Let’s start with some definitions
First let’s define the difference between right work and wrong work. Wrong work is work which you don’t enjoy. The work feels stifling and constraining. Having wrong work you don’t look forward to going there every day. You secretly hope some crisis occurs so you don’t have to go because any alternative seems better then another wasted day at the office. Wrong work causes stress, anxiety, health problems, and relationship problems. Wrong work leaves you drained at the end of the day. You leave work asking yourself, how can I switch to anything else? Having wrong work it feels like you are doing the work meant for other people. The work doesn’t feel right for you. It doesn’t match your interests and abilities. Right work feels completely different! With right work you feel full of energy while working and content. Right work leaves you wanting more at the end of the day. You are excited, fulfilled, and feel like you are contributing to an area that is coherent for you. Having right work you feel happier and everything in your life seems to work much better as well. Right work makes you feel like you can do this work forever. You feel like your abilities and interests are aligned. You like the people you work with, and everyone seems to feel the same about you. Finally, with the right work you can’t tell the difference between play and work, vocation and vacation, and you leave the office sad on Friday that you have to wait until Monday to continue!
Start to look in the right places
First, decide what places are right for you. Many times people tend to leave wrong work and continue to look for another wrong work! Decide now what work fits you! Where do people like you work? What type of people do you feel the most comfortable working around? Do you prefer to work alone? What kind of work would leave you breathless at the end of the day? What work would feel like play? What kind of work would get you excited about Mondays? Talk to people who want to do what you want to do? If you can’t decide now what you want to do for a lifetime, that’s ok, but at least you can begin the search. Change your thinking perspective. Are you always thinking of the past and worried about the future? It is time to change your thinking. Right here, right now, what is the work that you would love to do the most and why? If you know the why, you will find the how. Try out test marketing approaches. Even if you want to work for someone else the steps are the same. Make a business card describing exactly what you want to do and who you want to be. At the bottom of the card, describe the services and or products that you want to sell. Use this new persona to promote yourself. People can’t help you if you don’t tell others what you want to do. If you plan to work for someone else, your elevator speech should take less than 20 seconds and clearly state something like this,”My name is Sammy and I have 23 years in the insurance industry as an IT professional and I am currently transitioning to working in the animal industry in a similar role and to be closer to the industry which I care about”. Ask the other person, “Do you have any ideas or contacts I could follow up with to assist on my search?” If you want to go into business for yourself the elevator speech is slightly different. If someone asks you about you and your work, you can respond with something like this, “I am the founder of XYZ company and I help people to focus on designing and or develop XYZ products and services”. It also adds a nice touch when you can say “this is my passion and life’s work!”
Talk to the right people
Don’t talk to people who have little interest in what you want to do. Best case is they will listen without adding value and worst case their opinions will confuse and frustrate you. Do talk to people who share your interests and passions. These people are easy to find if you attend the right meetings, conferences, read the right books, and join the right on-line forums. When you talk to others, who share your interests and already might be doing what you want to do, you can’t help but pick up new ideas and insights.
Think about right things
Think about why this work is important for you. Think about how your life will be different once you start to do this work. Imagine your new work day actually doing work which interests you, gets you excited. Think about why this is exactly the right time in your life for positive change. What you focus on you will attract. Sadly, many people focus on what they don’t want and this is what they end up with.
Try out new approaches
Be creative and try out new ideas you would be afraid to try before. Attend a conference, develop a new business card, or join an on-line group. Actually, start to offer services in the areas you feel most confident in! If you feel you need more skills, attend school again, get a certificate, or at least attend a seminar. The best way to start doing work that is right for you is to give yourself small examples of proof along the way that you can do this. It usually starts small and then builds.
Be flexible and open to BIG changes
Normally big change is needed when moving towards the work which is right for you. Be prepared and open to this. Move towards pleasure in your life. As a result, you will be more open to change, more creative, and more proactive. The reverse strategy just holds you back. When people don’t take risk, they are more negative, less receptive to new ideas, and reactive. Thriving change and being flexible are great attributes when seeking for the right work.
Don’t be afraid to ask for support!
Get a mentor or coach to help along the way. Usually our family members are interested, of course, but these are vested interests. Our family members usually like it when we stay the way we are and don’t rock the boat-stability. No stability is good when you are doing the wrong work. Better to seek out external experts who can listen, guide, and help you plan the second half of your life, which works better for you. Most people never had a coach unless they were on a sports team in their youth.
Be prepared to make sacrifices
Ok, this is the part you don’t want to hear! Finding right work IS major change and requires great sacrifice. The sacrifice can be different for each person. Generally, it will be around money and life standards in the short term. It can also be around relationships, and it can be around where one lives and multiple other trades-off. The reason most people don’t do the right work especially after 40 is because these life changes are hard to make especially without much external support.
Are you ready to make the needed changes NOW in your life?
Being ready is the most important first step. The second step is actually doing something about it. With a little risk and self trust, you can make the necessary changes now to find the work which is right for you at this time of your life. It won’t be easy but it will be well worth it. As a result the bounce and energy will return to your step, you feel happier and most important gain a sense of fulfillment which will last a lifetime.
I’ll be cheering you on as you go!