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How to find the job you've been dreaming of, in 4 steps

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Wouldn’t it be great to have a job you really love? On our way to the ideal job, many of us tend to throw up roadblocks. Take your dreams seriously and pave the way for a life that suits you.

One person’s dream is working at Doctors Without Borders, another is perfectly happy making beautiful flower bouquets. What matters is that your job gives you energy. You do what you’re good at and what inspires you, and the hard times (that come with any job), are no obstacle to persevere. A nice definition of a dream job: work you love so much that you would even do it without getting paid.

Let go of beliefs that restrict you

Does all of this sound like it doesn’t really concern you? Many people are afraid to follow their heart. They see all kinds of obstacles and make up excuses: ‘I can’t have my ideal job, because I’m too old, or too young, I can’t make any money off of it…’ All of these are limiting convictions that you need to let go of.

If you want to make your dreams reality, you’ll have to take your wildest fantasies seriously and explore them. Test the obstacles you find during your exploration. Is your fear justified, or are you making up an excuse?

In 4 steps towards your dream job

The crucial question is: what unique thing do you have to offer to the world?

Step 1: Insight

In order to find out what you have to offer to yourself and others, you reflect on the highlights in your life the last couple of years. A highlight is a situation that energized you and that still makes you happy if you think about it. You were in your element, then. Work out the three biggest highlights using open questions:

Who (were there)?

What (happened exactly)?

Where (did it take place)?

When (did it happen)?

Why (was it so special)?

Step 2: No more excuses

You’ve discovered a couple of things that you’re good at, that make you happy and that you would love to make a living out of. Do you think your dream is unrealistic? There’s a fun way to discover if you’re dealing with an excuse. Normally, you introduce yourself to new people telling them some things about your present life: what you do, where you live… This week, tell five strangers (in the street, on the train, wherever) about yourself through the dreams you haven’t actualized yet. For instance: ‘I am a writer’, or ‘I’m the owner of a hotel’. You’re true to your dream, you’re simply pulling the story a little further into the future. Use present tense and talk as if you’ve already made reality of the wish. No conditions, no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.

If you’re not sure what it is exactly that you want to do, make multiple versions of your ‘introduction story’. If you experiment with this, two important things happen: you immediately feel which story suits you the best and which one brings the most joy. Besides, you’ll find that to strangers, there’s nothing unusual about your story. What seemed to be an impossible dream to you, is very realistic to others. So that dream of yours might not be all that far-fetched.    

Step 3: Make a translation

Make a list of 20 special things you have to offer, and write down how you could make money out of them. If you have a passion for animals, fantasize about all the possible jobs you could do with it.

If, in step 1, you had the insight that you’re good at imagining yourself in someone else’s situation, think about ways to use this talent in a paid job. Don’t limit yourself; think of as many ways as possible. Stress the jobs that you like the most. Could this be your perfect job?

Step 4: Action

People like talking about their jobs, especially when the job is their passion. Look (for instance using Google) for at least twenty people who are doing a job similar to your dream job. Try to find their contact information and send them an email to schedule an appointment with them. Face to face, you can ask them all the questions you want to ask: about the job, about the way they got the job, or ask for advice about how to find a similar job yourself. If they can do it, you can do it too.

Text: Dominique Haijtema