How can any of us resist the urge to reinvent ourselves with the turning of the calendar to 2016? Jump on the bandwagon – there's plenty of room here among the hopeful, the determined, and the motivated. Related: What's The First Step When You're Ready For A Career Change?

Do Some Inner Exploration

First, consider the draw of a fresh start for you. What are you seeking as you dream about your next career opportunity? Some enticing ideas that often appear in my initial conversations with clients include:
  • Autonomy: The freedom to embark on creative projects, to dictate your own time, to put your attention where you're drawn
  • Meaning: At the end of the day, knowing that where you're spending your time matches your values at a basic level
  • Connection: Working alongside people who GET you, who respect you, who say “thanks" every now and then
  • Engagement: Dialing in to what you're doing, using your brain, your intuition, and your other talents
All of these possibilities are compelling, and before you press down on the gas pedal and drive out of where you are right now, ask yourself whether it's your environment that's creating the lack of these qualities, the boundaries (or lack thereof) that you put in place, or possibly the underlying ideas you have about yourself and your own worth and power. Usually it's a combination of all of these factors, and if you can pull apart what's the company, your boss, your coworkers, and other dimensions of your environment and which you're unconsciously creating by playing out old scripts, then you're ready to move to the next phase of the process.

Articulate The Most Important Qualities You Want

Make a list of what you want in your new career. Imagine that you're single and you're searching for a new romantic partner. Sit down and write a list of 10-15 qualities you're seeking. Next get very specific about three more categories:
  • Where do you want to be working geographically?
  • What are target companies you'd like to research?
  • What are the specific job titles that you're seeking?

Reach Out And Build Your Sphere Of Connections

Strategically expand your circle to be in purposeful conversation with people who can offer intel on the companies and positions on your list. Introverts: fear not, there are ways you can do this that honors your temperament. Also, those of you who cringe at the idea of asking for help, particularly when it seems like you're almost using people, think back to the last three professional conversations you had when you were invested and engaged the topic. Did they seem contrived and artificial? When you're genuinely interested in the topics associated with your new career, people sense your authenticity, and they respond accordingly. Imagine prepping for the celebration for New Year's Eve when we're on the brink of 2017. You really can be in a completely different spot, one that resonates more deeply for you.

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Maggie Graham | Coach

Career coach Maggie Graham hones in on the intersection of where your strengths meet rewarding, sustainable, and fulfilling work. If the question, “What are you passionate about?" makes you break out in hives, she can detect the signs that point you towards the work you're meant to do (especially if you're an introvert!). Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.