Is there a job that you would love to do? Or a business you would love to start? But you don’t yet have the experience, and are not even sure if achieving your dream job 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, you will soon run up 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!
What do you love doing so much you would do it for nothing? What difference do you want to make in the world through your work? What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
But after forming the big dream you must ask some reality-checking questions about it. Do 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 truly 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 longer hours. You may need to gain new qualifications or experience. Your may need to make sacrifices to reach a higher 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 sacrifices to make along the way, you are absolutely committed and willing to do what it takes.
The reality check means you are starting to turn your dream from what may be pure fantasy into 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 ambition 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. And be honest and 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. Identify something that would give you a lot of what you want and then work towards that.
The truth is that successful career change can involve 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.