Are you feeling overworked, stuck in a rut, confused about where you are headed or are looking for that elusive work-life balance?
If your answer is a resounding YES then it is probably due to The Career Itch, which is what I called the inner restlessness I experienced about my own career on Millennium Eve.
Whilst the lucky few know what they want to do in life, most of us get there through trial and error. This may sound a bit haphazard, but I discovered that focusing on taking the next step rather than hoping for a career epiphany will take you in the direction you want to go both in the short and long-term.
You may look enviously at those who have achieved work-life success, but most of them will have got there incrementally. Discovering the best next step on your career path will shape your ultimate business vision and goals and even these will continue to evolve.
Through my experience of working with leaders experiencing career transition, I have created a practical way for you to find out what may be coming over the horizon of your working life!
Step 1 - Identity: Knowing who you are
If you don’t know who you are, then you won’t know what you want. You’ll need to know your true personality, identify your talents, determine your transferable skills and name the values that motivate you. Together they represent what you have to offer existing or potential employers.
Step 2 - Thinking: Clarifying what you do next
What may be subconsciously holding you back? Beliefs such as ‘I never have time to do what I really want’ or ‘My career can wait’ are common and may unwittingly sabotage your efforts and business aspirations. Once you have taken care of any inner gremlins and replaced them with empowering beliefs, you can focus on turning your dreams into a reality!
Step 3 - Change: Making a successful transition
Most people resist change. You may become fearful, ‘paralysed’ or even demotivated, but these feelings are normal; they are not an indication that you are off track. Once you have made the decision to move you may want things to happen quickly, but it is essential to plan ahead whether it is learning new skills, networking or developing new business.
Step 4 - Habit: Achieving a balanced lifestyle
Once you have found the best next step on your career path, look at your working habits and put your career and work into the context of your whole life. This is about self care, spending quality time with others and possibly involvement in worthwhile causes. Do this and your business will remain a source of positive fulfilment.
Taking the Next Step
You are likely to experience The Career Itch several times in your working life, but you can use it (and the four-step process) to move forward. I can say without reservation that my experiences of The Career Itch have helped to shape my identity and been a catalyst for positive transformation in every area of my life. It continues to guide me in my work. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know which way to go or which choice to make, remember that you don’t need to find the answer to your entire career right now – you only need to discover the next step.
About the author
Grace Owen is a leadership development practitioner who specialises in career change, transition, management and development. Her book The Career Itch – 4 Steps for Taking Control of What You Do Next, £9.99 is available from Amazon and leading retailers. http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/grace-owen/18/146/733 | www.grace-owen.com