Does your career seem a dead-end street or is your job just not challenging enough? Let me show you how to create new job opportunities for yourself.

The way up
When your current job has become a flatliner or worse, if you fear to be fired or you are unemployed, it’s time for action. However, you have to initiate new actions. Things you didn’t do before. Otherwise nothing will change.

The golden rule of 3
When you are exploring new actions, you should remain close to yourself. Apply the golden rule of 3 to everything you do: Do I really like this? Am I able to do this really well? And last but not least: Is this action in line with my principles? When the answer is three times ‘yes’, you should proceed.

But how do you find ideas for new actions? First of all you have to become aware of your present behavioral patterns. Break them and do something new or crazy. Something out of your comfort zone. Go to that drink or party alone. Attend a seminar alone and start a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Contact someone with a common field of interest on LinkedIn and ask dedicated questions. Some time ago I contacted a writer, whose book I liked. I was surprised by his spontaneous and positive reaction. In other words: start moving!

Be courageous
If you feel any hesitation, become aware of the mental blockades that withhold you from action. These are negative thoughts like: ‘I’m never going to make it’ of ‘I don’t have the money for it’. In fact we are talking about prejudices that will keep you in your comfort zone. Have the courage to tempt them.

Mistakes are useful 
If you try out new things, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. However, what I mean are ‘mistakes in behavior’. This kind of mistakes is useful. You can learn from them, correct them and do better next time. If you are not afraid of making mistakes, you can develop yourself much quicker than when you only dare to do things, of which you know the outcome in advance.

Personal mistakes
‘Mistakes in behavior’ are mistakes in ‘what you do’. However, there is another category of mistakes that you might rather like to avoid. These are mistakes in ‘who you are’. Let’s call them ‘mistakes as a person’. As a person you are represented by your values and norms. If you say you want to be an honest person but you are lying, you make a ‘mistake as the person that you want to be’. This kind of mistakes can hardly be corrected as it affects the trust of the other person. Once a liar, always a liar. Once a cheater, always a cheater. To mend a breach of trust, takes time. Usually you don’t have so much time businesswise. Be strong and act according your principles.

The land of missed chances
If something did not work out, at least you tried it. Be honest with yourself and accept that it’s not your thing. The experience of trying feels better than the frustration of ‘never have tried’. People, who never try, eventually arrive in the land of missed chances. ‘If I had followed that education, then I would have had that job’; ‘Had I started my own company back then, I would have been rich now’. That language doesn’t sound fulfilling.     

Reinvent yourself
When your aspirations are stuck despite a lot of effort from your side, it’s time to reinvent yourself. Reflect on your qualities & talents and conclude which of them you use in your present work or used in your previous job. Consider also which personal assets you don’t apply in your work currently. Maybe you are good at drawing, writing, cooking, designing, negotiating, mediating or entertaining, etc. Start up, parallel to your work, some activities on the field of those unapplied, often undeveloped or underestimated qualities.

Several pillars
Preferably find something that has an interface with your main task or your past experience. In fact what you do, is dividing your activities over several pillars, which eventually will simulate and inspire each other. As such you will discover new opportunities through new combinations of your qualities.

Answers at your doorstep
Looking for new challenges, people are often inclined to stare into the distance for an answer. However, new opportunities might already be at their doorstep but they don’t see them. Their own will or their expectations have made them blind. So, change your perspective and open your mind. It’s often a matter of breaking your current behavioral patterns and applying a new mix of your qualities, in order to give a spark to the engine of your career.

Annick Schoon has developed her own coaching methodology, on which she has started a PhD track at the VU Amsterdam. Do you want more information or would you like to be coached by Annick? Just click on our CONTACT page.