5 Ways to Thrive While You Work Toward Your Dream Job

Posted by in Career Success | 4 comments

Everyone talks about finding your passion and getting your dream job (including me).

One thing very few talk about is the time period between your current reality and your dream job.

Sunset Party Dancing Girl SilhouetteCreative Commons License D. Sharon Pruitt via Compfight

This can be a painful and difficult time.

You may know what you want, but getting there is going to take a plan, hard work, and maybe a little luck.

So what do you do when you can see the mountain top but you’re currently in the valley?

Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:

1. Make deposits in all the important areas of your life.

Your career and job is just one component of a successful life.

In my opinion there are seven areas you really need to pay attention to:

  • Spiritual
  • Self (physical, emotional, mental)
  • Spouse (if applicable)
  • Children (if applicable)
  • Career
  • Finances
  • Friends

When you are making deposits in each of those areas you will find the energy to work toward your career goals even if your current reality is not where you want to be long term.

2. Stay future focused.

When you focus on the lack of enjoyment of your current reality, it can lead to feeling drained or depressed.

You must stay future oriented during this time period.

To stay future oriented you need to have a goal and a plan.

It can be a loose plan to reach a somewhat unclear goal. However, you have to be moving toward something.

Likely, your goal and plan will change as you take each step.

That’s OK as long as you continue to put one foot in front of the other and make forward progress every day.

3. Take a long term view of your career.

Let’s say you start your working life at age 20 and stop working at age 70.

So, for example, if you are 30 years old now, you likely have 80% of your career still remaining for you to achieve your goals.

Whatever your age is, do the math and put your current career reality into context.

One bad day, week, or month is just a drop in the bucket of a 50 year career.

It may take you two years to get where you want to be but isn’t it worth two years to get to do what you love for even 50% of your remaining career?

4. Write down what you’re grateful for.

Keep a gratitude journal where you document what you’re thankful for each night before you go to bed.

Then your brain will be able to process your gratitude overnight and help you stay focused on the positives in your life.

5. Fill your mind with positive messages.

During your exercise routine, commute, or lunch break listen to uplifting podcasts.

I recommend Dan Miller’s and Michael Hyatt’s podcasts.

Read positive material like the books on my Reading List.

As Miguel Cerevantes wrote in Don Quixote, “The road is always better than the inn.”

Our careers really are a journey.

When you put your career in perspective it goes a long way to help us cope and thrive with the inevitable ups and downs.

Think big, hustle to reach your goals, and you will find what you’re looking for.

Don’t forget to have some fun along the way.

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.)

Question: What has helped you get through the ups and downs of your career?


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  • These are some great points. I like the fact that you mentioned having “deposits” in all areas of our life. Having a balanced life is so important. 

  • Yes, Dan, sometimes we also have to make withdrawals from each area of our lives. So hopefully I’ve built up enough collateral in a particular area to make a withdrawal successfully. Thanks for your comment.

  • Wow. The timing of this message is really interesting because a few of the items above are things I have realized I need to do – even in just the past few days. As recent as last night, I realized I need to be aware of what I am putting into my head/viewing/reading/listening to right before I go to bed because I have notice the pattern that I either dream about it or wake up thinking about it. 

    Putting the years that I am into my career into perspective is also going to be helpful! Like you said, a bad day or week is nothing compared to the years I still have ahead of me. Kent Julian once said to me, “If it takes you 3 years to get to your dream job, is it worth it? What about 4 years? 5? 6? 7?” He asked all the way up to 15 years. 15 years is a long time, but if I am NOT working toward that goal, I’m going to find myself in the same place 15 years from now. So why not keep working toward the goal of my absolute dream job? I also like that you mentioned the goal may change a little with each step, and that is okay. Some people (myself included when I am thinking with my DiSC “C” personality brain) can tend to think it has to be completely mapped out before I begin. It ends up being a frustrating journey to not allow slight or major shifts in direction. 

    Adam, thanks for this post. I found it very helpful and will begin tonight with putting into practice the gratitude journal. Do you practice using a gratitude journal? If so, how has it helped you specifically?

    • Thank you Alana for such a great comment. I’m thrilled my post was helpful for you.
      I have a moleskin notebook I use to write down what I’m thankful for. I’m still working on being consistent about it because I forget to do it. However, I’ve found that when I do it my mood is elevated and I feel happier. I’m the type of person who is always looking forward to the next thing. The next challenge, the next goal, the next whatever. The dark side of that is it can lead me to focusing on what I don’t have yet. So I’ve found that writing down what I’m thankful for helps me to realize how good I have it today. Thanks again for stopping by my blog Alana.