We’d all love to believe that there’s a perfect job out there for us—one that pays us boatloads of money (or at least as much as the guys), leaves us feeling capable and inspired, and lets us make a difference in the world. But the reality is often a little more complicated than that. There are a lot of variables that translate to happiness at work, and no one gig is ever going to be all sunshine and rainbows.
The antidote to these issues and more may lie in one on-the-rise mystical modality: Human Design. Its origins are, admittedly, as woo-woo as it gets. “It was ‘downloaded’ by a guy called Ra Uru Hu in 1987 when he was in an eight-day meditation,” says Jenna Zoe, the Human Design reader of choice for wellness influencers like Free and Native’s Lacy Phillips and The Balanced Blonde’s Jordan Younger. “He heard a voice start speaking, and it was transmitting the knowledge of Human Design through him.”
Yeah, I raised an eyebrow really high when I first heard that, too. But once I learned about my own Human Design type—basically the practice’s version of a Myers-Briggs personality or a zodiac sign, which you can obtain by entering your birth date, time, and place into the free chart generator at My Body Graph—I realized that it gave a me a frighteningly on-point overview of myself, not to mention loads of practical insights to apply in my daily life.
A blend of the I Ching, Kabbalah, the chakra system, and astrology, the practice is said to provide insight into your unique energetic makeup, helping you most efficiently fulfill your purpose on Earth—no matter what situation you may find yourself in. And while it applies to every aspect of life, it’s particularly helpful when it comes to career.
The best part is that you don’t need to make massive changes in your circumstances to make use of Human Design. “You can stay in the same job and just change the energetics of how you show up, and that changes everything,” says Zoe. “That’s what’s magical about it.”
Once you’ve figured out your Human Design type, read on to learn how it can help you slay on the job.
How to win at work: “Manifestors are the people who are here to create movements, to blaze trails,” says Zoe. “When they are moved by an urge to do something just because it’s expressing part of who they really are, that, in itself is their most effective way of showing up in the world.” In other words, if you’re a Manifestor (which, by the way, is Human Design’s preferred spelling, if not Merriam-Webster’s), you’re at your best when you’re initiating projects and speaking up for what you believe in—so no matter what kind of job you have, find more ways to let this part of your nature shine.
Traps to avoid: Manifestors aren’t really built for the traditional 9-to-5 life, according to Zoe, which makes them ideally suited to be their own bosses or work in a flexible environment. “They’re not people who have consistent energy—it arrives in fits and starts,” she says. “The most important thing is they’re in a career where they decide how the day is going to go.” They need to leave room for spontaneity, since that’s when their most brilliant ideas will find them, she adds.
Famous Manifestors: Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem
How to win at work: Manifesting Generators are the ultimate “slashies”—you know, those people who have five different job descriptions on their business cards. “They’re non-linear people who are interested in so many different things,” Zoe says. “Manifesting Generators are not the kind of people who decide they’re going to be an accountant at 18 and stay an accountant for the rest of their life.” Finding a way to explore lots of different passions at work is key. (As a Manifesting Generator myself, it makes perfect sense that I’d thrive as a journalist who’s always reporting on multiple, unrelated topics at a time.)
Traps to avoid: The worst thing you can tell a Manifesting Generator, says Zoe, is that they need to stick with something until the end or choose a single career path, as this will lead to boredom and frustration. “They need to trust that if they’re embracing all their different passions—and not being afraid to let go of a passion once it’s died down—they will eventually see how it all adds up,” she says.
How to win at work: The phrase “find what makes you happy and the rest will follow” was basically written for Generators. “When they’re doing something that lights them up, they create life force for everyone else around them,” says Zoe. “You just feel good in their presence. That’s what they’re here to do.” They can do this in any career that truly excites them, whether it’s leading a yoga class or launching the next big tech startup.
Traps to avoid: Generators need to avoid anything in life that dulls their sparkle, because that will seep into their work lives. “Manifesting their perfect career could be as simple as taking inventory of the stuff they’re still saying yes to that should be a no,” says Zoe. “If they’re still going to Friday night dinners with their friends that drain them, that could be clogging their aura and preventing the universe from sending them a job that’s a 100-percent hell yes.” Learning to say no is important for all of us, but it’s especially true for this type.
How to win at work: Projectors find the most flow when they’re sharing their knowledge to help other people succeed. “Every projector has a niche where they see something really clearly, and in a whole new way,” says Zoe, who’s a Projector herself. “It isn’t so much about doing what they desire, it’s about helping other people advance their desires and do things better.” They’d obviously thrive as coaches, managers, and teachers, but again, you can use these strengths in just about any job.
Traps to avoid: Zoe often sees Projectors try to embrace the hustle mentality, striving hard to make things happen. But that will never get them very far, she says. “They need to be invited before they share what they know,” she explains. “It’s not about pushing themselves on other people. Only Manifestors can do that.” Instead, they should work on honing their specific skill set and becoming confident in their expertise—if they do this, others will be naturally drawn to them, Zoe promises.
Famous Projectors: Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth
How to win at work: Reflectors are extremely rare—only 1 percent of the population falls into this category, Zoe says. Their purpose in life is to act as a mirror for the rest of us, and it’s best for them to remain blank slates so that we can see ourselves in them, she says. “Reflectors are really in their power when they’re not attached to defining themselves,” she adds. “The thing that sabotages them is trying to pick a career.” They’re basically the lucky few who can—and should!—just drift along without a plan, and everything magically works out for them.
Traps to avoid: If you’re not a Reflector, this gypsy-like approach to life may seem irresponsible. And that’s the hardest part of living as this type—they often feel misunderstood. But Zoe urges all Reflectors to lean in to their whims and changeability. “The conditioning from the outside world is that you have to know who you are, but Reflectors have to embrace that their nothingness is their power,” says Zoe. “For them, it’s ultimately about letting go of control and going down the stream of life.”
Famous Reflectors: Michael Jackson, Sandra Bullock
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