How many times have you analyzed something to death, only to realize that it had made you more confused than before? This often happens with my career coaching clients. People tend to analyze something over and over especially when it’s a big life change. Try to pay attention to your over analysis. In a career change, you need to temper your analysis with following your gut instinct as well.
A career coaching client once said to me, after our process was complete, “I learned I need to mellow out and be less Type A because it causes brain lock.” This doesn’t mean that you should throw your caution to the wind and not think about consequences. Just don’t get stuck over thinking your career decisions.
Following your gut can really pay off, but when doing so there is an element of risk. Do you feel stuck in your career journey? Are you at a crossroads and don’t know which way to turn? Whenever you feel stuck, the most important thing you can do is take an action step. If you’ve analyzed and dwelled on it, and you still don’t know which direction you want to go, it might be time to make a decision about what you really want and take a risk in order to pursue it.
One of my career coaching clients reminded me of this recently. He was at a crossroads and ready to take the next step in his career transition. He finally realized that having a job he truly enjoys was worth taking a risk. He knew how much happier he would be every day if he ended up in his dream job. Is the risk worth it for you? If so, it is important to take calculated and measured risks that are smart, but you also have to push yourself sometimes. You just have to balance the risks you take. Here is my favorite quote, “The greatest risk in life is not taking one.” Keep this in mind when you are trying to decide where to go next. Just remember that there’s a risk in not taking any risk at all.
Now that you have decided to take the next step on your career journey, you might be asking yourself what your next step actually is. Identifying your ideal career is a process but sometimes your passion and possible career path is right under your nose and you’ve simply overlooked it. You might have discounted it as a career idea, or something might have prevented you from thinking creatively about it as a career possibility. One of the exercises that I use with my clients who are beginning the coaching process is I have them look back at their previous jobs, volunteer opportunities, freelance work or other former work-related experiences. We discuss what they liked and didn’t like about each position.
One time while doing this exercise, my client remembered how much she enjoyed being a docent at a history museum. She loves history and learning, but had forgotten about that work experience. People often discount volunteer and freelance work as career possibilities. This is a big mistake! These are great options for career possibilities because the chances are that you took the time to volunteer because it is something you really enjoyed doing. What have you done in the past that you’ve enjoyed? If you revisited it, could there be a career idea lurking? Think about this and make a list so that you can see your options right in front of you.
Take the risk! Make your first step in finding your dream job. Remember no risk, no reward!