I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. At the heart of any successful career change is a great idea. Some seem so simple we wonder why we didn’t think of them before. Others are so inspiring we wonder how we ever could have chanced upon them.

Imagination is the start of all good career changes. It is the beginning of all achievement.

To imagine is to perceive many of your potential futures, select the most delightful possibility, and then pull the present forward to meet it.

BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?

These great ideas don't come on command. And that leaves lots of would-be career changers asking the same question: how did everybody else get inspiration to move on - and how can I get the same? We lawyers have so often completely lost touch with what actually comes naturally to us and what we enjoy at work, let alone our interests outside of work. Here’s to kick starting the journey like Steve did this week after his brainstorming session.

Here are the three steps that Steve did to generate these ideas and take the next scary steps to finding his dream job.

1. NOT A BLANK SLATE.

If you want to think of creative ideas, you can’t go into a brainstorming session with a blank slate. 

When we sit down to brainstorm, we don’t ask ourselves, what would be a fulfilling career. We’re very specific – what would be a fulfilling career that would allow me to use my stop strengths x, y and z with an organisation with an actual capacity for constant change and wants it to happen; a  culture of open responsibility and of serious hard work but with a recognition that personal lives need able to be properly maintained.

This requires intense and sometimes difficult introspection into who you are and what you really care about in life. This is no walk in the park - it's normal for this to be hard word. This is about understanding and perhaps even confronting that the way you have been living and the decisions you have made do not align with what you really care about and want in your life. This is where a coach, consultant or amazing bunch of friends can really help you out.

It’s also good to stimulate your mind with all the possibilities. As a lawyer, I was trained to believe that no other field is as demanding as law when it comes to the mix of intellectual challenge, prestige, money, great clients and interesting colleagues. Well, I have gone on to discover that there is a big world out there with many alternatives to law on offer. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Get Inspired by lawyers who made bold career changes moving to different functions (like marketing, business development and project management) The point is to break your hermetically sealed world and imagine what could be.

2. GO FOR QUANTITY OVER QUALITY AND FORGO ALL JUDGEMENT.

If you really want to challenge, you could in addition try coming up with 50 ideas in 20 minutes. This tool helps you churn out many ideas. Don’t get precious about any one idea. Come up with 50 ideas in 20 minutes and write them on Post-It Notes or any other way that works for you. The point here is quantity, not quality. In the mad rush to churn out ideas, unexpected connections from.

3. ENABLE CREATIVE THINKING BY EMBRACING ARBITRARY CONSTRAINTS.

We also use so many tools to you to generate ideas by looking at your success criteria and the top ideas that you have generated from a range of perspectives. This helps come up with new ideas for potential solutions, and also strengthens current ideas you have, as it challenges it from different approaches. Comprised of seven approaches, or challenges, you can choose the ones that seem most applicable for you, thus using the tool to inspire further discussions.

AN ACTION PLAN GOING FORWARD

Ultimately, we’re looking to make best possible decision we can in light of our career preferences, drivers and values. A healthy number could be somewhere between 10 and 30 roles in particular industries that you can whittle down to a short list of one to three.

Ultimately, we’re looking to make best possible decision we can in light of our career preferences and drivers values. Confidence is necessary to make the change that you want. Confidence in a process that’s tried and tested and explores all the possibilities before drawing them back to the ones that are really the right fit. 

Alongside confidence, excitement is at the heart of good career change. Steve has plenty of that exploring his top career change possibilities. Go out there and make it happen


Martin Underwood is the Head of Career Strategy at Life Productions, helping lawyers and other professionals find a better career fit and take practical action through advice, courses and networking.

Brainstorming is one part help you move into a fulfilling career in the More Than Law course. If you want to find out more about how you can identify and prioritise your values in a practical course created by lawyers, for lawyers - click here. You can also use the How To Brainstorm: 7 Steps to Reinvent Your Legal Career, which you can download when you join our community.

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