Picking a career you love might seem impossible.
You’re a complex person, and figuring out exactly what you want to do can be an overwhelming experience. Not to mention that a career change happens in a high-stakes environment. While you might have savings, you still need to be able to pay your bills – which means that getting it wrong doesn’t really feel like an option.
But you can love your job, and it doesn’t have to feel impossible.
The path to changing your career can feel confusing and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be so terrifying that it leaves you paralyzed, unable to do what you want with your life.
So how can you pick a career you love?
There are 7 fail-proof steps to help you find the career you truly want. Here’s exactly what you need to focus on.
7 Fail-Proof Steps to Picking A Career
1. Make up your mind to try for something better. Let go of resistance. Believe.
This really is the first step.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think there’s a part of you that has something to say every time you think about what it would be like to love your job. That part of you steps in and talks about how it’s impractical and impossible and otherwise a waste of time to think about. And then your finicky mind moves on to what’s for dinner – until the next time you’re upset about work.
When you make up your mind, let go of resistance, and believe that you can actually have something more, you allow yourself to start to open up to the possibilities. You stop throwing up walls about why things “can’t happen” and why this “won’t work.”
Instead, you start to see what might be possible for you.
2. Think about your values.
Ask yourself: what’s most important to you? what do you care about doing in the world? what do you want your life to be about?
You might find you care about furthering a cause, being part of something, or creating something.
Maybe there’s not a driving mission that you really care about, but you do care about doing a particular thing – either inside or outside of work. Some people really want to focus on work/life balance and finding a great company that supports that.
Other people’s values lead them in different directions. What is your life about? I’m pretty sure it’s not about a job you dread. So what do you want it to be about? What do you really value and how do you realign things to make that happen?
3. What do you want to be doing at work every day?
What do you care about doing at work?
You want to focus on work that allows you to do something(s) everyday or along your career journey that you care about (even if it’s just a one time event). Maybe you want the chance to travel, lead or manage people, be creative, solve problems of a particular type, or speak, write and learn.
Define what you want to do and how you want your work to serve you.
Some good places to start are your passions, skills you want to tap into (things you love to do, things you’re great at – even if you wouldn’t necessarily call them passions), work that feels like YOU (what could you imagine saying you are – like “I am a writer” and feeling like it’s who you are?)
4. Identify and bust through fears.
Fear is probably the biggest barrier when it comes to career change.
The truth is that career change is a process and while it is scary for most people, there’s no need to be scared of it. You can find what you love and you can be in control.
There is a system for making this kind of change which means you don’t have to be so lost, scared and confused.
Identifying your fears, facing them head on, and getting the help you need rather than giving up hope and believing that your career change is an impossible struggle is your goal here.
5. Decide. Research. Refine. Decide again.
You might be under pressure to take a job immediately, but if not, take some time to step back and reflect on what you really want.
Don’t waste time feeling bad that you didn’t get it right the first time. Most of us don’t – as evidenced by the growing percentage of career changers. It really just means you’re growing and changing – and that you’re dynamic enough not to be satisfied easily.
So take the time you need. Think about what you want. Make a decision. Do some research. Refine your decision, do some more research and then decide again. . . and keep going until you get it right.
And your research process might include:
Interning: Yes, even among adults, internships are becoming more popular. The logistics of pulling such a thing off might be difficult, but less so than starting a whole new career and then figuring out it’s wrong.
Informational interviews: Be sure you’ll like the career you’re changing to – and the path it takes to get there. It might be awesome to be the boss, but not so fun in the years of work before that, so be sure that you’re really committed to the work before you make the change and not just enchanted by what you believe it’s going to be like.
Getting a new job: An entire job might be considered research. Don’t take this whole thing so seriously. Take your finances seriously. Take your family seriously. Take your happiness seriously. But don’t worry too much about your resume. An awesome resume writer can do that for you. If it’s an experience you really want to have, the right next employer will love you for being bold enough to try.
Google will be your new best friend throughout this process. There’s a lot you can find out for free with a few hours of internet research. It can save you a lot of time and money to know things beforehand. And you can be amazed what you can learn on Google or on other sites like Quora where you can ask really smart people who know what they’re talking about for answers to your questions.
6. Get practical.
Think about the career outlook, pay, companies, and the logistics of the change itself. You don’t want to make a move to a career just because you love it and end up as a starving artist.
At the same time, don’t pick a career just for the pay, prestige or because other people think you should or that you’d be good at it. All of these might be good reasons to think about a career – but none are good enough to pick a career based on alone. Use these as a way to supplement an idea you’re already really excited about.
It’s a fine balance.
Additionally, it’s a great idea to meet with your financial advisor (well in advance of your move) especially if you think that your new career might have an initial 0r overall pay decrease.
7. Always be gathering information
Throughout the entire process you’ll want to learn as much about yourself and about careers that you might be interested in as possible. You can do this with:
Career aptitude & personality tests: Myers Briggs, Enneagram, Strengths Finder, 360 Assessment, MAPP, and Kiersey Temperment Sorter are all useful tools for understanding yourself and your career direction better.
Career outlook, career counseling and career trends: Take a look at the outlook for the career that you’re interested in, or career trends in general if you want to see fields that might be growing. A career counselor can give you an overview of fields you might be suited for, but you will still have to know yourself well and on many different levels to be able to discern among these choices or to choose something else entirely.
Networking: Continually connect with new and interesting people in diverse fields. You’ll learn about new careers and make connections that will be useful in the future.
Career coaching: If you’re ready for a guide through this process, coaching may be for you. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. You can become a VIP and get help every step of the way.
How To Find A Career
Each of these steps takes some work, but sometimes just seeing the steps clearly laid out is a huge relief! Instead of feeling like there are a million things to consider, you can rest easy, knowing there are only a handful.
Figuring out what you want, how to get there, and how to manage all the steps in the transition is manageable. Dig in to each step. Work that feels like YOU is possible for you, too.