How to decide and test your dream career

The idea of starting an entirely new career in an unexplored field can feel really daunting. Let’s say you work in marketing, but you dream of running your own yoga studio. There are things you can do to test out this idea and bridge the gap without taking a big risk and leaping in, especially without the certainty of knowing you’ll love it. Think of it like dipping your toe in the water, testing the temperature without having to jump right in!


I will explain how to decide and test your dream career below!

You don't always need to pivot entirely from one full-time job to another. Instead, think of your new career idea as something you could do alongside your current job, even if only to start with.

Reflect on the things you’ve always been interested in, maybe something you considered when you were younger. Perhaps it's something you would do if the salary wasn't an influence? For example, you may be interested in music, theatre, dancing, coaching or counselling, humanitarian aid, dog walking, or conservation. Maybe it’s something creative, designing jewellery or clothes, maybe you’ve considered being a teacher. The list of options is endless.

The key to making these interests seem real is as much a mindset as it is strategy and execution. So, instead of looking at this as a full career change, think about how you could incorporate this into your life as it currently is. 

Is volunteering in the evenings an option? Could work give you time to focus on this? Could you also make a profit from it? For example, if it’s coaching you wanted to explore, could you work with just two clients and coach in your spare time? What volunteer opportunities are there to explore humanitarian aid? Is there at least a week a year you could give to support this cause? This isn’t something you will have to do forever but giving a little bit of time to this now, can be a great way to explore new careers.

Being intentional about how you spend your time in the testing phase is what will lead to a fulfilling, fruitful, dynamic career.

Some of the benefits of exploring your options in this way include: 

  • Exposing you to a new industry to test out without taking big risks.
  • Allowing you to have a side passion project that will give you focus, drive and something that is uniquely yours.
  • Will enhance your skill set.
  • Could open doors to get into that career full-time if that is something you choose to do.
  • Expands your network; you don’t know who you may meet and what doors of opportunity may open.
  • Can help remove the ‘all or nothing’ feeling in your career.

That final point above is an important one on how to decide and test your dream career. When your career is your main focus, it can be a little all-consuming. It can be what defines you and your emotions/general mood. When it’s going well, it’s great, but it can feel more intense when work is difficult because it’s your one priority.

You may find yourself at the end of your workday dwelling over the thing that didn’t go well at work, like that arsey email your manager sent you, or the deal that didn’t close well. This is when work begins to have a negative impact more widely, whether this is in your relationships, friendships or home life. This is when an ‘all or nothing’ approach to work can damage your general well-being and life satisfaction.

Therefore, having an alternative focus can reduce the impact work-related ups and downs can have. It will help manage your perspective if you are focusing on another passion.

Maybe you want to try tutoring and counselling. Imagine you’ve had a crap day at work, and instead of just sitting at home ruminating, or feeling sluggish, you are logging on to tutor someone? Helping someone else? Or designing something to sell on Etsy so you can go on holiday with the additional income!

To conclude, I’ve outlined a bunch of alternative and unique ways to decide and test your dream career without committing immediately and fully. If you are interested in finding out more about working with me, get in touch to book your free call. Check out my signature programme which takes you from overwhelmed and stuck, to confident, and happy, in a job you love and are excited to wake up every morning.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, EC2A 4NE
Written by Sarah Burrows
London, EC2A 4NE

Sarah is Career Coach, with an MSc in Psychology. She helps women who are stuck, lost or unfulfilled in their careers, to discover a purpose-filled career or business that makes them happy.

She also supports individuals in their careers generally, whether it's salary negotiations, leadership, or career development.

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