Creating a career doing what you love often requires breaking the mould and following your instincts, but if you’ve spent years in a particular area of STEM the idea of changing can feel impossible.
This week’s Fearless STEM Careers sees full-time artist Francesca Currie and I explore how you can successfully create a career based on what you love doing, how to navigate the challenges such as failure, finances, and security, plus Fran gives additional advice on following a creative path at any stage in your career.
13 Essentials for Successfully Creating a Career Doing What You Love
1 – Listen to your gut instinct – if you have a voice in your head saying “I think I’m doing the wrong thing here” or “I wish I could…” or “One day I will…” you need to LISTEN to it. Creating a career you love starts with listening to yourself and not being afraid of exploring your ideas.
2- Start before you’re ready – don’t wait for the perfect time or until you have all the information because there’ll never be the ‘perfect’ moment. Get started before you’re ready and don’t be afraid of being imperfect.
3 – Accept the timelines – it can take a long time from the moment you realise you want to do something, to actually doing it and making it work. You need to have patience.
4 – Understand making a change is hard – if you already have stability in your life there’s a fear of losing something. This fear can hold you back from going after what you want. Change can be hard and requires careful planning, but often anything worth doing is difficult!
5 – Know that you WILL fail and that’s okay – you need to fully accept that failure is normal part of the process and this isn’t a bad thing. If you avoid failure your whole life then you’re avoiding living! Instead of thinking of failure as a bad thing think of it like this…
“There is no failure, only early attempts at success”Mike Myres
6 – Challenges are part of the process – Difficulties will come and instead of fearing them welcome them as a good thing, as it means you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
7 – Not giving up requires strength – In the early stages excitement will help drive you forward but often people give up when things start to get tough. In these moments you need to ask “if you give up then what will I do? What is the alternative and is the alternative something I want?”
8 – Expect to be rejected, A LOT – but don’t worry, being rejected or having doors slammed in your face gets easier. Instead of allowing a rejection to beat you try implementing Fran’s personal moto
“For every rejection, apply to three more things”Francesca Currie
9 – Use trial and error – often people get held back because they can’t see all the steps in front of them but in fact creating a career you love is 90% trial and error. You have to try things out and change things up until you figure out the right solution. Think about it like an experiment, change one element until you figure out the right solution. Look at what works and follow that.
10 – Take a learning approach – treat every situation you’re in as an opportunity to learn, even if you think the situation is pointless. You never know where something might lead or how it could end up being useful.
11 – A career you love is NOT constant bliss – some people think that if you create a career you love then you’ll be happy all the time, but when things get hard they get unmotivated and give up. If you go into it knowing even the best career isn’t always easy, you’ll increase your chances of success. As Fran shared in the podcast episode “As a painter I’m not blissfully paining all the day, it’s more like 70% painting and 30% admin.” No matter what you do there’ll be hard times and bad days, but the 70% of incredible makes up for it!
12 – Weigh up what you’re losing before taking big leaps – when you’re changing careers or starting a business for the majority of people there’ll be at least two years where you’ll earn less (or even nothing at all) so you need to have a plan and understand the consequences.
13 – Get your finances in order – often people get ‘locked into a lifestyle’ and this can keep you trapped in a job. Cutting your spending can help free you from your job and help you become open to alternative opportunities. Additionally, saving for an escape fund can make a huge difference. This is a pot of money you can use when you take a leap. Even if you don’t know what you want to do an escape fund gives you a sense of freedom.
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
What do you dream of doing? Let me know in the comments below!
DIVE DEEPER – Do you work within science, tech or engineering and want to feel clear and confident in your career?
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