We have been surrounded by change ever since we can remember. Do you remember the first time you set foot in your kindergarten class or the very first day of your first “real” job? Life is ever-evolving with happy moments and not-so-happy moments, yet there are times when we feel like it passes by wishing we could stop only for a second as in the series The Flash.
When it comes to career shifts, life may have just passed you by, and you wonder, “how did I get here” and “I know I need a change, but what next?” Let’s face it. Change isn’t easy. They say change is good. But it’s plain scary when you lack full-time work, lack consistency, experience continuous employment gaps, are unable to juggle two or three jobs, you discover you’re unfulfilled in what you do or forced to make a change because of lay-offs, terminations, and the list continues.
What does it take to make a change? Commitment, Clarity, Plan, Action, and Confidence. It sounds like a recipe for success, and it should be. However, nothing can happen or begin as a coach says to the boxer being pummeled round after round, “You gotta get your mind right.” – Until you get your mind right. Even in a boxing match, your mindset can play a pivotal role in success or failure. Similar to a career shift, like any other change, begins with the most powerful tool in your possession – your mind. Being open to new possibilities gets you out of your “fixed mindset” (you are who you are) as described by Carol Dweck (link?), and into “growth mindset” (you could be what you want to be). Stretching the brain out of its comfort zone begins the path to openness. If your mind remains closed to learning new possibilities, you will be.
If you have taken the quiz on your readiness for a career change (link to questionnaire), you are ready to continue forward.
MIndest, by definition, is the established set of attitudes established by someone. Can we grow if we have a negative mindset? Personally, it hasn’t worked for me because laziness creeps in resembling the phrase “set it and forget it.” Being and staying positive takes commitment. Venturing into a career change has its responsibilities. Will you be committed to taking a lower position, if you had to? Will you be committed to living on savings, if you needed to? Will you be committed to spending less time with family and friends in search of your goal? These and other pertinent questions you need to ask yourself with the most important one of all, how far are you willing to go for your career happiness? If you’re eager to face the common obstacles when contemplating a career change, then you are well on your way to experience the second ingredient.
The aha moment doesn’t show up overnight. It takes commitment and introspection about your career shift. Conducting a self-assessment, leveraging your strengths, skills, interests, and how they align with your values – things that are important to you. Passion is a word that gets thrown around lately in terms of career changes, but if I had to describe it in simple terms, it’s when you put your hand on your heart when you’re doing something you enjoy or love and smile simultaneously (hopefully earning money). You can recruit a good friend to help you identify all the above, but hiring a career coach can help you change your perspective and focus more on your direction.
Action and Confidence
Once all the research has been done, the dust settles, you’re ready to design your plan and take action with your career coach. How do I get to my goal, and what is my timeline? These plans can take many directions. Do you need to build up specific skills to acquire certifications or go back to school before looking for a new position? Have I looked at the market for job growth? Do I already know people in the field? Have I rebranded yourself and feel like an imposter, fighting my inner critic or faking it till you make it? Well, sometimes the latter helps in a pinch, but the majority of the time, confidence exudes from within; it’s an action created by you and only you. Know your capabilities, worth, and achievements. Be loud and proud of them by saying them aloud, and by rehearsing with your coach. Being comfortable on the inside will show how confident you are on the outside. You may feel like a novice, but your diverse experiences and transferable skills take you one step closer to your sense of purpose.
Your mind has the power to lead you back into a deep, dark place, or it can propel you forward with the force of a tsunami. Mind growth creates resilience and motivation essential in accomplishing your career shift and becomes the starting point to learning new things and possibilities. It may feel uncomfortable at first. Compare it to working out for the first time, but like your body, it can become complacent with the same workout all the time.
It also takes courage to shift career directions, and many become paralyzed. Once you are unwavering in reaching career happiness, a career coach will add to your recipe, and support your every step. Here’s to being open.
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