If you didn’t have any obstacles in your career/life, what would you want to be doing?
This is the question I pose with many of my students/clients who are unsure of their next career move. You would be surprised how many people get stuck on that question. Not because they don’t know what they want (in some cases this is true but not all), but because most plan to pursue a career path that they have been on because it makes sense. Many people think they should keep going in their particular field of work because they have been in this field/role for many years and it makes sense to keep going. But, why? If you enjoy the career that you are in, then perfect. Keep going. However, many people don’t enjoy their jobs (as per many researches and studies that have been done on this topic), so how come we don’t stop and ask ourselves this question? For many that I speak with, they don’t event put that as an option, it often gets left behind as a dream they will never achieve. Why not? I understand that are many uncertainties that comes with such change. Maybe one doesn’t the necessary qualifications or background. Or maybe it will take longer for one to change careers vs staying in the comfortable one he or she has now. There is a possibility of demotion or salary cut as well. All of these are trade offs that one must consider when changing careers, absolutely. Nonetheless, what would you be willing to trade off to pursue your true passion instead being in a job you don’t enjoy? Why don’t we just get out of our own way and go for what we really love doing? I believe we are our biggest obstacles to success and we need to get on our own side instead of being the blocker. I don’t mean you should quit your day job and go for a pursue a start up company (or do! depending on your situation, of course), but what I mean is start taking small steps towards what it is that you really want to in this life. If you are missing qualifications, then maybe look into getting those; if you are missing experience, then get experience in that field (volunteer if needed). Do what you need to do but just start!
Don’t limit yourself because you feel you should stay in a particular field just because you have been in this field for many years. I understand that there responsibilities that all of us have; however, changing careers and pursuing your passion doesn’t necessarily mean a pay cut or a struggle. Often enough you are able to use your past experiences/education and transferable skills in your dream career. I don’t know about you, but I have never met anyone who regretted pursuing their passion. However, I meet plenty of people who regret staying in a job they don’t enjoy for longer than they should have.