How to successfully change career
Successful career changes are possible - but not always required! This article will help you work out if a change is what you really want or need, and if so, how to go about making it a success.
It can happen at any age. You wake up one morning and you realise that you're not quite as happy as you once were. You're not diving out of bed full of excitement and anticipation for what the day has in store. You're dreaming of doing something different, something you really love, and that 'something' is not the job you already have.
I've successfully changed career 3 times. Once in my 20s then again my 30s and most recently in my 40s.
Necessity forced the first change but the second change was driven by my long-held dream of being a lawyer. It wasn't until my 40s that I was able to see the connection that led me to my purpose, and hence I became a coach.
Now I get to help high-achievers who have big ambitions but who aren't living up to their potential and who are feeling unfulfilled.
If you think a career change is exactly what you need right now, then I encourage you to explore all of your options. With that in mind, here are the top three questions I get asked about changing career:
How do I find my 'thing', my 'purpose', what it is that will make me happy?
It sounds cliche but happiness comes from within, so your first task is not to put your career in charge of your happiness. One is not dependant upon the other.
Sometimes it's not a career change that's required, so I recommend first assessing if it's the role, the organisation, the people, or you that isn't a good fit.
Look at your current job. List the things you arent enjoying and get really clear on what it is that you would love to do more of. Sometimes, a slight shift in role brings the potential to do more of what we love, so be sure to explore that option within your current organisation if it's a possibility.
At this stage, it can be helpful to find an ally in your current organisation who might be able to help you fine-tune your career goals and aspirations. Never underestimate the power of letting your employer KNOW that you are keen to progress. In my experience, and from the many conversations I've had with women at all levels of their career, this is still something many women don't do.
If a career change is the right decision for you, the next step is to compile a list of potentials based on what you discovered about the likes/dislikes and wants/don't wants of your current role.
The world really is your oyster at this point and the hardest thing can be narrowing down your list. This is a great opportunity to include everything that you've ever dreamed of doing, and yes, circus performer or lion tamer can go on the list if that's what you really would love to do next :)
How do I choose what I want to do from the list of potentials?
Once you've got your list of great new potential careers, it's time to do some filtering. I recommend creating a spreadsheet with three columns on it. List your potential careers on rows down the left and name your 3 columns as follows:
Cost, Time, Feel Factor
In the cost column put how much it will cost to get any additional certifications, accreditations, memberships, or training, to be able to pursue your new career.
In the time column, put down how long it will take to acquire the necessary skills or qualifications.
The feel factor column is a little bit different. This is where you let your heart rather than your head have its say. Take each potential career in turn and sit for a few moments thinking about it. Imagine yourself getting up each morning and going to work. See yourself fully immersed in this new career and then put your hand on your heart and ask yourself how much you would love to do this on a score of 1 to 10. Write the number down in the feel factor column.
Once you've completed this exercise for each potential new career you are ready to pick one!
The spreadsheet will have given you a lot of information. Use this to help you make an informed decision.
Yes it may require more thought, but you will be so much closer to understanding the full picture having completed the exercises.
How do I make it a success?
The biggest factor responsible for your success is you. Your mindset (beliefs and behaviours) will be crucial to you achieving success and feeling fulfilled. Take time to work on rewiring your brain for success.
The thoughts and behaviours that got you to where you are, won't get you to where you want to go. Look at your habits, your habitual thought patterns, the things you do without thinking. If these aren't conducive to success, look for ways to help you change them.
Changing what and how we think can be achieved through a combination of methods for example meditation, affirmations and of course, coaching. I'd also recommend that you find groups of other people who've successfully changed career. It's always helpful to see real life examples of others who've successfully done what you want to do.
Remember, this is an exciting time, and there are lots of things you can do to make your career change a success.
If you have questions, or want to know more about how to confidently navigate a career change, let me know in the comments or get in touch via my profile here on Lifelabs or via LinkedIn.