We all like a bit of fun. But is it possible to have fun with your career change? Selina Barker explains why fun isn't just possible, it's vital if you want to find and start doing work you love.
To find your way into a career you really love, you need to make your career change itself as much fun as possible.
This is something I’ve always naturally done with my clients – helped them turn their career confusion into a challenge, an adventure, a big project – something that makes it fun for them, because fun is how I like to do things.
But after eight years of guiding well over 1,000 people through their career changes and having interviewed hundreds of successful career-changers and experts, what I've discovered is that making your career change fun isn’t just a nice-to-have. It is only when you approach your career change with fun, curiosity and playfulness that you succeed in ending up in a new career that you really love.
Why? Because when you turn a problem into the kind of project, challenge or adventure that to you feels fun, then you are suddenly doing things your way, you relax, you think more clearly, more freely, more expansively. You naturally follow your heart when you are focused on having fun. You tune back into you.
When you try something and it doesn't work out you bounce back. There is no place for pride, pessimism or negativity when you're approaching things with fun and simply playing. And when you approach it in that light, fun way, you naturally follow the paths that feel right to you. You follow your heart, you go towards the things that make you come alive and not the things you think you should do. Step by step, you find your way onto a career path that really makes you happy, because you’ve followed the path of most fun.
So how do you go about your career change the fun way?
Well, here are the top 10 ways I help my clients turn their career confusion into a project that they can’t wait to get going on:
1. Turn it into an exciting project that you want to tell people about
Imagine catching up with friends or family and they ask you how work is going – they know you're miserable in it. Now imagine your answer is '*sigh* horrible. I hate it. I just don't know what to do' OR 'well over the next 3 months I'm interviewing one person a week who has a job that I think I'd love to have or who simply seems to love what they're doing. I'm recording the interviews as podcasts that I'm putting up online to help others in a similar position to me'. Now who sounds like the interesting one up to cool stuff!
2. Do fun courses that you've always longed to do
It's amazing the number of people I've coached who, once they gave themselves permission to choose the path of most fun and least resistance, tried something that they'd always wanted to do just for fun, never thinking it could be anything other than a hobby only to have it lead to their future career. So whether it's massage therapy you've always fancied a go at or a furniture-making course, DO it. What's the worst that could happen? You discover you don't like it? Good, then you can strike it off your list of possibilities. But if you don't try it out, you'll always live life wondering and that's a terrible waste of life.
3. Explore, explore, explore
You will never figure out what you want to do by thinking about it. No matter how much time and effort you put into the thinking. Get out there, talk to people, try things out, gather information. Follow any and all threads that spark your curiosity. If there is a scene going on that you'd love to be part of, get in amongst it and check out how people there earn their living. Ask questions, join in, sit and observe, take photos, shoot films – capture all the information and inspiration you can. Exploring is one of the key cornerstones of any successful career change. So find the way you most enjoy exploring and get out there!
This is where you become the scientist. This is where you try out ideas, put things to the test. Think you'd like to be a photographer? Have a go at photographing everything from buildings, to kids, to dancers, to weddings, to people at parties. That's how you'll discover your style, what you enjoy most and what you have a knack for. Later on you can experiment with prices you charge for your services. Your career will forever be one big experiment as it grows, adapts and changes.
5. Just have fun!
Fun is such a powerful force and yet is so underrated. It's as if we equate fun with childishness, just not something that ‘grown ups’ do, something frivolous and therefore low in value. It's one of the biggest blocks that I help people remove and it is one HUGE mistake. The energy of fun — YOUR kind of fun — connects you with who you really are. You can't force fun; it's true and real when you experience it and most importantly, FUN BRINGS YOU ALIVE. And when you're feeling alive you think and solve your problems from a healthy and expansive place, you are confident when you're having fun. So go and have fun and see how it shifts your mindset and brings about fresh new ideas you hadn't thought of before.
6. Approach it like a child would
Children have no fear or pride attached to not knowing things. They are on a constant mission to find things out, to explore and discover. They are forever asking questions. Curiosity is one of their founding values and strengths. That was you once upon a time. Unashamedly curious and determined to find things out, just by asking people, trying it out for yourself, observing. So become like a child again. In curiosity there is a wonderful freedom. You don't need to know the answer, you are simply on a mission to find the answer and find that answer in the most fun way possible ie. NOT by Googling for it. So make like a child, stop thinking you should have the answer and go get curious.
7. Bring all your dreams out of hiding
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they bury their dreams. 'Stop being a dreamer' we get told. As if dreams are the stuff of fantasy and childhood and have no place in the land of 'grownups'. WRONG! Dreams are where everything begins. Suppress your dreams and you have blocked the very source from where a fulfilling career and life will grow from. So get out a big sheet of paper and start writing down those dreams. ALL of them. Leave nothing out.
8. Bring each dream alive in a small way
Once you have those dreams out in the open, start bringing them to life. In small ways. Unwrap each dream and find the core experience that lies at the heart of it. Then look at how you can experience that today, this week, this year and go and make it happen.
9. Document your journey in a way that you love
As you explore, experiment, talk to people, try things out, seek out information and inspiration from books, people, talks and courses, capture all that you are learning, feeling and observing and gather it in a way that you most enjoy. For some people that will be a notebook dedicated to this big project, for others it will be a spreadsheet, for me it was a blog. You might process your thoughts best through writing, drawing or scrap booking. Whatever you do, document your journey so that as you go you build up a picture of what it is that really makes you come alive, fascinates and inspires you. THAT is the direction to head in.
10. Surround yourself by people who are having fun with their careers
The people you surround yourself with shape your opinions, your beliefs and, therefore, your life. So if you are surrounded by people who hate what they do and aren’t doing anything about it then you’re not in the best company. You need to spend your time surrounded as much as possible by people who really enjoy what they do, that have fun with their careers, feel like it is theirs to own and that play around with it. People who know what it is to take your dreams seriously, bring them to life and see how they grow. It will be a lot easier to do the same for yourself if you’re surrounded by these kinds of people and not the naysayers. Not to mention it’ll be a lot more fun!
So grab a few of these tips and set yourself up with a small project to start with: 2 to 4 weeks. And whatever it is you get yourself doing, just make sure that it has you doing things in the ways that you enjoy. Whether it’s finding out information or trying out an idea, don’t do it any other way than the fun way. That is the way of success and will lead you to happiness in your career.
Which of these tips could you use to bring more fun into your career change? Let us know in the comments below.