How do I even begin to figure out my career dream?
I remember feeling stuck, sad and even a little annoyed when I was tasked by my coach with figuring out what I cared about.In fact, I realize now, with hindsight, that I actually expected my coach to figure out my career dream for me. My thought was something like; “It’s so hard to figure out what I want. Come on, you”re the expert- you tell me what my dream is! That’s why I hired you!!”
As you may have suspected, THAT whole attitude was my problem. Instead of being excited to figure out what would make me happy, I was entitled and bratty about the whole pursuit. My coach lovingly informed me: I first had to get over myself (and these pesky personality traits) enough to commit to being the one to figure out my career dream.
One of the first things we tell Handel Group clients to do when they are working on their dream career is to actually commit to an amount of time they will spend working on it each week. (If you wanted to lose weight, we would have you commit to exercise time each week…this is the same thing.) A commitment to do this work helped me to shut up the whiny voice in my head about how hard it was to figure out what I liked; the scared voice that didn’t want to try anything new; and the sad voice that kept telling me that I should already know this answer. Those voices didn’t go away completely at first, but they were a lot quieter once I was actually doing something to figure out my dream.I didn’t realize how much I was just grumbling about not having my dream job, without really doing anything to get any closer to it – a vicious cycle.
So, whatever the conversation in your head is around figuring out your dream (which is typically driven by those pesky personality traits of yours), I invite you to make a commitment that has you deal with getting into action. The commitment could look something like:
“I promise to spend two hours this week writing my career dream.”
During that time, you can make a list of all the jobs that sound interesting to you. Future actions could include:
- doing more research on those jobs
- interviewing people who have those jobs
- or spending a day or an hour observing people who do the jobs
I personally learned so much about jobs that I was interested in – for example, that once I actually knew what certain jobs entailed, I figured out they didn’t match my dream or they led me to explore jobs that I would never have considered.
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The moment I got into action, even when the action was “just” figuring out my dream (which of course was a big deal), I broke out of that depressing cycle and started to feel much better.
Then, as important as it is to commit to working on your career dream, it is equally important to take a look at your integrity in your current job (or with your job searching).
Are you showing up as a great employee or are you entitled, lame, bratty, etc.?As you may guess, I was acting pretty entitled in my current job –not “feeling like” doing the work, not committing to doing a great job.This is very common once someone decides they want to pursue something different, but it”s very dangerous.
In order to find something new, you need the self-confidence and self-trust that comes from integrity. Clients are amazed at how crucial it is to leave your last job or pursuit with your head held high, by taking steps while you”re still in it. Inevitably this gives the new job search a cosmic boost and leaves you feeling proud overall. If you want to dream big, our first advice is: do the right thing, right where you are.
Some things I’ve had clients recommit to in their current situation to restore integrity are:
- showing up on time for work or meetings
- having conversations with bosses or coworkers that they’ve been avoiding
- giving 100% while “on the clock” or committing to a number of work hours per day or week
- making phone calls or finishing projects they have been avoiding
- finishing their resume
- applying to a certain number of jobs per week
If you are feeling stuck in your career, try making a promise to yourself to spend a specific amount of time working on your dream.
Then, take a look at other areas of your career and come up with at least two actions you can commit to that will have you showing up excellent in your current job or situation.You will find that your integrity upgrade will help you speak the truth and with confidence about your next career dream.