Is there a job that you would love to do? But you don’t yet have the experience, and are not even sure if achieving your dream is realistic.
Let’s face it, most employers are risk averse. They want to be certain that you are up to the job, and the easiest way for them to be sure is to hire some who has actually done it before.
Even if you dream of running your own business doing something you love, you will run up pretty quickly against reality. If you don’t offer a product or service people want AND find a way to tell them about it through your marketing, then you don’t have a business.
So how do you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be?
There is a 3 step process that can help you navigate through change.
A. Have a vision of where you want to go.
B. Get crystal clear about the reality of where are you right now.
C. Work out the steps needed to get from A to B and turn these into an actionable plan
I’m a big fan of realism when it comes to reviewing your career options, but only at the right point. The right point is after you have identified your absolute ideal job. So start off by dreaming big!
But after the big dream you must ask some reality checking questions about it so you know exactly what this work involves on a day to day basis. Try and speak with people who are actually doing this type of work to get a sense of what is really involved.
A reality check of your perfect job or business may throw up compromises and barriers. For example more status and money may mean working long hours, to gain new qualifications or experience, and to meet what is needed to reach that level. Is this what you really want? Or you might identify fears of not being good enough – can I really make it? Isn’t it safer just to dream? Or it might reveal that even if there is a long way to go and it may involve some financial sacrifice along the way, you are absolutely committed and are prepared to do whatever it takes.
The reality check is a positive thing, because it means you are starting to turn the dream from what may be pure fantasy to a vision of something you might actually end up doing. You may find yourself making changes to your original dream job at this point. To start with a big dream and adjust it after a reality check is far more powerful than to limit your thinking initially with too much realism.
Once you’ve identified a job, career or business idea that resonates and feels right, then you can start to work out how to make it happen.
And this is where it’s important to come back to the present and focus in detail on where you are now. This includes digging down into all your strengths and transferable skills, as well as being specific about any gaps between where you are now and where you want to be.
Then you can start to formulate an actionable plan. If there’s a big gap between what you want and you can’t see the end point, then set a mid point, something that would give you a lot of what you want and then work towards that.
The truth is that career change involves a fair amount of good fortune and serendipity as well as careful planning. But the great thing about planning is that it is within your control and something that you can do NOW to take you a step closer to achieving your dreams.