As you’re relaxing by the pool this summer, if you find yourself dreading the Monday morning return to work, then summer can also be a great time to take stock of your career goals and to gear up for more fulfilling and rewarding changes in your work life. Summer is the perfect opportunity to play with the possibilities of change – to explore your passion and figure out just what it is that you’d rather be doing. Opening up to new ideas and allowing yourself to consider new directions, even if they don’t seem immediately practical or feasible, can make all the difference between realizing your dream job and staying stuck on a go-nowhere path.
Getting past feeling trapped is key in forging new horizons for yourself. Self-limiting beliefs like, “I’ve been doing this too long to do anything else,” or “This is what I went to school for and I’m stuck with it,” are barriers to finding your way out of the work grind. In order to step into new possibilities, you have to first be willing to suspend all those negative, unhelpful thoughts and begin to embrace instead those thoughts that energize you. Those energizing thoughts are the ones that lay the foundation for actualizing a plan that just may lead to your ultimate work bliss.
If you are having trouble even knowing what that passion is, start with a simple, fun exercise that I often ask my career coaching clients to complete. Imagine that you will be hosting a dinner party of 10 to 12 guests. What do these dinner guests do for a living? These are not necessarily jobs that you imagine yourself doing but they are jobs that you would be interested in hearing about. For example, at my dinner party, I would invite a dolphin researcher, an archaeologist, and a private investigator just to name a few.
What do these professions have to do with being a psychologist? Not much. Except that there is a common thread of studying and researching behavior. So, hidden within my dinner party guest list lies my career passion of working as a psychologist.
Now it’s your turn to try! Take a look at your guests. What common themes do you see? Do you see two very opposite professions such as a painter and an accountant? This may be a reflection of different aspects of yourself that need or want to be expressed. Which themes repeat the most? Can you think of ways to integrate different parts? If you need help deciphering your list, ask a friend to look at it for you and to give you their thoughts.
Look closely enough and you just may discover that your dinner guests are pointing the way to a more exciting and satisfying career!