Whether you are looking for a dream job, or you just need some help connecting your dreams to reality, this tool can get you there.

If you haven’t guessed by now, finding and doing the work that you love is so much bigger than finding a great job. It’s about listening to yourself, being true to yourself, breaking through barriers, embracing your passions and gifts, and so much more.

That’s why my practice is a life coaching practice rather than just a career coaching one. When you have gained these skills and insights, your whole life will be improved. Still, having the courage to listen to and go after your dreams isn’t the whole story. You still need to know what to do to make those dreams happen.

This article will help you take the ideas, feelings and insights you’ve gained and help you transform them into something you can get paid to do.

The Job Search and Self-Doubt

You could spend hundreds of hours (and dollars) tweaking your resume, networking, and attending seminars in search of a better job. The truth is, until you know what job you really want, it’s an uphill battle to find it. What is more likely is that what has already happened once will happen again – you’ll find a job that leaves you with no greater sense of purpose or meaning, doesn’t feel like it allows the world to benefit from your gifts, and certainly doesn’t feel like a calling. It’s soul-sucking, cubicle-and-water-cooler, Monday-through-Friday, nine-to-five BOREDOM. Again.

It’s easy to choose a major in college or take a job early on and then allow yourself to be pigeon-holed into career choices that end up feeling cookie-cutter. Until you examine yourself and your career, you may never realize what you are most passionate about and well-suited to do. You may never believe that a job you love and feel excited about every day is actually within your reach.

Even if the right job is right in front of you, you may not notice the internal alarm that goes off saying “This is it!” or you may see it once and think, “I’d love to get paid to do that,” and then set it aside in the search for more “realistic” options.

When you interview for a “realistic job” there’s probably a shadow of self-doubt that shows up no matter how inconspicuous (remember Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink?) that conveys to your audience that you’re not really sure you want to be there (because you know the boredom you’re in for). Yes, you need the paycheck, but you’re not particularly excited about the job beyond that.

Have you ever had the opposite experience, where every fiber of your being just KNEW that the situation was right – that there was no way you could lose? That’s the power of conviction. This deep belief makes you feel like a million bucks (or a couple million in today’s world!). You’re floating on air, you can’t lose, and every answer flows to you effortlessly. Ever felt this way? If so, that’s great. You can remember back and understand it. If not, suspend your disbelief for now that you could find yourself in this state. But understand that when you know what you really want and believe it’s within your reach you can be filled with energy and enthusiasm that will make any interviewer say, “We gotta hire that one!”

Knowing what you really want

While having a great resume and getting out there are important, nothing is more important than the amazing confidence of knowing that the job is right for you. And the only way to know that is to know what you really want. This knowledge comes from applying what you learned about yourself . Once you understand yourself deeply – your passions, skills, essence, experiences and what you love to give- and you can put it all together in a way that gives you a roadmap for your life, you can start to nail this knowledge to the ground by applying it to seek or evaluate situations in your life. You can use it to understand what’s right for you and add or subtract things from your life accordingly.

What are the key steps to doing this with relation to your job search? Finding your dream job, and landing it, is hard work. And if your passion lies in starting your own business, doing something creative, or changing the world, that’s incredibly hard work too. There may be many steps along the path. Depending on what you discover about where you want to go and where you are now, it may take A LOT of work. But you will be moving closer to a life you want: one that fills you with excitement, joy, purpose and happiness every day.

Job hunting the old way

We go about the job search backwards. Most of us go to some version of want ads, whether it’s the newspaper, the internet, networking events, or a head hunter. We go to the place where the jobs are first and see which of the current available opportunities that are in front of us we could best fit ourselves into. This method of job hunting disrespects you as an individual. It allows the job and the employer to take the lead, when ideally you – the job hunter- should be evaluating whether the job fits you rather than if you fit it. (If you think about it, this new method benefits everyone – you, the employer and the company. Don’t you think employers would rather reap the benefits of the energy and excitement of someone who believes they just landed the best job EVER, versus someone who just landed a job?)

Job hunting from the other end

Instead, what would happen if we go about it from the other end? First, we understand ourselves by looking at each of the Five Elements. Then, armed with that knowledge, we can start the search:

1. Let your imagination loose. Think about your dream job. Sometimes people feel they don’t have the clarity to define their dream job because lots of things appeal to them that don’t seem to go together, or because not all aspects of any job are appealing. That’s ok. For now, just answer the questions below by thinking about a few different jobs or careers if you need to, and for this exercise, only think about the aspects of a job (or jobs) you DO like and ignore what you don’t like. Also, don’t worry yet that you don’t have the skills, degree or connections you might need or that you know ultimately that there will be aspects of the job that you don’t like. Think about your dream job(s) and write out what makes it a dream for you. What parts do you love? What makes your heart quicken about it? What would make you say, “I can’t believe s/he gets paid to do that!!”

2. Understand yourself: What would make you great at this dream job? This is where knowledge of yourself comes in. What are you naturally good at or have you learned that would make you great at this? What could you do all day, every day and not tire of? Do you feel you have something inside just bursting to come out and be shared with the world?

3. Do some dream searching: Spend a little time on those job websites searching for the dream job. Print them out and highlight the functions, skills or activities or any other part that you love in each job description. Or, write your own description. List all the job functions, the skills you’d need, your salary – everything you know your dream job would include. Your dream is starting to take shape. Don’t underestimate the power of what you really want. Someone may be willing to pay you to travel the world and test out exotic destinations and five star restaurants. It’s someone’s job, and if you are willing to work for it, it could be yours too. Don’t let your inner critic talk you out of an idea because you believe it’s impossible.

4. Write a “reverse-resume”: This is the tool that will connect your dreams to reality.  A “reverse-resume” is the list of qualifications a job must have in order for you to agree to spend your time on it. Think about each job you might take as having to be interviewed by you to earn the privilege of having you fill it. Why does it deserve to have you spend years of your time and energy on it? When searching for or writing a description of your job, did you find any themes coming up again and again? On your reverse-resume, list these themes or job functions. They will serve as guidelines for the qualifications your “candidate” must possess.

5. The nitty-gritty: Find real jobs (not necessarily openings) that encompass as many of the themes that you uncovered as possible. Search the internet, go to the library, ask some friends. Chances are, that once you’ve gotten this far, you will have a pretty good idea of the ball-park you are in, but it may take a bit of research to define it further.

6. Think about your skills and experience. Now that you know which job you really want, you have to position yourself for it. Is there anything in your history that you could highlight or build on that would make your current skills or experience more relevant to the job you’d like to have? Is there a place to start that will lead you to the job you are hoping for?

7. Make an action plan: While you can highlight relevant skills to target a job you want, sometimes, there aren’t any shortcuts. If you have been working as a cook and you discover you really want to be a doctor, no hospital will hire you because you make a great chicken soup. Make an action plan to get you from where you are to where you now know you want to be.

Finding your dream job is hard work. Getting yourself in a position where you can land that dream job also isn’t easy. But what’s infinitely harder is living a life that actually feels like a slow, tortuous death. The work you put in is worth it to know that your life and your job are a reflection of who you actually are deep down, and to reap the benefits – happiness, meaning, purpose – of that alignment? Really, is there any alternative?

If you’re ready to make your dreams a reality, connect with me today!