Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?



Do you remember when you were 10 years old and knowing what you wanted to be when you grew up? As you got older your ideas probably changed – maybe you went to college or university or you started your own business. The question is, if you had your time over would you do anything differently? If not, that’s great! But if so, then read on because what you need to take are the 6.5 career steps to discovering what you want to be when you grow up…

The 6.5 CAREER Steps

C is for Confidence

The number one reason most people never pursue their dreams is a lack of confidence. Therefore this is the first place to start before doing anything else. I’m not saying you can’t do anything until you’re super-confident but I am suggesting you work on your confidence whilst working though the other steps. There are several ways you can do this – read books that will encourage confidence, write down all your successes each week (no matter how small!) or hire a coach to help you! The important thing here is to start – the greater your confidence, the greater your chance of achieving your passion.

A is for Assess

In order to know where you’re going, you need to know where you are. Spend time giving yourself a SWOT analysis – it’s important to identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as acknowledging the opportunities and threats a change of direction will bring. Be brutally honest with yourself and remember this no time for false modesty! Another great exercise is to set a goal for yourself – what exactly do you want; a promotion? A career change? To be self-employed? Don’t go any further until you know what it is you’re looking to achieve and a clear understanding of how well placed you currently are to achieve it.

R is for Research

So now you have a clearer idea of what you want and believe it is achievable. Great! Now comes the research. You’ve identified what you want to do but does it require any specific skills or experience? Is there a particular qualification you need? Can you do it where you currently live or will you have to move? Research doesn’t have to be boring – there are some excellent online resources to help you such as LinkedIn discussion groups, blogs like this one as well as university and library websites. If you really can’t face doing the research yourself, why not use a site like Fiverr or Fivesquids and get someone else to do it for you?!

E is for Education

Education is important and for some careers and jobs, it is necessary to have particular qualifications. However, it is a mistake to view education as an obstacle to be overcome – it’s really just a way of giving people information and knowledge about a subject that they didn’t have before. If the idea of learning puts you off doing what you really want to do, you need to find a different way of learning it! There are plenty of ways of learning from the traditional classroom environment to self-study online. There are also many opportunities to study whilst working full-time, check out part-time, evening and online courses. Recognise education for what it is – it’s to help fill in a knowledge gap and should be fun!


E is for Experience

Ironically, those who don’t worry about their education do worry about their experience. This can be partially dealt with by recognising that the only difference between those with experience and those without is time. However, quality is sometimes far more useful than quantity. Which would you choose – an ‘expert’ with 10 years’ experience who produces mediocre results or someone who has been doing it for a year but produces excellent results every time? So if you have little experience under your belt right now, go out and get it! Time will pass regardless. If you’re not sure where to look then volunteering is a fantastic place to start – it allows you to try things without committing your mortgage to it. Check out for opportunities in your area.

R is for Reflect

Look back on what you have learned so far. What has been the most useful part of the process? What would you have done differently? Did anything get missed out? Spend time reflecting on each of the previous steps and what worked for you and what didn’t. Keep the bits that did, change the bits that didn’t and refine the model until it is just right for you.

S is for Skill set

It’s important not to become complacent. You see, it’s not enough to complete the 6 steps once and think that’s it. The steps are designed to inform, empower and place you in the best possible position to know exactly what you want and how to go out there and get it. But things change. What is right for you now may not be right for you in 5 years’ time. Therefore it’s important to view these steps as cyclical rather than linear – revisit them constantly, update your skillset and make a commitment to yourself to never stop learning.

If you follow these steps you will be in a strong position to know exactly what you want from your working life and the best way to take the actions that will make it happen. The best bit is that you can change your mind as often as you like because you have the tools, knowledge and belief to know that whatever you decide you can make it happen. Have fun with it – when you were little it was exciting to imagine all the different things you could be when you were grown up. Now you have the chance to make it happen – what could be more exciting than that?!

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