It is very common to have that inner certainty that we have to change something in our careers, but we don’t know where to go. We have awareness of what we don’t want, but not the slightest idea of what we want. Lift the arm who has been there! I’ve been through, and I’ll tell you the technique I used to get out of this pool and give you some ideas to find your way. The trick of these techniques is that they fold that paralyzing fear of changing, and they prepare you a little bit for taking the leap in the dark.
1) Create possibilities for future
Imagine that there are five parallel universes. You will spend a year in each of them and can choose the profession you want. Now choose 5 jobs in each of these universes. Be creative but choose professions that connect with your passions, talents and values. For example, you can choose to be as dog handler because you love animals, are patient and value family relationships. You can also decide on a career of sushiman because you love crafts, has a talent for details and value a balanced diet. Don’t be shy, all is worth since you follow these 3 criterias: passion, talent and value. How about being landscaper because you love nature, have an aesthetic proven talent for your friends and appreciates the human-nature integration?
2) Act now, think later
Now let’s reverse the current paradigm to plan, plan, plan and then, as all ends are tied act. Honestly, if you’re out of ideas for where to start, follow this approach will hardly help you. This is because you will feeding a series of fictional scenarios but creates no real experience to feel like the skin is living in this imagined scenario. In the end, you become so distant and fanciful that we don’t have the courage to leave your safe haven. We need a different approach, creating short, small but allowing you yo smell, taste and feel what you would live if you have another career experiences.
Some ways to do this: take your list of five professions and create real experiences, over a few months up to a year, around them. For example, take a week vacation and volunteer to work in a Japanese restaurant, or take unpaid leave from your job and get a temporary job at an inn on the beach.
Again, be creative but do not shoot at once, hold the safety rope. You can get that your hobby and start making freelances in weekends or at night until you feel it is time to resign. Or, do you want to give courses? Start volunteering at an NGO working on education to feel firsthand what it is to be an educator. Do you want to be a journalist? Try creating a blog to see how the dynamics of writing all day. Photographer? Work for free in a photo studio for a weekend. Believe me, when we are genuine in our pursuit people usually open the door to these little experiments.
A friend of mine, now a professor of yoga with full agenda, began teaching classes at night and on weekends until she felt she had to resign stability. She imagined making the transition in six months, made in 3! Was well drawn, it is true, but she does not regret having sacrificed hersocial life for a while, to go after her passion.
I’ve been a little more daring, I made a saving of six months, I resigned and made a sabbatical. I tried many things: discovered and developed a passion for photography, I investigated in sustainability related activities, talked to many professionals and end up by expanding my horizons. It was one of the most enjoyable periods of my life. In the end, I ended up returning to the corporate world in another position, much more aware of my choices and master of my fate.
With each new experiment, you will feel more confident and this journey of discovery will progressively become easier, letting your fear and risk aversion smaller and smaller. As Virginia Woolf said: “Without self-confidence we are as babes in the cradle.” These small experiments will help you create the confidence you need to make the turn you want.
Want an inspiration? Watch this video about Jan Lachner [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRlXuxqUJks], he tried an experiment to work in 33 different jobs in 33 weeks!
3) Be a hedonist
After the trial is important to follow for reflection. It’s time to converge and begin the process of choosing a path.
The Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi created the concept of “flow”, the one state where the person is completely absorbed and flowing in an activity. The state of flow, also called peak experience, causes the individual to fully engage in the activity that is exerting employing his the best of what it has to offer. In moments of flow, the activity and the person become one and we don’t feel the time pass.
With that in mind, ask questions after each experiment for yourself: Which of these experiences gave me more pleasure? What have excited me most? Any of these experiments was different from what I imagined? Seek to identify which experience has left you in a state of flow with more recurrence. This is a valuable clue to decide how to continue building the life you want to live.
Have you done or will do some experiment to test a new career? Contact us and share!
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fiddleoak