Welcome to Monday everyone and I hope you've had a good start to the week so far.
I wanted to look a little today at the subject of finding a new direction in your career when things perhaps aren't going quite the way you had hoped - I guess this can also apply to general life and lifestyle as well. So let's have a little chat about it!
Sometimes in professional life and our careers we can lose our way.
You may remember that my very reason for starting this blog was that I felt I was stuck at a crossroads in my own career and wasn't sure which way to turn. I know that there are many other people who feel the same.
Now I don't suggest that you just pack it all in and go off on a soul-searching mission around the world. If you have the resources and the will to do so then fantastic, but realistically that isn't an option for most - and also it doesn't necessarily solve anything either.
So instead here are some thoughts on how you can take a fresh look at yourself and your skills and put some techniques in place to help find a new direction.
PLAN OF ACTION:
1. Find your own voice. Fear of making changes often comes from a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities. Make a list of your skills, everything that you can think of no matter how inconsequential it might seem and at this point be as detailed as you can. You need to be able to see everything in front of you and you will no doubt be surprised at what you can do.
2. Fine-tune. Next go through your list and highlight the skills that you really enjoy using and those that you don't. Just because you have done something a lot doesn't necessarily mean it's something you want to continue doing. This is a useful step as it should help to form a stronger image of what you can do versus what you might like to do.
3. Identify your passions. Now make a list of your passions and interests. Hobbies, things you love doing, reading, writing, sports - again anything that you can think of and be as detailed as possible.
4. Turn passions into career possibilities. Go through this second list and pick out the interests or hobbies that you truly might be interested in getting more involved in from a work perspective. Be critical and constructive here, not all of these areas will truly interest you on a career basis and some won't be practical either.
5. What are the non-negotiables? Think about and write down the practicalities that are important to you in your working life. Things like location, environment, working alone or in a team, salary requirements - important things to you that are really non-negotiable.
6. Mix, match, do some investigating and then experiment. Using the above information you should be able to start putting together some ideas of what you might like to do that are also realistic ideas for a career, your future satisfaction and stability. Now it's time to experiment by trying out some of these ideas. You will probably need to do this in your own time at first but it will help you to grow or eliminate various options. Try volunteering, signing up for various courses, networking and talking with like minded individuals, temping in different roles so that you don't have to make a permanent commitment initially - put yourself out there, invest some time and you never know quite where it might take you.
Incase you missed it here is a great course that I took part in a while back that really helped me. Lookout for productive training and inspiration such as this or something similar and put a bit of your spare time into finding out more about what really makes you tick: Eyes Wide Opened Course
I recently purchased a great book called What Colour Is Your Parachute after watching a video in which the brilliant Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere talked about how it had helped her. I'm working my way through different bits and bobs of it right now - dipping in and out of the chapters that are calling out to me and am finding it a very down to earth, practical and realistic guide to the world of job-hunting and career changes. It's rewritten every year to ensure that it's up to date with current market trends and the current economic climate so I have the most recent 2014 edition.
Now as a final note - during this discovery period it is important not to over-think and to make sure you believe in yourself. Be confident and don't talk yourself out of your own potential. For some more inspiration take a look at this article from tinybuddha.com that I think is full of positive ideas for those facing uncertainty not just at work but in life too.
So give it a go and see what happens, sometimes you have to make difficult choices and take risks in order to get where you need to be. Take a practical and investigative approach and most of all try to embrace and enjoy the experience of finding out more about you. It's exciting - you never know just what you might learn or where you might end up!