Looking into a new career? Here are three things you can do to start.

Here are 3 things you can do to start taking control of finding a fulfilling career.

1. Reflect on your recent career exploration and make a decision about what is next.

Consider all the possibilities of what is out there for you. Make a decision, for now at least, about how much time and energy you want to devote to exploring another career or side-gig. The sooner you make this decision, the less energy you will waste on things that aren’t important to you. Then, you can focus on enhancing happiness and the outcomes you want in your present life, whatever it contains. There is no right or wrong here, and I promise you that you can be happy either way. The question ultimately becomes, “What do I want to experience in my life?”

2. Make a full commitment to whatever you have chosen and love your reasons for your decision. Write down all the reasons why this is important to you. 

No matter what is next for you, having an amazing reason for why you are doing this for yourself will help you stay on track even when you aren’t motivated to do so, or even when it’s easier to stick with the familiar. 

For example, if you are choosing to move into a new career but are currently working in a different capacity, having a good “why” will make sure that you prioritize your new career. You’ll then be sure to carve out a minimum time each day or week to think about, and do things, to move forward in your new career. You will use a new lens with which to see each of the things you do in your life, and will understand how they help to shape and grow you for the new career you have chosen. 

If your recent exploration helped confirm for you that you want to stay in your current clinical or nonclinical position, that is great as well! Your commitment will help you to focus on finding solutions to optimize your experience of your current job.

No matter what you have chosen, when things feel hard, your mind is probably going to try to convince you to do the opposite. If you’re constantly putting yourself out there to learn about a new job opportunity, at some point your mind may convince you it’s better to stay put. Or, if you’ve chosen your current job, you may become distracted by the possibility of a change and something new. This is normal and okay, so I don’t want you to be surprised if and when it happens. Having a strong commitment to your decision will eliminate unnecessary confusion that distracts you from finding solutions and happiness on your chosen path. 

3. Make a plan for the very next thing you need to do. Identify any obstacles or barriers to executing on that first step, and devise strategies for how you will overcome them. Then, for each thing you need to do, put it on your calendar with a specific measurable goal in mind.

Taking the first step will give you the needed momentum to take subsequent steps. The challenge is often just taking that first step. If you can create a plan for how you’ll get it done, and then put it on your calendar, as long as you show up and do what you said you would, you’ll know it’s as good as done. Knowing you have a plan will enhance your self-confidence to make it happen. A plan will remove uncertainty about what to do next. Also, if you don’t follow your plan, you’ll have a very concrete experience to reflect on to understand what kind of thoughts got in your way. 

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