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    Main | 10 Key Considerations When Starting Your Second Career »

    10 Ways to Explore Your Options Effectively

    One of the hardest things for us to do is to project our experience and skills onto a new career that would be exciting enough for us to pursue. This article looks at various avenues that we may want to take.

    1. Believe in Yourself

    When you go into exploring your career options try your best to open up. One of the things that is really hindering is our limiting self belief. If we carry those limited beliefs with us we are throwing obstacles into the path before we even start our journey.

    2. Open Your Eyes

    If you don’t open your eyes how are you going to know what’s out there? How are you going to know how useful your skill base might be? There is a world of opportunity in work that is changing very fast – blink and you’ll miss it.

    3. Assess Your Asset Base

    What is your asset base? Somehow you have to make an assessment of just what it is you have got that has value. Noting patterns in our past achievements is valuable but often we are not able to see those patterns. Patterns connect us between the things we have done and how those experiences can be used.

    4. Find Advocates

    You know you can do xyz, but who else says so? Out in that world there’s someone who believes we’ll be good at something, brilliant at something. If we can get that endorsement, how can we use it best?

    5. Have a Brainstorming Session

    You need that asset base assessment from #3 in order to brainstorm. Brainstorming around your career options is a fundamental element of smartly exploring those options. The only question you’re answering with your brainstorm is, “What could I do?” Some ideas are going to b very obvious to us. Some things might be crazy and some might be between obvious and crazy. Some might be hybrids of obvious and crazy that could be quite useful for us to consider. We should be looking for lots of options to be developed. 20 to 30 is a good target for us.

    6. Accept Realities

    If brainstorming is about dreams, you have to also bring the practical reality of our world into the exploration of your career options. What are the things that need to be considered? Every one of us has those constraints. They all unique to us and the situation we find ourselves in now. Money, mortgages, family, children’s education, health and many other things as well. Some of these are big issues for us, some more marginal. One thing that’s for sure is that we definitely need to bring them into play.

    7. Start Eliminating Options

    How to think of the options we’ve created during our brainstorm in the context of our practical realities? We can work towards integrating the two groups by eliminating the options that don’t fit in with the reality of our situation. We can’t go any further in this process without being clear about what it is we are trying to do.

    8. Take Your Time

    This process takes some time. You do not want to rush it because it’s very important. For some it’s crystal clear but our professional life is never less than important to us and therefore deserves to have enough time invested in it.

    9. Look at the Big Picture

    When you’re considering career options you have to recognise the convergence of several elements that are part of this process. Exploring options can’t be done in isolation; understanding your asset base cannot be done in isolation from practical realities and so on.

    10.  Get Support

    When you pose the question “can I go this alone?” The answer is no, but no on two different levels. The first level is that you can’t do this process without getting input from others such as old friends, mentors and network connections. The second level relates to your decision to get some professional help and support throughout this process. We’ll leave you to decide whether you want that but it helps to note that the world of employment is getting tougher and things are changing fast.

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