Part Four: Exploring Options

This is the fourth part of a series of mini guides which aims to help you find a career you love. They include tips from me but also practical advice from some of the hundreds of individuals who I have coached over the last 10 years, the sort of things they may have shared with friends or family going through a career move.

I encourage people to take a step back and explore different options rather than automatically applying for a role that is similar to what they have previously been doing. The analysis of your skills and values could help you uncover some alternative options and this ‘crazy ideas’ exercise may uncover more. I encourage you to write down anything that pops into your head no matter how unusual it sounds. Try not to dismiss any ideas, they are coming up from your unconscious and may hold valuable clues as to what you would really like to do in your career.

For example, I may have an idea to run away with the circus. Obviously, that’s not very practical and I could dismiss it out of hand but if I analyse why this idea came to mind it may give me some clues as to what I want from my career. It may be that I like travelling, so it’s the wandering from place to place an appeals to me, it might be that I like an audience- getting their applause feels like external recognition, it could be that I really want to have the camaraderie and close teamwork that arises in a close-knit circus community.

So, try not to think of the reasons why you couldn’t do something but rather focus on what would be good about it. This way, you might understand from your unconscious the things that you would love to do.

This exercise, coupled with the others I have suggested in previous mini guides, can help you really get to know yourself and may uncover new routes for your career. You may explore lots of different options and realise the thing you’ve been doing all along, but even then, the time will not be wasted. You will know yourself so much better by the time you’ve gone through this exercise and you will know why you’re good at your job and why you enjoy it. You will also be able to articulate your skills and expertise in a clear and positive way which will help when talking to recruiters and your network.

“See this transition as an opportunity to consider different options that you may have always been interested in but not thought possible previously.”

“Keep fluid in your thinking and broaden out so that you can extend your offerings and open up to more opportunities.” 

“Embrace the unexpected opportunity or change of direction. I went from being a global marketing director to public sector inward investment work and then back to completely new areas of private sector work and have loved the new challenges.”

“Recruitment is a two-way conversation to determine 'fit', so take some risks in looking at organizations you might not otherwise be sure about.”

“Be open to new opportunities.”

“Equally, do know what you don’t want to do.  I knew that after a number of years an HR Director, I did not want an operational role with responsibility for a team.  I had been there and done that! “. 

“Be prepared to take a new turn - perhaps an industry you have never worked in before. Take yourself out of your comfort zone a little but use the skills you have and transfer them to your new environment.”

“Be open in your approach, look at different avenues, consider your transferable skills” 

Try to have some fun with this phase, considering all the things you could be without putting any barriers in the way. Also trust in the process, it may seem like you are confusing things by opening out new possibilities, but it will ultimately lead to greater clarity.

This series of mini guides will give you some practical tips and hints from people that have been through it and found what they are looking for. The next one is about using the information gained about you and your options and to focus on a clear message to market.

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