During this time of Covid-19, there are more people out of work than at anytime since the 1930s. And those who have been able to remain working are experiencing an enhanced percentage of burnout. These facts lead to one obvious conclusion: a large number of Americans are searching for new jobs and new careers. Many men and women are scrambling to find employment simply to survive and maintain what they have. However, there is also a large number of individuals who are taking the opportunity to explore new and different career paths; seeking balance and fulfillment in their professional lives.
But how should a person considering a new career path go about ensuring that they choose a fulfilling yet financially responsible professional direction? Here are 5 tips to an exciting and satsfying new work life. Lets list them and then we will break them down.
- Do not fear the unknown;
- The answer is already inside of you;
- Get educated;
- Walk the tightrope;
- Stick to your guns
1. Do Not Fear The Unknown
The most crippling and self-limiting emotion is fear. We have all experienced it at some point, but the key is learning to control our fear and not allowing it to rule our decision making. Perhaps you have been in the same field for many years and now it is time for a change. You have a choice. You can either wring your hands and allow your fear to control you, or you can seize control of your fear and view the situation as an opportunity. You have the chance to do not just what you must for income, but to do what you want for income.
Do not be afraid to follow your dream. Of all of the finite resources that affect our daily lives, the most important, and yet most overlooked, is the time we have on this plain of existence. Every one of us has an invisible clock over our heads counting down to the time when we will shuffle off our mortal coil and none of us know how many more hours we have been given. Fear of the unknown should not be given a single moment.
All of the positive things in our lives begins with a step out into the unknown. It begins as a new adventure. That willingness and drive to explore what the universe has to offer us each day is an important factor in determining whether an individual has a grip on their fear. And whether they have been introspective enough to truly understand their desires and abilities.
2. The Answer Is Already Inside You
Our ability to lie to ourselves seems unending. We often rationalize and convince ourselves that where we are in life is not within our control; that we have no choice but to continue replaying each day the same. Responsibilities, life circumstances and expectations all play a role in how we make a living. However, now that we must step into a new career, how can we be sure we are not playing Don Quixote out chasing windmills?
Introspection is defined as “A reflective looking inward: An examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings” (Merriam-Webster.com). But past the definition, introspection is the secret to unlocking our joy, happiness and inner-peace. The more devoted a person becomes to truly knowing themselves, the easier it becomes to be certain that their decisions are in line with their inner wants and needs. The answers we seek are often found not by Google or by speaking with friends and family, but by looking inside ourselves.
We are, by our nature, very perceptive creatures. We do not, however, always keep those perceptions in our conscious mind. In order to access our hopes and desires, while filtering them through our abilities and experience, we need to spend some time quietly looking within ourselves. When we come to a realization, a decision, that is backed by our inner-selves, we tend to know it immediately. We can feel the weight of doubt lifted from our shoulders. It feels right and causes a rush of nervous excitement. That is what we are looking for, that sense that things are falling into place and we are excited to take the next steps.
3. Get Educated
Now that you have decided what you want to do, the next step is figuring out how to do it. Do you need any specialized training, a specific college degree, a technical certificate, or just some good old fashioned research to be successful in your newly chosen career? If so, how can you achieve the requirements?
Simply put, do it! Get the training or degree. Nearly all colleges and universities are offering online courses for degrees and certifications. If you do not need specialized training, all the better. Then it is up to you to do your research and be as prepared as possible for your career move, have an appropriate and updated resume, learn the jargon used by insiders in the profession and get yourself seen as a viable option.
4. Walk The Tightrope
Striking a comfortable and sustainable balance between our professional and personal lives is one of the more difficult tasks to do in modern society. Both sides of the coin seem to demand more of our time than we are able to give. But it is possible to find a balance point that is right for us. And it all comes back to…you guessed it, introspection and communication. How important to us is our new career path and how important to us is our personal or family life? Will we be happier putting our nose to the grindstone and seeking success quickly, or is it more important to us to make the required amount income while spending more time with family and friends?
It is not a “one size fits all” solution. The balance point between our professional and personal lives is as individual as our fingerprints. Take the time to be introspective on what really makes you happy, what brings the most joy to your life. Decide how mmuch time can you reasonably devote to that undertaking and build from there. Have a passion for classic car restoration and resale, but also have small children at home? Would you rather be a big-time player in the classic car market within the next couple of years, or would you rather be able to watch every soccer game your children play and be there for Student of the Week lunches, while understanding that you may need to wait a few extra years to really show your best possible work?
That balance is key to a healthy mental attitude as well as harmony in your relationships and within yourself. Too much social time can lead to poor work performance or a poor reputation in your industry, while all work and no play makes for a very unhappy home life. Be honest with yourself and do the introspective work. Also, don’t forget to communicate your thoughts and feelings on the matter with those around you. Many of us married men know the phrase, “Happy wife, happy life”. That is not always the case, but talking through your time management plan with your spouse or friends is always a good idea.
5. Stick To Your Guns
From acquaintances to family members to that little voice of doubt in your head, it seems as though there is never a lack of discouragement when stepping out of one’s comfort zone into a new career to seek fulfillment. Keep one thing clear in your mind…this is right for you. If you have done the introspection and you are happy with your choice, then others will need to jump on your bandwagon or get left in your dust. A joyful, fulfilled you is going to be better in your personal life and more productive at work. Do not let anyone dissuade you from your dreams and goals. Do not waffle. Your decisions may not be how others would have done it, but you need to be responsible for your own self-care. Part of caring about and respecting yourself is knowing what you want and telling the universe that it IS what you want and what you need; and telling people who are negative influences that you do not currently need their input. You are not forcing anyone else to live your life, you are making decisions based on your thoughts, feelings and emotions. If you have been true to yourself, your confidence will shine through.
Self-confidence can come in two flavors: self-aware and self-aggrandizing. Self-awareness found through introspection and personal responsibility is a magnetic quality. You will attract positive people and events to yourself. Self-aggrandizing and inflating your own ego regardless of the facts has never led to happiness or sucess. You may think you are pulling the wool over people’s eyes, but a scam artist is always revealed in the end.
The Wrap Up
In conclusion, these 5 simple tips will lead you down a path to finding personal fulfillment in your job or career. Do not be ruled by fear; look inward for answers; get educated; balance your professional and personal life; and never waiver in your commitment.
So remember to take the time to do the introspective work early and often. It will ensure you are on the correct path for you and it will keep you from straying. Introspection is the train track while everyone else is looping around in a bumper car. Be willing to set yourself up for success. You deserve to be successful; you deserve to be happy; you deserve to be joyful; and you deserve inner-peace.