If you find yourself out of work or in a career transition, it may be just the opportunity to figure out what you really love to do. Use these simple tips to find the perfect career for you.
1. Design Your Ideal Life.
Too often we get carried away by media and think that to have the ideal life we need a big house, fancy car, foreign holidays, etc. But that may not really make you happy. If you really get in touch with your core values, you may discover that your ideal life isn’t as expensive as you think. You might find that you are happier doing work that is personally fulfilling and rewarding even if it pays less than your current job.
One life coaching client left a high paying, high pressure sales job in New York City to be a gym teacher at a school in New Jersey. She made less money, but was so much happier she didn’t miss the money. A colleague loved to ski so he organized his life coaching business so that he worked on Mondays and then spent the rest of the week skiing.
Another colleague, Thomas Leonard, the original founder of CoachU.com, sold his house and bought a camper van so he could travel around the country. He set up the business so he could work by phone and internet. His monthly expenses were minimal so he could afford to take big risks and invest heavily in his business. He later sold the business for millions. If you were to design your ideal life, what would it look like? You may not need nearly as much money as you think, once you strip away any media-inspired goals and figure out what you really want.
2. Simplify Your Life.
Downsize the house, simplify your life, cut your costs by 50% BEFORE you have to. When we cut out the excess, it gets us closer to what we really want and need in life. Just as an experiment, try for one month cutting your expenses by 50% and see what you really miss before adding it back in. You might be amazed that this improves the quality of your life. One family cut their cable bill out and discovered that they had much more fun playing games together and doing puzzles in the evenings.
3. Align Your Values and Vision.
The key to fulfilling work is to do something that is in alignment with your core values — the things that you are most passionate about and make you feel alive and excited about life — what you personally value. That might be travel, adventure, beauty, peace, creating, inspiring, leading, organizing, etc. The first step is to discover your unique values and then orient your life and work around them. (Try the exercises in The Secret Laws of Attraction and Coach Yourself to a New Career, McGraw-Hill) if you aren’t sure what your core values are.
4. Invent Five Alternative Careers.
Imagine that your current line of work has just been eliminated from the planet. What are five alternative careers that you’d be interested in pursuing? Think back to when you were a child, as that might give you some clues as to what you secretly would love to do now.
One client, a high level HR executive got handed a pink slip, forcing her to rethink her career. When she listed her five alternative careers they had nothing to do with the business world and everything to do with creativity. She listed: Garden Designer; Painter; Creative Writer; Interior Designer; Photographer. She offered to “tidy” her neighbor’s garden for free one day, bought some paints and started painting and discovered a natural talent that had been laying dormant all those years in the corporate world. She is keeping her corporate job but is now much happier that she has found hobbies that express her creative side.
5. Discover Your Unique Talent.
Often we don’t recognize or see our own greatest talents because they are so easy for us, so much a part of us that we take them for granted. Interview friends and family and find out what your talents are. See the interview questions in this related article.
6. The Cover Story.
Ask your friends and family this question: “If I were on the cover of a magazine, what magazine would it be and what would the story be about?” Ask people who know you well and colleagues who might have a different view of you. Take notes on all the answers and see what direction this indicates.
7. Do What You Love.
One way to find out what you’d love to do as a career is to do more of what you love in life. If you love dancing, then sign up for a regular class. Or, if you love reading, join a book club. If you like writing, take a creative writing class. Like has a way of attracting like and you’ll find that once you are doing things that you really love to do, you’ll attract more of the same.
8. Work on a Special Project.
Another way to discover your special talent or gift is to work on a special project, something that really lights you up. Design a project at home, work or community that would be fun and exciting for you. In fact, why not really liven up your life and work on a special project at work and at home?
One client discovered that she valued beauty. She offered to plant some plants and flowers in front of her drab office building. The company was all for it and funded the landscaping project. She asked other co-workers to join in as well. It was a great morale booster and team-builder. As an added benefit, getting noticed at work led to a promotion for her later that year.
9. Let Your Intuition Lead the Way.
Another way to find your dream job is to follow your intuition and not let your head guide you. The more you trust and follow those inner voices and gut feelings, the more interesting and exciting life becomes. It isn’t logical.
For example, you get a little inkling that you should bring your umbrella, but then look outside and see clear blue skies and let your rational thoughts overrule your intuition. Later on that day it pours! Start to notice those little thoughts and follow them. The more you trust in your intuition, the louder and clearer these little messages become. That will get you on the right path faster than anything.
10. Get Some Perspective.
If you are struggling to find your path in life, you may need to take a retreat from your current life and get a bigger perspective. Sometimes we need to get outside of our lives to reconnect with what really fulfills us. When we are caught up in the daily demands of life, it can be difficult to imagine life can be another way. Pack a simple bag and stay for a long weekend in a B&B or an inn or stay at a friend’s house while they are away on holiday to house sit for them.
Q & A with Talane:
Under what circumstances can you keep a dead goal?
A few of our online members have written in panic that they just couldn’t throw out their dead goals (any goal you’ve had over a year that you’ve made no significant progress on).
One member wrote this question about some basic coaching advice: Regarding this: If a goal is over one year old, toss it. Don’t waste time trying to resuscitate a dead goal. Pick a new goal that truly excites you instead.
“I’m determined that this will be the year I do get serious about my writing. It’s hard for me – the discipline, keeping my butt in the chair when it gets hard, especially after a long workday (almost never happens then). I’ve discovered that essay writing is less intimidating than my novel, but I’m determined to get that novel written. I’ve pitched my concept to several agents who say it’s a great concept, and I have the talent, but for whatever reason it just never happens.
When do you know when you should or shouldn’t toss out a goal?
I admit that in the past I have put it away entirely thinking this was not for me. That is, if I had really wanted to do it, I’d have done it by now – which fits into your advice.
What are your thoughts on this?”
Talane: If you can’t bring yourself to toss a dead goal, put in place a rock solid structure for support to make sure it happens even if you wiffle waffle about.
Great question! Writing is very easy to procrastinate on so in your case, I’d say, don’t ditch it, but take a serious look at what you need to do to make this year different.
Here is what I’d do:
1) Every day without fail write three pages in your journal (not on your book!). The point is to get into the daily habit of writing. You can write in the morning or the evening, whichever works best for you. The key is to do it daily.
2) Every week take yourself on an artist’s date. This is important because you need to nurture your creative side. Go to a museum, walk in the park, see a concert, play with paints, take a bubble bath, get a massage, see an art exhibit… whatever feels inspiring and nurtures your creativity is the right thing to do. (Tips are from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, which is a great read btw).
3) If it is fiction you are writing, then get the book, No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty. Two friends of mine have read it and then written the first draft of their novel in 30 days.
4) Get support. Find a writer’s group in your area and join it for support. Or get support from a writing buddy, a life coach or you may want to join the Premier Online coaching course at LifeCoach.com for support if you aren’t already a member.
5) Put me in your acknowledgments when you finish the book –:) just kidding!
Good luck to you!
By the way, the above steps 1, 2, and 4 work for anyone who would like to become more creative and successful, not just writers. Writing in a journal every day is not only therapeutic (better than a therapist according to some studies), but it helps you tap into your creative nature.