Stuck? Time to Brainstorm!

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Jan 13, 2011 in , , | No Comments

Are you finding yourself at a loss when it comes to your job search?

Maybe it’s time to do some brainstorming…

This is an activity you can do on your own, with friends, family, or in a supportive group forum.

On Your Own

You’ll need some paper and a pencil (no, not your computer!), a comfortable chair, and no distractions.

1) Sit back in the chair and relax. Take in some slow, deep breaths. Don’t think about what you have on your to-do list today. In fact, focus on just one thing…

2) On the paper, draw a circle in the center. Inside that circle, write “DREAMS”. This represents your life dreams– aspirations you’ve held much of your life.

3) From that circle, draw a line out from it and make another smaller circle. Inside that circle write the first important dream that comes to your mind. From there, connect a line to a circle. Inside that circle you’ll write what you’ve done to move towards that particular dream. Have you paired with a mentor, taken certain classes, honed a particular skill necessary to get you that much closer to your goal? If so, write those down.

4) Next, go back to the original circle labeled “DREAMS” and draw another line out from it with a circle. Inside that circle, you’ll write another one of your dreams. Again, from that circle, draw a line and another circle. Inside, write what you’ve done to move towards that dream.

5) Continue this process until you have written down all of your dreams and what you’ve done to move towards that dream.

When you feel you’ve finished, look at each circle that represents how you are moving towards your dreams. What more could you be doing now to advance that dream and make it a reality? Write down those ideas in another circle attached to the one that shows what you’ve already done.

Everyday, look at your list, put it somewhere conspicuous–on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator or desk–for example. Take time everyday to put aside some time to think about your list, add or subtract to/from it as you go. Take further action to do whatever necessary to move you closer to your goal of making your dream a reality.

In a Group

If you choose to do this with friends or family members, the brainstorming takes on a different aspect in that you will now ask for feedback, while giving it. This type of exercise works well if you are stuck, feeling as if you don’t know how to go further in realizing your dreams. Constructive, helpful feedback is necessary and shouldn’t be a rushed activity.

Everyone should have completed the exercise above and copies of the brainstorm sheets given to group members. As each person takes their turn, members should review that person’s paper and make notes. Listen carefully to what each member has to say about their own particular brainstorm sheet. At this point members may ask questions and discuss how they can help the member who is stuck. At the end of the discussion, give the brainstorm paper to the member it belongs to so they may read your notes at another time, reflecting on suggestions.

Here’s a word of caution: be sure these are people who support you, not the type that will take away your thunder! You want to work with positive people who are willing to give good suggestions, and receive them too. All information discussed should be kept confidential.

©2009 Originally posted in JobAngels on BF.

Judy Anne Cavey, who resides in the S.F. Bay Area of California, is a credentialed, certified, higher education instructor who taught Work Experience/Cooperative Education and ESL at three community colleges. She is also a freelance writer and grant writer currently authoring a textbook, has designed other learning programs, and worked with several nonprofits. Her Edublog, “Work Experience”, is a not-for-profit endeavor designed to assist job seekers of all ages.