Turning your career dreams into reality doesn’t just happen. It takes consistent, persistent effort. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re making great progress, while other times you may feel mired down and stuck.
Here are eight ways to energize those dreams so you can take full advantage when your career juices are flowing and stick with it even when they’re not:
1. Feed the belief that You Can
Your belief in your ability to make it happen is probably the single biggest factor in achieving your dream. To feed that belief, make a list of past successes both large and small. Dissect them to identify why you succeeded. What skills, knowledge, and abilities contributed to that success? Refer to this list frequently to continue to remind yourself what you can accomplish.
2. Look for inspiration
You can never have too much inspiration. While you’ll feel inspired by your dream, find other sources of motivation as well. Read inspiring books. Watch inspiring movies. Listen to inspiring speakers. Find people around you who inspire you and ask them questions.
3. Take care of your body
Your body and mind are center stage when it comes to turning that dream into reality. Keep both sharp and energized with healthy habits. Eat well. Exercise. Try to get enough sleep. The more energy you have, physically and mentally, the more internal resources you’ll be able to put into achieving your goal.
4. Choose your friends wisely
It’s hard to make hay while the sun shines when you’re surrounded with people who keep raining on your parade. Take a look at the people you spend time with. Do they energize your dreams, or pour cold water on them? Spend your time with people who lift you up, rather than drag you down.
5. Challenge yourself
Challenge yourself to stretch. Not only will you go farther, you’ll also develop more faith in your abilities. Each time you successfully reach beyond your comfort zone, your picture of what’s possible expands.
6. Learn, learn, learn!
Read books related to your chosen field. Build on your expertise. Take on personal development work. Commit yourself to personal growth. When you’re in the car, listen to audio books rather than divisive talk radio. Continue expanding the toolbox of your mind.
[For more career advice, visit U.S. News Careers.]
7. Find a mentor
A mentor can offer insights and guidance, bringing clarity where you feel confused and helping you become more effective in your efforts. Seek out a mentor in your area of focus. Or identify multiple areas where you need guidance and find a mentor for each one.
8. Be a mentor
Finally, keep the cycle going. Look for opportunities to help someone with the insights and knowledge you’ve gained over the years. Find ways to give other people a boost. Nurture other peoples’ dreams, and keep the energy flowing.
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book, 101 Ways to Get Wild About, and his E-book, The Occupational Adventure Guide, offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.