I love talking with clients about having a career doing something they love. They get excited, their energy goes up, they smile, and they feel good. They light up.
Then they say, “But I could never really do that.” The energy and the excitement and the smile quickly fade. They sound forlorn, depressed, and tired.
We love to dream about the possibilities, and then we scare ourselves off, fearful of life’s practicalities.
There are lists of excuses people make about not being able to have a career they love. It could be money, time, effort, and health insurance, whatever. There are many great excuses. I used them, too! Excuses are the roadblocks we put up that allow us to stay safe and avoid taking risks or making changes. If you want something badly enough, you can find a solution to all of the problems your mind is creating.
If you are in a job you don’t love, why are you staying there? Why are you spending your time doing things that make you feel miserable?
Are you ready for a change? It is possible to:
1. learn to be happier in your current job, and
2. find a job that makes you happy.
If you want to be happier in your current job, try these tips.
1. Change your mindset.
What’s bothering you about your current job? Do you have a bad boss? By allowing your boss to make you miserable, you are giving your boss power over your happiness. Don’t give away your right to happiness.
Ask why. First, given the example above, ask yourself why your boss is making you unhappy. Keep asking why until you get some really clear answers. (Hint: It usually takes about five why’s to get to something juicy.)
Recognize your own reaction. Next, recognize that your unhappiness is caused by your reaction to what your boss is doing, because you think that your boss doing something wrong. You can’t change your boss. (I have tried!)
Change your perspective. One way I have changed my perspective on a difficult boss situations was to think, “They don’t know any better.” And I leave it at that. Trying to change a boss is nearly impossible. Changing your perspective is quite possible.
2. Add some fun into your day.
What can you do to make work a bit more tolerable?
I recently met a woman who told me that she got away with using hot pink pens for her work. It was marginally acceptable at work, but she was able to do it and it made her happier.
In my previous job, I liked to go out for lunch or coffee with friends or go for a walk in the middle of the afternoon on a rough day.
Spice it up. What’s marginally acceptable (like hot pink pens) that would be a fun way to make your work more interesting?
What little playful thing can you add into your day to make it a bit more fun?
Take a break. Five minutes, fifteen minutes, or your entire lunch hour can be a great way to take a break and have fun. Hang out with people you enjoy—not your grouchy cube mate. Keep good company, even if it’s just you
3. Get some help.
It is useful to have an outside perspective when you’re seeking something new. An outsider can help you dream of something bigger and better. Finding happiness today before creating a new life for tomorrow always makes transitions stronger and longer lasting.
You can be happier in your current job. Actually, I strongly recommend that clients find peace in their current job before moving somewhere new. Until we find peace in the chaos, we’re likely to encounter the same problem in a future job.
Once you’ve made peace with your current job, it may be time to start looking for what you really want. A job that you love.
Try these tactics to find a job you love.
1. You have to figure it out.
There is no magic career fairy that will bless you with a new career idea. I used to think that I would one day be struck with inspiration and know exactly what I needed to do to have a job I loved. However, my current career only made itself known to me after lots of hard work and introspection.
Research various options. Do an Internet search on whatever thoughts come to mind when you think about having a career you love. Interview people who have interesting jobs.
Dream big. This isn’t the time to limit yourself to practical solutions. Practicality possibly got you where you are now. Remember that dreaming doesn’t mean you have to take action. Dreaming is just imagining possibilities. Have fun with it.
Ask yourself: What did I want to be, before anyone told me what I should be when I grew up?
2. Try out some new things in your spare time.
One of the greatest ways to explore new career ideas is to try them out.
Volunteer. Do you like working with children? Volunteer at the library or at a school. Interested in going into medicine? Volunteer at the hospital or with the elderly. Find something you enjoy doing and contribute your time and services to a meaningful cause.
Do more of what you enjoy. Do you like to hike, paint, or garden? Find other people who like to do those things, too. Engaging in activities you enjoy will spark some inspiration and ideas for what direction to take your career.
Enjoy yourself now. This is a minimum requirement. The search for a new career should be fun, and it’s hard to find a career that makes you happy if you aren’t happy first. Be happy now.
3. Get some help.
Assistance from an outsider is a great way to expand your horizons when you’re looking for a new career. Find someone who has an attitude that says, “everything is possible.” Friends or family are not always the most helpful when you want to make a major change. Find someone who is open minded, full of ideas, and playful. A coach is a good resource if you don’t know someone who can offer the right perspective. I’ve helped clients find new career paths and discover their passions. I had a coach help me along the way to my new career, too.
The right person can help you find your blind spots and the places where you’re limiting your possibilities. They can help you dream bigger and explore new ideas. When you have someone else’s help, you are more likely to be more confident in your decisions.
You can love your job, either your current one or a new one.
Life is about being as happy as possible, so choose to spend your time in a way that fills you with energy instead of drains energy from you. You may have to take a risk, but it will be worth it!