How to Clarify Your Next Step

Have you ever felt stuck? Maybe you know you’re on the right path, but you’ve encountered a fork in the road. Perhaps you find yourself feeling less satisfied with your current trajectory in life. It’s common to hear statements such as,

  • I need a change of pace
  • I need a break
  • I’m tired of feeling like I’m staring at a deadend
  • I just wish someone knew which way to tell me to go

When you’re looking to clarify your next step, it’s always helpful to have someone else to talk things over with and consider if you’re on the right track. But what do you do to figure out what your options forward might be?

“Many people wish they started sooner. Almost nobody wishes they started later.”

James Clear

When I talk to people about pursuing their callings, they often express feelings of frustration. Once someone clarifies the path, God is inviting them to partner with on it’s often difficult to move slowly. For many women, this process involves multiple starts and stops, so when the path clears, there is often a mixture of emotions. Relief, joy, excitement, and an eagerness to move forward are frequently mixed with nervousness.

I’ve also heard many acknowledge disappointment and regret. Once someone understands their calling, it can be challenging to believe that any past careers, ministries, or life choices that don’t run concurrently with that calling weren’t wasted time. Disappointment and regret can be some of the biggest roadblocks to moving forward. That’s why I believe one of the best ways to clarify your next step forward often begins by reflecting on your past.

Create a Calling Focused Resume

As you reflect on your past, you have the opportunity to reflect on the skills and experiences you gained along the way. If you consider each job, volunteer experience, and life stage as a building block for your resume, you can extrapolate the individual skills you gained along the way.

For example, one of my first full-time jobs after college was that of an administrative assistant. I learned how to meet multiple important deadlines, communicate professionally via email, and keep confidential information that crossed my desk.

Several jobs later working as a campus wellness coach, I used everything I learned as an administrative assistant, and I also added to my skill set as I created wellness programs, built presentations for the campus community, and expanded my understanding of the challenges of reaching a target audience with information within a timely manner.

As I’ve moved from job to job I haven’t forgotten skills. In fact, I have been able to repurpose most of them and apply them in multiple ways to build what I call a “Calling Resume.”

Here’s an example of a calling resume:

calling resume template example

When I see everything summarized on one page it’s easier to identify how I’m still utilizing and building upon skills from previous jobs. I believe that every experience we have is valuable. Sometimes we take away lessons on what not to do in the future. This is just as helpful and could be even more important as we figure out our next best step forward.

Another helpful aspect of a Calling Resume is that you’ll be able to identify gaps in your skills. After you list your skills, certifications, and experiences it’s time to take a hard look at what skills need to improve. You should also take time to research the work biographies of people who hold roles similar to the one you are striving toward. You should be able to quickly create a list of gaps in your resume. From there you can begin to consider which items on the “gap list” are necessary to achieve and how to prioritize them.

Pursuing your calling is a lifelong journey that requires slow, methodical building. That doesn’t mean you need to take every step alone! If you’re feeling stuck in your journey reach out to a friend, seek out a mentor, or tell your spouse about your journey. Share your resume with them and ask for their input. You may find that an extra set of eyes is incredibly helpful at jogging your memory.

Remember, the goal is to clarify your next step, but there isn’t a deadline. If this process takes a few weeks that’s okay! Whatever pace you move at is great. You’re still moving forward.

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