If you are like many people you spend a lot of time thinking about your dream career. That’s a very good thing because visualizing what you want to bring to life is an important first phase of manifesting what you long for in your work.

The problem here is that often people stay stuck in this phase of visualizing and don’t create a plan and take action to make it happen.There are some common barriers to the process of realizing your dream career and what you can do to move beyond.

The first step to bringing about positive change and growth is to become intimately aware of what it is that is blocking you. Once you know your blocks, it’s much easier to take steps to go beyond. On some level FEAR is the common denominator for anything that is holding you back. The good news is, you can transcend that base fear by taking specific actions that will help you go in a whole new direction.

What’s blocking you from your dream career?

7 Things and Some Solutions:

1. You are Cozy in the Comfort Zone

It is said that you should be doing something every day that scares you. There is truth to this. Feeling fear and doing it anyway is an important part of the process of overcoming otherwise debilitating anxiety. Avoiding change is a common defense mechanism you might be using to get away from feeling the discomfort of leaving your comfort zone. And while this may be a very reassuring  and cozy place to be, it is unlikely that you are going to find your dream life and career this way. Breaking out of what is familiar may indeed feel like a risk, and there may even be the naysayers discouraging you from trying. But if you make a commitment to go beyond your comfort zone, you’ll never know the rewards you may gain from doing so. 

How to break free of the comfort zone:

  • Switch up your routine. If you live in a lane of regular rhythm every day, change it up. Take a different route to work. Have black tea instead of coffee one morning. Invite someone to lunch you’ve never talked to before. Take a new exercise class instead of you daily jog. Changing  your routine just might give you a different perspective and help you to break free of the regular rut you find yourself in.
  • Take a chance. If you’re feeling nervous about something, feel the fear and do it anyway. The comfort zone is the place where you feel safe but that’s not where advancement happens. Identify the things you’re nervous about doing and just do it. This practice will help you shake off the anxiety that keeps you stuck in the comfort zone.

2. You are Playing the Procrastination Game

Another source of comfort can be when you tell yourself you will find you dream career in the coming weeks, months or years. While oh so easy to keep putting off what needs to be done, if you keep procrastinating, you are never going to achieve your goals because there will always be something that gets in the way. Procrastination is just a fancy word for avoiding doing the very thing you most need to do in order to get to where you really want to be in your life and career. 

How to break free of procrastination:

  • Do the dreaded thing first. Mark Twain is often quoted, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Your live frog is the one thing you most dread. Just get it done. This will help you get out of the cycle of procrastination.
  • Commit to commitments. Make a commitment to yourself that you are going to stay true to your commitments. Procrastination is actually a form of neglecting to do the things you really need to do in order to see yourself through to achieving your goals. If you are truly committed you will no longer procrastinate.

3. You Are Afraid of Failure

It is all too common to be paralyzed by fear of failure, keeping you stuck in the not-even-gonna-try-zone. It goes without saying that you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t take a risk. In my work coaching and mentoring therapists and helping professionals through the process of building a private practice, facing the fear of failure is one of the biggest blocks we have to work to overcome. Once you move beyond this boulder you’ll find realizing your dream career is a breeze.

How to break free of fear of failure:

  • There is no such thing as failure. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Consider that trial and error is the path to realizing your dream career. Let go of the whole notion of failure seeing instead that if you try something and it doesn’t work it’s simply information showing you that way isn’t the way and try another way.
  • Laugh and bounce back. When a baby is learning to walk there is always a process of falling and getting back up again. Find humor in the process. Know that stumbling as you go is essential to the process so just laugh and get back up and go again.

4. You’re Disorganized.

Lack of organization is an enormous block to realizing your dream career. Piles of papers, a disheveled desk, poor time management all lend to spinning your wheels never making forward progress. Not everyone is naturally organized. Most people have to learn skills or get help with getting organized. Stop spinning and create systems that will work for you.

How to break free of disorganization:

  • Block your time. I teach a specific time management system in my  my practice building academy and mentoring for therapists called time-blocking. The idea behind this system is to schedule everything but only do one thing at a time using a timer to keep you on track. Allow your calendar and your timer to be your best buds.
  • Make a plan. It’s not enough to have goals. You need to create a plan with specific objectives, detailed action steps and deadlines by which you will achieve them.
  • Hire help. Liz Gray, LCSW, RPT is a therapist who doubles as an organizational consultant extraordinaire, helping people go from overwhelmed to organized. In her free group on Facebook she offers tips and support on how to be organized because she understands disorganization is often the root of the reason people struggle with realizing their business dreams. Sometimes, you need to hire someone like Liz to help you get out of overwhelm.

5. You Need More Skills Training

Of course, not having the right skills-set can be a serious barrier which can block you from realizing your dream career. It can be discouraging to consider you will need to spend some time and money getting the skills you need but where there is a will there is a way. 

How to gain the skills you need:

  • Sign on as an apprentice. The way people learned in the old days was on the job training, watching and learning from the masters of a trade. If you want to learn, sometimes the best way is to volunteer your time and ask if you can assist and learn from someone who is doing what you want to do.
  • Go to night school. Attend classes at your local university in the adult education program.
  • Study online. You can go to Harvard online for IT training. If you are a therapist, you can get online play therapy training with yours truly. 

6. You’ve Taken the Wrong Path

Your dream career may just seem like a pipe dream because you’ve already chosen a particular career path in order to please a certain family member or in hopes you’ll gain approval or be admired by others. Sadly this is not likely to provide you with the type of long-lasting satisfaction that you are looking for. Ultimately, you have to live the life is right for you, not what other people think that is right for you. Realizing your dream career might require an about face. A total change in direction. And this will require courage, determination and having a plan.

How to change direction and get on the right path:

  • Plot your course. Create a map by determining what it will take to realize your dream career. What do you need to stop doing and what do you need to start doing to get there. Make a plan.
  • Seek guidance. Career coaching can help you with the process of making the change and creating an action plan to get to where you want to be. If you’re experiencing paralyzing anxiety at the notion of changing course you might better be suited for counseling services first.

7. You Have No Network

One of the best ways that you can find a new job opportunity is by networking successfully. You never know what kinds of opportunities can manifest from your network. Through the active process of connecting with a large network of people you may discover potential career paths that you had never thought about before. 

How to build a network:

  • Build authentic relationships. Be real. Be sincere. Lead from a place of genuine curiosity about other people and what they do in their work and life. Nurture those relationships over time.
  • Support others. Always look for how you can assist, compliment, and support what others are trying to achieve. This will build trust and connection so others know you are someone to go to and they will be more willing to help you in your process of manifesting your ideal career.
  • Get social. Attend in-person conferences and events frequently practicing the above-mentioned skills and engage with others genuinely on social media platforms.

When you are able to identify what is blocking you, you can start taking action every day to making your dream career a reality.