So, you think you can’t have the career you want?
You’ve probably heard it a million times: “You can do anything you set your mind to.” But what if you’re not sure what you want? What if the career that’s right for you seems impossible to attain? What should we do when we feel stuck in our careers and unsure where to go next?
There are plenty of ways to make what you want a reality. Here are a few tips that have been helpful to me.
Identify what you want
Taking the time to identify where you want to go is the first step toward designing a road map to get there.
What do you want out of life? Make a list in one column of everything that’s important to you in your life right now: family, friends, career … whatever brings you joy! Then, in the next column, write down what each item means to you. Some examples might include, “Having a healthy relationship with my partner,” or “Being financially independent.” When you have
these two lists side by side, they’ll help guide where priorities lie as they relate to your career goals.
Make a second list of the things you want in a career. This could be as simple as “I want to work with animals,” or as complicated as “I want to be a lawyer, but only if I can also work on my own schedule.” Think about what interests you. What do you spend most of your time thinking about and doing? Do certain fields or jobs interest you more than others?
Write down all of your goals, so they are not just floating around in your head. Think big and small — from long term (I want to go on a month-long vacation in Paris) to short term (I want to go on a short road trip with my friends this summer). Set goals for yourself and make sure they’re realistic, so that when you reach them, they’ll be satisfying instead of frustrating.
Work on yourself every day
Write down what keeps you from getting into the career field you want. Are there any specific skills or experiences needed for the job? If so, what are they? What do people who do this job have in common? How could you cover any gap that you identified?
This means working on your skills, improving your knowledge base, and being open-minded about new things you can learn about yourself and others. You don’t have to be the best at something before starting, but you need to be willing to learn and grow as you go.
Be open to new ideas, experiences and ways of thinking — and, if possible, try not to let preconceptions get in the way of this process. You never know what opportunities will arise when you look at life with an open mind.
Be willing to ask for help
To get what you want it is important to ask for help. If you struggle to ask for help, keep this step in perspective by putting yourself in another’s shoes. When someone asks you for advice, it’s a sign that they trust your judgment and see value in your opinion. They look up to you as an expert in the field and want to know what they can do better next time. It also shows that they are open-minded and willing to learn new things — two essential qualities that you, too, can own when advancing your career.
When we use our own knowledge as the only source of information, we limit ourselves by not exposing ourselves to enough opportunities for growth or improvement (which is why many people find themselves stuck at their current jobs).
Let people know what you want from them. The more people understand what’s going on in your head, the more likely they’ll be able to help when needed. By reaching out and asking others who have been successful before us how they got there, we can gain some valuable insight. Tap into your network and your coach to learn from the missteps and successes of others.
When you live your life with intention, all is possible.
Don’t give up! If something doesn’t work out right away, keep trying. Persistence is key to achieving your goals. When we see ourselves as creators, rather than victims of circumstance or chance, we see our lives as malleable and fluid instead of fixed in stone. We can create whatever we want for ourselves by being intentional.
There isn’t one right way or one true path to achieving success. There are infinite ways that lead toward the career you want. If you know where you want to go, keep developing yourself and have a great guide to support you while traversing your journey.
You think you can’t have the career you want? Yes, you can. You just need to do some work, there are no shortcuts to success. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to create your dream job.