Many women spend months, years, even decades in jobs they hate and careers that are out of alignment with who they really are. Perhaps it did once, but over time or down to life experience, things have changed. Still, they’ve sucked it up and stuck at it and kept themselves distracted; over-working, binge drinking, comfort eating, starting and re-starting goals. But, unfortunately, distraction is a short-term solution, and when we use it as a coping mechanism, it takes a toll on our wellbeing, confidence, and self-esteem.
This article is to help you explore ways you can find work you love or (if leaving your job isn’t an option) help you learn to enjoy the work you do – it’s about expanding your curiosity to what’s possible and taking back control.
1. Create a list of your inherent strengths v’s your skills – there is a big difference.
When we’re living out our strengths, the sky is the limit; when we only focus on using our skill set, we quickly burn out; the same goes for only improving our weaknesses.
Honing in on using more of your strengths will help you enjoy more of what you do in your day-to-day. To identify your strengths, consider the projects, work, or tasks that have always come easy for you. When you start, you can easily lose track of time doing and the things you enjoy doing, but not everyone else does. These will uncover what you’re innately good at doing.
Once you’ve created your list, think of ways these strengths could translate into an inspiring career. To help you get creative complete this sentence:
“Wouldn’t it be cool if…” as many times as you can (at least ten times) until you start to get the answers that light you up.
2. Next, research career options, gather information about the paths you’re considering and how they could influence and share your long-term goals. Reach out to professionals working in those fields, people who can give you information, support, and guidance. Remember not to compare. See this as an opportunity to be inspired!
3. Consider joining professional organisations or attend social events to create authentic connections and yourself a visible expert in your field. It’s not always necessary to retrain or do a course to change careers. Strengths translate into many different careers. Taking on a course is a good option to upskill or uplevel your knowledge, but remember, the qualification isn’t what defines you – you define yourself!
4. Contact prospective employers to learn about potential career opportunities, consider what it will take to set up something for yourself, and think about what you are willing to sacrifice. For example, will you be ok with a pay cut, working longer hours, moving to a new city or country? Possibilities are endless.
Be patient; finding a new career that you love may take time, and you might have to try a few different positions before finding an ideal fit. Adopt a growth mindset to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.
If changing your career isn’t an option, or perhaps you’re just not ready to make that leap, choose to be proactive in loving the work you do.
5. Start by requesting to work on projects that interest you. Let your team know the areas you’re passionate about – it’s often the same: you’ll produce the best results.
6. Surround yourself with peers and colleagues who support your work, push you in encouraging ways to do more of what lights you up.
7. Accept constructive feedback and work towards improving your weak points – though continue to focus on your strengths, use your weaker points as an opportunity to learn a new skill but do not define your worth.
8. Stay motivated by giving yourself small rewards for accomplishing goals. Focus on ways to inject more creative fun into your life, take a class, take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to do, wardrobe make-over, or decorating your house.
9. Make your office environment more attractive, add fresh flowers to your desk, invest in a comfortable chair, hang up motivational quotes and pictures, take in a healthy lunch and snacks.
For most of us, taking that first step to try something new is scary. You know you want to do it, but the fear of failing can stop us before we even start. These activities help you break that barrier to start something even though there is no clear outcome; it’s like your rough draft. These exercises prompt you to take a chance and be open to the possibility that you can create change in your career one step at a time.
Do what you love, love what you do.
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