One of the most common questions I have as a Career Coach and as and LCI workshop facilitator is, ‘How do I go about finding my ideal career?’

Most people know what they don’t want and that is usually where they are at right now. The first thing I say is: ‘If you’re unhappy in your career, find one you like or find something to like about the one you have’. Then as a coach we often undertake 5 steps in a process of discovery to assist them in working through what that may be. The steps are as follows:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Figure out what you want
  3. Tell everyone you know
  4. Go for what you want
  5. Don’t let NO stop you

In this special post series we will sequentially cover each of these steps in more detail. In this post we cover step 4: go for what you want.

Step 4. Go for what you want

Now that you know what it is that you want and have told everyone – the next step is to GO FOR IT! Sounds easy doesn’t it, but how many people do you know that are in jobs they hate? Why do we go for things we don’t want and what stops us from having what we really want? If we were really honest with ourselves and all pursued our goals and our dreams do you think any of us would be looking for a new career!

Why do we go for things we don’t want?

I think this comes down to the importance of Step 1 and 2. Know yourself and figure out what you want. If you find yourself in a career or job that you don’t want, you need to go back to these steps and re-evaluate. Somewhere along the line you decided to be exactly where you are and there were probably good reasons for that, for example financial commitments and utilising your skills. Satisfying these two values does serve a purpose but it does not necessarily make us happy or help us be where we want to be.

What stops us from having what we really want?

If you know what you want then going out and finding it should be the easy part. Think about what stops you the most, many of us just simply ‘don’t believe’ that we can get what we want and some of us ‘don’t believe’ we deserve it either! Many of us give up too easily on finding the ‘ideal’ and settle for something less. Why would we do that to ourselves? I believe that many of us suffer from low self-esteem and no self-belief. The self believe that you can make things happen for yourself.


I recently went to a Business Women’s Networking Breakfast where I heard Lauren Burns, the Australian Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medallist speak about her journey up to winning the gold medal. Her speech was not only fun but inspiring. I noted down three things that she did to ‘go for what she wanted’:

  • Focus: She focused all of her thoughts completely on her event, not what everyone or anyone else was doing.
  • Strengths: Developed a list for her pocket of the 5 key strengths, so if her mind strayed she could glance back at the list to remind herself.
  • Self-Belief: Have a complete 100% unwavering self-belief that she could get what she wanted – she mentioned that this was the most important of all.

Today’s Action Plan: Go for what you want

With your ideal role in hand along with your best elevator speech for your ideal job:

  • Ensure Steps 1 to 3 are complete
  • Be 100% focused on ‘going for what you want’ without compromising
  • Write a list of all of your strengths and keep it somewhere handy so you can remind yourself
  • Write out a positive affirmation to encourage your self belief i.e. I have found my ideal career, I love my job or I’m passionate about what I do for a living
  • Believe in yourself – if you waiver look at your strengths and your affirmations. What you say can influence what you think and vice versa.
  • GO FOR IT! Seek out every opportunity to find the match for your ideal career characteristics, with the belief that the ideal career is out there.

In the next post we will look at the FINAL STEP 5. Don’t let NO stop you!

Written by Nicole McAuliffe

Nicole McAuliffe is a LCI workshop facilitator and Director of Creative Connections, a professional life coaching company that supports individuals and organisations in all aspects of career change and development and work life balance.

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