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Career change ideas: 7 ways to find out what you really want to do

It is often a lack of career change ideas that seems to keep many would-be career changers stuck. One of the things that clients often say to me is:

“I know I want to change careers, to do something different, but I just don’t know what I want to do instead.”

The problem is, they are stuck in a pattern of boxed-in thinking that prevents them from seeing the wealth of possibilities that are out there.

If you feel stuck in your career, here are some tips to help you get out of that place and to help you to generate a range of new career ideas to explore.


1. Forget job titles

Job titles really inhibit your thinking. If I asked you to list all the jobs you could think of, you might come up with a couple of hundred before you run dry.

In reality, there are thousands of jobs out there that you would never identify under your own steam, so forget the job title and focus instead on the key themes that are important for you in a job.

What do you want your dream job to involve?

2. List what you don’t want to do

This is often quite easy to do if you are in a job you hate and it is a very useful exercise. It helps you focus on the aspects of a job that really drive you nuts and then also pick out those that are annoying in your current job but, actually, you’d be prepared to put up with to some degree in a different situation.

When you identify something as a no-no, ask if it would always be no under all circumstances. This will help you to avoid rejecting jobs in a knee-jerk way because they share similarities with your current role.

3. List what you think you should want to do

What do you think your career should look like? What pressure are you putting on yourself to conform to certain expectations e.g. I must be earning a certain salary, I should be in a professional role, it must be something that other people will respect and admire me for.

Just check with yourself whose rules you are following here. Who exactly says that your career must look like this? Is this really what you want or what other people say you should aspire to?

4. List what you would do if anything were possible

Yes, you are allowed to take the brakes off here and create a big dream. Forget the constraints you put on yourself, wherever they come from. If your fairy godmother arrived to take you to the ball, what job or career would you ask her to line up for you as part of the deal?

5. List what you would do if you gave yourself permission to say that you want it

So often, we limit the possibilities in our lives because we just don’t allow ourselves to want something.

Maybe you want to earn lots of money but that seems too greedy. Maybe you want to have an easy, quiet job but that seems too lazy. Maybe you want to set up your own business but you can’t because you have to think about so many other people in your life first.

What do you need to give yourself permission to want to do?

6. Reinvent yourself

If you could rewind the tape on your life and re-run it, what would you do? If you could dump all the stuff, the rules, the history that you have gathered on your journey through life to this point and travel light without the baggage, where would your journey take you?

What would the new you look like and what work would this new person be doing? What does this tell you about what would really inspire you?

7. Think big and think small

Your new career does not have to be something world changing and grand. If you want to change the world, great! Go ahead and build your new career around this big vision.

But, if you feel drawn to operating on a more local scale, that’s fine too. Small changes can be just as transforming for your career and your life as big ones, so don’t be fooled into thinking that bigger is necessarily better. Career change success is about finding what feels right for you.

So, take some time to think about your career change with these seven tips in mind – and by time I mean days, weeks, maybe even months if necessary. Changing career is a big step, so allow yourself the time and space to really think it through.

A career coach can help you take stock of what you want to do and can support you in trying to get there. Find a career coach near you today.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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