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by Vault Careers | May 04, 2017


When the career light goes out, it can feel impossible to restart. Here are a couple of long-term goals you can set for yourself to get back on track and to reimagine what it is that you want to do. First hurdle to overcome? To see that you can do it.

1. Start teeny-weeny

When people say, start small, they usually mean things like, “Call a friend and invite them to have a coffee with you.” If this sounds exhausting, start even smaller. Instead, make it a goal to stretch your body out for five minutes. Do it, and be proud.

You’re battling something we’ve all experienced. You’ve lost confidence in your ability to do what you want to do. Don’t stress, it happens all the time. So pick an activity that depends on no one else for you to do it, takes minimal time, and do it a T.

I’ve found that “Fake it until you make it,” is bad policy. The problem is, you’re always there, noticing that you’re faking it. Faking it wipes out genuine self-confidence. Your spark will blow out at the first sign of trouble. Instead, just do your best and don’t quit. Forget perfection.

Likely result: You’ll notice that your inner flame is still there, just repressed to the tiniest flicker.

2. Stop saying yes

Most of us say ‘yes’ to jobs we don’t want, to buy stuff we don’t need, in order to live a life we’re not thrilled with.

We can only care deeply about a limited number of things in life. I know this flies in the face of what we’re told by well-meaning optimists. We sabotage ourselves by buying into the mantra that we can “have it all,” all at the same time.

Decide what priorities #1, #2, and #3 look like for you. Make sure that what you say ‘yes’ to in your everyday life serves this list and deserves your valuable time, attention, and money. What you do say ‘yes’ to should represent your highest values.

Likely result: You’ll feel a lot lighter and more focused on your priorities. Good for spark-building.

3. View your skills in bunches

Most of us target markets and try to make ourselves fit into a job or a career, by viewing their skills vertically. They list out their talents and then ask, which one do I pick for work? Instead, look horizontally across seemingly unrelated talents and see them as a bunch. Look at your unique combo of your skills and passions to determine potential markets, not the other way around. Examples include:

Gary Vaynerchuk—good at tasting wines, good at video, good at business. Great at creating Wine Library TV.

Steve Jobs—good at design, good at technology. Great at making the Mac.

P. Diddy—good at music, good with people, good tastes. Great at creating brands.

Recon on what makes you uniquely well-suited to succeed in ways that others can’t in a particular field, and concoct a plan. You might start to see the benefits of being you, as well as the financial possibilities that come with that.

4. Stop praying for a financial miracle, and make a budget

Being able to do something important despite clear obstacles is one of the most productive traits a human being can cultivate. But you have to stop looking for other people and events to save you first. A lot of what we consider “positive thinking” these days assumes that you’ll be saved from the outside somewhere. Someone or something else will relieve your pain. Stop this and make a budget, even if it’s boring or sad because the reality of your current financial situation blows.

If you want to build a strong financial life around your passions, change your attitude to, “Save yourself.” Financial freedom begins just after you take responsibility for yourself. The likely result is that you’ll do more and dream less, which fans the inner flames.

5. Drop the negative influences

Negativity likes company and chances are that if you are negative a lot, you tolerate a high number of other people with a similar mentality. You may not be aware of how much energy you’re expending to stay still.

From here on out, vow to clean out your environment. Get yourself a more supportive community and protect the fire within you. You’ll realize that many of the negative voices in your head were echoes of stuff your friends and family said to you. Relight that inner spark and find yourself a community that wants to encourage the new you.

Good luck!

Jane Hwangbo teaches money management toward a purpose. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Huff Po, Thought Catalog, The Financial Diet, & many more. You can find her work at