Exploring Your Career Options: A New Approach

Most of the time when we think about our career options we look out into the world first. What jobs are out there? Can we do a particular job? Does it pay well? Some of us are especially good at chasing after the money jobs.

But you're exploring your career options because you're unhappy. So I suggest a different approach - one that helps you clarify your passions, your strengths and what brings meaning to your life. The steps are listed below with links to pages that will guide you through each step.

Step 1. Do work that you love to do. You've probably heard the phrase "do what you love, the money will follow". It's a nice, dreamy way to think about work. The world would be a better place if we all did work that we loved. It's a very important aspect of your work and the starting point toward a successful career change. But it's only part of the story....

Step 2. Use your strengths. You're probably an expert at listing your weaknesses. Do you know your strengths? Using your strengths in your career makes you feel competent and allows you to realize your potential.

Step 3. Do work that is meaningful. Often this is the missing element when you're unhappy with your work. It's also the hardest one to define since what is meaningful to you is different than what is meaningful to me. Ensuring that your work is meaningful, by your own definition, is key to happy, satisfying work.

The above 3 elements - finding work you love, using your strengths, and finding meaning - are the combination of things that makes you unique.

Getting clear on these elements and then focusing your career change to include these elements will help you realize your highest potential and bring you the greatest satisfaction with your work.

"It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do." - Joseph Campbell

Earning and Learning

There are a couple of additional steps to finish this process. Now you're clear on your passions, your strengths, and what brings meaning to your life. It's time to look out into the world and find who needs what you have to offer. The typical career options: find a job or start a business.

Or, have you identified a new career that involves going back to school? You'll need to decide whether to do it part-time or full-time. Thanks to technology, a lot of classes and programs are also available on-line.

There are a couple of other career options you can consider. You can take a sabbatical. Maybe you like your job and don't want to quit -- but you're itching to do some other things. There are some enlightened employers who allow and even encourage sabbaticals. If you are so lucky to have one of these employers, you can take an extended period of time off to explore the world, learn a new language, build a house, or start a business - or whatever you've been itching to do.

Another career option is a portfolio career. Like an artists portfolio, this kind of career includes a combination of several things. It allows variety and it evolves over time.

However you decide to proceed, one thing is certain: you will be happy with your choice of career options once you've clarified your passions, your strengths and what brings meaning to your life. Let your uniqueness guide you in your career change.

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