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"What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” – John Lubbock

Career Change Coach

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. 

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you have not found it yet, keep looking., You’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

“What is the best piece of advice for people thinking about a career change?”

 

1. Take Action - Create your own luck

Act on your curiosity you can manufacture opportunities. Have you ever asked someone “how did you get that great job?” only to have them tell you about an extremely lucky, chance event that led to where they are today.

That is exactly what happened to me when I made my career change, But those events occurred because I put myself out there and started following my curiosity and building skills. I joined committees, took part in a leadership development program, founded a staff organization. If there was an opportunity to attend a free class or volunteer my skills for something – I was there. 

My advice is to create your own lucky encounters by exploring your curiosities and talking about this exploration with others. Build your network by volunteering, learning other people’s stories, and sharing your own story. In this way, opportunities will have a chance to find you.”

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

2. Embrace the informational interview

“Go find and talk to people who are doing the job you want to enter. Ask them what their day-to-day looks like, feels like, and what the best and the worst parts of the job are. Also ask what advice they would give to someone who’s entering the job now that they’ve done it.”

“The best advice I’ve heard comes from Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, authors of ’Designing Your Life’. Talk with people who are doing today what you would like to do next. Be sincerely interested in learning about what they do, what it is really like and how they got there. Find out more (without focusing on a job search conversation). Be genuinely curious.”

“Changing the world begins with the very personal process of changing yourself. The only place change can begin is where you are, and the only time you can begin is always now.”

3. Prototype before you leap

“Prototype your new career before you make the first move and be aware that a new life is part of the deal. Prototyping is one of the most effective techniques I use in ’Designing Your Life’ business coaching. Originally prototyping is used in the development of digital and physical products. In ’Designing Your Life’, anything can be prototyped, from a physical subject to a new career.

“Take your ideas for a walk! Think like a designer and create several options or ‘prototypes’ and then try them out. The design-thinking process is a team sport. There are several ways you can ideate and expand on your ideas if you work collaboratively. Often the best ideas are the ones that are a combination of two or more seemingly unrelated thoughts – when combined, you have something incredibly unique and innovative. This is often how solutions to wicked problems are discovered. When you apply this same methodology to your life and life’s work it can yield an exhilarating journey (the prototype part) and epic experiences.”

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results"

4. Stop trying to find the “perfect” job

“You don’t need an overwhelming, sweep-you-off-your-feet passion. It is okay to follow small sparks of curiosity, or simply to realize that you are unhappy with what you are doing. That is a starting place in itself. There is no need to go on a quest to find THE right career fit for you. As ’Designing Your Life ’says, ‘We all have a lot of lives within us…Of course, we can only live out one at a time, but we want to ideate multiple variations in order to choose creatively and generatively.

 

“My best piece of advice would be to make sure you are in the right mindset when thinking about a career change. When thinking about a career change, most of us tend to think that we will be happy if we find that “perfect“ job or step into that new career. We think there is only one option, or one solution and this way of thinking puts a lot of pressure on our shoulders because we are afraid to make a mistake.

You need to think like a designer and remember there are plenty of options. You need to remember there are tons of right jobs and what feels right for you, at the moment, may be different in a few years, and that is OK too!

Having such a mindset helps you silence your fear so you can make better choices, choices that are aligned with your true nature and not chosen by fear. Unfortunately, our brain is wired to protect us so fear will always come first. So, in other words, it’s about never letting fear be your guide!”

“Successful people have fear. Successful people have doubts. Successful people have worries. They just don’t let these feelings stop them.” – T. Harv Eker

5. Introspect & uncover your motivations

“Find out the true motivation behind the change. Some people only think about “money”, or “the need to be in a new environment”, for example. If these things alone do not align with your true motivation and needs, the move will not last.”

“Recognise the instinct beneath your recurring thoughts and start taking small steps to explore that urge. I have a rule that if I have thought about doing something 3 times, then I need to take some kind of action on that recurring thought. You don’t have to make a wholesale change all at once, but you do need to get super clear on what it is you want to change.”

