Reader Q&A: "What is out there that I am able to do?"

Over the next few weeks I'll be answering YOUR questions about the single biggest challenges that are holding you back from choosing your direction.

First up is, "What is out there that I am able to do?"

This is really a two part question:

Part 1: What is out there?

Part 2: What am I able to do ?

Let's get to it!

1. What is out there?

When it comes to researching careers it can be tricky. In a way there's so much information out there but a lot of it doesn't keep up with our fast changing times!

Here are my two favourite websites that are good places to begin:

www.prospects.ac.uk (for graduate careers)

www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

I'd also recommend working through my free course, 7DAYSTODIRECTION to narrow down 3 career paths you're interested in. Then get really up to date information on careers in those areas by speaking to people who are actually doing them. Use your network, LinkedIn and contacting local companies to do this.

2. What am I able to do?

This bit of the question resonated with me. I know exactly how you feel!

If you're asking yourself "what am I able to do?" instead of "what would I enjoy?" or "what would I be really successful at?" then give yourself a break from trying to decide which direction your want to take your life. 

Instead, take some time to work on increasing your self-belief before you choose the direction you want to go in.

You deserve move than just a job that you are able to do. Everyone has their own unique combination of strengths including you!

Self-belief is something I've been working on personally.  Here are some suggestions for how to increase your self-belief that have worked for me:

  1. Affirmations

A positive statement said in the present tense that changes your thought patterns in the moment.

E.g. I believe in myself and I trust my ability to make a positive difference to other people's lives.

2. Visualisations

These work well when done regularly. Maybe you could do one every morning when you wake up or at night before you go to bed?

One that I've used in the past for a specific situation is closing my eyes and imagining myself walking into a room full of new people. I see myself feeling calm and excited to find out about them (instead of nervous and out of place!). Adding the positive emotions you want to feel in the situation you're visualising is really important. 

3. Positive self-talk

I bet you are your own worst critic. This is both the easiest and hardest thing to stop doing! It's easy because it's 100% under your control but it's hard because you're so stuck in a routine with it! Mediation has helped me to become more aware of my thoughts and affirmations are great for repeating when you're stuck in a negative thought pattern.

4. Do something you've said you were always going to do.

Whether it's writing a novel, baking your mum a suprise cake or going bungee jumping, doing something you've said you're always going to do will help you to start to positively change your perceptions of yourself and your capabilities.

5. Be true to your word (even to yourself)

This really affects your self-esteem. If you say you're going to go for a run after work and then make an excuse to yourself and back out of it, you'll gradually stop believing in yourself.

If you know that you won't go for a run then don't say it. If on the other hand you want to, say and do it! By backing out you'll be letting yourself down twice (both your body's health and your belief in yourself.)

6. Do something a little bit out of your comfort zone.

This will build your self belief by growing your confidence and helping you change the way you see yourself. How often do you think "oh I'm not someone who could do that?"  By stepping out of your comfort zone (especially when it's something you don't see yourself doing)  you'll become a person whodoes do the things you though you couldn't do. You'll realisehow much your mind has been holding you back from achieving your full potential!

7. Share your dreams with your most supportive friends and family members.

(And don't EVER share them with anyone who won't be excited, helpful and caring towards them until they are no longer dreams but seriously achievable goals).

They'll show you that they believe you can do it (whatever it is!) and this will spur you on to actually believing that you can do it too!

Keep repeating these 7 steps until you're asking "what would I enjoy doing?" Instead of "what I am able to do?"