Thinking of making a career change? When you feel stuck in a career that isn’t the right fit, discovering the right career path for you can be difficult.

The good news is that finding your passions, getting to grips with what you really want to do and changing careers isn’t impossible. It might take some time, but in the long run, it’s worth it, especially when you think about how much time you spend at work. After all, however long it takes, the time will pass anyway, so you might as well put it to good use.

If you want to find the right career path for you, and finally put an end to your Sunday night dread, here are 7 steps you can take to get started.

1. Understand yourself before making the career change

Before you can even start thinking about the different career change options available, and whether or not they might be right for you, you need to know exactly who you are. This includes your personality and natural preferences as well as your natural strengths.

Where your personality is concerned, different activities don’t just require different sets of skills, but different people will experience them in different ways as well, and while you might find something energising and a good challenge, another person could find it downright stressful.

That’s why it’s so important to increase your self- awareness and to understand your personal preferences and preferred styles.

When it comes to your strengths, doing things that play to your natural strengths will not only make it easier, you’re also more likely to succeed.

If you’re not sure what your natural strengths are or what your preferences are, there are lots of online assessments and personality questionnaires out there that can help, like CliftonStrengths ( Formerly StrengthFinder, Gallup).

As well as taking an online assessment, another great way to find out where your strengths lie to ask the people who know you best, including colleagues, family, and close friends. Their insights can be extremely valuable.

Finally, the answers to certain types of questions can also help, like; what sort of things do people ask you to help them with? What sort of things come naturally to you?

2. Look out for people who inspire you

Think about the people that you find inspiring and ask yourself, what it is about them that you admire or find inspiring? Taking the time to answer this question will give you more clues about where you should be headed. Because when people inspire us, we tend to want to be more like them.

So ask yourself, what it is about this person, specifically, that you find inspiring. It might be something about their behaviour, what they do or what they have achieved, either way, understanding this will help you to start identifying the types of things that you value.

3. Get clear on what matters to you most

 

When it comes to loving what you do and ultimately being happy, then values can’t be avoided since your values are at the core of everything you do. Values drive your decisions, your behaviours and your actions, they’re often at the heart of why you do things.

If what you do doesn’t align with the things that really matter to you, then at some point, you’ll start to feel conflicted and you might wind up back where you started.

So take the time to really get clear on what your values are, write them down and even prioritise them.

4. Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and do things you’ve been avoiding

 

When you’ve been stuck in a rut for a while, you can start to believe things that aren’t true. Like thinking that you can’t do something, or that a certain career change would be impossible.

This way of thinking is your enemy and will keep you stuck. Rather than spending time thinking about how impossible a change seems, instead, spend time taking actions to show yourself that you can do it.

Doing things that scare you, or make you feel a little uncomfortable will not only get you out of that comfort zone, but the more you do this, the more confidence you’ll gain of your ability to achieve the things you want.

5. Connect and spend time with the right people

 

When it comes to making a career change your environment is everything and the people you spend your time with will have a major impact.

But who are the right people?

The right people include positive people, supportive people, and people who are doing the types of things you either want to do or want to learn more about.

Spending time with people who have a positive mindset and who support you, will help you stay positive about making a major career change, however hard it might seem. The last thing you need is someone telling you you’ll never be able to make it happen or that everyone hates their job.

When it comes to learning, if you want to know what it’s like to run your own business, then spend time with entrepreneurs, and if you want to learn what PR is all about, then connect with, and spend some time with someone in PR! Sounds simple right?

Spending time with these people will help you to really understand the career path in detail. Better still, you won’t just get the rose-tinted version, they’ll be able to give you a true picture of what you can expect on the best days and the worst days and you never know what unexpected opportunities might come up.

The fact is, expanding your network, meeting new people and learning new things is always valuable and has lots of benefits not just for now, but for the long term.

6. Reconnect with your inner child

 

Sometimes your mind just goes blank. Maybe you’ve been in the same career since you graduated and you can’t even begin to imagine what anything else would be like, or where to start for that matter.

If you feel this way, don’t give up. A great way to get those creative sparks flying is to think about the things you loved to do as a child.

Remember that time? When you didn’t have rent to think about or those pesky bills. The number of things that get in the way of dreaming and creativity are endless. That’s why you need to go back there, to a time when you thought you could do and be anything!

What did you love to do then? Whatever it is, thinking of it now might just be the thing that starts to move you closer to what you would consider a dream job.

7. Be open to opportunity

Finally, you just never know when the right opportunity will come along and you won’t even know it’s the right opportunity unless you go for it.

So, if you get a chance to try your hand at something new or different, even if it’s not what you think you want to do, just say yes.

Ultimately, the more possibilities you can explore the closer you’ll get to finding the career path that fits for you.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen?