This might seem like an odd question, but it is an exercise I have done myself and used with clients too and I was reminded of it as I was watching the dogs and their owners in the local park this morning.
So let me ask you – if you were to pick an animal to describe how you are in your life right now, what would it be?
This is the kind of exercise that is best done quite spontaneously rather than by thinking it through.
So, quickly now...what animal are you?
What just flashes into your head?
I remember when I first left my full time job, I did this exercise at a workshop and I came up with the image of a baby bird on the edge of the nest, knowing at some intuitive level that it was meant to fly, but still clinging to the edge flapping its wings not quite believing it. I think that summed up pretty well how I felt at that time.
So what about you? Are you...
A cheetah racing across the savannah?
An eagle flying effortlessly high in the sky?
A mouse scurrying round endlessly foraging?
A sloth creeping slowly through each day?
A hedgehog, curling in on itself to protect itself from outside attack?
Which animal character fits for you right now?
Once you have chosen your animal, think about what it is about that creature that represents how you feel right now.
I remember asking this of a client once who described herself as a mouse with an elephant's foot hovering over her. Yes, she was under enormous pressure in her job at that time and I am pleased to say that she escaped the job (and the elephant's foot) quite soon afterwards.
Change the image
If you are feeling in a difficult place at work or in your life so the animal you choose is perhaps a timid or an aggressive one, the next step is to think about the animal you would like to be.
An albatross flying above the ocean?
A playful puppy?
A lion overseeing your pride?
A horse galloping free across the meadows?
Create a positive picture that represents the feelings you are aiming for and be playful with it. Keep it in your mind and if you can, find a photo like this one that shows the animal you want to be like and post it on your wall. This means that when you are feeling like your career change is going really slowly you can raise your energy by looking at it and reminding yourself of the feelings you want to bring into your life.
Getting your imagination to work for you can be surprisingly powerful in helping you to move out of a difficult place. So constantly seek out images that will ensure your mind is working along positive lines and this will help you do the same.
So what animal images spring to your mind? And what do they represent to you?
Get Inspired, Create Ideas And Make Them Happen – Now!
Being willing to use your imagination, to be playful with ideas and possibilities is an essential element of career change.
So anything that will help loosen up your thinking – like the animal
exercise I have described in my article this month – will be a great
This book by Jurgen Wolff is another great addition to your imagination and creativity toolkit.
It is divided into four parts so help you tackle your creative block (and not knowing what career to move into next is definitely a creative block!).
1) Dreaming - getting into the state of mind to invite new ideas.
2) Originating - different ways to come up with new, exciting and innovative ideas on any topic.
3) Applying - taking action and turning ideas into reality.
3) Adapting - how others successfully realised their dream.
Creativity Now is itself creative in both content and design, It's a book for anyone who needs a practical tips and hints to get them thinking laterally and to instantly generate new ideas.
So if you are floundering around feeling a total lack of inspiration around what to do with your working life, then I can thoroughly recommend this book.
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From the 5 Minute Career Coach April 2012
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