Describe your job in one word. If that word is ‘tedious’, ‘stressful’, ‘frustrating’, ‘uninspiring’ or any other synonym then it’s likely you’re considering a change. Perhaps, like many other millennials — myself included — you’re a few years into working life post-college and realizing that the career path you took may not be the right one. But how do you uncover what is the right one?
Many of my clients come to me facing a similar problem and are sticking with the status quo simply because they can’t picture what the alternative looks like. Or, conversely, they are flitting from job to job in the hope that something feels right and sticks. Both are far from ideal. Perhaps you’ve taken personality tests in the hope that it will reveal your chosen path. Or tried to follow the advice to pursue something you’re passionate about. Bet you’re still stuck!
The approach I suggest you take is to start by writing a personal vision. This is essentially a description of your aspirations for your life in two year’s time. The trick, however, is to avoid writing with your head and considering practical elements and others’ expectations, and instead to write with your heart. Here’s how:
1. Find a blank piece of paper (no tech if possible) and set an alarm to go off in 5 minutes. Then, start writing everything that comes into your mind when you picture the ideal vision for your lifestyle and vocation in two year’s time. Dream big and describe as much detail as you can. Think about:
How you would like your days and weeks to be structured, for example, do you prefer routine or spontaneity?
Are there any specific talents you would like to be using?
Would you prefer to be part of a team or working solo?
What environment would you like to be in?
How do you want to feel, for example, secure, inspired, proud, powerful?
2. Try not to stop writing until the alarm goes off. If you run out of thoughts, just keep your pen scribbling and moving until the words start to flow again.
3. Read back over your page and highlight any elements that resonate strongly.
4. You’ll want to repeat this process a few times and compare for consistent themes and details. Your honest goals for a happier and more purposeful self will soon become apparent.
You can write a vision focussed on your career or your lifestyle more broadly, but either way, a clear and honest vision will help you decide your next move and evaluate opportunities that come your way. Most importantly, be honest with yourself and know that no one else needs to read this piece of paper but you. There are no judgments, so let your mind wander and be open to new ideas.
Written by Life and Career Coach Katie Evans, specializing in helping people
escape the rat race, find balance and turn career dreams into action.