“Career planning can sometimes feel like a game of pin the tail on the donkey, with everyone having a view on what’s best for you and where you need to pin the tail. If you want to pin it smack-bang on your “career bullseye” you need to take off your blindfold so you can see what is important in your life and career. Thinking about a career change is your opportunity to press pause, reflect and clearly connect the dots between who you are, what you do and what you believe. This will help you build a more coherent life, one where your career choices feel aligned to who you are as a person, giving your work a sense of meaning. Start the process from there and it will become the foundation from which you can design your way forward to a career and life you can thrive in.”

“Do your research. Take the time to work through what you are looking for. Reflect on your strengths, interests, and motivators. Focus on what you love about your current and recent roles – list the tasks that come easily to you, give you satisfaction and energise you. Write your ‘dream job’ position description and go and explore opportunities that will give you the opportunity to thrive and shine. Your next best role may not be advertised – so do not be afraid to have productive conversations with many people in roles and industries of interest to you. Do not focus on a narrow set of job titles, dig a bit deeper and look at new and emerging roles that suit your skills and match the direction you want to take. Allow your curiosity to navigate options.”

“They may be smarter than you. They may have more money than you. They may come from a different city or a better family. But they can never outwork you. And they can never out prepare you. And they just can’t out practice you. And that’s why you’ll win!” – Robin Sharma

6. Design thinking is your friend

“Learn the principles of design thinking. Not only can they be applied to the question of ‘where to next?’ in the world of work, the skills you learn can be applied more generally to your life and are increasingly sought after in the workplace. For example, people discover the benefits of collaboration, opening up new experiences and perspectives and generating more options. And they learn to ‘choose well’, to let go and to move on. If you want to know more, read ‘Designing Your Life’, watch Bill Burnett’s Ted Talk and Dave Evans’ Ted Talk, and read

“This is where the Designing Your Life tools come into their own. Tried and tested to aid in self-reflection, the Work View/Life View exercise can help you take stock of where you are now in terms of what truly matters to you and begin to highlight where you might want to get to. Another great exercise is the ‘Good Time Journal’ which asks you to record and review which areas of your working day make you sing, and which ones are a drain on your energy.”

“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.” – Albert Einstein

7. Embrace change: life is meant to be redesigned

“My first reaction is DO IT! Our lives are meant to be redesigned. People change their careers several times in their lives and find this is a very fulfilling way to live! 

From a more tactical response, assuming you do not know what career you want to pursue, I would encourage you to look deeply and get really clear on your values. A coach can absolutely help with this piece. When we live true to our values, we are in resonance which makes for a more fulfilled life. I would also encourage you to connect with your ‘champions’. The people closest to you. By doing so, you are taking action and activating your network. This is when the ideas start to flow. In the world of Designing Your Life, we call this Radical Collaboration.”

“Become the leader of your life. Lead yourself to where you want to be. Breathe life back into your ambitions, your desires, your goals, your relationships.” – Steve Maraboli

8. Your first thought is not always your best thought

“Don’t assume that your first idea is your best and recognize there are many paths (not just one) that could bring you fulfilment. Check out the concepts from Designing Your Life to put yourself in an exploratory frame of mind. Clarify what each path would look like for you – down to what it feels like to have that job, live in that place, have that commute, and work on that project – and see which bring you the most energy. The key is to experiment with several alternate paths and eventually narrow down to one, rather than starting from ‘this is the one’ and searching for the needle in the haystack that matches it.”

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

9. Be curious

“Start with curiosity. Elizabeth Gilbert’s episode of Oprah’s ‘Super Soul Conversations’ podcast on The-Curiosity Driven Life is a great place to start. When I changed careers from education to coaching it started out with curiosity. What is out there, what are my options? Which turned into a year of research and a notebook full of information and training programs. Which turned into me working full time and completing 3 certification programs. I had teaching as a backup until I built a business in individual and organizational coaching. Think of ways to start the transition without going full bore at the outset. It takes the pressure off financially and it gives you a buffer in case it’s not what you thought it would be.”

