Ask any kid ages four through 10 what they want to be when they grow up and they will give you no less than five answers. They are full of imagination. They are full of promise. They are completely unaware of any limits. The sky is the limit.
Ask any 30-something what they want to be when they grow up and mostly the answers are full of, “I don’t know.” I get it. We put all kinds of limits on ourselves, and before we know it, we can put ourselves in a very small box of possibility.
Often times we wake up on a Monday and ask ourselves, “Now what?!” Whether you’re in a career you thought would be a dream, but the reality is more of a nightmare, or if you “fell into” a career that makes you look around and say “Who’s life am I living?” (I’ve been there, done that, too!), there are a few things you can try to help you get back in-line with your purposeful and passionate career.
Ask yourself the following: What would you do, if you lived without the fear of disappointment?
Really, so many of us don’t follow our dreams because someone told us it was crazy. Maybe it was a parent, maybe a teacher, maybe you started to doubt yourself. If you could do anything, and know that no one would feel anything but pride in the sheer fact that you are following your dream, what would that be?
· Maybe you’ve always wanted to teach art? Maybe you’ve dreamed of snorkeling the barrier reef? Maybe you want to teach hip-hop dance or be a baker? Or, maybe you’ve always dreamed of being the next Oprah (not that I know anything about that dream). Write down what your dream job is, and then own it!
· After you own your passion, then I want you to write down any and all excuses you can think of as to why you can’t do it. I mean get it all out.
· Done? Now, take that paper and destroy it! Burn it, shred it, throw it, do whatever you need to do to get rid of it.
· Now, grab a new piece of paper, and write out a new list of not why, but how it can happen. List the big and small steps you would need to do to start seeing your dream job become a reality. Let’s say you’ve always wanted to be a baker. Do you have to rent a kitchen, open a store-front, and pay thousands of dollars for advertising all in one week?
Absolutely not! Maybe, you could just start by baking your signature cupcakes and taking them to a fire station with a thank you note. Maybe you could post a picture of your cupcakes on Facebook to let your friends know how much of a cupcake queen/king you are. You can start somewhere. Start with the easiest, and keep moving.
One of my other favorite exercises is to set a timer (2-5 minutes), and write down all of the things that people thank you for or tell you that you’re good at. Then, reset the timer and write down things you think anyone can do. Please don’t censor yourself… there is no such thing as something stupid or not “career-worthy”. (Note: I made a ton of extra cash in college pet sitting for people when they went out of town. Anyone could do it, but I actually did it.) Anything is possible.
Use both of your lists and look for common threads. Do you get acknowledged for having amazing handwriting, and think anyone can write well? I have terrible handwriting, so if you have amazing handwriting, totally own it! See if there might be a way for you to monetize that skill. People pay good money for someone to beautifully address wedding invitations, or create hand-written pieces of art. Do some research, and see if there is something you can do that’s based on something you’re:
1. Good at,
2. Like to do.
Then start doing it. Again, don’t over-think this, just get going. Regardless of where you are in your journey, it’s never too late (or too early) to start to discover your passion and turn that into a career. Yes, it requires some work. Yes, you’ll have to dig a little deeper, and do some serious soul-searching, but I promise you, it’s totally worth it!
So, tell me, what’s your dream career?