Trying to figure out what you want next in your career can be a hugely daunting task. Especially if you are almost certain that you want to change careers entirely.
I always think changing careers is bit like going through a break-up. You can feel the relationship needs to end, but you don’t really want to admit it to yourself, so you keep going hoping things will get better. You keep thinking back to happier times telling yourself that maybe one day soon it’ll go back to how it was. It can take a long time to admit that it’s over and you need to move on. It can be painful and scary, but in the long-run you know it’s what’s best for you.
This is very much what I went through when I changed my career. I had spent 10 years dedicating myself to my career. Finally I had the salary and title I had wanted. I felt important, valued and successful, but pretty quickly I thought; hmm I think I want to do something else.
I was in shock. I kept thinking to myself; Alice! You’ve worked so hard to get here, are you really going to walk away? You’ve got everything you wanted, why isn’t this enough for you?
And the scariest thought I had; You’re being really silly. If you walk away from this, you could really live to regret it. It took you a long time to work your way up to this point; you might not get that opportunity again and you are too proud to go back after your new career fails.
These were the thoughts going through my head in the lead-up to me changing careers. I had known for a long time, years even, that I wanted to run my own business. It had always been there in the back of my mind and I openly told people. I just didn’t know what that business would be, and I think there was a part of me that never really thought it would happen.
It was just a nice dream to have to stop me from fully accepting my corporate career working for someone else and living a life that so many other people live.
But every now and then, I would feel that I was made for so much more. That I had more potential, more to give, more impact to make. That there was a braver version of myself within me and she was just waiting to be let out. I felt I was so close to becoming this other version of me, the one who would run her own business, be brave and courageous. However as quickly as I would have this feeling it would pass by.
So what happened? How did I manage to finally make the move? Find the courage and quieten the voice?
Well it didn’t happen overnight. Over the years I worked on my self development. I touched on many different areas with my coach and really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I worked through so much stuff, and doing this allowed me to really understand what it was I wanted, why I wanted it and what held me back from going after it.
I was able to start believing in myself and seeing why I had to do this. How to make peace with leaving my career and accepting who I really was and what I wanted in my life. The work I did enabled me to go through with my break-up.
I remember thinking to myself; I know this is a risk, I know it could go wrong, but I will be so disappointed in myself if I don’t do it. It is now or never and if I don’t jump now, I know I will never jump. And that thought was far scarier to me than anything else. Even writing these words now, I still feel that emotion so strongly.
I felt I was at the cusp of stepping into my new life, the new me, and if I didn’t do it now, I would close the door on that reality forever. It honestly scared me to my core.
So what can you do if you’re in a similar situation? If you feel you’re no longer happy and want to change careers, but you have no idea where to start.
Well firstly take the pressure off yourself. Often what stops you from knowing what you want is that you feel you have to figure it all out now. You’re not going to jump ship straight away. Give yourself time.
Tell yourself you just want to explore a few options and see how they feel on you. You need to allow yourself to play around with a few ideas to see how they feel. Telling yourself you’re not making any commitments you’re just playing around should ease some of that pressure.
So now go and have some fun and enjoy the process!
Allow yourself to play:
Most likely you are doing what I did and wracking your brain to think of a career that you would enjoy that would utilise your skills. This is the wrong approach.
Instead start fresh. Forget about what you studied, what you’re meant to do, all the experience you gained and instead ask yourself this:
What brings me most joy in life? What do I do or think about doing that fills me with happiness and pure joy? That gives me butterflies in my stomach when I think of it.
Write a list of those things and pick one that stands out to you
With that one topic, write out what your life would look like if that’s what you did. And if that negative voice jumps in, tell it to back off. We’re just playing right now. So get as creative as you can, the sky is the limit. Have fun with this!
Get physical and play!
So you have this amazing idea and it makes you so happy when you think about it, but right now it is just a thought in your head. You need to get physical. You need to actually experience how it feels on you. Sometimes the idea can be great in our head, but when we try it out, we think, maybe it’s not actually what I enjoy.
So set yourself a task;
What is 1 thing you could do in that area to start experiencing how it actually feels. It can be something really small. If you imagined something around food, maybe your task is to spend one full day cooking, or to go and visit some restaurants and speak to their chef, or attend a cooking class. Just something that you can play with and see how it fits on you.
And this is the all important word, PLAY. Allow yourself to have fun.
Once you’ve played around with a few different ideas you’ll know what feels good and what doesn’t. You’ll start getting a clearer picture of what you want. It’s really important that up until this point you have not put any pressure on yourself. Once you have this clearer picture it’s time to deal with that negative voice and work out how you can transition.
If you want support exploring these ideas contact me and let’s do it together! Click here to set-up a call.