By Jackie Kelm
Your current job just isn’t cutting it anymore. That little voice inside is telling you that it’s time for a change, but a change to what? A new company? A new field? It can be incredibly scary to leave your comfortable situation in search of something more fulfilling, but it can be done. With our six steps, you’ll be able to make the right moves to your dream career.
1. Get in touch with your strengths.
Do you know what you’re good at? What do you enjoy doing, both on and off the job? Positive psychology research by Dr. Martin Seligman shows that we perform better—and enjoy ourselves more—when we use our strengths. This means that we’ll be happier and more successful when we work at jobs that match our abilities.
2. What do you really want and what’s most important to you?
Peak experiences and career high points offer valuable information about what we really enjoy. What are some of the best experiences you can remember on the job? Relive these experiences and dive into them like a detective. Search for every clue you can find about yourself, others and the company that made it such a peak moment for you. Gather all the evidence you can find about what really brings you pleasure, satisfaction, fulfillment and enjoyment.
3. Dream big.
Find some space, a pen and paper, and write down your dream job. Don’t try to be realistic—pretend there are no limitations and all is possible. List every aspect you can think of that you desire in your dream job: pay, responsibility, travel, company culture, location, hours and whatever else matters to you. Keep this description handy and review it every few days or so to keep it foremost in your mind. Talk about it with friends and make changes to it as you refine your thinking.
From your ideal list, decide what two or three job aspects are most important to you. These are the things that must be present in order for you to feel like you have made the right move. Note: You are not giving up on the rest of the list; you are simply identifying what you really want. (And did you really think you’d get that multi-million dollar salary while working two-hour days anyway?)
5. Make a move.
Take some action, no matter how small, to begin moving yourself in the direction of this ideal job. It may be browsing internet job listings for a few minutes, looking through a book on a field you have always been interested in or signing up for a class related to your dream career. Commit to doing one new small thing each week and your ideal job will become a reality.
6. Remember, life is a journey.
There is so much change and opportunity in today’s world, it is difficult to forecast too far into the future. Learn to dance with whatever is showing up in the present. As much as this article is about making the right moves, there really are no wrong ones. The only wrong moves are the ones we don’t make out of fear. Work with and trust what you love today. As life coach Denise Hedges says, “Life is short. Play big.”
Jackie Kelm is an author, speaker and consultant who founded Appreciative Living to help people get happier and more engaged in work and life. For more information, visit www.AppreciativeLiving.com.