I chased the idea of finding my dream job and life for a long time—and changed my mind a lot along the way. Once I finally settled on something, figuring out how to get there was just as overwhelming. All I could find were tips for being efficient at work, setting boundaries, and providing value to your employer. And while all of these are vital for moving forward in our careers, I was looking for tangible steps to help me move closer to my dream.
1. Explore what you want
When trying to figure out what your dream career is, you might focus on figuring out your “purpose” or “passion.” They’re the buzzwords we’ve heard our entire lives, but finding them is way easier said than done.
Schmidt takes a more simplified approach. She recommends we shift the script. The words “purpose” and “passion” can feel daunting. What if we changed those? What if, instead of beating our heads against a wall to find our “true life calling,” we instead focused on what is meaningful and fun? By replacing “purpose” with “meaningful,” and “passion” with “fun,” we open an entirely new world for ourselves to explore.
By doing this, we are removing the pressure we have put on ourselves to find the one thing we were meant to do. We are removing the pressure to get it “right.” Instead, we can explore what lights us up. Ask yourself: What would you do for free? What would you do until 2 a.m. just because you want to? Then, do that.
The proof is in the pudding. Paige Schmidt’s coaching business was born from her love of blogging which she stumbled upon while going to school for nursing. By following her joy for blogging and sharing, she started connecting with women and, over time, realized she wanted to do that more by coaching one-on-one.
2. Visualize what you want
It’s time to take it a step further. Once you’ve relieved the pressure and allowed yourself to explore, it’s time to visualize. Whether you just figured out what lights you up or you’ve known all along, visualization is a key piece to the puzzle. According to Schmidt, one of the most important steps to your dream career is to visualize who you are as the woman you want to be.
Before she became a coach and built her business, Schmidt visualized what that would look like. She saw the exact pens, the computer bag, and folders she would use for her clients. Then, she went out and bought those things so that she could, over time, become the person she wanted to be.
So, grab your beverage of choice, get cozy, and dive into the world of your dreams. With a pen and paper, get detailed on what it is you want. What is your future self wearing? What does her hair look like? How does she feel? Write it all down. As you’re doing this, let go of the judgment of others and of yourself. (Remember: People will always judge no matter what you do.) Explore without limits.
After years of experience and bringing her own visualization to life, Schmidt believes that the reality of what we can achieve is immensely greater than what we can see for ourselves. So, dare to dream big. Remove your limits. If you need somewhere to start, check out this guided visualization which is one of Schmidt’s most highly rated tools!
3. Become the manager of your future self
Once you define what you want your future to look like, it’s time to take serious action. You must make a choice to become the woman you want to be. And you must decide that you are capable of becoming her.
It’s not that you must have all the answers to get started, but you must commit to figuring it out along the way. Once you’ve committed to not giving up, you need to be the manager of your future self. Do this by organizing and planning your days to set yourself up for success. So, how do you go about that? Here are the steps Paige Schmidt took in her own journey and what she coaches clients on today:
1. Write out a list of what you need to do.
For Schmidt, this list included what exact pens and folders she needed and also the first steps she’d need to take to make her dream happen. This doesn’t have to be insanely detailed. In fact, one of the largest roadblocks she sees with clients is that they think they must know every single detail in order to begin. Write down the first three things you need to do. Then next week, add three more. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
2. Add the list to your calendar.
It’s important to physically add these items to whatever form of organization you use. We all know how easily to-dos can get lost when they’re not our main source of income or part of our normal routine. So schedule in time—even if it’s just 15 minutes each week!
3. Take these commitments seriously.
Just as she wouldn’t bail on a friend or not show up for a workday, Schmidt honored herself by prioritizing what she wanted. Don’t let yourself down by not prioritizing these tasks. Make the time and stick to it.
4. Over time, prioritize more of these commitments as you learn to free up your schedule.
Give your future self the time you deserve. Schmidt started by dedicating three hours one day a week to coaching. As she got more comfortable and was able to free up more of her time, it turned to two days, then three, and so on. It doesn’t have to be all at once. Take it one bite at a time.
5. Keep your income from your “normal” job—and find the good in it!
Sometimes, if there is pressure to make your dream career your only income, the creativity that comes from doing what lights you up can get lost. If possible, it’s important to keep income coming in from elsewhere as you build your dream or as you apply for your dream job. This will alleviate some of that pressure and allow you to see where your creativity takes you.
Equally important is finding gratitude in your day job while you build what you ultimately want. It’s easy for many of us to lose sight of the “good” in our jobs when we know we want something different. But being disengaged causes clutter in your life, and sooner than later, your job will feel like a burden. This can cause negative energy that’s not good for your creativity! In order to continue to engage in your job, Schmidt recommends finding even one thing you enjoy, or that’s helping you for your future. Then, lean into that as much as possible to find that gratitude.
4. As cheesy as it sounds, believe in yourself
Hands down, the biggest thing Schmidt sees holding women back is their confidence. You must believe you can become the woman you want to be and step into your dream career in small steps. In other words, you must show up as her as much as you can today.
It is easy to see people on social media or elsewhere that have done your dream career or other careers telling you that there is one perfect way to do it. But the truth is, there is no right or wrong way. As long as you move forward into what you want, that is all that matters.
You must learn to trust your inner self and follow what you want. Coaching was not a “normal” career when Schmidt started. It was not easy to give up pursuing nursing in order to step into the unknown. But she did it, and you can do it too.
5. Bring it all together
If you’re ready to take the next step and finally go for what you want or explore what exactly that is, take it one step at a time.
- Explore what lights you up.
- Visualize who you want to be.
- Become the manager of your future self.
- Trust yourself and stay grateful.
Unsure where to start? Grab a cup of coffee (or wine) and check out Paige Schmidt’s free visualization to see where your imagination takes you. And remember, go toward what makes you feel on fire. Keep going until you get there. Be resourceful and figure it out along the way!