How do I know what's on the other side?
Opportunities are presented to us in different ways. The old saying 'when one door closes, another door opens' is very true, however it is up to us to decide whether to step through that open door. The way you use an opportunity is how you will design and shape your future.
Taking that first step can be one of the hardest things you can do. It's comfortable staying on the inside, knowing what you know, keeping within the boundaries of your expertise - it's a safe place. But sometimes the overpowering excitement of the unknown, a new challenge or an unexpected shift can be exactly what you've been waiting for and a reason to step through to the other side.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you take that first step and design your career.
1. Understand your value and purpose
Values are the core principle that defines you. The more your career aligns with your values, the deeper the sense of satisfaction and the more energised you'll become.
For a lot of people purpose isn’t immediately clear, because they’ve never really thought about it. But as soon as you clarify your purpose, you’ll have direction, feel empowered and be inspired.
2. Use your favourite skills
What are you good at doing? What do you love doing?
A great resource is the 7 Success Stories exercise in the book by Richard Nelson Bolles: What Color Is Your Parachute? Think of the times you were successful and enjoyed the work that gave you that success. What skills did you use? Identify these skills and see how you can apply them in your career.
3. Stay flexible
There may be a number of different areas that you could see yourself working in. Experiment and see what you like best! Volunteer at a local non-profit. Join a committee. Subscribe to different industry groups.
Do you need additional skills? Enrol in a course or engage in further study.
All these things are part of your design an enable you to move in the right direction!
This is the real secret of career designing and is a critical part of career success. Yet many people are afraid to network, thinking that it is somehow impolite to ask others for help.
Networking is about sharing, not taking. It is about forming trust and helping one another toward goals. Networking is excellent for getting a fresh perspective, creating new ideas and building confidence that can help with your career design.
5. Get support
Seek out people who understand your situation or are a positive influence. Join a support group or create your own with like-minded friends. Hire a coach. Form your own personal board of directors. Surround yourself with optimism, people you can brainstorm with and bounce and test ideas. This is not the time to engage with any negativity.
Designing a career can be tricky so make sure you look after yourself and take time out to 'think'. Keep a success journal to remind you of all your great achievements.
You are only limited by your ability to embrace your future and you would be crazy to let these opportunities fly by.
So take that step, straight through the door...