A Little Foolishness Is A Good Thing

Making a change in your career can seriously impact all areas of your life. And situations with serious impact require a serious approach, right?  Well, not always.

Career change, even if it’s only some tweaks to your current work, means dealing with uncertainty, self-image issues, hard work, and judgement…in other words, heavy and serious stuff.  It too often sets up this familiar cycle:

  • Avoid change because it feels unpleasant
  • Feel stuck, stale and useless
  • Blame yourself for staying stuck
  • Avoid change because it feels unpleasant

An overly 'serious' approach is probably not going to point you to a meaningful, fulfilling career you love.  'Serious' brings to mind restrictive words like 'should', 'must', 'can't', 'impossible', 'required' and 'but'.  ‘Playful’, on the other hand, implies creativity, curiosity, wonderment. It asks, 'What if?', 'How about?', 'Could it be?'  Which do you think is more conducive to discovering the work you love to do?

No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you're far more likely to do something you enjoy than something you don't. What you do for 'fun', or ‘play’, is a powerful indicator of where you ought to be focusing more of your attention. The feel-good things you do to avoid doing the things that don't feel so good are more than just procrastination. They can be extremely valuable clues for navigating a successful career change.

If what you've been doing so far has you feeling frustrated, stressed or unfulfilled, it’s probably time to shake up the routine. Sometimes that means doing more things just for fun, or because you're curious about what they're like. These things may feel completely unrealistic and self-indulgent.  But it’s when you go after what you really want, not just what you think you can get, that you create your best opportunity to create the career – and the life - you love. 

The ancient Roman poet Horace wrote, Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment. More than two thousand years later it’s still good advice for the 21st century career shifter.

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