5 Tips to Gain Clarity About the Career You Really Want

You likely think it’s easy to be clear about the career you want. Heck, what you want is what you want. No big surprise, right?

However, is it what YOU really want or what you’ve been told you wanted? If you’re unsure, that’s exactly why you may get mixed results in your career choices or why you don’t get what you want at all.

You must be super clear about what you want in your career, especially in this post-COVID-19 environment. Why? The future of work has changed. How, with whom and where you work are all variables now, and they will become part of your career choices.

Given this new dynamic, being clear means being honest about what is in your mind, heart and soul and where these align with the career you want. You must do this without considering the impact of where work is headed, the chatter in your agency and other’s thoughts, opinions and input. This is truly an inside job. Once you own this process, you can proceed to the tips.


Let’s review the five tips to gain “clarity” about the career you really want and achieve the best results, faster.

  1. Breathe
  • We don’t do enough of it and we’ve been afraid to amid the pandemic.
  • Take some deep breaths right now and blow out the uncertainty. This will give you access to possibility and motivate you to play with an everchanging future.
  1. Be quiet, be still
  • Stop racing around, reading, thinking and maybe applying for any opening that looks interesting.
  • Give yourself some time to just sit quietly with yourself to relax and reflect.
  • Go outside, listen to the sounds of nature, enjoy quiet soothing music or the silent hum of your environment.
  1. Talk it out or write it out
  • Now that you’re open and relaxed, why not talk with a trusted and supportive friend. Share with them the career choices that would nourish your soul, make your heart skip a beat or just bring a smile to your face.
  • Ask them if they have any suggestions to pursue your passion. They may know someone or something they’ve never mentioned to you because you’ve never mentioned it to them.
  • Write out your thoughts, feelings and interests in a journal so you can reflect on your insights when reading it later. Just write with the flow, no censoring your ideas or thoughts.
  1. Explore
  • With access to so much information, you can explore people, places and things to see what’s possible. It’s likely someone somewhere is doing what you’d like to do. Why not request a 15-minute discussion with the person who is in a career or field you’re interested in? People love to talk about themselves and their work. By the way, if you’re met with resistance it may be because they aren’t “loving” their work and that can be a great insight as well.
  • Tony Robbins loves to say, “Success leaves clues,” and he’s right. No one is successful overnight, and many will share their journey with you for the price of a cup of coffee. Read their biographies, research their story online and discover the clues they’ve left for you to apply to your career. Exploring how successful people have achieved their goals will enliven your journey.
  1. Take action to achieve the career you really want
  • Dreams are a beautiful thing, but they’re most satisfying when they become your reality! To make that happen you must take action. You can use USAJOBS if you want to pursue a new federal career or do some networking on LinkedIn to scope out private sector positions.
  • As my personal coach reminds me, and I’ll share this wisdom with you: Nothing moves until you do. Don’t wait for the “right” thing to roll upon you; it won’t unless you move toward it.
  • Take one small step toward the career you want, and watch the momentum of that action carry you forward!

Your best chance of achieving any career you truly want, faster, begins with being clear about what that is. With these five tips, you can start your success journey today and see greater satisfaction and results sooner.

Interested in becoming a Featured Contributor? Email topics you’re interested in covering for GovLoop to [email protected]. And to read more from our Spring 2021 Cohort, here is a full list of every Featured Contributor during this cohort.

Christine “Chris” Makell has worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for over four years, having held positions of increasing challenges and responsibility in that short time. She is currently a Program Analyst in the Knowledge Management & Transfer office. She joins federal service after a 28-year career in the private sector and six years as the owner of Chris Makell Consulting/Coaching working with individuals and sales teams to achieve greater success.

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