research profession, which entails dissecting animal brains and viewing under a microscope the effects of experimentation. There is a lot of grant money available for this field of work.
  4. Cognitive psychology – the study of consciousness, some consider this a hard degree, because of the additional studying involved. However, finding a working model of consciousness that is widely accepted by psychologists would be a great historical achievement.
  5. Comparative psychology – is the study of how animals compare to humans, or other species.
  6. Cross-cultural psychology – is the study of how cultures compare in terms of common behaviors.
  7. Developmental Psychology – or child psychology, is the study of how childhood decisions affect adult behavior.
  8. Educational Psychology – the psychology of teaching, entails finding the most effective teaching methods.
  9. Experimental Psychology – is where you use humans as guinea pigs to see what makes them tick.
  10. Forensic Psychology – involves spending the majority of time exploring the minds of criminals and testifying in court as an expert witness.
  11. Health Psychology – is the study of how an unhealthy body can affect an otherwise healthy mind.
  12. Personality Psychology – a broad list of theories, this is the study of what makes people different as well as alike.
  13. Social Psychology – when people are present you act differently, this is the study of why you act differently. (Not to be confused with sociology)

Without a doubt, the above summaries are gross generalizations. I recommend picking two or more of these main branches and then follow the Wikipedia links to find out more. After researching the topics most interesting, try picturing yourself doing the work involved.Where Your Degree Can Take You

When choosing a degree, there are three main bases to consider; 1) searching for truth, 2) creating a product, or 3) providing a community service. Throughout our lives, we spend time thinking about all three of these. The trick is to find which one suits you the most.

The studies involved in (1) “search for the truth,” may be more philosophical or scientific, and involve more writing and publishing. This pursuit may be more academic and teaching related, rather than corporate job related.

If you are more of a truth seeker who is interested in psychology, then you may want to consider something a bit more broadly like – Sociology – the pursuit of understanding social processes.

(2) “Creating a product,” or manufacturing, in the field of psychology may involve a secondary degree, for example: creating electronic equipment for biofeedback therapy, or writing a program for step-by-step addiction recovery software. Even getting a business degree with a psychology degree can be valuable to a corporate human resources department.

The third basis however, (3) “providing a community service,” is where the field of psychology is wide open. Counseling services of all kinds provide valuable services to the community.

Being a licensed therapist however, may require a graduate degree. Many states require at least a master’s degree to become a licensed counselor. I suggest doing any graduate work at a campus-based university simply for the lab and fieldwork required.

Contact the Psych department at whichever university you want to study at and ask them if they accept online degrees as a prerequisite for their graduate program. In other words, the best online psychology degree will be the one your graduate school recommends.

Most Psychologists have a PhD. or a Psy.D. In addition, to a two-year internship/residency, so think about the possible ten-year commitment that it takes when pursuing the route of a therapist.

It is best to be prepared for these following requirements.

Aside from the GRE or the GRE Psychology Subject Test, some universities will require you to take a number of classes and/or have a certain GPA from such classes before admittance to their graduate program.

Beyond having good grades and test scores, you may be required to submit three letters of recommendation as well as a resume of your psychology related work. Be prepared for that as well.

Another thing to consider is the potential income. If you are looking for wealth, then attending medical school and becoming an MD psychiatrist may be a better option. For more information, I suggest researching the Bureau of Labor Statistics when considering online psychology degrees.