So, you have dreams, goals, ideas big or small, purpose, passion or social consciousness. You may even have fear or regret pushing you to create something new in your life. Whatever is driving you toward growth, now is an opportunity to see yourself anew.
You work on imagining what might be possible and you start visioning your ideas and yourself as an expanded being. Before the excitement and the dream wane, take action to test it out.
Depending on how much the dream means to you, you will want to cultivate it. You may want to drop everything and just go for it. Pull out the credit card and mortgage the house. Or, you may want to try a low cost, ease into the water approach.
Either way has its merits and appeal. It’s up to the individual person to know themselves well enough to know which will incentivize them and feel right while also pushing them out of their comfort zone. (If you don’t leave your comfort zone, you aren’t really making a change).
The first method of fast and dramatic action requires a very clear target initially, so you know exactly where you want to go (which is not to say that the target won’t move along the way).
The second, more cautious path gives you time to find ways to hone skills, learn more about the area of interest, network and try on some new hats to be confident that this is truly the path you want to be on.
Here are some ideas for trying on a potential new career:
Volunteer – Find organizations or people for whom you can try on a new role. Identify what you want to learn from your volunteer time; that may be learning about the organization itself, or gaining insights about yourself. You may be after some new skills, such as fundraising or caretaking or mentoring. We really don’t know what an experience will be like until we try it. I hear people routinely state what they don’t like, when they have never actually experienced it. You don’t know what you don’t know, so gaining experience in a volunteer capacity will make you knowledgeable and help others simultaneously.
Intern – Interning is similar to volunteerism, however you may be paid a small salary and you may be required to work during regular business hours, so it could be in lieu of a job, vs. in addition to one. It is directly focused on a specific career track, so you can see how you feel about the profession and a particular organization. You can see first-hand the positions available, the growth path, the work itself at various levels, and whether you enjoy the environment or are prepared for a future in that role.
My internship with the Attorney General’s office in Phoenix as a Criminal Justice major decades ago is still fresh in my mind. It was the catalyst for my next move (for better or worse), enrolling in the MBA program and becoming a CPA.
Take classes – Taking classes has just never been easier. There are literally no excuses to not learn something new. If you have an interest, pursue it by learning more. Live classes through universities, community colleges, extension programs, or online programs through some of the same universities (Arizona State has extensive online programs), Udemy, Lynda.com or many others are available and accessible. If you are looking at online courses that are from lesser known sources, do your research and make sure the teacher/trainer will be able to deliver what you are seeking.
Try it as a hobby – No real explanation needed. The reality is that not every idea can or should be translated into a profession. Trying an idea as a hobby will help you to decide if it feels right as a leisure time interest, or if you feel a calling to make it your life’s work.
Work vacations – Work vacations are a new and fun sounding way to try out a vocation for a weekend or more. Google Vocation Vacations for some sites like this one to help you get started looking for a way to road test an idea.
Hopefully, this will kickstart some action and inspiration in you, whether a go-getter or a careful planner. If nothing else, you will learn something new which is always of value.