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Do you feel like an imposter at work? Maybe you’re an accountant who daydreams about being a Smoky Mountain Park Ranger, or a stuntwoman yearning for a less death-defying desk job. When you have a crystal clear vision of the life you’re missing, it’s easy to spot what you’re craving (trees, fresh air, closer encounters with grizzly bears).

But if you’re just vaguely dissatisfied, you know it isn’t that easy. You can’t stand another day of the grind, but the alternatives don’t look any better, because you have the magical power to shoot holes in whatever daydream arises. Something artistic? Oh, you’ll never make money that way. What about local politics? You can’t, your opponent’s smear campaign would have a field day. You aren’t sure what would make you feel happy or complete, but you’re certain this isn’t it. 

When you’re stuck here, it doesn’t mean that you’re permanently trapped. It means that a lifetime of conflicting opinions and values are heaped upon you, and it’s awfully hard to muddle through the swamp to find your truth. But this quest is rarely resolved by thinking your way to a new career—your thoughts and inner judgments are already thick as vines. It’s going to take intuition and some subterranean wisdom from the great reserves of insight that are already inside you, waiting to be drawn out into the light.

The first step: A symbol of self

As a spiritual advisor, there are a couple of techniques I use with clients to help them tap into their intuition. For absolute beginners, I recommend selecting an avatar of the self to be their guide, an intermediary between their rational mind and inner wisdom.

Do you have a color that resonates with you? Perhaps there’s an animal or object that has always felt instinctively yours, as if you had grown up with it. Whatever it is, and no matter how silly you may feel about it, own it, because this is your spiritual symbol that lets you know when you’re on the right track. 

If your symbol is a bumblebee, then whenever you think of a bumblebee, encounter one in a meditation or spiritual practice, or see one in real life, that’s a clue. If you’re in a tricky situation where a weighty decision is at hand, you can imagine the bumblebee buzzing around and watch where it goes. Spiritual practitioners across ages and cultures have used these sorts of images to channel their intuition even when their minds are reeling. 

Your journey to find the purpose of life will be helped by investing the time to find your symbol. Meditation, visualization, and divination can all assist you. If it seems too trying, then just relax. The answer usually comes when you’re not straining for it.

Visualizing the future

When you’ve identified your intuitive guide, you have a North Star to guide you towards your next career change. You might start by imagining what a job might be like—can you see yourself at the front of a classroom teaching seventh-grade English? Then refer back to your guide: look around for your power colors, are they here? If you invite your mystical dog into the classroom, is she running up and down the rows gleefully or barking furiously? This is just one method to tap into your spiritual insight, but it has the advantage of bypassing your natural tendencies to judge and analyze immediately.

You can also get a boost in your intuitive abilities from divination methods like the Tarot, which quickly paint a lush picture of the future with their evocative art and mythic symbols. If you’re not a wizard with the cards, choosing a gifted reader to interpret your reading can free you to focus on exercising your intuition. Alternatively, empathic readers can acutely sense your energy and hidden desires to help you better understand the kinds of careers that might fulfill you. 

Enacting your visions

It might take work, but eventually, you will find a vision that makes your spirit guide do the mambo. It might not necessarily be a career, but a scene or activity. When this happens, drop your judgments! You’ve got something you can work with.

There are many careers that don’t exist yet, because the world is waiting for someone like you to make them happen. There are also many careers and lifestyles you probably think are impossible for someone like yourself—but professional writers, cat trainers, magicians, and historical ship captains do exist and even thrive. So if you see yourself at the helm of a replica galley leading a troop of Boy Scouts in the maritime ways of old, it isn’t a matter of possibility, but of careful planning and calculation to get there.

Just because something comes to you in a mystical vision doesn’t mean the universe will drop it in your lap. The principles of economics, physics, and federal law still apply to divinely inspired ideas. You might have to go back to school, take an apprenticeship, or start in an entry-level position in a new field to begin working towards your goal. But hard labor in the service of a dream is almost always worthwhile. 

When you’ve been feeling trapped for years in an unfulfilling career, you can become so comfortably complacent you talk yourself out of the alternatives. Or maybe you’ve been told “no” from a young age, and never felt like you had permission to be an engineer, or a potter or school nurse. But when you use intuition and spiritual wisdom, you’ll find that these barriers are readily traversed. Only then can you start taking concrete steps towards the life you’ve always desired.

Is your career unfulfilling, but you can’t imagine doing anything else? When your desires are in crisis, a KEEN advisor can help you develop intuition and visualize your options.