Change inspires both fear and excitement, and one of our greatest talents is learning to manage both. Sometimes we have to be a little like a trapeze artist we have to let go of one bar before we catch the new one.- Nick Williams, writer of The Run We Were Born to Do
You just finished college or graduate school and are looking for your first task. Youre in a job you dislike. Youre in a job you love, but with no upward mobility. Youre thinking about going back to school. You tried to start your own thing and it didnt work up. Or youve been traveling or having “childrens and” “ve tried to” re-enter the workforce.
Whatever situation youre in, at some phase youre going to wind up asking yourself: What do I do next? Where do I go from here? How do I figure out my next step ?
In my experience, there are three distinct stages you must pass through in order to be able to answer these questions: turning inward, seeking external inspiration, and then taking action. The first two stages instruct you to basically stop everything. Because figuring out what to do next is like needing to tie your shoelace. You cant do it while youre still operating; you have to pause and do it properly.
But you also have to keep running eventually. You dont get anywhere in life by pure philosophizing you get places by doing, and thats where the last stage be coming back. Youve devoted yourself a chance to catch your breath, which youve done while honoring the crucial balance between internal reflection and external inspiration, and now youre well-equipped with the information and confidence you need to make a decision.
Heres a break-down of the 22 steps I recommend for getting unstuck and moving forward with conviction in your personal and professional life.
STAGE 1: TURN INWARD
1. Give yourself time in silence . Spend 15 -3 0 minutes every morning without any noise or distractions. Ask your heart topics( What is my next step? What would I really be happy doing ?) and listen to what responses come from your hunch. We spend so much of our days doing that we dont give ourselves any time for just being. 2. Travel . This doesnt have to be the whole lose yourself to find yourself line because I know from 3+ years of traveling that it doesnt actually happen like that. What I entail is to seek motion and exploration: a long auto ride, an afternoon in a place with good people-watching, a short weekend away. A change of scenery is tremendously inspirational, as is problem-solving and demonstrating self-sufficiency. 3. Think about your childhood . What things were you naturally good at? What are your happiest memories? What did you dream of doing before the world starting pushing and pulling on you? Let your past successes help inform your future.
4. Record your dreamings. Dreams are an incredible window into your subconscious mind. Before you go to bed, spend time reflecting and asking yourself for clarity about your next step. Leave a notebook under your pillow and, upon waking, write off your dreams before you move, look at the time, or check your cell phone. Reflect on reoccurring situations, emblems, people, and places.
5. Go for a daily walk . Many great creative and powerful intellects swear by walking( no music , no distractions) for inspiration and introspection: Gandhi, Stephen King, Thich Nhat Hanh, J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Beethoven. Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, wrote Henry David Thoreau, my thoughts started to flow. A 2010 analyze found that strolling for 40 minutes 3 times a week enhanced the connectivity of important brain circuits, reduced declines in brain function associated with aging, and increased performance on cognitive tasks.
6. Journal about everything , but make sure you tackle these questions in written format 😛 TAGEND
When do I feel most successful/ proud/ motivated/ joyful? Why?
What have I enjoyed most about my life and career to date? What has caused me suffering? Why?( The why is an oft-forgotten piece of the puzzle and we dont often dig deep enough and keep asking ourselves the whys .)
If I could only change one thing about my life right now, what would it be?( And why ?)
What do I love about myself? What are my talents?
7. Have purposeful dreaming period . This is different from time in silence or time spent journaling. Its time to actively engage your imagination by visualizing alternating the chances of their own lives. The human minds capability to imagine the future with almost as much sensory details as real life is one of its most precious and sometimes paralyzing capabilities. Use it to your advantage!
