Aaahh, the million dollar question! Often clients come dissatisfied with their current direction and wanting change, but not having a clue what they want that change to be or which direction to even begin looking.
I wish I could tell you that there was a 3 step process to a solution, or that I had all of the answers! Unfortunately, coaching just doesn’t work that way. Each one of you is unique and has your own path to follow. No one else can answer that question for you; however, a career coach can help you navigate your own personal journey.
Are you staring this crossroads sign in your own life, and trying to decide which path to take (or how to start trailblazing your own)? Here are couple tips that I’d like to share.
1. It takes time. You need to give yourself that time.
It will not happen overnight. But if you are able to give yourself some space to breathe and dream and “fantasize” and “what if”, your own path will become more and more clear.
2. Find someone to bounce ideas off of.
Choosing this person is very tricky, and is a huge component to your success. You don’t want to choose someone who’s going to tell you all the reasons a certain idea won’t work, or will not give you full license to day dream and let ideas play out fully in your mind. This is one of the reasons a Career Coach is an awesome choice to work with at this period of your journey. You need to find that person who will help dig beneath the top layer of things you “settle for” and delve into what’s hiding in the deepest recesses of your heart.
3. Don’t censure yourself!
When working with my own Career Coach, I recently had an epiphany that started with “I know it sounds crazy, and doesn’t fit, and doesn’t make sense, but . . .” and through talking through that idea and not letting me condemn or judge my own thoughts, she was able to help me realize that crazy thought wasn’t crazy at all, fit me perfectly and made complete sense! For ME. That epiphany is leading to a complete rebranding of my business and a new website (hopefully in the next few months). And her validation of that random thought has led to new energy and excitement for this fork in my own path!
4. Behavioral Assessments
One concrete step that I really like is using the DISC “Career Planning Insights” Assessment. What I like about this report is its detail (often 30-40 pages in length)! It takes your own personal behavioral style and matches it to actual job titles that might best suit your own behavioral style. It can also show you how you might be adapting to meet the current job situation you’re in and how those might be building conflict within you. (You would feel that conflict as stress, pressures both external and internal, personal dissatisfaction, etc.) It also includes the actual codes from the Occupational Information Network (O*Net) website, so that you can look each of them up on your own.
5. Weed out
Remember, weeding is all about taking out the excess and choosing what you want to focus on in your life. This is more than a simple “I could never be an astrophysicist.” Think through what your Values and “Deal Breakers” are. These are the things you choose to judge your decisions by. This will help you choose the careers that most align with your personal values and mission.
6. Try it on for size!
This step can be of fun if you let it! This is the time you truly investigate each option you have left. Perhaps this is taking a temporary position, internship, or volunteering. You can also conduct informational interviews and/or ask to shadow someone you admire who is doing that exact same position. You can take yourself through that position step-by-step, to mentally see how it fits. Don’t worry as more options continue to fall off this list during this process. The goal of this journey is to find the one path that is best suited to you. And I promise there is one out there for everyone.
7. Listen to your heart.
One of the main concepts of life coaching is that the answer you’re searching for already lies within you. I encourage each of you to be willing to take that quiet time to search your heart and look for that pulling sensation inside of you and follow where it leads. For some this might be a time of deep prayer, for others it might be meditation. However, you will never find your heart’s desire if you don’t listen to what it’s trying to tell you.