After years of unintentionally complicating my career path, I learned some valuable lessons. I studied Food and Nutrition at Ryerson and went on to work as a clinical dietitian, and later, still within the food industry, in PR/communications and business operations. All the while, even though I enjoyed many aspects of these jobs, I felt lost and unfulfilled. I also had serious misconceptions about the possibilities of my degree.
After about a year or so of self-induced unhappiness, I decided to allow myself to explore. Shortly after, I quit my job and created my dream career: running a creative kitchen and marketing company, Halenko Creative Agency.
The process I used is accessible to absolutely anyone! Here are 6 steps to help guide you towards the career of your dreams:
- Be self-aware & authentic
For a long time I felt a sense of obligation to what was expected of me as a dietitian. Doing what was common gave me status and acceptance amongst colleagues, and also justified my education and past career decisions. But years later, I realized it is impossible to be happy and feel fulfilled if you are not being authentic. With that in mind, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I do for fun?
- What environments are the most energizing to me?
- If I had all the money in the world, would I still be happy doing X?
- Dream big & set goals
Most of us know goal-setting is an important part of career advancement, but did anyone tell you dreaming BIG is equally as important? This is because it forces you to be authentic even if these ideas don’t seem immediately realistic. When your goals lie in tandem with your dreams, beautiful things happen. Ask yourself:
- What do I want for my life?
- What are the things I want to do?
- What places in the world would I like to visit?
- How would I like my life to be on a daily basis?
- How much money will it take to achieve my goals and dreams?
- Interview successful people & find a mentor
Finding a mentor and learning how they reached their dream job is a great way to get inspired. You might start out as a copy-cat, but if you continue to be authentic, you will correct course and modify as you go along. This process also indicates to these successful people that you are looking for employment and want to be a player in the industry – and mentors are a great source of contacts!
- Ease into a new career
I decided to explore and ease into a new career before quitting my job. Taking new classes, watching YouTube videos on people I find inspiring, writing in a journal/goal-setting, seeing a lifestyle coach and going to free events in the city are ways I transitioned into a new career.
- Have a sense of humour
If your final destination after a trip around the world is home, why ever leave? It’s because what you want isn’t about the end result – our dreams change, our careers can evolve. Career satisfaction is as much about the journey as it is about the job. If you aren’t laughing and having fun along the way, stop and understand why.
- Be grateful
Being appreciative feels great, and people gravitate towards and want to work with positive, happy and grateful individuals. I practice gratitude by going to yoga/meditating and sending thank you notes to family, friends and clients. Good vibes have a domino effect; I dare you to see what positive momentum you can create!
Elis Halenko (Nutrition and Food ’10) is the CEO & Founder of Halenko Creative Agency.