I know the feelings associated with this only too well. Doubt, anxiety, fear, excitement, determination, are just some of the emotions I experienced, & still occasionally do.
Last year, I was questioning my purpose & where ‘life was taking me’ after my personal life had changed. As a result, at the time I had to step away from a role that I loved, & I was so disillusioned, as I thought that door had closed behind me permanently.
Then out of the blue, a conversation helped me start on the track to rediscovering my purpose. During dinner with a wonderful person from Germany who I randomly met the day before on a flight back from Sydney, we were getting to know each other, & they asked what I did for work. I explained to them how until recently, I had supported veterans as they transitioned out of the military, & why I felt this was important as I had witnessed first hand how loss of identity & other factors such as PTSD, could have an impact on the person & their family unit. They mentioned that they knew someone who had been affected after their 2nd tour of duty to Afghanistan.
Afterwards, I couldn’t shake the memory of our conversation from my mind. Something kept buzzing away, & in moments of being present in the moment, or when I had allowed my mind to wander, that conversation kept coming back to me, as it still does now. I spent many months reflecting & considering what is my true passion, or in other words, what makes my heart sings. For me, that is providing veterans career development/management support. I am curious of the level of support in Germany given to veterans during service & post transition & how I can help veterans in Australia & beyond, so that they have the skills & strategies to sustain a successful transition.
I’ll never forget that brief moment in time, which was a catalyst for moving my life forward again with purpose & meaning. I am grateful that my dinner companion took an active interest in my experience, & felt that they could open up & share the experience of the person they knew.
Other friends have belief in what I have to offer, & have been great in supporting me emotionally as I have gradually rebuilt confidence in myself as well as being a sounding board as to where my career pathway could lead me. Although they are there for me to bounce ideas off, & take a genuine interest in my plans, they have never tried to give me ‘well meaning but misinformed’ advice, nor tried to steer my decisions down a path that doesn’t align with my sense of self, & vision. In essence, they are an amazing group of people, who care about me & recognize my skills, & I am truly grateful & humbled to have them in my life as my support network.
Sometimes clarity comes in an instant ‘aha’ moment, other times it takes time. There is no magical number for how long it will take us to find that clarity. We are unique, with our own experiences and needs, which is why it is important to not compare your self to others.
Some strategies I used during the process of finding my purpose include;
– Allowing my mind to wander & reflect on my situation & passions
– Visualisation strategies for how I saw my future, where did I see myself in 5 years etc
– Identifying and aligning my core values
– Brainstormed the pros and cons of not taking action. This really helped especially during moments of self doubt.
– Research tips to assist with gaining self-clarity:
- Current labour market information not only of the role in general, but also where you are/or planning to live & work. Are there any barriers to consider?
- How the role you are considering may change over the next 5 – 10 years. What does the role really look like? Does this really align with your core values? How may this impact with your personal life?
- What if any upskilling you may need to do? Research courses/training providers to find the one who is the best fit for your needs
- Do a financial audit. Would changing career mean a change in financial circumstances?
- Network with people who are working in the industry/role that you are interested moving into
– Make a plan (I don’t have all the steps laid down. I am still researching some parts of what I will need to do to follow my plan & my passion. I have however, started along my journey, with a clear idea of my next steps).
– Even though I am a Career Practitioner, I engaged with another Career Practitioner to seek another professional’s support and career guidance. I highly recommend if you are considering a career change, to work with a qualified Career Practitioner during this process. Family members & friends may provide you with well meaning advice, but this could included outdated information, & also be unintentionally biased as they are emotionally invested in your future plans.
The Forbes article below really resonated for me, with the process I went through as I rediscovered my passion, & what makes my heart sing