Are you struck in a rut and frustrated that you aren’t making progress towards your dream career or life? Whether it’s a fulfilling new job, a business you want to start, an exciting new life in another country or an amazing idea you long to put into action, most of us have things that we long for. So why do we hold back from taking concrete steps towards our dreams?
The reality is that for many of us those goals can feel impossibly difficult and far out of reach – perhaps because we feel we lack the necessary skills, there are too many obstacles standing in our way or we’re simply not sure where to start.
According to bestselling author Rachel Bridge, the first key to achieving change lies in uncovering exactly what you’re aiming for. Here are Rachel’s tips for uncovering where your true interests lie:
Go back to basics Ask yourself what your ideal life would look like. What sort of place would you want to live in and what would you like to be doing? What would you do in your spare time? How important is it to earn a certain amount and so on? You might want to think about goals in terms of the following areas: career, your personal life, lifestyle or a creative goal. And of course you may want to set goals in more than one area.
Question everything In every area of your life start asking: Why? Why not? What happens if? This will help you set your direction and understand what might be holding you back.
Assess your reactions To help you uncover what you’d really like to do, see how you react to other people’s stories of their lives, particularly people who have made dramatic changes. Do you value what they value, how do you react to their attitude to career, possessions versus experiences and so on.
Explore your interests The simplest way to reset the direction you’re going in is to find something you love doing – and then do everything you can to keep on doing it in some way, whether that’s working in it, volunteering in it or studying it.
Look beyond your current surroundings If you can’t do what you want in your current location can you do it somewhere else – somewhere cheaper (to buy, to study, to rent…), somewhere with a different climate, somewhere there are more jobs in your preferred field.
Underpin it Whatever your goal is, make sure something solid underpins it. Beware of having a goal such as ‘achieving wealth and happiness’. Your chances of being happy as well as successful will be greatly improved if you pick intrinsic, purpose-driven goals, for example helping others improve their lives, growing and learning new things and being physically healthy.
Own it Sometimes it can feel as though everything interesting and exciting has already been done. But you are the only one living your life. Someone else may have done something but you are the only one living your life and your experiences matter to you. So who cares if a friend tells you that ‘everyone has been there – it’s so last year!’ If you haven’t been, you need to see it for yourself. And if it’s a business idea, maybe your version is applicable to a new audience, is a little different from what has gone before and so on.
Don’t be afraid to change direction It can be hard to switch to another path in life, particularly when you’re doing well where you are. Not only do you have to deal with your own fears that your new direction won’t work out, others will be forthcoming with their fears too. But just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you have to keep on doing it. There are lots of things you could be good at. In fact, once you give yourself permission to try, you could find that you are good at lots of things – and one of them might make you a lot more happy and fulfilled.
So start exploring your interests and exploring possibilities. And when it comes to the fear that you don’t have the necessary skills to move forward remember the importance of playing to your strengths. You may not realise it but your personality, experiences, skills and even your personal circumstances are all fantastic assets that you can use to create the life or career you’ve always wanted. You may doubt that is the case but to get ahead in life and work you don’t need to be good at everything – you just need to be good at some things and then use those skills in the most effective way to get to where you want to be.
Recommended reading: Already Brilliant by Rachel Bridge.