Ken Coleman is redefining the “dream job.”
When most people hear the phrase, they dream up something they know is impossible. “They think ‘unicorn,’” said Coleman, best-selling author and host of the nationally syndicated “The Ken Coleman Show.” “The dream job is where you spend most of your day using what you do best—talent—to do what you love—passion—to produce results of value.”
In his book “From Paycheck to Purpose,” he defines seven stages from defining and getting that dream job to what you do once you have it. It starts with three elements of clarity: of talent, passion, and value. This will become your mission statement, your “why,” and help define that dream job. It’s never too late to find it, says Coleman, who navigated a mid-career switch from politics to broadcasting himself.
Clarity means being certain of who you are, what contributions you want to make, and why you want to make that impact. “We’re speaking here to intrinsic motivation. What gets you out of bed in the morning? And at the end of the day, it’s going to be the work you enjoy, which is passion, and then the results that matter to you, which is mission. So talent plus passion plus mission equals purpose.”
Coleman recommends writing it out into a “purpose statement” and getting feedback from those who know you: “I was created to use my talents of _____ to perform my passions of _____ to accomplish my mission of _____.”
Once you have this, you need to find your “marketplace matches.” What are all the job and career options that intersect with your purpose? There may be multiple options in different fields, and you should also verify that these are true matches by researching what someone in this position actually does day-to-day.
The road to one’s dream job can be long and arduous—getting qualified and certified for the field you’ve set your sights on can take years. During those hard times, Coleman calls for revisiting clarity.
“Clarity breeds confidence, and confidence breeds courage,” he said. Nearly every caller on his show is asking for confidence; are they making the right decisions? When it becomes difficult to put one foot in front of the other and fear and doubt seep in, Coleman suggests asking, “Why did we step out to this direction in the first place?”
StagesColeman maps out a seven-stage journey to get the dream job:
- Get Clear on the work you were uniquely made to do and why.
- Get Qualified to do the work you were created for.
- Get Connected with the right people who can open the doors to your dream.
- Get Started by overcoming the emotions and mistakes that often hold people back.
- Get Promoted by developing winning habits and traits.
- Get the Dream Job to do work you love and produce results that matter to you.
- Give Yourself Away by expanding the dream to leave a legacy.
Get QualifiedGetting qualified to actually work your dream job is by far the hardest stage of the journey, said Coleman, largely because we’ve come to expect everything to come so quickly. People lose steam when they realize it may take two years, or five, or seven to reach the summit of their journey.
“We want to always be making progress, it’s just who we are,” Coleman said. Yet this is sometimes what keeps people in jobs they find miserable.
The right qualifications aren’t necessarily an expensive four-year degree—it might be a certification, or industry experience.
- The Education Question: What do I need to learn?
- The Experience Question: What do I need to do?
- The Economic Question: How much will it cost?
- The Expectation Question: How long will it take?
Get Started!Surprisingly, many people go through the steps of getting clear on their dream job, getting qualified for it, and even making connections into the field, but then never make the switch, writes Coleman. The reason? Fear. Doubt. Pride.
Coleman recommends writing down the specific thoughts holding you back and deconstructing them. What would really have to happen for the worst-case scenario to play out? And what positive things could happen instead? Once we do so, we find that many of those worries aren’t realistic, or even possible, at all.