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It's not just the hours we spend at work that matter, it's the impact of our job on us. If we get it wrong, we suffer. More importantly, we consume precious time that is an ultimate dead end. What's worse than a job you hate? Not being true to yourself.

Dreadful jobs destroy your soul and wreck life beyond the office door. The fear of failure, of change and of loss can paralyse anyone. It doesn't have to be like that. I know, I once was where you are now.

People naturally tend to stay within the self-imposed fear boundaries they have created. It's like a four walled garden but the walls eventually close in until you've no space to breathe.

It's never about crashing through the wall in one day and running free into the fresh air. Better to take your time, build a strong tunnel and escape the toxic walls. Here's my take on how to do it. It's how I got to do what I want to do. You can too.

Who Are You? Are you a teacher, a motivator, a listener, a visionary, a doer, a manager, a lover of projects, a builder, a carer or someone with a clear vocation.

Understanding who you are and what you are is the first step to a successful change. Right now, does your job match who you are? If you do what you are, you will succeed. If you don't, you wont.

What Motivates You? This is key and inextricably linked to the question above. What motivates you is what you are passionate about. If you're motivated, intrigued, inspired or excited by something, there's a good chance you will succeed.

When you figure out what motivates you, ask yourself how close your current job is to those powerful drivers.

What Do You Want? I'm often asked "Do you mean 'me' at work or me outside work?" They are inseparable. You are the same person (see above!). A gossip is a gossip, in or out of work. A teacher or carer is the same person in or out of work. Unless you are an Oscar standard Actor, you'll look the same to everyone else.

Get a large sheet of paper. The heading is 'What I Want'. Give yourself 2 days to complete it. Don't write down anything other than 'What I Want'. Include everything. Work, Family, Children, Home, Hobbies and everything else that matters to you. Don't finish it in one go. Let ideas emerge and keep adding to it.

What Do You Not Want? Repeat the exercise above over the following day or two. What you do not want is not the opposite of what you do want. For example, I do not want to go to Kentucky does not mean I want to stay at home. The exercise again must focus on what you really don't want to do. That's probably a little different from what you are doing today.

What's Stopping Me? This is critical. List all the things that are blocking you from having the things you want. Naturally, you can expect to see 'fear of failure', 'fear of change' and 'money' way up there. That's normal. However, if it's money isn't it worth thinking about your need for money is to refuel you to go back to the same job next week?!

What Am I Going To Do About It? This is critical and needs to be addressed a few days after you begin Step 1. It is your contract with yourself. It's how you'll break down those horrible walls and it will give you a map to use in your escape.

Who Wants What I Have? Next, list who would want you and would really benefit from your drive, passion and interest. List this by type (for example, the world of medicine, the world of teaching, the world of building)

Where Are They? Now it's time to put names to who wants you. Remember, everything needs some compromise. They might just be your dream company but it might mean moving. If you aren't prepared to make some compromise then you narrow your options.

How Will I Get In The Door? You might be perfect but I don't know that - yet. The first barrier is getting in the door. Of course there are lots of ways but, for now, let me give you just one really powerful lesson.

Every week I get emails, letters and requests for meetings. They all have one thing in common - they benefit the author, not the reader. How often have you seen a request to meet that included "Love to catch up for a coffee" or "I'd like to discuss my new business with you" or "I'd be grateful for 15 minutes of your time". Their flaw? They reflect the "What I want from you" reality. The benefit is not to the reader. They are easily dismissed.

Your letter, or even your phone call, needs to benefit the reader or listener. Full stop.

I got an email recently, it said this; "I want to have a career in learning and development but I only want to work with a company that can teach me and a company that works to the very highest standards. That's why I'm contacting you. I know you don't know me and I wouldn't expect you to see me but this is my passion and this is what I want to do. I will ring your office tomorrow. I will offer you 3 months of my time completely free and you can decide how you'd like to use my skill and passion. After that, we can see if I'm good enough to work for you and, if nothing else, we will both have gained. I will call you next Monday and I will come and see you when it fits your diary. I'll even buy the coffee..."

Spot the difference?

What Will I Do Next? Do not use those dreadful words "I look forward to hearing from you" It's your problem, not theirs. Take control.

A really good follow up letter makes all the difference. Some years back, it landed me my dream job because I knew those who bothered would say "I look forward to hearing from you" Your letter needs to do three things. (1) Sum up the challenges as discussed with you. (2) Tell the reader how you'd go about fixing them and (3) Tell them you will call them to agree next steps.

Naturally, in a short article, there is only so much detail I can cover. However, it's not as difficult as you think and please feel free to rummage around where there are lots and lots of free articles, blogs and more for you to enjoy.

Above all else, be who you are. After all, everyone else is already taken

©Conor Kenny & Associates


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