Landing your dream job isn’t as hard as you think it is, as long as your dream job is fairly realistic. If you dream of running your own company, you can absolutely do it. You set your goal and plan each step to reach it. Then, start working through the steps until you achieve your goal. Most dream jobs can be achieved this way.
Those who don’t achieve their dream job fail for one of three reasons:
- Their dream job is unrealistic (Like, “I want someone to pay me millions of dollars to shop all day”)
- They don’t want to put forth the effort to reach the goal
- They have limited thinking instead of believing in limitless possibilities
If you’re not working your dream job right now, are you taking steps to reach your goal, or are you stuck for one of these reasons? If you’re stuck, it’s likely you that is standing in the way of your dream job.
Is Your Dream Job Realistic?
When you are seven, your dream job should be wildly unrealistic. You should want to be a rock star, a movie star, a professional basketball player—you name it. These jobs are just like any other dream job, really. You can be a rock star if you learn an instrument or learn to sing, join a band, jam at the right events, hire a manager, record a record, go on tour, and keep making music for your adoring fans. These days, you may even have luck with creating a YouTube channel and finding a marketing manager that can take it viral. The problem is, this kind of dream job is a lot of work, and you will have people constantly telling you that you can’t do it. You can—you just have to be willing to put in the effort.
But what if you’re 45 and your dream job is still to be a rock star? You can still do it, but it’s a lot harder. The level of effort you will have to put into it is insurmountable for most people, and you have to overcome societal bias and stereotypes of what it is to be a rock star. It’s hard to convince the world that you’re rock ‘n roll when you’re driving a minivan. But hey, don’t stop believing. You have extra steps to reach your dream job, but they are still actionable steps.
The problem with unrealistic dream jobs comes when you think everything will just be handed to you. If you’re the best rock singer in the entire world, but the only place you ever sing is your shower, yet you expect that one day a recording studio executive is going to corner you on the street and give you your big break, you have unrealistic expectations.
Millennials have a reputation for expecting things to be handed to them, but it’s not as generational a problem as you might think. People of all ages have unrealistic expectations, and they use them as an excuse as to why they don’t have their dream jobs. They blame luck and fate instead of the truth that they’re not willing to set their goal, list the steps to reach the goal, and start working towards it.
Yes, I just told you that you can be a rock star. Now, do you want it bad enough to do what it takes to achieve your goal? If not, it’s not your dream job—it’s just a dream.
Do You Lack the Motivation Required to Land Your Dream Job?
If you’re working a job you hate that has no logical path to any future position that will bring you what you want for your dream job, you probably lack motivation. Unless, of course, you’re paying for college or some sort of education that’s on your list of steps towards your dream job, or you’re making ends meet while applying for other positions that are on the list of steps towards your dream job. Which is it for you?
If you lack motivation, ask yourself why. Is it because you don’t think your dream job is realistic, or is it because your dream job isn’t really your dream job? Have you psyched yourself out so bad that you don’t think you can reach any goal? Or, do you just not know where to start on your path to reach your dream job?
Where to Start: Education
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start on your dream job goal path, most likely the best place to start is with figuring out what sort of education you need to do your dream job. Start by looking on LinkedIN to see what sort of education and certifications people with your dream job have. Then, start looking for places near you or online that you can gain that education.
For example, most leaders have some sort of college degree. If you’re a woman considering a leadership role, take a look at USC’s leadership infographic for inspiration and ideas.
If your dream is to run your own beauty salon, look into beauty certification courses at your local vocational school. If you want to be the top real estate broker in town and make millions of dollars per year, look into your state’s requirements for real estate agents. If you want to be a rock star, look for music programs at local colleges.
If You’re Stuck, Network
If you have an education but aren’t sure how to use it, ask for help. You should have a LinkedIN account filled with former professors, fellow graduates, and people in the industry you want to join. Send them messages and start asking questions. Find out what has made them successful so you can figure out what your next step should be.
Talking to people is especially hard for introverts, but from one introvert to another (I’m an INTJ), you have to do it. Without networking you can never really hope to get anywhere in your career. Go to Meetup.com and find a local group dedicated to your career passion. It’s free (usually), and you’ll be amazed what you can learn over a $2 cup of coffee while talking to the right people.
Write Down Your Plan
If you need motivation, you should write down your dream job goal and the steps it will take to reach it. If you don’t know the steps, ask your network or hire a career coach. Either way, make a physical representation of what you need to do to reach your goals. Then, when you complete a step, cross it off and happy dance.
Put your step list where you can see it everyday and it can remind you of your goal and how to reach it. If you’re brave, put it on the refrigerator. If you’re shy, tape it inside a cabinet door or inside your closet door. Seeing it will help motivate you—just knowing it’s there is sometimes enough to inspire you to take the next step.
Take One Step
Remember the proverb that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step? That first step is often the hardest to take, but it’s also what builds momentum. Do one thing, right away, towards your dream job. Maybe it’s as simple as Googling places to take classes or signing up for Meetups, or maybe it’s applying for a job. In a year, you will remember what it was like to take that first step, and it will inspire you all the more.
What to do if You Have Limited Thinking
We are bombarded with messages that we can’t do what we want to do. Even my favorite career blogs write topics like “Don’t do What You Love.” If you wanted to be a rock star when you were 7 but gave up on the idea by the time you were 15, likely it was because someone in your life convinced you that it wasn’t going to happen for you.
Limited thinking is a problem for all of us, and it’s one we have to work at overcoming daily. The truth is, you can have anything you want if you believe it’s possible and you put in the work to get it. This isn’t just me being optimistic, either—it’s a truth repeated by successful people everywhere, from Oprah to Warren Buffet.
One strategy to help you overcome limited thinking and reach your goals is to surround yourself with people who speak positively. Love your negative friends and family, but also remember that their limited beliefs contribute to their own personal setbacks. You don’t have to follow in their footsteps. Write down your goal, and do what it takes to reach it.
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There’s no big secret to landing your dream job, even though I wish their was so I could make a billion dollars selling it. If you set your goal, plan your steps, and work to accomplish each step, your success is inevitable.