Do you feel stuck in an unhappy job or are looking to rejoin the workforce after some time off but feel unsure of what career is the right one? Read on for this updated on my classic and proven three step plan on finding your way. I'll also link to a FREE video on "How to Get Unstuck".
I can tell you from personal experience that it is easy to become complacent, whether in a career that you are decent or good at, that pays the bills or that just is okay. I also understand, no matter if you are working or not, that at the end of the day you may feel a little empty, and that as the years go by you begin to feel a lot lost - lost from those idealistic days of school when the world was your oyster. Well now is the time to break out of the comfort zone and find that dream career of yours.
Now, what if you don't know what career is the right one for you? It is very common to feel so lost that you don't know what your next move should be. Well here is a tried, tested and true way (see classycareergirl.com and Career Leader Assessment) to figure all that out using me and my story as an example.
As a child what were you interested in? Your core interests (not hobbies!) don't usually change too much as you get older. Which means that this is the key to find a fulfilling career. Maybe you used to love taking things apart to see how they worked, or anything to do with numbers. Maybe you were constantly making up stories or taking care of animals.
For me, I always loved helping and coaching people. In class I was always the one who was paired with a struggling child so that I could help them improve their grades. I also loved helping people figure out their lives and was the go-to person for family and friends to help them find their way.
When I was reflecting on my interests this, I looked at where I found the most joy and fulfillment in my job as a Recruiter and I noticed that the times I spent providing advice on careers (job search, resumes, interviews) was when I was happiest. And it makes sense - it is when I'm really helping them beyond just the transaction of if they fit this job and it is giving them the knowledge and tools to figure out their careers.
What motivates you? Your motivations can fluctuate as you mature and as your life changes. So think about what is most important right now. Is it job recognition, location, money, a prestigious job title/company? These change as your life changes - a family usually is one of the biggest impacts on motivations!
I really only have one motivation right now - job flexibility. I have two kids (Nolan, 6 and Abby, 4) who are in school and a husband with a career that requires him to commute. So the flexibility to work from home is paramount to me. The great thing is I can help people during times that make the most sense for them - like in the evenings, while still being there to get my kids off of the school bus.
What are you good at? You can ask your friends, your boss, colleagues. You can also look at any previous performance reviews, or see if there are any patterns in what people are complimenting you on. Skills are things that don't change (most soft skills) and things that you can build upon and learn (hard skills).
Looking at the skills I've developed throughout my life and career I have seen some patterns. As a recruiter, I don't even know how many resumes and LinkedIn profiles I've screened, but can estimate that it is in the tens of thousands. I interview people every day - over the phone and in person asking all the different types of interview questions there are. I am a good listener who is able to quickly get to know a person since I am highly empathetic. And not to toot my own horn, I am able to translate a person in my writing so that they come alive on paper.
So combining my interests, motivations and skills led me to take this leap - freelance career coaching. I couldn't be happier with this decision.
What led me to finally breaking out of my own complacent bubble was that this past spring my grandfather passed away and while I was mourning him I realized one of the things he taught me was to never to late to embark on a new adventure. He did all these amazing things in his life - including white water rafting and paragliding in his 80's - to life it to the fullest. I wasn't. I was going with the flow in a job that suited my skills and my motivation of flexible work but I wasn't paying any attention to my interests. But using the above three step plan, it was obvious to me what I needed to do. And yes it was scary to put myself out there with the risk of failure but I knew I would regret it if I didn't.
So whether you are new into your career, a stay at home mom, or someone with only 5-10 years of working years left, it is never too late to find your way to a fulfilling job.
To watch a free training (less than 15 minutes!) of me walking you through "How to Get Unstuck"
You want to change careers. You just aren’t happy in your current job and you know that you need to change. You come up with a plan and you go after it, guns a blazing.
You are feeling the high, the "you got this", you are so in the zone and nothing, I mean nothing is going to get in the way.
Until something does. Life gets busy, the search gets real hard, you are constantly rejected or even worse, you don't hear anything. Your momentum slows to a snails pace, maybe even halting all together.
Time passes, maybe a few months, maybe a few years and then all of a sudden you have this burning urge. This urge to change careers. You just aren't happy in your current job and you know that you need to change. You come up with a plan and ... wait a second, you are hit with a sense of déjà vu. Didn't you go through this before?
I know this cycle, I lived this cycle for years before finally committing to my career change. And not just to the happily ever after aspect of a career change, I committed to the good, the bad and the ugly of the process. I created a plan to not only make my dream career a reality but also a plan to overcome the obstacles that were sure to come my way.
One big obstacle is motivation, when the going gets tough it is really hard to keep yourself motivated through the process. If you are there right now or are preparing yourself to be there, then here are 5 amazing TED talks to help you power through those challenging times.
1. Why you will fail to have a great career presented by Larry Smith.
This is a great TED talk when your FEAR is the only person at your career change party and throwing excuses at you hoping one will stick! Larry Smith is a professor at the University of Waterloo and this super blunt talk makes light of the excuses that we tend to tell ourselves.
2. How to Find Work You Love by Scott Dinsmore
Scott Dinsmore created the Live Your Legend after being frustrated with the career message that society told us. This talk helps you figure out what your purpose is so that you can find work you love and brings you joy. Scott passed away in 2015 while travelling with his wife but his legend and legacy still lives on through this video and his site.
3. Your elusive creative genius by Liz Gilbert
This isn't the first time that I have spoken about the power of Liz Gilbert in my life. This is a great video when the fear of failure is strong and when we rationalize giving up on our dreams because we aren't meant for it to happen to us. It is geared at creativity but is so relevant to any career change!
4. Why some of us don't have one true calling by Emilie Wapnick
There are some of us that are multi-passionate - we have so many interests and loves that drive us. It can be hard to choose a career when we feel pulled in all these directions. It is also hard to go through the challenge of a career change when we know that it may not last. If you are one, then this TED talk is for you!
5. The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
Career change is hard. But it is harder for introverts for so many reasons. It is hard to put ourselves out there, we don't like attention, we hate networking, etc. But also because society hasn't been kind to us introverts, society tells us that being introverted is wrong, that we need to pretend we are outgoing, bold and assertive. Susan breaks all of this down. Watching this and reading her book of the same title, really gave me the courage to own my introversion as a badge not a weight.
If you are struggling right now and afraid that you may give up on your dreams then schedule a strategy call with me, let's talk you through this and get you motivated to keep going after your dreams.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
The Secrets to finding a job you love
Click HERE to watch