There’s no better time than right now to find a career path you love and design a life you enjoy because life’s too short not to.
If you feel like this is impossible, you’re not alone. This A-Z guide covers the most important things you need to know when it comes to making your career and life goals a reality.
Assess Your Current Situation
Before you can find your dream career and design your dream life, you must understand why you want to make changes in the first place; if you’re unclear what’s not working for you and why it will be harder to know where to start looking, and the most likely suitable options for you.
Be Brave Enough to Make a Change
Once you’ve identified the aspects of your career or job that aren’t working, the next step is to be brave. While this point might seem trivial, the reality is that many people will remain in careers that make them utterly miserable for years.
Now you might think that the reason you can’t get out of your current job or career is that you don’t have any skills, you’re too old, you’re too young, it’s too late, you can’t afford to change now, you don’t have a clue what you want to do, and on and on.
While there might be completely understandable reasons for having these thoughts, at the heart of it, all lies one thing: fear.
There are many very real things to be fearful of; fear of change, fear of failure, fear of letting your family down, fear of losing all your money, and getting into debt. But there is at least one way to get through each of these fears or even a solution.
But before you can think about solutions, you must first know what the real problem is, and when you accept that the heart of the problem is fear, then you first need to be brave because it takes bravery to take action in the face of your fears.
Consider Your Options
Next, it’s time to consider your options. Not just one option and not just two options. But all your options.
Often, there are many more options than our minds allow us to see. Limiting beliefs can dictate what we believe is possible, and once we subconsciously decide that something’s impossible, it’s never brought to the table as a potential option.
I’m not saying that some ideas might be challenging or near impossible. But when you don’t put an idea on the table as a potential option, you don’t allow yourself to consider how you could make it work, and ultimately. You block off avenues without ever knowing what’s down them.
Don’t limit yourself too early; consider every possible avenue and interrogate each option. This way, you give yourself the best chance of not missing out on potential opportunities for career happiness.
Decide Which Options Suit You Best
Once you’ve considered all the options, it’s time to pick one or more. Depending on what you discovered from your assessment of all the possible career change options, you might have more than one career path that is interesting to you.
Create a shortlist of your preferred career change options
Create a plan of how you will gain further exposure to or learn more about the career change options on your list. This could include finding out who in your network is in this career path or similar, or who knows someone, meeting for coffee with someone in this career path, arranging to shadow someone in this career path, or taking a short course.
Frame things in the positive
There will be ups and downs during the journey to finding your ideal career path and designing your dream life. When things don’t go as planned, try to frame things positively.
Rather than thinking you didn’t get that job offer, so it’s never going to happen, think that wasn’t the job for you. It could be that it’s not the right job right now, or the company would have been the wrong fit. Either way, believe that the right opportunity for you will come.
Give Things a Try
There’s no better way to know if something is for you than by trying it. There are different ways you could do this, including volunteering in the area you’re interested in, doing a personal project, for example, starting a blog if you want to write, or offering to help someone you know with something that requires the relevant skill sets.
On your journey to finding work that you find more fulfilling, you might revert to your old way of thinking. For example, you might start looking for jobs that have no alignment with what you know you really want deep down. Telling yourself it will never happen for you or believing it’s impossible.
When you do this, you’re only kicking the can down the road; as they say, how you feel isn’t likely to change for the long term, and you’ll likely wind up in the same place again.
If you’ve decided to make such a significant change in your life, have faith in yourself and know you can make it happen. Remember that you didn’t come to this decision lightly.
Imagine Things Working Out
What is it that makes our minds so consumed by doom and gloom? At least, that’s the case for many of us. We think of the worst-case scenario, imagine all the ways that things won’t work out, and wonder why we can’t make positive changes in our lives.
I’ll tell you why; it’s because things are first created in the mind before they can become real.
Focus on what you want and see things working out for a change. Rather than asking yourself, what if this doesn’t work out? Ask yourself, what if this does work out?
Joining groups when you’re trying to change careers is a great idea. If there is one, the quickest route to getting where you want to go is usually by taking advice from someone who has already arrived.
They have done the journey and know the road’s potholes you must avoid. They will be best placed to guide you.
But in addition to the great advice and guidance you can get by surrounding yourself with people in the know, it can also be a great source of inspiration and realism.
That’s no typo. A reality check is very much needed on your journey to finding your dream career. Every career and every job has its not-so-fun bits, and you need to know what those are upfront.
When you’re unhappy in your career and feel stuck in a job you hate, it’s easy to idealize anything that looks even remotely interesting.
Take it from me. I wanted to do something meaningful, something that made a real difference. That is until I worked in a hospital on night shifts!
Why does everything take so damn long! Yup, your journey to career change might take time. It could take months or even years.
Case in point, I was once on a course where I met a Business Psychologist, this was his second career, and previously he had been a Consultant. It had taken him eight years to change careers. Did he think it had been worth it? I had to ask! Absolutely! He told me he was now living his dream.
Learn New Skills
If you need to learn something new to make your career change happen, do it! Yes, it’s more time that you need to carve out, but learning is never a waste.
