“You have to do what you dream of doing even if you are afraid.” – Arianna Huffington
Over the past several weeks, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to reconnect with friends and former colleagues, old and new. I quickly noticed that a common thread was running through these conversations – what to do with a career, job and/or business that was just no longer providing any joy but was certainly providing a lot of pressure – taking them away from time with their families, friends and, frankly, taking the joy out of life.
I was asked for a lot of advice on how to start a brand or, at the very least, how to take control of a career or to make a career dream come true. Taking control is not possible, but guiding it forward certainly is.
Here are a few tips on course correcting your career or taking those first nail-biting moves towards creating a new one.
Start by doing. If you have dreamed of doing something, changing your career, starting a company, moving overseas to teach, that is wonderful. But, at some point, you must stop talking about it and must start putting one foot in front of the other and actually doing it. Staying stuck in limbo wondering if, when, what life will be like is not helping you. Put together an outline on how to get to your dream and start to take steps everyday, no matter how small, to reach your dream. #nomoreexcuses
Identify what’s really wrong. Are you really not enjoying your job, your business or is it a boss or co-worker or business partner that is making your life difficult? Take your own pulse to find out if you enjoy working for your organization and may be better fit for another role or if a certain person is impacting your happiness on the job as well as your productivity.
Communicate. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In order to fix, change, ameliorate your situation you will have to communicate. It is also an excellent way of taking charge as well but most people shy away from it. Stop wondering whether your job will improve or if that company is willing to hire you or what it is like to teach overseas and start reaching out and having those conversations to find out what is really happening, will happen or what it is like. What is the worst thing that can happen? Someone says no. That’s fine. Just keep going until you find someone who says yes to your dream.
Play to your innate strengths. In other words, find out what you are good at and stick with it. This can be a tricky one. I’ve been asked for the secret to this one but I was lucky enough to have an innate skill that I also loved. Not all of us do and there is nothing wrong with that. Ask others around you what you are good at, ask your family and then develop that skill further. You may find that you will enjoy it more as you use that skill more and more. I certainly did.
Embrace change, don’t fear it. Whether you are the instrument of change in your life or your life is impacted by someone else changing things on you, don’t be afraid. Look for the opportunity and be resourceful. The more change you go through, the less frightening it will be. You’ll look back and realize you made it through some tough moments so you can handle what comes next.
Play the long game. Envision what your life will be like in twenty years time. Where will you be? What does your house look like? What does your life look like? What type of people will be around you? What is your day like? Hold that vision – write it down, paint it or sketch a picture of it – keep that in your mind as your beacon at the end of rough and calm seas. That’s your end goal and any coach worth their salt will tell you to always keep the end goal in mind.