Unleashing your creativity to imagine the right career for you

Most of us live our lives operating from the left side of our brain (the verbal brain) and for good reason. It’s the logical, conscious part of the mind that controls language, mathematics and analytical thought and reasoning.

The trouble is, the left brain’s habit of overtly rationalising what is “realistic” and achievable for us doesn’t help when we need to tap into our creative resources to imagine what type of career or role is right for us. Especially when we face a blank sheet of paper.

That’s where the right brain (or sub-verbal brain) comes in. It’s the unconscious part of the mind that’s best at creative and expressive tasks. It is also acts as an internal filing system that remembers every experience we’ve ever had throughout our own lifetime, from which we can draw, making it the home of intuition or gut instinct.

If that weren’t enough, the right brain processes 11 million bits of information per second. That’s in stark contrast to the left brain, which only processes at 40 bits of information per second. For those of us who live primarily in our left brains, it’s a bit like choosing to operate from a 1980s Amstrad computer instead of the latest super computer.

So, how do you tap into the right side of the brain to start the creative process of imagining the right career for you? Here are a few simple exercises aimed at relaxing your verbal brain and freeing up your mind to get you started. Try playing with one or two of them – and the operative word here is play. Your right brain will conjure up all sorts of ideas when you aren’t trying too hard, feeling attached to the outcome or judging what comes up. Have a go and see what happens!


  1. Morning Pages (courtesy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way). Write between one and three pages of longhand when you first awaken, on anything and everything that comes to mind. It’s a stream of consciousness, for your eyes only. There is no wrong way to do it and don’t over-think it. Just put anything on the page, and then do the same thing the following morning, and so on. Morning Pages help provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritise and synchronise your day.
  1. Imaginary Lives (another one from Julia Cameron). If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them? I would be a pilot, a cowhand, a physicist, a psychic, a dancer, etc. Whatever occurs to you, jot it down. Do not overthink this exercise. The point of these lives is to have fun in them – more fun than you might be having in this one. Look over your list and select one. Then do something related to it this week. For instance, if you put adventure tour guide in Maui, can you go hiking or zip lining? If you dream of being a dancer, can you join a salsa class or google and print out your best outfit?
  1. If I Didn’t Give a Damn…(courtesy of Martha Beck). Take a piece of paper and write at the top: ‘If I didn’t give a damn what anyone thought I would’, then make a list of at least ten things that you would do. Even better, make a list of twenty. Don’t hold back or judge what you write. Be as wild, unusual, ostentatious or challenging as you can.
June 10, 2015
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