Try these 4 things to work out your next fulfilling career step
Many clients come to me saying that they’ve lost their passion for their work, or that they want to do something more meaningful, but are really feeling stuck about what career step to take next.
The questions “What do I do now?” and “Where do I go next?” can be start to be answered by practicing a little introspection. And evidence shows, that when we find meaning in our work, we can expect increases in happiness and engagement, improvement to our performance – and an overall positive impact on our wellbeing.
When I (after plenty of introspection and hours as a coaching client) defined my next fulfilling career step away from the world of corporate communications and into the role of a coach, it was like fireworks going off! I felt so excited that I’d found work that suited who I am and gave me purpose.
Even now, almost 5 years after I made my move, I still feel energised and fulfilled by my work – every day!
So, unless you’d like to get started with coaching support right away, here are 4 steps (based on my education, experience, and insightful inputs from my colleague Annabel Musson) you can start with to define your next fulfilling career step:
Step 1 – Find your inspiration
This first step is really important to help you really connect to your future work. Inspiration can come from many different areas of life, both from within and externally. In order for you to find your inspiration, have a think about the following questions:
- What are your goals?
- What do you want to stand for or live for?
- What are your passions?
Use these techniques to help you find inspiration for your next career step:
- Reflect – Spend some time alone in a quiet place. Close your eyes and begin to quiet your mind. When you feel like your mind is not so busy, think deeply about your purpose in life, and what brings you meaning.
- Look at others whom you admire – Who do you look up to? Think about why you look up to them, and note this down. Do some research into successful people who are in the career field that sparks your interest, look into their journey and how they got to where they are today.
- Talk with friends and family – asking the people who know you best about what kind of career would suit you can open your mind up to things you may not have considered before. Also, if they are successful, and you look up to them, ask them for advice on how they got to where they are today. This can help you form your path to having the career you want.
Step 2 – Understand your preferences better
You can understand your preferences better by learning more about yourself, for example, your strengths, interests and character traits. Below are some ways you could do so:
- Doing psychometric assessments, such as: aptitude tests, behavioural tests and assessment centres. I recommend 16 Personalities and VIA Character Strengths.
- Evaluate your strengths and identify which activities deplete you of energy.
- Examine your priorities –what is most important to you?
- Examine what you daydream about most – this can indicate us to what we really want.
- Work with a coach – a leadership, career and wellbeing coach, like myself, can help you identify what really matters to you and what kinds of roles would be best suited to you.
Step 3 – Talk to yourself like an interviewer
Think like interviewer – their purpose is to get to know you on a deeper level, and see how well you would be suited to a role. You can do this for yourself in order to help you work out your next step.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This question allows you to genuinely consider what you want to be doing in 5 years. Perhaps you have worked in a multinational company for a while, and realised that in 5 years, you no longer want to feel like a small fish in a very big pond. Perhaps you want to be an entrepreneur and running your own company instead? Maybe you want to be making enough money to travel the world? Or have more kids? And a question I like to ask often is: in 5 year’s time, what would you regret not doing?
Once you have the answer to this question, you can start to work backwards, and work out the steps you need to take in order to get there.
- What makes you want to leave your current employer?
This question gives you some insight into the challenges of your current employment and helps you to identify what you don’t want from a future work situation. If the reason you’re seeking other employment is to run away from current work stressors, consider the root cause of these stressors. Is it the environment? Personality clashes? If you’re running away from current turmoil at your job, you may not find greener grass without first considering your needs.
((If you do decide to stay put, there are plenty of evidence-based and effective techniques that we can work on together to help you cope better in challenging circumstances and ensure that you are taking care of your overall wellbeing.))
Step 4 – Start taking action
Before you can take your next career step, you need to plan for how you’re going to do so. Follow the below steps to help you get there and reach your ideal career:
- Brainstorm – Come up with a list of ideas about how you can advance your career or move up the ladder. Perhaps, doing a master’s degree is a good first step? Or, maybe taking up some additional training? Starting to take action – one small step at a time – to get you to where you want to be, will make your dream career move feel real – not just a dream anymore.
- Volunteer or do side work – Find an organisation that will allow you to volunteer for a few hours a week in your dream sector. By doing this, you’ll gain valuable experience and also be able to generate a list of your likes and dislikes for your next position.
- Start applying for jobs– Get your CV professionally reviewed and reconnect back to your accomplishments and transferable skills. Develop your elevator pitch or professional value proposition, so that in 2-3 concise sentences you can share your professional background, your strengths and what you are looking for. Start an authentic network strategy to meet people in the areas of work you are interested in, learn about employers you may like to work for – and ask trusted members of your network for introductions.
I hope that you find these four steps valuable in your journey towards your next fulfilling career move. If you’d like my support, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Kelly is a certified coach with over 20 years of experience, holds the PCC credential from the International Coach Federation and has completed a MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology with distinction. She offers bespoke positive psychology based coaching packages to help ambitious professionals to develop their authentic leadership identity, create more fulfilling careers and implement personalised strategies for optimal wellbeing at work.