Let me ask you something…how do you feel on Sunday evening? How about on Monday morning?
Do you look forward to the start of a new work week and the promise of fresh opportunities, or are you crushed by feelings of dread over the inevitable onslaught of hassles, headaches and hurry-ups that you know are waiting for you…just like they were last week…and the week before?
If your situation more closely resembles the latter scenario, take heart–you are not alone. This is a predicament that many of us find ourselves in at one time or another. Fortunately, this treadmill of tedium is something that can be rectified. It is possible to revive a stalled-out career and take back control of your professional aspirations. It may take a little time and intentionality, but ifyou’re willing to get real with yourself, think outside the box and expand your horizons; a purposeful profession can be yours. Try these six suggestions to help you once again find the passion in your profession and jump-start a stalled-out career…
1.) Decide if you need a tune-up or a complete overhaul: Sometimes we can find ourselves stuck in a rut, even in a career that we love. Often this means that other factors outside of our profession are causing issues within our work life. How are you feeling physically? Are you getting enough sleep? Have you put on weight? Are you fighting a cold? Do you feel okay emotionally? Are outside stressors causing you anxiety that follows you into the office? How is your relationship with your spouse or your kids? Are your finances causing you worry? All of these things (as well as myriad others) can wreak havoc on our professional lives. This happens when we mistakenly assume that the lethargy or frustration that we are feeling at our office is due to our work, as opposed to other outside factors. It is not uncommon to misappropriate blame in this way so it is crucial that we take the time to investigate what is truly at the root of our unrest before making a drastic move in regard to our career. Perhaps a tune-up in other aspects of your life can help you to feel more fulfilled in your career as well.
If you’ve taken the time to assess aspects of your life outside of your career and have determined that they are not the cause of your unrest, it is time to take a good look at your work life. Do you generally find your work satisfying but lack the passion that you once had? If so, it is time to tweak your career in a way that allows you to grow and find meaning within your current professional setting. This can be done by giving your current job a tune-up. If you are bored with your current projects, solicit help from others and in return, offer to help them with their projects. Switching things up a bit might be all that is needed to infuse some enthusiasm back into your work. Another way to breathe some life into a stagnant but otherwise fulfilling job is to enlist the guidance of a mentor. Find someone who is a few steps ahead of you on your career path and ask them to help you plot out the best strategy for moving your career forward. Sometimes all it takes is a few simple tweaks to tune-up and tune in to career fulfillment.
What if a tune-up doesn’t cut it though? What if all the tweaking in the world isn’t enough to bring passion to your profession? If this is the case for you, it is likely time for you to do a complete career overhaul. This certainly requires more work, more extensive planning and more than a fair amount of risk taking; but the payoff can be incalculable when you find yourself in a career that adds meaning, fulfillment, joy and prosperity to your life. Keep reading for suggestions on how to navigate the often treacherous waters of a career overhaul…
2.) Do some serious soul searching: So often we end up in careers for reasons other than fulfillment. We take a soul sucking job because the pay is good only to find ourselves unable to enjoy the pay because we are drained of all energy and enthusiasm. Or, we wind up with a law practice only because dad, grandpa and Aunt Louise were all lawyers so of course that’s what we were meant to be (even though our soul longs to teach yoga).
If you find your work life to be unfulfilling in ways that go beyond occasional meeting fatigue or deadline dread (because let’s face it–even the most rewarding of careers still have meetings and deadlines); it is time to take a good, hard look at the type of work that you want to do and at the skills and experience that you bring to the table. Make the effort to conduct a thorough self-assessment. What are you passionate about? What are your greatest strengths? What special skills or aptitudes do you possess? How can you differentiate yourself from others in your chosen career path? Where do you need more training/experience in order to secure a job in your chosen field? To add extra power to this exercise, try asking for feedback from your colleagues, friends and family members–often, others are able to see us more clearly than we can see ourselves.
