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How to generate new career ideas designed for YOU.

Colourful houses packed onto a hillside in Italy.

If you are stuck in a career and have no idea what else you could possibly do with the skills and experience you have, hope is at hand.

I want to introduce you to a fun and creative approach to unlocking career possibilities.

Over the coming weeks adjust your attention to ‘enquiry mode’ and observe what piques your interest as you move through the world.

Capture everything (the easiest way is taking a photo) and create a ‘folder’ where you can store all these images. This will most likely be an online format (an album on your phone, Pinterest, Padlet etc) but it doesn’t have to be – it can be collecting physical items that represent what has interested you which you can store in a box.

You are aiming to collect 100 photos (or items) which capture career possibilities.

These may come in the form of fully formed ideas (I think I might like to be a wildlife photographer), to a concept (I’d like to help people) or an environment (I’d like to work in a more creative atmosphere), a skill you’d like to use (I want to write), a dream (I’ve always wanted to design fashion).

You are not looking for just the logical, rational, realistic job possibilities – this is an opportunity to include any passing thought, concept, dream, wish or desire relevant to your working life.

From now on, as you go through your day, keep an eye out for the jobs that people around you are doing. 

What you’re looking for are aspects of people’s jobs that appeal to you or that you envy. 

So, you see a window cleaner up a ladder, ask yourself what appeals to you about the job. The answer might be ‘working for myself, working in the outdoors, working the hours I fancy, meeting lots of different kinds of people’.

It’s important to note that some things may interest you that seem wholly unrelated to a career – be sure to take photos of them (or find a way of representing them in physical form) for your ‘folder’ as these can point to careers that you may not have thought of.

Here are some examples of what you can probably take photos of (or collect items for) straight away:

  • something that represents your hobbies.
  • your favourite book.
  • all the jobs you dreamt of doing when you were young.
  • the topics/subjects that you are always attracted to – cookery, gardening, health, how to invest, travelling etc.
  • a screenshot of the podcast you’re listening to.
  • pictures on the walls of where you live.
  • the mug you love to drink your morning coffee from.
  • the tiles you chose for your bathroom.

You get the idea!

Once you have 100 photos (or items), take some time to sort them into approximately 5 groups.

Watch for patterns and associations emerging.

You are sorting everything into groups that link what you’re seeing together somehow.

Once you have settled on your (approximately) 5 groups, focus on one group at a time and uncover the theme at play.  

Ask yourself:

  • what draws me to this group of images or items?
  • what does this make me think of?
  • what does this make me want to do? Why?
  • what do I feel?
  • what is the story these photos or items are telling me?
  • what is going on when I dig deeper, behind my initial understanding? What’s the underlying attraction?
  • how would I describe this theme?
  • how would this theme translate into a work theme?

When you are happy with your themes (don’t be surprised if these keep evolving) you can move to getting creative with how the theme might come to life as a job – explore all the possibilities.

This approach ensures that you can think outside the box and identify what you want in a new career. 

Rather than trying to fit yourself to a job, you are unearthing everything that appeals to you, recognising it and putting some form to it in terms of how it might express itself as work.

I love digging into this with clients as surprises always emerge and are quickly identified as possibilities to explore which would never have come to light without going through this exercise.

This is where the world of potential careers opens up!

If you give this a whirl, I would love to know what’s revealed to you 😎. 

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash.