Back in the old days when I was still offering traditional one on one weekly career counseling and psychotherapy sessions to clients in an office in southern Califonia, I always directed those who came in for career counseling, to complete an exercise called “wild career fantasies”. Most of them told me that this exercise was quite helpful and even pretty fun to do. Then I thought sharing it on this blog would help some of my readers with their current career issues as well. At least, this can be a good start. And yes, to this day, I still use this exercise with my career counseling clients when working with them online or in the face-to-face sessions. It’s indeed a good tool to really get in touch with your true passions.
Now let’s get started. Please get a piece of paper or open a new page in your notebook and write down your responses to these questions. There is no right or wrong answer. Just simply write down whatever comes to your mind.
Step one, take a few moments to look at your childhood dreams of the future career. What were the wildest fantasies you had when you were a child? What seemed to be great careers that you imagined then? Make a list of your childhood dream jobs, starting from the most remote fantasy you had to the one you had when you were a teenager. How did you feel back then when you imagined yourself in those fantasies? Write those feelings down, and then close your eyes for a moment to feel them now, whatever they felt like then.
Step two, what wild fantasies of careers do you have today? I am not even talking about five years ago, or three years ago, I am talking about today! Who do you secretly desire to be? What do you imagine yourself doing? A rock star, an astronaut, an inventor… a Hollywood screenwriter? Make a list as well.
Step three: lets take a deeper look at the fantasies of both your childhood and today. Are there any significant qualities that made those fantasies so attractive and compelling? Do you feel more alive, more enthusiastic in your fantasies than in your current day to day work? In your fantasies, would you be doing work where you could really use your special talent and expand? Would you find work and life more meaningful? Would you be more excited and fulfilled on a daily basis? And what is especially compelling in this work in your fantasies and do these fantasies have any gratifying elements in common?
Step four: identify a list of important qualities you would like to have as a component of your future work. For example, if you feel being able to travel frequently and stay in luxury hotels is a must-have component in your career, then put down “luxury traveling”; if you feel being on stage speaking to a thousand people on health topics is something that will light your heart on fire, then write down “public speaking to large audience on health topics”… (You can find those in your previous answers in step one, step two and step three, and highlight them. Or you can write them down on a separate page.)
Step five: now look your notes from this exercise so far, you have just developed three important lists: 1.my childhood dream jobs; 2.my current career fantasies; 3. The must-have qualities of my future career. And congratulations! You just finished your “wild career fantasies” exercise and started you journey of creating a wonderful career for yourself and living your full potential as a human being!
What did this exercise help you figure out or understand? Did it help you get a more clear picture of you desires and passions? Did you have fun completing it? I surely hope so. In fact, that’s the purpose of this article. Stay tuned for more information on tools and strategies to develop a more exciting life and career.
Live you dreams!