Invent Your Next Job

There’s no denying it is a time of unprecedented change on the work front.

Many of today’s jobs aren’t guaranteed to exist tomorrow as technology continues to enable new business models that disrupt age-old industries and change the status quo unequivocally.

Mobility continues apace, untethering us from centralised office locations and freeing us to work from literally anywhere with an internet connection.

Globalisation means competition for jobs is greater than at any other time in history.

Social tools and channels enable us to connect globally and in an instant to audiences covering every possible niche.

With unpredictability and connectivity the new norms, they are fuelling the next career opportunity for anyone ready to embrace them – inventing your next job.

While it sounds unrealistic, this idea isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. After all, all jobs are invented. The capacity to innovate – solving problems creatively or bringing new possibilities to life – combined with the right mix of supply and demand has generated every single job that ever existed. So why not your next one?

Fear, uncertainty and doubt will do a great job of stopping your imagination and action in its tracks if you let it, so here are a few pointers on manifesting the job of your dreams:

  • Get clear on your values – Values are our own personal reference guide for the way we need to live and work in order to be happy. By defining and aligning with our personal values, they can act as a reference point for our career decisions – big and small. When we make choices and behave in a way that matches our values, life is usually good – we feel a sense of purpose, satisfaction and contentment. But when our choices don’t align with our values, things feel out of kilter, unfulfilling and often downright unhappy. This ebook provides exercises to help you understand and articulate your values to get you started.
  • Pinpoint your strengths – Strengthsare the natural talents we all possess and use. Often we don’t consciously recognise them because we tend not to value what we are good at, and we are taught to spend our time trying to plug the gap on our weaknesses. By identifying our innate talents and ensuring a career or job role that enables us to use those strengths every single day, we are much more likely to feel engaged and motivated, and ultimately, successful. To identify your top five strengths, check out the Strengths Finder 2.0 book and related online test. It might throw up a few surprises.
  • Indulge your passions – Passions cover anything you have a compelling enthusiasm for and they are a really important part of the career defining mix because they create an unparalleled motivation, drive and focus. It stands to reason that if you love what you do your commitment to it will be greater, which ups the success stakes considerably. The sad truth is that many of us believe our passions are only appropriate for our spare time and that work should be something separate. But those who indulge their passions and find ways to integrate them in a work context report much higher levels of engagement and happiness.
  • Dare to dream – Get a piece of paper and play the game ‘If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would…’ ‘If I didn’t care what other people thought I would…’ ‘If I were sure I’d succeed I would…’ ‘If I had the nerve I would…’ and see what comes up. Aim to write down your answers as they pop up – however outlandish or bold they might seem – without judging or analysing them. When you are finished, read them through and sit with them for a while. The answers will undoubtedly provide food for thought and might well astonish you too.
  • Adopt an experimental mind – Test out lots of ideas by playing, fumbling, experimenting, and observing, taking the time to see what you learn and building it into your next idea to test. Belief is built from the evidence of ‘doing’ so deliberately aim to fail a thousand times, acknowledging and applying what you learn to keep honing your idea until you get to the right one for you.
  • Break it down – As you come up with ideas for your new job, don’t try and boil the ocean and attack every piece all at once. Take seriously baby steps, breaking down your goal into the smallest possible pieces and choose the easiest one to start with. The trick is to avoid the perilous cycle of over-commitment, misery, overwhelm and defeat.
  • Embrace the transition phase – It’s very rare that we’ll be able to switch one job off and switch another on in a way that seamlessly covers all our existing financial needs and commitments – particularly with a job or career we’ve invented. Life simply doesn’t work that way. So be prepared to embrace the transition phase. This might well mean doing two jobs at once as you continuing to work in an existing or alternative role, while also step-changing and building your way towards the job you’ve created. You’ll know when the time is right to make the whole-hearted leap because you’ll reach a tipping point in momentum and you’ll feel it in your gut.

Try out these tips and see what happens. My clients can attest that with a lot of research, imagination, hard work and a willingness to make mistakes and learn from them, it is entirely possible to invent a job that has never existed before – one that serves your soul and possibly the world at large, as well as your customers.

October 8, 2015
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