Another major obstacle to following a meaningful career path is getting stuck in your mind.
We all do it.
I have often been trapped in cycles of over-thinking my options. My strategies for gaining more clarity have been talking about it with people, asking for advice, researching zealously on the internet and in academic databases, and watching others as they do today what I want to do in the near future.
Though these are all forms of preparation, I have also found myself tipping into the unhealthy side: paralysis, procrastination, and distraction.
In social science research, the strategies I mentioned above are forms of secondary data collection — they come from other people’s experiences.
I truly believe the best way to gain clarity is through primary data collection — data that comes from our direct experience as we engage with our environment.
For example, if you're interested in switching career tracks, talking about it with someone is great, but how do you actually get a feel for it?
You could make that piece of jewelry and try to sell it to at least one acquaintance. See what happens. It's a baby step. But it will give you real data.
In earning my Masters in Design, I had the opportunity to experience design thinking at the Stanford Design School — which has hugely informed my work with women today.
Design thinking is a methodology that helps us get outside of our minds and actually test whether an idea will work.
I love to encourage my clients to test and experiment their idea.
Here's what I ask my clients:
- How can we experiment and test your idea (or belief) in small ways? and/or
- How can we get real data from our environment, instead of spinning these ideas in our head?
This kind of thinking is golden on the entrepreneurial path.
Our tendency is to want to act in a big way. But it's better to dream in a big way and act in a small one (IMHO).
Then we begin to build our creative confidence.
When we have an experimental attitude, we're less attached to the results.
So even if you're at your full time job, I bet there is one baby step you can take today to experiment your idea, calling, dream, passion...
Do it. Be a bad ass.
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