First: Answering Your Question
I begin that all-important where to start question by turning you again inward and asking maybe the most important question: What is your financial situation? Money is not all important, but competent management of your finances can keep you from making poor or desperate choices. Knowing what you need and what you can handle financially can allow you to leave a negative situation when you want or invest in the next level without undue sacrifice. Trust me. Finances matter.
I break clients into two camps:
Group 1) Those who need money now to survive with the hope of thriving, and
Group 2) Those who are okay on the money front and are looking to invest in the next level.
If you are in Group 1), you will need to get to the next level while working at a Day-Job—a place that may not fulfill your passion, but pays the bills and supports the Night-Dream. More on the Day-Job option later. If you are in Group 2), including people who have saved up 2 year’s worth of expenses, your most important play is to ensure that what you invest your time in is worthwhile. You must ensure that it will satisfy you.
I also include here that some people would rather not work. I don’t mean that you don’t want to be productive. I mean that, if you did not have to go to work, if you could walk on the beach and just help out when you felt like it, would that be preferable to working in the professional sector? If you are not one who wants to work, you should pursue that opportunity. That’s a different discussion that I include here. Let me know if you need that one. Hint: It’s about making your money work for you.
First Question: Which group are you in Group1 (surviving hoping to one day thrive) or Group2 (money certain and banked ready to invest)?
Second: Identifying the Day Job
If you need to maintain a day job, the task is to seek a position that fits your financial needs, but that leaves you time that is YOURS. These are typically jobs that are not about promotion or climbing a corporate ladder. They typically do not have on-call hours more than once a month. They are jobs that you can attend to, excel in, and leave when you leave each day. They allow you to spend your evenings and weekends pursuing your passions.
Search these out by thinking through your skills. Review your resume, your job descriptions, and achievements. Search job sites by the keywords that come up in your resume and experience. A neat trick is to copy and paste your resume into a word cloud website. The largest words visually are the words that rise to the top of your expertise pool. Apply for the jobs that both fit these keywords AND are open to your mental and emotional freedom needs for evenings and weekends.
Second Question: What are 7 of your skills regardless of education, formal training, or formal experience?
Third: Identifying Your Expertise
Once you understand your expertise, you will be able to apply it to an opportunity for education, career, advocacy, or entrepreneurship. A game plan produced by a competent career coach will provide you with the focus for either. The key is to identify your primary drive and your developmental needs for expertise. [My Recommendation]
Primary drive allows you to take comfort knowing why you possess the passion you evidence. Knowing and accepting this allows you to make decisions that meet this drive sustainably as opposed to unsustainably. Sustainable means that you continue toward your goals with little interruption and negativity. Expertise identification helps you to focus your learning, research, and activity on pursuits that feed your drive and support your creativity. Successful people are guided to create. You will produce something. Expertise identification ensures that you move consistently and systematically toward the products you will create.
Third Question: If money was not an object, what would be a typical week of activity for you?
Follow-up Question: What do you find yourself doing when you feel the most proud of yourself?