7 keys to succeed in your career change
After nearly 16 years working with people in the different stages of their careers, and after several bends and turns along my own path, I am pleased to share with you the 7 most important points of this fascinating journey that any professional change involves.
1. Decide “who” instead of “what”
When planning our next career step, we often focus on the content: what have I done so far, what position do I want next, in what sector or what type of company. But it is far more important to be clear about who you want to be and what lifestyle you want to lead, so that you can develop and grow in all aspects of your life (socially, spiritually, physically, intellectually) and not just professionally. The first step is to decide what is really important to you? What do you value the most? Is it autonomy, flexibility, being part of a team, enjoying what you do, solidarity, responsibility …? Knowing what your values are will help you determine whether you are on the road to a full and happy life, as dissatisfaction usually appears when our values are contradicted.
I have worked with people who decided to leave the corporate world and start a business project in search of a better work-life balance only to end up, much to their regret, working many more hours and being more stressed than in their previous corporate role, with the consequent impact on their well-being. So first of all, decide who you want to be: whether a parent committed to your family project, or the founding partner of a start-up, think about what lifestyle you really want, before embarking on a wandering journey.
2. Get to know you better: self-awareness
With our busy schedules, the multitude of roles we play (employer, boss, partner, parent, sibling, friend, volunteer, etc.) and the speed of our current lifestyles, it is no surprise that go through the motions and rarely spend time thinking about what we do well and what is that we really like doing. I invite you to identify i) what makes you happy, what do you enjoy doing at work; ii) what are your strengths, your talents, your unique skill set, and discover how to use them professionally.
3. Create your dream
If you think about it carefully, you will realize that we only get what we really want in life. Do you have a dream? Is your dream just something nice-to-have? Something you only think about when you fall into the arms of Morpheus? Or, conversely, do you have a vision of the future that you are passionate about, one that you believe in and for which you are really prepared to work hard? If so, first visualize yourself in 3-5 years: where are you, with whom, how do you spend your time, how do you see yourself, have you achieved your goal? Then create an action plan: write specific goals that depend on you and take you closer to your vision: decide your first step, and your next step, what skills do you need, where to get training, whom to ask for advice, who can help you, etc. We are much more productive when we are happy and we do what we are passionate about. There are many studies that prove this. Find your vision and go for it!
4. Make time and take action
Lack of time is the most common excuse for postponing a job switch. But we all have the same amount of time, exactly 24 hours a day. So why is it that some people achieve their goals and realize their dreams and others don’t? Procrastination (postponing important things or replacing them with less significant ones) reduces your confidence. If you really want to turn your career around, the longer you leave it, the harder it will be. Set time aside on your busy schedule to think about your future. Invest in your development, research, attend webinars, participate in forums … Nowadays there is a wide range of online resources accessible anytime, anywhere. Explore, consult with a professional, think before deciding your next step, but get going!
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage”
5. Look ahead
Another key reason why we often postpone our next career step is financial security. I often hear my coachees, co-workers or acquaintances say “I’d like to quit my job but I can’t afford it …” or even “I hate my job but I need the money …”. If the salary is what you like most about your current job but you are scared of jumping into the void, one option would be to create a “safety net” by saving resources during a transition period. This would allow you to take a leap at the time you think fit. Another option would be to fine-tune your current job to re-align it with your vision.
6. Manage your Network
LinkedIn is a great tool to expand your network of contacts, but it is also important to develop relationships in more depth. University professors or peers, your former boss, ex-colleagues, providers, family, friends … you decide! Meet with them from time to time. Be clear who to turn to for certain issues, ask someone close to be your mentor, ask those who are already doing what you want to do. As Nicki Sheard, VP Brand Marketing at King, recently said during a conference at IESE Business School in Barcelona: “Managing your network takes time and effort … if it does not feel like a job then you’re not doing enough networking.”
7. Remember: You set the pace
Finally, it is important to avoid applying digital speed to all things in life. If you don’t move forward as fast as you hoped, treat yourself with kindness and without judgement. Allow yourself to go at your own pace but don’t loose track.
If any aspect of this article resonates with you, or if you are thinking about your next career move and need a bit of clarity, contact us. Now is the best time to design a different future.