This Simon Sinek quote sums up my last few years. Somewhere along my path to adulthood, I lost track of my career dreams. I ended up in a career that wasn’t the right fit for me. It took a long time to rediscover the value of big dreams and even longer to work out how to make the career change I needed to make.
~ Dream big. Start small. But most of all, start. ~SIMON SINEK
When you’re busy juggling daily commitments, it’s easy to put your career plans on cruise control. Then, one day you realise the destination you’re cruising to is no longer where you want to go. You’re stuck. Or, you’re comfortable. You can’t see a way out.
You know you want something more or different but there’s a whole heap of reasons why you can’t do it right now. You’re waiting for the ‘perfect’ time, or you don’t feel ready. You don’t have enough experience or qualifications. Who has the time for all that extra work? You fall into the ‘gonna’ trap – the list of things you’re “going to do”, but somehow never make happen.
Ask yourself these two questions about why you’re letting your career remain stuck – “are all those reasons for not changing just excuses?” and “will I regret not making a career change?”. If the answer to these questions is yes, then commit this quote to heart and take these three simple steps …
What if all the obstacles in the way of your career change were swept away, and you could achieve everything you’ve always wanted? What does your career look like? Free yourself from the limits of time, money, expectations and capability and create an aspirational career vision.
Make this career vision as specific, as audacious, as momentous as possible – the big dream. Then immerse yourself in it. How does it look? How does it feel? Where are you? What are you doing? Who’s with you? Make it really big, the bigger, the better. It should feel exciting. If it doesn’t, you need to go bigger.
Big dreams are overwhelming. You assume you need a clear, step-by-step career plan from here to the future. But this type of plan is unrealistic and unachievable in a dynamic environment. At the moment, it’s difficult to predict next week, let alone the future.
But you can take one small step towards where you want to go. Interested in an industry but don’t know enough about it? See if you have a connection on LinkedIn who’s willing to have a chat with you about what it’s like to work in that space. Keen to become a freelancer but worried about giving up your current income? Test the water by taking on a small job in your spare time. Got an exciting new business idea but don’t know how to make it a reality? Share the idea with family, friends or on social media and ask for feedback.
When you take one step, the next step will reveal itself, alleviating the need for a perfect plan prior to getting started. One step followed by another creates momentum and builds your career confidence. If one step doesn’t work, simply choose another. You can amend and iterate as you progress.
But most of all, start.
Things will never be perfect. You’ll never have enough time and there’s no way of knowing what our external environment is going to throw at us next. Talking about it, thinking about it and even planning it is procrastination that’s keeping you safe… and your career stuck.
If there’s something in your career you want to achieve so much you know you’re going to regret not doing it, you must take that first step and take it now.
If you need support to identify what’s in the way of the career change you want, I’d love to help you. Let’s have a virtual coffee and chat about what’s in the way of you getting your career unstuck.