Do you want to change careers but have no ideas or too few as to what to do next in your career?
Lacking in inspiration and feeling frustrated and stuck? Here are some ideas to create ideas!
1. Open up your mind
Let’s get going with an exercise to open up your mind and thoughts and get some energy going.
What do you aspire to in your life? What do you want to achieve in your lifetime?
As a sort of open-minded bucket list, try writing down 100 Aspirations.
Who do you want to meet? What skills to do want to learn? Where are the places do you want to go? What books or blogs you want to read or write? Other ideas to think about are what bands do you want to see? And self-improvements do you want to make? What are the problems you want to solve? You get the idea! Take some quiet time to write your list.
Only once you have written it do you return to find the key themes. What is important to you in your life? What career ideas does this generate?
2. Discover what keeping you stuck
For the creative process to happen and for ideas to flow we need to turn off the filters. Notice what you are thinking – do you put an idea up and then automatically shoot it down with excuses and reasons why you can’t do things? This “yes…..but”, “no….because”. Overthinking and logic kill creativity, so let’s put that away for now and go with the idea that anything is possible.
Ditch the limiting idea of the perfect career. There isn’t just one thing we can do in our lives! The idea is to get going in the right direction and take it from there. Think of idea possibilities rather than one golden perfect idea.
3. Shake things up
Do you find you come up with the same ideas the whole time? Perhaps you are in a rut and need fresh input. Do things differently. Try going to work a different way. Have a different lunch? Meet someone new for coffee. Do something you’ve never done before. Start working on your Aspirations list! If we do things differently we can think and feel differently.
Remember Henry Ford, is quoted as saying “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.
4. Notice what you notice
What sparks joy? What peeks interest? Where do you go first in a bookshop? What makes you cross…. like furious? What makes you happy? What do people come to you for – such as support or advice?
Try keeping a journal of what you notice about yourself. What career ideas appear?
5. Try NOT thinking of career ideas
You know what they say, the best ideas come to us in the shower, not at the desk! Try giving the career idea task to your subconscious to work on and have trust that it will do the business. Our brains are incredible things!
Stress also kills creativity. Walking is incredibly helpful for idea productivity – try a county walk to switch off the brain. That is when the magic happens!
6. Ask others
People know you more than you think! Try emailing friends and family members to say, I’m thinking of a career change – what do you think I should do! It is amazing the insight people who know you well have.
Ask others what they do to get some career ideas. Every time you meet someone new ask them about what they do. If you hate your job, you may not want to talk about it but in general, people like to talk about themselves and it’s a great way of picking up ideas and finding out what’s involved in different ideas.
7. Use different mediums to generate ideas
Are you just trying to think of ideas? Try using other mediums such as drawing, writing or images to create career ideas.
Start writing “I want to…..” on a piece of paper. Keep your pen on the paper and allow freefall of ideas. Let your subconscious do the writing and see what comes out.
Draw a picture of what you want your career to look like – don’t use words, just draw!
Try putting together a mood board of what you want to do in your next career to generate some career ideas.
8. Do a Career Quiz, Career Test or Psychometric Tests
Career quizzes, career tests and psychometric tests can generate ideas you hadn’t thought of before. Career quizzes and career tests are informal exercises, generally not based on research but often fun exercises to give ideas to think about.
On the other hand, psychometric tests are based on research and the good ones are reliable and valid – which means they measure what they are supposed to measure! Psychometric tests used in career work are usually abilities or personality assessments.
The Highlands Ability Battery is a psychometric assessment based on over 90 years of research. It objectively measures our innate strengths and what comes easily and naturally to us. The 19 different tests measure the factors that are important to different types of work. In-depth reports are generated including one with a list of potential careers that are suitable to your natural abilities. I have used The Highlands Ability Battery for nearly 20 years and the feedback I get most of all is “why have I not done this before”! You can have a look at the sample reports here: Standard Adult Report and Career Explorer Report.
I also use The Myers Briggs Type indicator which is based on a model of sixteen personality types. With each personality type, there are different types of careers that are thought to be more suitable for that set of personality preferences.