3.) If you can’t take a leap, build a bridge: Okay–so maybe your job sucks BUT the financial security that it provides doesn’t. I get it. In fact, I would venture to guess that there are many out there who find themselves in the same boat. When you can’t afford to take the risk of leaping into the financial unknown, it is time to start building your bridge. Do you long to monetize a hobby that you love so that you can make a living from it? Great–start working on that plan during your evenings and weekends while you are still clocking in at your 9 to 5. Do you long to pursue a career in writing? Then do it. Many novels and screenplays have been written during lunch breaks. Are there educational or training gaps that need to be filled before you can land your dream job? If so, use your evenings to take night classes or enroll in online trainings that can be taken at your leisure (check out www.udemy.com for a great selection of trainings on a wide variety of topics–I’m currently learning Photoshop through a Udemy training). Another way to start building a bridge toward your purposeful profession is to start saving money in a “bridge fund”. This money can serve to keep you afloat when the time comes to make the break from your day job.
Eventually you likely will need to step out of your comfort zone as you pursue your purposeful profession, but in the meantime, you might as well use the income earned at your current job to help finance the training that you need in order to pursue your dream career. If it helps, start to view the money that you make at your current job as venture capital for your calling. Use the resources and stability that your current employment offers as stepping stones to your next career. By putting these pieces of your bridge together ahead of time, you are shortening the length of your eventual leap.
4.) Try it on for size: Okay, so you love horses. Are you sure that being a ranch hand in Montana is really your calling? Have you ever been to a ranch? Do you know the weather patterns of Montana? Do you know what exactly being a ranch hand entails? If not, it is probably time for you to do some research. Maybe you can use your vacation time to visit a working ranch and shadow the workers. Maybe you can reach out to friends with ranching backgrounds to help you make connections with ranch workers so that you can correspond with them regarding the qualifications that are needed for their line of work. Maybe you can explore other career options that allow you to work with horses. Perhaps your research will lead you to discover that ranching is in fact your calling, but perhaps it will lead you to decide that leading trail rides at a local summer camp is more your speed. Either way, this “trying it on” is a great way to prepare yourself for your dream job while still employed at your day job. This notion of “trying it on” can work in nearly any profession, just be on the lookout for internships, volunteer positions and networking opportunities related to your dream field.
5.) Make the transfer: Even if your dream career feels light years away from your current job (lawyer to yoga instructor for example), there are likely several transferable skills that you’ve gained in your current position that can be beneficial in your new endeavor. Maybe yoga instructors don’t need to know the ins and outs of immigration law but they do need to know how to work with people, present their classes in a compelling manner and manage their time and resources–all skills that any good lawyer would possess. Start thinking about the trainings you’ve had, aptitudes that you possess and natural abilities that make you valuable at your current job. How can you “repackage” them so that they provide value in your dream career?
6.) Train your brain: Often, the thing that most hinders our ability to move into a career that aligns with our passions and our purpose is our own brain. We get caught up in a spiders web of limiting beliefs that have us believing that we are stuck where we’re at and that aspiring for anything more or different is a waste of time. One way to counter these limiting beliefs is simply to add the word “yet” to your self-imposed limiting thoughts. For example, if your dream job involves public speaking but you’re not confident in that arena, simply say to yourself, “I am not a prolific public speaker…yet”. Adding that one simple word opens you up to a whole universe of possibility. The next step is simply to look for ways to improve in that area. Another way to reprogram your brain for expansion is to plot out a week’s worth of baby-steps so that you can take one step toward your dream career every single day. By taking gradual but persistence steps towards your purposeful profession, you are building momentum, gaining confidence and adding extra length to your your “bridge” thereby shortening the length of your “leap”. For practical ways on how to incorporate this D.O.T. (Do One Thing) strategy in to your career development, click here.
For most of us, the largest portion of our (awake) time is spent working–that being the case, doesn’t it make sense that we should pursue a career that lights us up and fills us with passion and purpose. Life is far too short to spend your days, weeks, months and years doing something that makes you miserable. If you find yourself with a bad case of the Monday morning blues every single week, it is time for you to get serious about making a change. Follow your heart, follow these suggestions, and start putting your plan into place. Your future self will thank you.
If you’re not exactly sure just what your dream profession is, click the box above to receive the enlightening ebook “365 Questions to Help You Find Your Answers”. It’ll help you to gain clarity on many aspects of your life. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive another FabYOUlous ebook entitled “50 FabYOUlous Ways to Energize Your Life”.