I’d show more initiative. I’d tell my boss why I’m the best person for promotion. It never happened because I was afraid to ask for what I wanted.
I would listen to my heart and become a graphic artist. I’m a much better artist than an accountant.
I don’t know if I would do anything differently. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I still don’t.
A successful career and a job you love may or may not be the same thing. I loved my career as a teacher, but I was eager to do something new. I wanted to be a speaker and writer, but I didn’t think I had the time, money, resources, or connections to change my career course.
The pivotal push I needed came to me in the form of district downsizing. I knew this was the opportunity to take a leap of faith to change the direction of my life. I had no guarantees that ensured success; I only knew I had to try.
Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Consider the following suggestions if you want to explore new opportunities and career-changing options.
1. Remember What You Loved as a Child
Our deepest passions often emerge in childhood, but life’s learning experiences sometimes fill us with fear. Consequently, we often talk ourselves out of our own dreams. What did you love to do when you were a child? What did you want to be when you grew up? Ruth Zive, a professional writer and blogger, insists, “Getting back in touch with those instincts is an important step in finding your passion.”
2. Momentarily Forget About the Money
What would you do if you had all of the financial resources to pursue your passion? Set your present circumstances aside momentarily and compose a list of jobs you would like to pursue if money was not an issue. “Your career should ultimately lead to financial security,” adds Zive, “but if financial security is the defining motivator, it’s unlikely you’ll end up doing what you love.”
3. Identify Your Strengths and Talents
What are your greatest gifts? What do you do really well? What are your passions? You possess strengths and talents that equip you with tools to experience success in many different areas.
In my book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide, I provide resources that empower others with tools to transform a passion or idea into a plan of action, including this SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE CHART. Use this tool to (1) acknowledge information and skills you currently possess and (2) identify skills and information that will help you prepare for new roles in the future. This chart is available with more free resources in the Trailblazer Store.
Sometimes the next career move is unclear. The MY IDEAL JOB DESCRIPTION worksheet is a reverse of the typical job summary. Use this tool to identify specific information about careers that spark your interest. Add a job title to your description after you completed specific information about your skills, experiences, and qualifications. This can direct you towards new careers that align with your gifts and talents.
4. Identify a Professional Hero
Do you know someone who is in an enviable or rewarding position? Contact a professional role model or holds a desirable position and arrange an appointment to learn more about their career path. Zive adds, “If that’s not possible, read everything you can about that person and their life.”
I contacted my professional hero several years ago. She was a university professor who filmed award-winning documentaries with her husband. She was flattered when I asked to learn more about her career and decisions that led to where she is today. All of us benefit from dialogue – especially if those conversations invite us into authentic discussions about our passions.
Similarly, I meet with many individuals and speak to groups who are ready to make big changes in their lives, but don’t know where to start. Their questions encouraged me to develop and deliver workshops, design resources, and create materials, including blog posts (such as How to Write SMART Personal Goals), articles, and books, for those who wanted to want to create attainable goals and pursue their passions. My personal goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide, helps others create personal goals and provides direction. The creation of this book was the direct result of my own search for helpful goal-setting tools when I needed them in my own life.
5. Seek Inspiration from College Course Catalogs
University catalogs are packed with course offerings with rich descriptions. Pay attention to words and phrases that ignite your interests. Zive asks, “What would you study if you could do it all over again?” As you consider different career course options, be open to inspiration that stimulates your interests and opens doors to new opportunities.
6. Do Something. Begin Today.
Scroll through employment opportunities on job posting sites such as CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com. Talk to a career counselor. Engage in conversations with others via LinkedIn and social media career discussion boards.
Learn career search tips from strong experts (Check out How to Land Your Dream Job by Dave Ramsey and 007 Job Tips by Susan Wright-Boucher). Brad Schepp explains how to build a strong profile in 7 Tips for Landing a Job Using Social Media.
Contact a job counseling expert at a college career services office or state employment office. These services offer outstanding guidance and free resources to help you prepare for your next career move.
“Ultimately, you won’t really know what you love to do unless you actually bite the bullet,” adds Zive. “So, whether you take a small step like signing up for a class or you dive head-first into entrepreneurship, roll up your sleeves and do it. You’ll never know until you try.”
Napoleon Hill said, “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” He insisted, “What the mind believes, it can achieve.”
When you discover your passion and actively use your gifts and talents in ways that set your heart on fire, you will never have to work another day in your life.
What career change would you make if you had the opportunity? What if the opportunity was now?
Do you remember what you love to do? Read What’s Your Dream? as you consider your next steps.
Try these 7 Hot Tips to Find Your Dream Job and get clear about your direction.
Suggestions from How to Write SMART Personal Goals will help you clarify your goals.
It’s important to Build Your Support System if you need a network of support through transition.