“Career development is a process (cyclical or atypical, not linear) and it’s important to be patient with yourself. Like most things in life (financial literacy, good writing skills, the ability to speak in public), it takes time to learn how to be effective in your career transitions, and in the US, we are expected to change careers an average of 7 times in our lifetime. Oftentimes the emotional toll and anxiety produced by these transitions can seem overwhelming, but you have to sustain productivity through the challenges and remain positive as you encounter obstacles. Take things one step at a time – from accepting where you are at, to exploration, to research, to prototyping your ideas, to potentially dipping back into research. You can then create a strategy that will land you a job that hopefully represents where your values, interests and skills meet. Maintain your curiosity, have a bias towards action, be open to new ideas and options that present themselves along the way and most importantly, enjoy the journey!” 

“Replace thoughts of worry with thoughts of hope, faith, and victory.”

10. Build a support network

“Find a coach! A coach will hold space for you to explore what is important to you in a new career – intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. A coach will also be a steadying hand to counter the circular conversations going on inside your head. Her job is to help you thrive; however, you define that term.”

“Get some support with the process; you can’t do it all in your head. A mentor, a friend from the sector you are considering, or a career coach can bring new perspective and accountability.”

“My other big piece of advice is to create a team of advisors. By now, most of you have probably heard how important it is to have a mentor – do not let the weight of this word hold you back, it is easy to create your own ‘unofficial’ team of advisors. I have a group of people (they may not even know who they are!) whose advice I rely on to steer my professional development and see my blind spots. You cannot see your own blind spots – find people whom you trust to hold the mirror.”

“Assemble a ‘Success Team.’ This small group of non-judgmental, high-energy people will brainstorm with you, be your sounding board and provide that all-important emotional support. Face it, leaving the familiarity of a business or industry after five, 10 or 20 years can be terrifying. You do not know what you do not know. Your Success Team can act like your rear-view mirror, helping you see the blind spots so you can drive confidently to your next adventure.

One of my clients had done government work for 20 years. She was positive she wanted to move into a corporate role. Her Success Team noticed that when she talked about the switch, her voice tapered off, her shoulders sank and her energy waned. That feedback was just what she needed. She realized a corporate role was something she thought she ‘should’ do instead of what she really wanted.

Getting out of your head and assembling people you trust is critical. Life is a team game, so play it that way!”

“My best piece of advice for people thinking about a career change is seeking out a trained coach to help you get curious and gain clarity both on the inside and the outside. Here is what I mean. 

1) INSIDE: Do you have a picture in your head of how you want to be and feel in five years? What does life look like? What core values are being served? (Exercise: paint a picture with words in the present tense of what you are doing five years from now, who you are with (or not) and use three words to describe how you feel in this picture.) Research out of the University of Charleston by Angela Passarelli shows that when there is a vision involved, you are 50% more likely to achieve and maintain the changes you are implementing as far as 7 years out. So, does this career change you are hoping for support the vision you have painted for yourself? If so, GET ON IT!

2) OUTSIDE: If you know what you want to do, it is time to network. Tell friends, family, and co-workers what you are thinking of changing careers and ask if they know anyone in your new industry that you can reach out to. Search people on LinkedIn or do a blog search and see what you can find. If the contact is in your area, offer to buy them a cup of coffee so that you can pick their brains and hear the story of how they got to where they are (people LOVE to talk about themselves). If they are not nearby, see if they are willing to FaceTime or chat for 20 or 30 minutes on the phone. Don’t be afraid to be persistent and always follow up with a thank you note.”

‘MOST popular piece of advice by far. If you are going through a change, find a support network’

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."-John Quincy Adams

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