Millions of people head to work unfulfilling jobs every single day. Every single morning they follow the same uninspired routine or follow the same uninspired route to work. To make matters worse, this unfulfilling, uninspired job probably doesn’t pay much. So why do we stay? Why continue to be a clog in the machine when you can slowly claw your way out of it?
Sound like anyone you know? For a long time that was me, too.
If you’re anything like me, and you identify with any of the above, my challenge to you is to shift your mindset and release all negative thinking. You have to believe that you’re not stuck. You have the capacity to create your dream life. But I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen overnight. You have to think about it, dream about it, and then go do it! If you’re able to read this right now, you have some sort of internet access right? Do you know how much information is available on the internet now? We’re no longer tied to traditional forms of learning. That is our biggest advantage.
While thinking about what creating a new life would look like, 5 major themes popped up. The tips below are generic in nature but they helped me in a BIG way when I went from an account management role to learning how to code (and getting paid for it!) within 2 years. So, take what resonates and happy creating! ✨
- Develop a hard skill. A hard skill is something that’s teachable, that’s tangible, and is easy to quantify. Say you want to become a photographer, an accountant, a developer, etc.? These are all hard skills. Hardly any one is born with these skills. They take the time to learn it and so can you! Start by setting aside an hour DAILY towards perfecting this new craft. You’ll find that over time it gets easier and that one hour may become two. You’ll start to feel like you’re truly taking control of your life. A lot of people talk about what they want to pursue next but most don’t want to put in the work. You can’t just pray about it, my friends. To quote the Queen (🐝), you have to go out and go do it! The best way to learn is to do the thing. Don’t let fear of not being the best hold you back.
- Study the market. What research have you done? It is impossible to jump into a new career without knowing something. Are there any relevant publications you should to subscribe to? This is the quickest way to ‘learn the language’ and get familiar with all the jargon-y nonsense. Your goal here is to become a budding expert in the space. What’s the best way to find a job? Is freelance a better option? By getting familiar with the market, it makes it easier to spark up conversations with career veterans. What certifications do you need? Do you need to consider going back to school? Look, you don’t have to have *all* the answers. Don’t fall into rabbit hole after rabbit hole. Time box yourself. This is a fancy way of saying ‘I’m going to spend x amount of time learning y’. Time boxing for me looks like 1) deciding to spend 30 min to an hour researching ONE subject. And 2) stopping to process what I learned and deciding if I need additional information. What’s important here is that you are seeking *specific* information. Don’t waste your time on the fluff.
- Start networking online. Where do the key players hang out. Are they on twitter? On Slack groups? Facebook? The easiest way to find out is to plug the name of the profession into the search bar in any given platform. For example, if you’re interested in being a developer — you might search #developer in to Twitter. Did a certain name pop up multiple times while you were doing your research in step 2? Search their name and follow who they follow on various platforms. This is your chance to find an online community that can assist you with your goal. When I was first starting out, I spent A LOT of time on the socials. It was an easy way to find out what the people who do what I want to do talk about. They also tend to publish many opportunities, conferences, and resources. There is a LOT of unofficial mentorship. You just have to find where they are.
- Ask strangers for help. The biggest form of flattery anyone can get is someone asking them for help. People love this! When folks come to me, I’m always a little shocked at first but then really happy that they felt comfortable asking the question! And I don’t always have the answer. But I may know someone who does. When you’re asking folks for support, keep that in mind. In addition, ALWAYS have a specific ask. Don’t do this: ‘Will you be my mentor?’ 9 times out of 10, this individual is probably really busy and mentorship just sounds like a really heavy commitment. The best way to get someone to unofficially sign on to be your mentor without explicitly saying so is to just keep asking for help with *SPECIFIC* problems. Establish a rapport with them. Build a relationship. This does not happen after one meeting. But over the course of many email back and forth’s, coffee conversations, and zoom calls.
- Share your progress. Depending on your level of comfort with putting yourself out there, this is the quickest way to get support from people ///WHO ALREADY LIKE YOU///. But, if your network doesn’t know your goal or what you’re working on — how can they help you? By being LOUD about where you’re headed, you create advocates in your network. When they come across relevant opportunities — you’ll likely be the first person they think of.
I hope these help!