Whether you decide to retrain, take a short course, teach yourself the necessary new skills, or get some hands-on exposure, with the journey to your dream career promising to be a royal pain in the ass ( if only from time to time), you’re going to need mental fortitude to make it happen.
The right mindset is crucial. The impact of your perspective on your outcome here isn’t something you can afford to underestimate.
Network & No to Naysayers
We know the importance of networking and meeting new people. But it’s also critical as you make moves to design your dream career and create your dream life. However, if you encounter naysayers on your travels, don’t let them stop you.
While it’s always valuable to listen to those with experience, everyone has their unique path, skills, and background. Just because someone has tried something that did not work out doesn’t mean there’s no point in trying if you feel this is the right path for them.
According to a Chinese proverb;
” Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it.”
Those who want to do it will find a way and should ignore those who say it cannot be done because there will always be people ready to tell you that things can’t be done.
Remember, it’s easy to criticize and hard to create.
Open Mind is Best
If you want to change careers and create your dream life, keep an open mind.
With an open mind, things are always possible. Open minds wonder, “how can I make this work?” they ask open questions, which naturally lead to solutions.
Closed minds ask closed questions. Closed minds complain, and closed minds always see what’s wrong. Instead of opportunities, closed minds see the lack thereof.
Persistence is Key
We know we should be persistent in our endeavors because persistence is the key to succeeding in most things. But it can be hard to be persistent when you’ve suffered many knockbacks.
Here are some quotes on persistence to remind you to keep going:
“The greatest test of courage on the earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”
– R. G. Ingersoll
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
– Dale Carnegie
you might ask for a coffee meeting and get a no; you might ask to do some work shadowing and be told no, you might apply for a volunteer job and be told no, you might apply for your dream job and be told no.
When it comes to getting what you want, persistence is key.
Quiet Your Inner Critic
Nothing pours cold water on dreams faster than your inner critic. Even some of the greatest minds confirmed this:
“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
― William Shakespeare
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means, paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent Willem van Gogh
Don’t let your inner critic take hold and stop you from achieving what you want.
If you want to design a life you love, one of the most important steps you can take is to stop listening to that negative voice in your head.
Remember Your Why
One of the most powerful things you can do is to become crystal clear on your why. But it’s not enough to know your why from the outset.
You might know why you want to change career direction, but you could easily forget as the road gets uncomfortable. And when you do, that’s when that pesky doubt creeps in.
So, do whatever it takes to keep your why at the forefront of your mind.
A great way to do this is through journaling. Journalling daily or weekly about what you want, the progress you’re making, and how you will feel when you achieve your goal will keep your mind focused on the prize.
If you’re not sure if journaling is for you or if you need help getting started with journaling, check out the articles below:
I was going to do it but then…
Life can get in the way of our dreams. Things can happen that take the wind out of your sails. And in those moments, give yourself time.
But for too many of us, when we’re not taking action toward our goals, it’s seldom because of some terrible tragedy; instead, it’s because we’re procrastinating and spending our time doing anything but the things we need to do.
Stop procrastinating if you don’t want to wake up in 5 years and wonder why nothing in your life has changed and why you still hate your job.
Time Management is Needed
To avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do, create a schedule, prioritize, and manage your time effectively.
If this is an area you need to improve upon, check out this ultimate guide to better time management.
Utilize All Your Resources
Don’t try to do it all alone. Instead, consider asking friends and family for moral support, finding an accountability partner, or hiring a coach.
And if you’re wondering if hiring a coach is worth it, read this.
Vision Boards Will Help
We already talked about the importance of remembering your why. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a vision board and placing it somewhere visible where you can see it daily.
It will inspire, motivate, and remind you of what’s at stake.
Walk the Walk
Sometimes what’s needed is a mindset shift. Whatever the new career path you want to change to, embody it now.
If you want to become a writer, then start writing more. Find every opportunity you can to write and to have your writing critiqued.
If you think counseling could be the path for you, then start improving your listening skills, and if teaching is your thing, why not start tutoring someone?
You get the point.
Of course, you won’t be able to do everything you will be doing in your new career path, but taking on responsibilities that align with it and give you a chance to practice the necessary skills is no bad thing.
X-Factor and Xenas
Remember your X factor, any noteworthy qualities or talents, your wow factor, and your uniqueness.
Xenas, as in a confident, strong woman, remember that this is you.
Yay, You for Making it Happen!
However long this journey takes, give yourself credit for taking the action necessary to make it happen.
The world is full of people who have settled for things they don’t want and given up on their dreams and goals because, however unhappy we are, change often seems far too complicated and challenging.
Zest and Zeal
Finally, approach every opportunity that comes your way with zest and zeal because the universe tends to send you more of the things that match your vibration. So the more passion and energy you have, you will attract more circumstances, situations, and people into your life that you can be passionate and excited about.
What’s more, since like attracts like. When you have a zest for life, you’ll attract other people who are the same, and these are the very people you need to surround yourself with to stay the course and achieve your goals, however daunting they may seem.