The easiest path is one that's been walked before..
It's human nature to look for better opportunities. In fact, I'd be worried if we as humans didn't ever want something better than what we have! Because throughout all of human history, it's essentially the core motive that has driven our society forward.
Unfortunately, when it comes to work, it can be hard to find a path to a better job. Especially if you didn't follow the professional pathways that are laid out by society like college or graduate school. It can be quite frustrating to want something better, but not know where or how to start cutting a new trail.
Growing up, I lived in the mountains in northern Utah and I used to snowmobile a lot! When there's fresh snow around, it's super exciting to go out and rally the snowmobile through the powder. But when you're the first one out in the new snow, it requires having a super powerful machine with lots of energy, and a rider with the stamina to cut a new trail! And sometimes, no matter how great your machine is, or how much energy you have, going uphill in un-touched powder can be almost impossible! Which has taught me one very valuable lesson... it's always hardest to go first.
A lot of times when trying to make progress, it's best to just find a trail that someone else has already cut. Even just one person going through the snow in front of you, can make your path easier to take.
Find somebody and follow their lead.
When it comes to what you want to do with your life, this idea is even more vital. Following somebody else's lead allows you to learn from their mistakes instead of having to make them yourself. It allows you to learn from the things that they figured out along the way, without you having to do all of the work of figuring those same things out.
Look, I get it! You might feel like you're totally alone. Like there's never been somebody stuck in the job or the position that you're stuck in today, who has also wanted to go exactly where you want to go. You might think that you're the only person who has wanted to walk this exact path. And so it feels like you're cutting a completely new trail! Which can be scary, frustrating, and time consuming! And to be honest, it might feel like you're not even making any progress..
But surprisingly enough, there are 1000s of trails out there for you to follow - you just don't know where to look for them! When you take an alternative path, you're going to have to use creativity to find your way forward. So here's the solution.. Find a spirit animal.
Here's what I mean by that.. I don't care how unique you are, what your current job is, or the future job you want. Trust me, someone has done something similar to it before. In fact, probably 1000s of someone's have walked that path. You just need to find a handful of those people, and follow the path that they took. The Internet has given us access to literally millions of points of data, and other people's pathways to study, learn from, and follow.
Here are the 2 important steps that you have to take to find your career "spirit animal"...
#1 Plot Your Course.
Look at the job you have now, versus the job you want. If you don't know what job opportunities are out there, or what pathways will be best fitting for you, then check out some of our other blog posts where we mention some of the core career pathways that have a lot of potential for growth.. But once you've identified where you're at and where you want to go, you now need to search for somebody who's walked a similar trail.
What you do is you act like an employer, and you search LinkedIn profiles and resumes on job boards like indeed. Focus on the people who have the job you want, and walk back their journey on their resume to see how they got where they're at.
OR, look at people who used to do what you do now, and plot out all the different pathways those people went down to get out of that position and into whatever they're in today. Make a list of what you're missing - what skills, what software knowledge, and what experience those people have that you don't.
#2 Create A Plan Of Attack.
Pick one thing and progress on it! You're most commonly going to need to progress with skills and knowledge first. And then you'll add experience as you look for ways to apply that knowledge in a business setting, in order to build up experience and confidence in that skill for your resume.
Once you've got that plan of attack, it's just a matter of learning and improving one thing at a time!
Focus on getting 1% better each day, and you will make the progress needed to get you from where you're at, to where you want to go.