This is the question I get asked most often! Here are some suggestions to consider when you want to change your working life.
Where do I start?
Often the work we would enjoy the most is actually quite different from what we are already doing and being able to visualize a new and completely different role is too hard from where we are standing right now. This is not always the case, but when the shift we suspect we need to make is too radical, we get stuck either because settling for one of the 'realistic' possibilities available to us to soften the blow isn’t appealing enough - or because we are 'afraid' of how such a big change will affect the rest of our lives.
What if we just become a bit more curious about what inspires us?
For many of us, career decisions made earlier in life no longer represent us and we are now unsure of what does. Traditional career advice has us look for answers by measuring our 'skills' against the demands of a fickle job market. When we are feeling restless and unsure of where to go next, looking for what gives us joy is an indicator of the direction we can start to explore before we examine the needs of the world around us. In this way we can be more confident that our next choice will be a more fulfilling one.
What if you follow your joy even if you can’t visualize how that relates to a future role for you? Can you start noticing every day what you enjoy during the course of your day? What makes you energized just to think about doing? What is it that you love doing but never get around to for lack of time and energy? Just keep track of this in a notebook.
And what if my joy is just a hobby, how can I make a life with a hobby?
If you are unsure of what a new working life could look like for you, don’t worry about that yet.
Give yourself permission to track the high points of your day for a while without questioning, no matter how simple or extravagant it may seem.
Following your joy will give you clues to the next step to investigate in your work change journey. Once you start noticing what you look forward to everyday, you can start doing more research around it. Finding your joy in yoga, for example, does not automatically mean training to become a yoga instructor, however you can ask yourself what you enjoy about it and then try to incorporate more of that into your life.
As you start opening doors in the direction of joy, you will be able to see further and further into what you could really get excited about doing every day before beginning the work of how to create your change.
Photo credit: Arial Lustre