Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Lately, a lot of people have said to me, “I can’t afford to dream anymore, Brian.  I’m simply worried about getting through the day and keeping my job.” 

This recession is indeed taking its toll on so many.  Literally taking the air right out of their sails.  But here’s what I say to that:

You can’t afford NOT to dream during this recession!  Dreaming is free….and there’s no better time than right now to start planning for your career transition, whether it’s in the short term or a few years from now.  Get your action plan together.

If you feel like a wind-up doll just going through the motions at your job, thinking there has to be something else you can do with your life, then don’t let this recession get in your way.  Stand up and say to yourself,  “I’m unhappy, and I’m not going to take this any more!” Step out of that cubicle, start thinking outside of the box, and figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life that will not only support you, but make you happy.  Take control of what you CAN control.  Can’t control gas prices?  Let it go.  Can’t control the mortgage market?  Stop living in fear.  Can’t control the type of work you do and where you do it?  Yes, you can!  So come on, grab a mitt and get in the game of life again.

Here are five tips to get you started during these trying economic times:

1.  Define what your passions and interests are.  Ask yourself what activities give you a true sense of satisfaction. Try to discover who you are and what kind of work meshes with your deepest self.

2.  Do your research.  Once you have an idea of what you might want to do, do your homework and access resources ranging from the Internet to one-on-one contact with people on-the-job to determine if what you think is your dream job, truly is your dream job.  

3.  Find a mentor.  There is no better way to “look before you leap” than by spending time with someone who is experienced in your field of interest. A mentor is invaluable in providing a dose of reality and what it is really like to walk in their shoes.

4.  Stay positive.  Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in your desire to live a happier work life as well.  The naysayers?  Do yourself a favor.  Distance yourself from them immediately!

5.  Stay true to your personal mission.  What’s the absolute worst thing that can happen?  Take yourself there in your mind.  Not so bad, now is it?  It’s not life-threatening.  People have made it through far worse.  And so will you!  Keep your goals literally in front of you as much as possible (journal…or even plastered all over your medicine chest and refrigerator!) and you’ll achieve them.

After four years of working with people from all walks of life who want to test-drive their dream job on a VocationVacation, I’ve found that their are FIVE KEY ATTRIBUTES (as described in Test-Drive Your Dream Job: A Step By Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love) of a successful Vocationer:

1.  Optimism:  You believe you can do it.  You know it’s risky and there’s a chance you’ll fail, but in your gut you believe you’ll succeed.

2.  Vision:  You know where you want to go.

3.  Confidence: You know failure is survivable.  You may lose time and money, but you will gain knowledge, experience, and self-esteem.

4.  Determination:  You would rather try and fail than not do it.  You don’t want to wonder later, “what if?”

5.  External support:  You have the key people in your life behind you.

There you go.  Five simple attributes.  Now go have some fun finding and/or creating the work you love.  You CAN do it!