If you’re still determined to change your work this year, you’re in good company. It’s estimated that 60-70% of people would rather be doing work they enjoy more.
The good news is that despite the current state of the economy, there have never been so many possibilities available to turn what you love doing into a living. And a growing tribe of people around the world are doing exactly that. If you want to join them, you need to be willing to try a different approach.
Here are three counter-intuitive steps you must take to make this the year you get paid to do something you love.
1. Dare to dream
Have you fallen at the first hurdle – you don’t actually know what work you would enjoy? Perhaps you’ve got into that endless cycle of coming up with ideas for what you could do, then quickly discounting them because they look impossible for you?
If so, you need to suspend your disbelief for just a little while. You see, if you’ve got stuck choosing what work to do, I guarantee you have failed to separate what you want from what you think is possible. You must, at least for a while, allow yourself to dream a little.
Write a long list of anything and everything you might like to do for your work even if you have doubts or it seems completely impractical. Let yourself be unrealistic for a while. After all, being sensible hasn’t got you the answer yet, so it’s got to be worth a shot!
Later, you can get practical. Take each idea and brainstorm ways of getting as close as possible to the work options that appeal to you most. Even if your initial idea looks impossible, with some lateral thinking you can still create a working life that gives you the part of the idea that’s most exciting to you.
2. Stop thinking & researching
Yes, that’s right – stop thinking!
Thinking about what you want to do with your life will only get you so far. After a while, ruminating any more on it is not helpful. In fact, it keeps you stuck. Endlessly researching is similarly problematic. Exploring an area of work you’re interested in is fine, but beware the habit of looking for reasons why it’s not possible for you. If you look for reasons why it won’t work, you’ll find ‘em!
The people with the coolest careers in the world didn’t ask “I wonder if this is possible for me?”, they decided what they wanted and resolved to do everything they possibly could to make it happen.
On the programmes I run for career changers, we make the participants launch a short “Play Project” to throw themselves into trying out the new line of work they want. They learn far more in the doing of it than they ever would by sitting around thinking and researching – and all before they quit their job! You can try this too. Think of how you could experience a taste of what you want to do over the next 3-4 weeks, even if it’s in your spare time.
As you do it, notice what you like about it and don’t like about it. Keep making adjustments and getting closer and closer to something you really love doing.
3. Get paid to play
There’s no doubt that some things you enjoy doing are more marketable than others. I’m not an advocate of quitting your job to do whatever you love and hoping the money magically turns up.
The key is to look at the things that you like doing (and you have some ability for) and find a way to help people while doing them. When you can do this, you can bet there’ll be a way of getting paid for it. This is what I call ‘getting paid to play’ – making a living from things you’d be doing even if you didn’t need the money.
This is particularly important if you dream of escaping the world of jobs altogether and making your own income. The secret is to solve problems for people. Whether that problem is mild (such as being bored on a Friday night, or struggling to find clothes that fit) or severe (such as back pain, the stress of divorce, or financial worries), people with problems are already looking for a solution. If you can provide that solution, you should be able to get paid for it. Providing something people need also happens to feel good!
And as American author Zig Ziglar once said:
“You can get everything in life you want
if you will just help enough other people to get what they want”
Download a free chapter of Screw Work Let’s Play plus worksheets and audio classes at: www.screwworkletsplay.com
John Williams is the author of best-selling book “Screw Work Let’s Play”