Updated: May 13
Change will always be surrounded by some form of doubt, but from change comes growth and new beginnings. Millions of thoughts are running through our minds as we adapt to this new world and wait to get back to our normal routine. However, we know that things will never return to what was; many of these changes are here to stay. More business will be conducted virtually, more workers will work remotely, and more automation will augment the workforce, which will lead to career changes for most (both voluntary and involuntary). It could be expected that younger professionals, who were once motivated by purpose-driven work, will be more willing to trade maximum job satisfaction for more stability. Meanwhile, professionals in the prime of their career (who have now gone through three crushing economic events in their careers - 9/11, the Great Recession in 2008 and now the COVID-19 pandemic) will likely come out of all this thinking about what they really want to be doing and how they can make a lasting impact in their remaining professional years.
How professionals view the world, and the new opportunities upon them, can significantly impact the direction and trajectory they take in this next chapter of life. For those who find themselves facing this change, the silver lining is that it affords an opportunity to pause and consider how to become what you are meant to be. Your unique perception of the world can create a vision of what is possible, and this kind of creative thinking is what powers satisfaction and fulfillment.
If you are considering your next move, begin by asking yourself “what am I looking for in my next career opportunity.” Putting your training, certifications, skills, and professional experience aside, what do you offer and what would you truly like to be doing? I believe the most important thing to loving what you do is genuinely believing in what you do and feel a sense of fulfillment when you are doing it. How would this look when you describe your next career opportunity? There are likely common threads that weave together those moments in your career when you came alive with what you have to offer. It’s in these threads where you will find your next opportunity and love what you’re doing.
Consider these tips on how to work on getting to the next chapter of your career, describe what you are looking for and fulfill your career aspirations:
1. Get out of your head: Find something that takes your mind off what you’re trying to do, see things in a different way, and feel what it’s like to come alive when you’re contributing. This could be something such as volunteering for a cause that you are passionate about, mentoring developing professionals, or speaking/writing/teaching about a hobby.
2. Be honest with yourself: The first tendency, when thinking about your next opportunity, is to be critical of yourself, discount your value, and feel doubt about taking the next step. But you are unique unto yourself and you are capable of doing the job that you envision. So, allow yourself to dream and create a vision for what your value is and what your future could look like.
3. Be patient and have faith, but never slow down: I cannot stress the important of patience and faith. Things do not happen on the timeline we typically set for ourselves and our plans are often too robust to achieve. It is so important that you set achievable milestones, actions, and timelines to keep you moving forward and making progress toward the ultimate goal – a concept called “micro-goals.”
4. You cannot do it by yourself, find a Coach: Coaches facilitate the development of personal or professional objectives. A good coach acts as a facilitator to help you ask better questions and explore your own answers. They serve as a guide while you create a plan, define outcomes, experiment to keep you moving forward, and hold you accountable to achieving your goals.