How to find a career that makes your heart sing

How to find a career that makes your heart sing

A happier work life is waiting in the wings

BY Lucy Cheek, 8 min READ

Did you miss our recent masterclass with career transition coach Claire Curyer, thanks to our friends at Suncorp Team Girls? Don’t worry, we took notes for you! Here are four steps to finding out what you really want to do in your career.

1. Foundations first

To know where you want to go, you need to know where you are now. Are you in your current job for a season, a reason or a lifetime? What is it about your role that’s making you want to move on? Is it the environment, the workload, the culture? This is a crucial step people often miss, says Claire. After you’ve considered this, move on to …

What are your strengths? You probably have an idea of what your strengths are, but write them down. What comes naturally to you? What can you do that doesn’t require much thought? Next, go a bit deeper and build an evidence bank for them through testimonials, feedback and achievements of how you’ve demonstrated those skills. Having a bank of evidence behind you will make you more confident to step into something new.

What are your values? When people feel misaligned and unhappy in their career, it often comes down to values, says Claire. Write them down and get clear on what your values are before moving forward.

What are your non-negotiables? What do you need in your career for it to make you feel happy, excited and want to jump out of bed? Do you want flexibility? A diverse work team? To work outdoors? A clear path for progression? Write down your top five. Beside each non-negotiable, rate how important it is to you out of 10.


2. Design your dream career

This is the fun step where you get clear on the direction you want to go in.

Focus on how you want to feel at work. Do you want to feel energised in the office? At ease? Confident?

Visualise yourself in a fulfilling role – what do you see? Are you working on a project from conception to implementation? Are you your own boss? What type of environment are you in? Write down some of the key words that come to mind; give yourself a couple of minutes. What comes up for you? Do you feel excited? Does it feel out of reach? Did something come up that you didn’t realise you wanted?

Claim it. After doing this exercise, get clear on exactly how you want to feel and what you want to do. Write it down, then claim it!

Still struggling? If you still can’t work out what you want to do, imagine you’ve won the career lottery. If you woke up tomorrow in your dream job, what would you be doing? Or try a self-audit: write down what you do during a work day, and put an asterisk next to things you don’t mind doing, and a double asterisk next to things you love doing. Is it having conversations with people? Trawling through your inbox to get organised for the day? You’ll soon start to work out what lights you up day-to-day.

3. Work out what’s stopping you

A career story is one you tell yourself about your career, success and who you need to be in order to reach your goal. Claire says the stories we tell ourselves often stop us from moving forward. Examples are that you have to work super-hard or earn lots of money to be successful. Think about your current role: do you feel like you should be progressing? That you should be leading a team or doing more? Write down the story you tell yourself, then ask yourself: is this actually true, or is this a story I’m telling myself? From your story, you can work out what ‘perfect problem’ you’re creating. A perfect problem is generally the excuse that’s stopping you from progressing – your core belief about yourself. I’m not good enough, I’m too old, I don’t have enough experience … Even the most successful people have limiting beliefs. Acknowledge what your belief is, then take a small step each day to overcome it. The exciting thing is, once you can identify your belief, it’s much easier to move past it.


4. Make it happen

Now you know your strengths, values, non-negotiables, how you want to feel in your job and what’s stopping you, it’s time for action.

Set a goal. If you’re still not sure what you want to do, frame it in terms of how you want to feel, says Claire. Do you want to be in a career where you feel valued? Energised? Have flexibility?

Know your why. This is your motivator. Dig deep and ask yourself five ‘why’s to get to your core why. E.g., “I want a career I feel energised and excited about.” Why? “Because I want to make an impact.” Why? And so on, until you get to your fifth why. That’s going to be the motivator behind your goal.

Create action steps. Who do you need to talk to to achieve this goal? What networks should you be in? Do you need a mentor or coach? What professional or personal development can you undertake? Write down your goal, your why, your action steps … and there’s your career plan! Have a timeframe, and make sure you’re working on something every day to reach your goal. It could be as simple as updating your LinkedIn bio to reflect where you want to go.

Rewrite your career story. Write your dream career as though it’s already happened. E.g.,“I’m so excited I get to work in this position where I’m around awesome people, and I get to spend more time with my family …” Include your non-negotiables. Then, when you’re feeling stuck or demotivated, read your story for a burst of energy and confidence.


Business Chicks and Suncorp Team Girls have teamed up to bring you the Business Chicks of the Future content series. Visit the hub to find more content to equip you to build meaningful connections with your teen and tween girls in order to build their confidence, help promote resilience and encourage a positive mindset. For more information on how Suncorp is helping to build a nation of confident girls, visit the Team Girls website. 


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