I strongly believe it’s important to go on an internal journey to discover what you really want to be doing in your encore career. This is especially important if in previous transitions you made decisions based on what seemed like the next logical step or what was expected of you, but didn’t end up with a great fit, doing work you love, with people you enjoyed working with.
There are some pretty cool steps you can take that will help you determine what’s in your heart, what would keep you engaged, passionate and purposeful, or as I like to say, what would pull you out of bed each day excited about what the day will bring.
So, where do you start? By determining what it is you really want.
If you’re like 95% of all of my clients over the years, you’re starting out not having a clue what you want. No problem, because I’ll bet, again like my clients, you can be pretty articulate about what you don’t want. So that’s where we’re going to start.
The first step in determining what you want is a simple — yet powerful — exercise that goes like this:
1. Get quiet. Sit down in a quiet place with a pen and notepad, and draw a vertical line down the center of each page you use.
2. Career dislikes. In the left-hand column, start by writing down everything about your current (or previous) career that you don’t like (i.e. “being chained to my desk”, “the wicked commute”, “my boss’s nasty personality”, “too many rules and regulations”).
3. Note what worries you. Next, write down everything that makes you anxious, concerned, worried, or fearful about what might be next (i.e. “not having enough money”, “being bored”, “starting over again”, “being consumed by the work”, “having to go back to school”.)
4. Note your life dislikes. Finally, write down everything about your current life that you don’t like, or that worries you, makes you anxious, etc. (i.e. “living where the winters are cold”, “not being close enough to a town/city center to walk everywhere”, “being 30 pounds overweight”.)
Got a good long list? Great, now comes the fun part.
5. Reframe your thoughts. In the right hand column, one-by-one, reframe what you wrote down into a positive sentence, in the present tense.
Here are some examples of reframing those things that you don’t want:
|My boss’s nasty personality||I work for and with people who are fun, respectful, and share my values.
I am my own fabulous boss.
|Too many rules and regulations||I work in a fast-paced, spontaneous environment where my creative ideas are welcomed and embraced.|
|Being consumed by the work||I do work that I love, and I have plenty of time to spend with friends and family, and pursue other interests.|
|Being 30 pounds overweight||I am healthy, fit, and have an abundance of energy to accomplish all that I set out to do.|
6. Now you try it. One by one, reframe what you don’t want until it puts a smile on your face. If you’re smiling, or tingling inside, or just plain feeling good, you’ll know you’re on the right track. If you’re having trouble with one, skip over it, and come back to it later.
7. Break and return. Take a break for awhile, before reading through your reframed sentences.
When you read the right-hand column, you should see an excellent list beginning to reveal itself of what you want your encore career (and life) to look like. It’s not a complete picture yet, but it’s a terrific start. Meanwhile, keep adding to your “Don’t Wants” list and reframing them into your “Wants” to help you create your encore career and life.