8. Take fund out of the picture . You can put it back into the equation afterward, but its important to spend time actually considering what you would do if you didnt have to worry about finances. This mental workout also lets you take a step back and see how much fund does influence your decision-making, and if it has to influence it to the extent you allow it to. STAGE 2: SEEK EXTERNAL INSPIRATION
9. Spend time with inspirational people . Ever heard the phrase You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? When youre looking to make a transition in their own lives, surround yourself with the kind of people you aspire to be, ones who can provide insight, connects, and new ideas. 10. Have deep conversations with family and friends . After a period of meaningful( and ongoing) introspection, you can begin to share what you are discovering about yourself and the world with others. Talk openly with the people closest to you and probe deeper than you normally would. Sometimes sharing your thoughts and longings out loud helps clarify or detect them for yourself. 11. Dont ask for advice the usual style . Instead of asking others what they would do in your shoes, ask them how they would decide what to do if they were you. The how provides decision-making frameworks that maintain YOU in the drivers seat all there is allowing a helpful degree of outside opinion. 12. Read a lot . I recommend autobiographies of people you find inspirational, as well as a few personal growth books specifically oriented around career and purpose, such as Body of Work by Pamela Slim and The Work We Were Born to Do by Nick Williams. Also, read widely about topics of interest to you. By following your intellectual curiosity, you can discover new fields you might like to explore. 13. Take up a new hobby . This related to curiosity, too. Learning something new is inspirational, and it also awards you the ability to see yourself succeeding in new frontiers. Not to mention that it often leads to meeting different kinds of people who can enrich your life and open up unforeseen pathways. 14. Do some productive stalking . Spend time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google and create a spreadsheet of all the people and careers you find inspirational. The aim is to answer the question: Who do you admire and why?
STAGE 3: TAKE ACTION
15. Work on your health and physical well-being . Its easy to forget that the body and mind are intimately connected. Nourishing yourself with daily exercising and a healthy diet will enormously impact your self-esteem and theres nothing better for plotting a career move than feeling great about yourself! 16. Reach out . Remember all that productive stalking? Now you are going to use that datum! Start reaching out to people on email, LinkedIn, and other social media and request short Skype or coffee sessions to pick their brain about their career route( what I call informational interviewing ). 17. Set up 5 scheduled interview . For any tasks at all. Its important to get out there and hear yourself communicating about your talents and experience. Its even better to start practising by doing interviews where you are relatively unattached to the outcome so you are able to perform well, but are certain and relaxed. This approach can also lend you new ideas: perhaps you never would have considered a certain position or company before, but casting a wide interview net opened up new realms of possibility. 18. Work for free . This is the greatest test of your talents, experience, and ability to contribute. Those people you reached out to for informational interviews? Do something helpful for them for free. Send them a deck of research on a new marketplace they might be interested in. Connect them to someone you know who could help their business. Make a small database of potential new clients for them. Get creative! Or boldly ask a company you admire if you could work for free for them for 3 months for the sake of exposure and to prove yourself. 19. Brainstorm all your alternatives . Sit down and make a listing of every conceivable next step you could take: grad school, sabbatical, joining a friends start up, creating an online business, staying in your current role, asking for a promotion, making a lateral move, changing fields entirely, etc. Once youve brainstormed every road you would possibly want to consider, narrow it down to a listing of 2-4 options that seem most interesting to you. 20. Focus on the first step . For your short-listed options, figure out what the first logical step to achieve them would be. If you think grad school could be the right transitional move, then the first step is to identify programs of interest. If you want to make a lateral move( say you like your position but dislike the company or industry ), then you are able want to attend a networking event in your field to satisfy representatives of different companies. The notion is to take small , non-committal steps in a few directions to get a feel for those paths. 21. Try something . The key to making a transition in life is to avoid paralysis at all costs, because you wont get anywhere through reflection alone. Its important that, once youve analyzed all feasible options and tested the waters with a few short-listed alternatives, you take action! Of course, your actions should be accompanied by an understanding that nothing in life is perfect , nor is anything entirely permanent. Youll never know until you try, so you simply have to try. 22. Choose to focus on the best example scenario . When change is upon us, we naturally focus on and plan for the worst that could happen, which is a natural part of our survival-based biology. Instead, try making a decision based on the best thing that could happen and see how that inspires confidence in inducing your next big move.
In the end, its paramount to realize that your next step does not have to define the rest of their own lives, it merely has to provide momentum. It has to retain your happiness of today and offer an incremental growth in your happiness of tomorrow, but it doesnt have to account for your happiness 5 or 10 years from now.
Think about how much time and energy you probably garbage trying to project yourself 3, 5, 7 years into the future and surmise what future you would want and base your decision-making today on that hypothetical person who may or may not ever come into being.
Taking the next step or changing direction doesnt have to be a long, complex, and emotionally draining experience. In reality, practicing the above steps on a regular basis can actually help to sustain momentum and naturally offer opportunities for personal and professional advancement, allowing you to live a life of seamless transitions and self-assured navigation.