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Seven Steps to Your New Career

Aug 18, 2007
What a terrible time to make life-affecting decisions the twenties are! Who to marry? How should we know, at age twenty they all look alike to us. Where to live? Well, we only know one town, the place we grew up, so how should we know if other places are better? What should we do for a career? Search us!

But apparently, many of us pick the wrong career. You know because you hear so many forty-year-olds groaning: "This isn't what I wanted to do!" "Boy, if I knew then what I know now!" "If I had it to do over again, I would have stuck to plumbing like Dad told me to!" and my favorite, "I'm getting too old for this!", at age 42.

Well, here's yet another quick career guide. Maybe it will help you, and maybe it won't. But given how every other method for determining the outcome of your life seems to have the same odds as a coin toss, maybe it won't be any worse than any other method.

Step One: Completely eliminate this self defeating phrase from your vocabulary: "It is too late". Live with how good it feels to change your life perspective. It is never too late to have your own dream career. It might be difficult for you to go after it. It might be one of the greatest challenges of your time, but if you desire it, that is when it is never too late.

Step Two: Dare to dream, dream big, and dream deep. You do have a dream to call your own? Do you imagine yourself pursuing some other path and working in a brand new career or field? What is it that you see? How do you want to spend your days and weeks? If you already enjoy your career, how could you make it that much better? Brainstorm your ideas on a sheet of paper and think about these questions. If you are spending an inordinate amount of time dreaming about another, different way to work, it is time to do something deterministic about it. You do not have to run right out and quit your current job; in fact, please do not. But there is no harm in investigating the many possibilities.

Step Three: Take a few moments to design your ideal career life. Now match it with your real life which you have around you. Doing the "wheel of life" exercise is great for this test. With this exercise you can visibly see how much closer your ideal and actual life really is, and determine how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with this new match. Now, design your perfect, ideal day. What would have to change in your life so that you could live more of your dream days? What are you willing to do, how far are you willing to stretch to make it a promising reality?

Speak with those closest to you about your career ideas and dreams. Ask them to come on the journey of discovery with you, but be sure to listen to and validate their concerns and fears. If you choose to change careers it is likely that you will not be the only one who is impacted. Talk about the other possibilities. Anticipate the obstacles and leave the discussion wide open. Allow your partner the chance to sit with it for a while, and then realize that although you may have spent the past six months or ten years or so wishing you were doing something else, this may come as somewhat of a surprise to this person and you have to let him or her absorb all of it.

Step Four: Listen to your inner intuition. What do you do better than anybody else? What comes the most naturally to you? What is effortless for you to do? What is the one thing, or many things, you can do today to let your unique gifts and talents shine? What can you do today that will make your heart sing with joy? What is holding you back from it? If you feel some fear about changing your secure situation, what is behind the prohibiting fear? What is the worst that could happen if you decided to make just one single, solitary small change? Choose to do something today that would move you ever closer to your dream day or ideal life and see how that feels to accomplish it. If it works for you, then take another step.

Step Five: Now that you have asked a lot of these tough questions, answer this for yourself. Where do you want to be in terms of your career in another five or ten years? If you were to fully live your life's true purpose, what changes would you then have to make? If you were doing the same thing in five years that you are doing now, how would you feel then? What regrets would you have about your path? Is that all right with you? If it is not, do something about it.

Step Six: Evaluate the barriers that might be getting in the way of your making a defining change. Think about the role that money, expectations, time, confidence, and guilt all play into what you expect of yourself. Now take those factors away and what do you hear that remains? Imagine that you have decided to pursue your inner passions. What is the first step in your journey? Who could you talk to that could help illuminate your goal forward? What does it feel like to live in that personal space for a while? Pay attention to how that dream feels; the more you want it, the more determined you will be to get it!

Step Seven: Do like they teach in business school, only this time working for yourself, and create an action plan. If you have decided to stay in your current career position, speak with your boss or supervisor and come up with a plan to help you get more skill invested in your work. Maybe you could ask to work on a special project? Or ask to find a way to use your strengths and experience in a new way to pick up new responsibilities. If you have decided to pursue a different career path, identify the necessary steps you need to take to make your dream a reality.

Did it work? Well, if it did, glad to help, and if it didn't, what did you expect from an online article?
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