Gallup’s most recent article, State of the Global Workplace reveals that employee engagement worldwide is at an astonishing 15 percent. That means the vast majority of today’s employees are simply not happy with their jobs. If you are in this majority, it might be time for you to design the perfect career for yourself.
What Is A Dream Career?
Before you can design it, you have to identify it. Some might want to do the old “follow your passions” routine but that may not always work out. Experts from the London based research organization, 80,000 Hours reviewed dozens of studies about dream jobs and came up with six major components of a “dream job.” They include:
- Work that’s engaging
- Work that helps others
- Work you are good at
- Work that has supportive colleagues
- Work with a lack of major negatives
- Work that fits your life
For entrepreneurs, this means asking yourself questions about what your goals and ambitions are and being realistic as well as honest with the answers. What are you good at? What makes you feel fulfilled? How many hours do you want to spend pursuing that each week?
You can also talk to those closest to you; often they see the things we are great at, that we don’t see in ourselves. Maybe you’re great at giving advice and would make a fantastic life coach or perhaps your cooking is outstanding and you could write a cookbook and have a cooking channel.
Steps to Getting Started
Once you figure out what your dream career looks like, it’s time to start building it. Here are eight steps to getting started.
1. Use Your Fear
Caution is one thing but fear is another. Many of today’s employees stay in jobs they are unhappy with because they are fearful of risk. But launching a new career is never without risk so accepting this fact will help you in overcoming any anxiety that may come with a career change. Instead of letting your fears hold you back, use your fear as motivation.
2. Begin Learning
You may be great at whatever your career choice involves but entrepreneurs need to know more than just their specialty, especially if they’re starting with a shoestring budget and outsourcing or hiring employees isn’t an option. You will feel more confident when you learn about different aspects of the business world and there are plenty of free online resources to augment your existing knowledge.
Consider researching things like:
- Business management
Every business has each of the above components. If you are interested in entrepreneurship you can make your transition more comfortable by learning more about different aspects of the business world before leaving your present career and becoming a full time entrepreneur.
3. Let Go of What You Know
As a new entrepreneur, you are bound to find yourself in places you’ve never been before.
And that’s okay.
Success doesn’t come overnight nor does it happen in a straight line. In fact, the majority (90 percent) of entrepreneurs fail. But entrepreneurs don’t need to know everything to succeed; rather, they need to be willing to learn as much as possible and continue to grow. Having a growth mindset will help you form new ideas and see things differently; so remember to be open to learning new things.
4. Determine Possible Inhibitors
Before launching into a new career, identify your weakest areas. Nobody is perfect. Define the personality traits and professional shortcomings you may have that could sabotage your career and find ways to mitigate it. For example, if writing is not your cup of tea, try to think of alternatives to getting content on your website.
This puts you in control of potential performance impediments before they even happen.
5. Write It Down
This is a crucial step to helping you specifically design the dream career for you. Set aside plenty of time to write down your career narrative and define for yourself what your dream career looks like, why it looks that way, and the things that you’ve done, experienced, or learned that make it a great fit for you.
You can even go further to include your visions of how your life and career will look after one, five, and ten years after you begin this career.
Alternatively, you can write as if you are already successful and then go into the specific steps of what you did to reach that success. This is a great exercise to come up with stream-of-conscious ideas that you may not have thought of. It might feel ridiculously silly at first but you might be surprised by what you come up with.
6. List Your Needs
You won’t start baking a cake without all the ingredients and a career change is the same way. Make a list of the things you will need to have a successful launch. From an effective business plan to paperclips in the desk, try to list everything you can think of that will help position you to succeed and then work to accumulate those things.
7. Join Organizations/Groups
Start networking as soon as possible with people and organizations that share your interest. Networking will help you to develop and improve your skill set, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, and assist you in meeting prospective mentors, partners, and clients.
8. Create An Action Plan
Having a plan is like having a map. Likewise, not having a plan, is like traveling blindly with no GPS. An effective career plan will help you navigate through the steps of a career change by helping you keep in mind your short- and long-term goals and how to reach them.
Ultimately, a dream career is one where – even with the inevitable trials and tribulations – you awaken each day with a feeling of gratitude and fulfillment for the work you are doing. Even if your goal is just to switch careers, rather than becoming an entrepreneur, your career should be one that makes you feel connected to a bigger picture and valued as a person.