A corner office at a prestigious firm. A net salary of $200,000. A promotion that gives you control of a global team.
If you had to describe your dream career, would any of these items make the cut?
Mally Roncal, a makeup artist who has worked with celebrities like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, says that money was never the motivator for her success—it was passion. And it was her enthusiasm that catapulted her to a world where she wasn’t only serving clients, but one where she was also selling her own products through the Mally Beauty brand.
In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts, Tristan Ahumada, SUCCESS People Editor, and Roncal talk about obtaining your dream career. Generally, four key signs will be revealed if you’re heading in the right direction.
1. You would do it for free.
When someone is immersed in a hobby or passion project, the signs are hard to miss. It looks a lot like:
- Ten-hour work sessions that never “feel” like work
- Working on a hobby anytime, anywhere
- Becoming so focused that you lose track of time
If your hobby is slowly becoming an obsession, pay attention to that feeling. The fact that you would do something every day without compensation means three things: You’re intrinsically motivated, highly disciplined and could turn your hobby into a career.
“I always joke that I was born with a mascara wand in my hand,” Roncal says of her lifelong relationship with makeup.
Before you make any big decisions, listen to your gut, she says. That will help you reach your dreams faster and ignore career paths that aren’t for you. In Roncal’s case, she turned down a career in medicine—originally her parents’ idea—to pursue makeup and beauty.
2. People rave about your talent.
When someone points out a talent you have, and then promptly encourages you to start a business for it, that’s a good sign. It means you have a skill worth exploring. If you sharpen that natural gift, you will become an expert.
That’s how Roncal landed clients like Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. She’s the best at what she does due to years of practice.
But that’s not the only factor spurring her success. Roncal’s agent of 27 years knew her bubbly personality was a good match for celebrity clients. He describes her as the “warm cup of coffee” artists need to face 80,000 screaming fans.
“Jim started booking me with Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie and the Osbournes,” she says. “Then all of a sudden, Beyoncé showed up, and then J-Lo, and then Destiny’s Child.”
If no one is mentioning your unique skills, don’t be afraid to ask what they are. Go to your closest friends and colleagues and ask, “What do you love about me? What do I do better than anyone else you know?” Take those answers to heart and build a career using the best parts of your existence.
3. You know your purpose.
A dream job is not 100% elusive, and yet, it’s always slipping through our fingers. Why?
Looking at Roncal’s career, it seems that whatever you prioritize is what you end up receiving. If that’s pay and promotions, you’ll be fiscally set but perhaps longing for more. If you prioritize your purpose, satisfaction and money have the chance to intertwine.
So you don’t need the most impressive job on Earth—just one that allows you to live your purpose and express your beliefs.
For Roncal, being a makeup artist is about making people feel good about themselves. Money and recognition are nice perks, but human connection is what fuels her.
“If I’m going to do your foundation or your eyeshadow or your eyeliner or whatever, I’m sitting face to face with you,” she says. “There is nothing more intimate, more loving, more uncomfortable, more in the moment than having someone so close to you touching your face.”
4. You trust your abilities.
When you trust yourself on an automatic, no-questions-asked level, you can build an exciting future.
Without total self-belief, Roncal would have never: asked a top New York agent to represent her with a “young” portfolio, launched Mally Beauty or sold beauty products live on QVC.
Each accomplishment took serious guts, and the TV launch in particular sparked years of entrepreneurial success.
“In 36 minutes, we sold out completely of every single piece of makeup,” she says. “That warehouse was empty. That’s what I needed to hear… that this is where I’m supposed to be, and this is my home.”