Even if you know you need a career change, it's easy to get distracted by the necessary responsibilities of your daily life--work, family, friends. And that makes it hard to carve out the time and mental space you need to even start thinking about a change.
"We all get stuck in our day-to-day on autopilot and forget to take a moment for ourselves during the day," writes Life Coach Calan Breckon. "But if you want to do anything in your life you must first visualize yourself doing that thing!"
So here's the big question: how can we learn to dream again? For the next three weeks, invest 10 minutes a day to get your brain on the move and thinking big.
Week One: Ask Questions
You may have been casually contemplating a change for months, but when was the last time you sat down and really concentrated on this issue? For the first week, take 10 minutes each morning to focus on a single question like:
--What makes me feel the most energized?
--What have I always wanted to learn more about?
--What kind of work sparks my interest?
--What skills am I most happy using?
--What kind of change do I want to make in the world?
Scribble down short notes. Talk out loud. Free write your ideas. The goal isn't to come up with definite answers, but rather to awake the part of your brain that is curious, striving, and ready for a new challenge.
Week Two: Explore Careers
Career inspiration can come from anywhere. Surf the web. Read a magazine. Talk to a friend. Pick up a section of the newspaper that you never read. No matter your source of insight, your goal for the second week is the same: Create a running list of careers that seem interesting. Don't worry about including impossible-sounding dream jobs (like astronaut or fashion designer)--this is about brainstorming as long a list of ideas as possible.
Week Three: Visualize the Future
In the third week, take seven jobs that have struck your interest and give yourself permission to mentally try on one new career every day. What if I were a nurse? What if I were a graphic designer? What if I were a sports broadcaster?
Visualize yourself in the job: think about what you'd do, what your work environment would look like, what clothes you would wear, and how you would interact with co-workers. Write down what appeals to you about each job and what totally turns you off. At the end of the week, see if you can spot any trends in your notes. This can help you pinpoint what you're really looking for out of your career change.
Try these three simple steps and within a few weeks your brain will be buzzing with big ideas for your future.
Annie Favreau is the managing editor for Inside Jobs--a site that helps career changers and choosers discover strong career options + find the right education to make it happen. Follow her on Twitter @InsideJobs.