We all have dreams; most of us start in childhood with ideas about what we’d love to do when we grow up. Often these are created from the limited world view of a 5 or 6 year old, who perhaps only knows about a few careers and whose idea of fun will change dramatically by the time he or she leaves school.

Of course, there are a lucky few who seem to be born knowing exactly what they want to do and never falter, training as an adult and staying in their dream career until retirement. But, let’s face it, most of us don’t fall into that category. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you did!

Have your dreams changed since childhood? What are they now and how often have you changed them since leaving school or university?

If you did change them, why? Was it because you outgrew them or because they seemed impossible?

If you still have the same dream,  why has it not become a reality?

Some dreams are impossible – if you are 50 and haven’t already done it, you aren’t going to win Wimbledon or dance the lead with the Royal Ballet.  However, you can look at why you wanted that particular dream and dig deeply into the reasons to find the essence of the dream.Why was that career important to you? It could be the freedom of movement, the feeling of success or achievement, the thrill of playing or dancing or the recognition or being in the public eye?

Ask yourself what the most important components you want in a career are. Make a list, for example, creativity, being able to use specific skills (name them), travel, flexible working hours, chance to learn new skills and gain new knowledge, a particular salary (name it), working with people, animals, information, machines. What is your preferred work location? Home, office, outside location (be specific),  different locations.

What activities do you enjoy at work?

If you aren’t sure exactly what you want, you can go for what you don’t want and then choose a better alternative. You can also add things that you don’t mind doing, but don’t necessarily want as major tasks in the job.

Once you’ve got a list of crucial factors, things you don’t want and things you don’t mind doing occasionally, you can start searching for careers. Choose a few of the main keywords – you can be very vague, as this could bring up careers you’ve never thought of. For example, use terms like creative outdoor jobs, jobs related to tennis (or balllet) involving travel, jobs working outside with children,  and so on.

See if you can come up with a list of new ideas and then choose the ones you think could be interesting. Then compare them with all of the components you want.

Of course, you won’t always find everything you want in one job. And it’s possible your commitments won’t allow you to have a full-time job away from home. In these situations, you could consider either a portfolio career ( more than one income stream) or a small business, possibly one you can run from home or anywhere with an internet connection.

Stay tuned for more information on these options.