Let's do a little exercise. This will probably take about half an hour. But you can just read it first and do the exercise later if you want. Here we go...
Take a second, and think about what would be your "dream job." I don't just mean the dream job you've been working at for the last 5-10 years (though if it really is, that's amazing). I mean the dream job, the one that feels scary and exciting and glamorous and completely out of reach. That could be a TV show host, an artist, interior designer, maybe even an accountant! I don't know your dreams!
Got it in your head? Good.
Now take a second and let your brain rattle off all the "there's no way that would work" reasons. You can even write them down. Make a list. As long as you'd like.
Great. Now put that aside. Because the truth is, you've done something in your life (I'm sure of it) that you write off as NBD, but someone else thinks you're a badass for doing. You are highly capable. So please suspend the disbelief that this "dream" is completely unreachable.
And now, take a second and really think through all the things that you'd love about that job. And don't judge yourself for wanting those things, no matter what comes up. Nothing is frivolous or selfish here. What would be exciting about it? What would it allow you to do? What would your days be like? How would it make you feel about yourself? Keep going. If you're writing, fill the page.
Well done! Next step, take a second to go back through the dream job description, and pull out the key things that really light you up about the job. Then think about why that's important to you. Keep asking why until you get to some key words. You'll feel it when you hit them, they ring true as inherently important "because that's what makes life worth living!" concepts. For example, it might be "adventure and new experiences" or perhaps "more time with my family" or "self expression." We call those your Values.
After this, you have a few options with these new insights. Really think about the dream job (go all the way back) and decide if it's something that calls to you. And be honest! Take a few deep breaths, and feel it in your gut if this is something that's calling to you or not. Don't let your head talk you into or out of it.
If the job itself doesn't really actually sound like something you want to do, you're probably missing out on living a key Value in your life. Take some time to brainstorm some easy, fun, no-pressure ways to get more of that. Baby steps.
If the job is definitely something you're excited about, find a way to start doing it without making any major changes yet. It might not be the full-blown rock-star vision you'd dreamed of exactly, but if you want to be a musician, pick an instrument and start taking lessons. A travel writer? Blog about your latest trips. An accountant? Check out what pre-reqs you'd need to get your CPA.
It's not just about starting to make steps toward your dream. What you're really looking for here is more information about whether or not this is actually exciting to you.
Finally, if you get a "sort of..." answer, go back again to the list of what really excited you about the job and start to think of some "look alike" jobs that seem to have less of the drawbacks that might be holding you back. Becoming a blogger is a great variation of being an author. And a bookkeeper is a great variation of being an accountant. There are so many variations of jobs out there. You might not even realized your actually dream job truly exists until you start digging around. Give yourself the latitude to explore what excites you and follow that. Keep a close beat on your dream and how it evolves and changes.
You got this.