Is career change on your mind at the moment? Are you excited but also a bit nervous that you can actually pull it off? It’s big and complicated but it’s also what your heart and gut are telling you is the right thing to do. Based on my work with clients over the last 10 years, these 10 steps are the key to making your career change a success.
1. Embrace the Unknown
You know your current career inside out. You know what you’re going to do on a daily basis and what the future holds. Your change may currently be unknown, you may not even have named what it is. Not knowing can be scary BUT it is part of the process of moving to knowing. So dive in and live with the not knowing for a while, certain that what emerges will be more rewarding and satisfying than the present. How to stop doubting your career change.
2. Create a new Identity
You have probably invested quite a bit of time and money in your current career – training, qualifications and development. Perhaps your identity brings quite a bit of status – you may enjoy describing yourself as a ….. when you meet someone new. The people you love may also quite like your existing identify too. Your ties to it are strong, and it can feel hard to give it up. You have to believe that your new identity will be rewarding so make a list of all the benefits your new identity will bring you, and start to view yourself in a different way.
3. Know your Value
You’ve already accumulated a vast array of skills and experiences which will be useful in your new profession. Don’t feel like you are the equivalent of a brand new graduate because you are starting something new. You will be contributing a lot to your new employer and new career even if your specific competencies may be different. hold onto the value you bring and know your worth. this can allow you to fast track your self in your new career and will also increase your confidence during the change. And don’t let Imposter Syndrome kick in.
4. Turn anxiety into excitement
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel some anxiety about the change. The key is to not let the anxiety paralyse you and prevent you from taking action. The feeling of excitement is very close to the feeling of anxiety so you can reframe it to reflect an excited anticipation of something new rather than a fearful trepidation. You will need to work hard at doing this – click here for extra support.
5. Plan it
“Action conquers fear.” Break your change down into manageable steps with actions that drive you forward and it will appear more achievable and less daunting. Be realistic in your planning and look for someone who can help you stay accountable. Use the technique in Why you need a Road Map for your Career to structure your plans.
6. Plan your finances
A drop in income could be on the cards as a result of your career change, and this may put you off. Some planning around this in the early stages of your change thinking can be really helpful in not letting money become a blocker to your change. Review your current spending and outgoings and look for ways you can save money. Think about what is essential and what you can compromise on. If necessary, work out what you can save now in order to fund your change whether that is to retrain, cushion the initial salary drop or fund qualifications.
7. Talk to people
Your network could be incredibly useful to your during your career change – some of them might end up being your cheerleaders and giving you moral support, and others may help open doors for you. Stay connected and keep talking to friends, family, colleagues and connections about what you are looking for and what your dream is – you’ll be surprised how many people will be keen to help.
8. Learn and grow
Take opportunities to upskill or gain new experiences that will help you move closer to your dream role. Think widely about what could help or what gaps you may need to fill. Perhaps taking on a Trustee role, doing some volunteering, taking a course, reading or work shadowing could help you feel more confident that you can make this change happen.
9. Don’t settle for less
Follow your dream and stay connected to why you are making this change, and what you want it to give you. Don’t take the easy route – make sure your decision is robust and that your new career will give you the meaning, enjoyment and happiness you are looking for.
10. No regrets
You won’t regret changing your career, but you will regret staying in a career you don’t enjoy. Live your life in the way you want to.
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