Why Winter is a Great Time to Start Your Career Change
Snuggle under your duvet for a few more minutes. Treat yourself to that smooth Madagascan Hot Chocolate with chilli. Wrap your Christmas scarf tighter round your neck. Yes, in the Northern hemisphere at least, winter has us in its grey and chilly grasp. There’s nothing I want more than to curl up in front of an open fire and dream of long summer days, sunny legs and picnics on the grass. I’m planning how I’m going to spend those leisurely days and I bet you’re the same!
So why am I suggesting now is the best time to re-write your future? Simple! All our instincts turn inwards in the winter – we want to stay close to home, hibernate in the warm, and refuel before the new growth of spring. So roll with this seasonal instinct and spend the long winter evenings in fruitful reflection – permission to imagine, dream and design is yours!
In the winter months, trees and plants store their energies and pause before the rejuvenation of spring. Bears, squirrels and small creatures curl into sleep – a welcome hiatus until longer days and stronger sun wakes them for the next chance to flourish. You too can set yourself up for success, for fulfillment, for the life you really want to live.
Are you in? Then let’s looks at the 3 seasons of career change:
1. Winter Wondering: Clarity
The first step in the career change programme I use with my clients is designed to help them get crystal clear on what is important to them: what their strengths, successes, values, motivations, interests, purpose and ideal work look like. This is an essential foundation from which they can explore career possibilities that match this individual portrait. By focusing on each of these vital aspects in turn – something most people have never done at any one place and time – I’ve seen clients grow in confidence, strengthened by this personal clarity: ‘so that’s what I really want from my life!’
And because this is inward-looking work, it’s perfect for when the wind is whistling against your window and you’re cosy and warm. This is a time of incubation, gathering strength and ideas – your personal career retreat!
2. Spring Prospecting: Direction
By the time the days are lengthening and daffodils are blowing in a slightly warmer breeze, you’re clear about what you want. Your winter wondering has gifted you that. With this clarity and growing confidence you’re naturally feeling more empowered – and this perfectly matches the seasonal shift when growth spurts through the hard ground of winter. Energy flows, hope is stronger and with it, the belief that career change really is possible. New life in fact.
You’re well placed now to spring into action and start prospecting. In the middle section of my programmes, clients start sifting and testing the store of ideas they’ve gathered in the first stage, dreaming big and drawing up a range of possibilities. Next, they test these ideas against their reality, by meeting people in their target roles and perhaps trying out their ‘new thing’ on a small or voluntary scale. This is good learning and reveals whether this is right or whether you need to pivot to another of your ideas.
This is an exciting and increasingly outward-looking stage – perfect for dipping your toe into new waters and perfect for spring.
3. Summer Surge: Action
Long summer evenings, lighter skies, warmer temperatures, al fresco parties and activities you love. Summer has arrived and you have some exciting and viable ideas.
Building on the top ideas you’ve developed so far you’ll focus your energies on THE ONE that you know chimes with your winter wondering portrait and that you want to design your future around. Getting clear on this vision and pouring your growing energy into creating a plan to bring it to life are at the heart of this third stage. In this creative and practical phase, you’ll build a plan which you believe in and which you’re going all-out to bring to life. Summer is burgeoning and so are you - you’ve re-designed your future!
What next? Well, to continue the seasonal analogy, the next stage is harvest – you reap the fruits of your labours and step into your new life!
Back to Reality
OK, I hear you! Is this a rural idyll I’m describing? Can it really be that easy? The honest answer is NO – career-change is never easy. It takes energy, commitment, curiosity, heart, work, resilience and optimism.
But a huge YES to the fact that it’s actually possible. Ask people who are doing work they love for their stories and you’ll know it can happen. I’ve changed direction 3 times myself and know that while it takes time to manoeuvre yourself from one profession into your new niche, it is 100% worth it.
And finally, let’s look at the much bigger picture. What’s the real risk of not exploring what you really want from your working life?
Your Seasonal Calendar
So I’m inviting you to flow with the seasons through your career-change process – tap into seasonal energy shifts, work with changing diurnal ranges and your natural inclinations - and you might just find your career change runs more smoothly.
Embrace the so-called ‘winter blues’ and start bringing your own ‘blue sky’ into the picture instead. By next winter, where will you be?
Contact me to discuss the Freestyle Career Change Programmes and start building the future you really want.
The Quickstep Career Change Series takes 2 coaching sessions for each stage (Clarity, Direction, Action). The career-changers who have chosen this option have felt energized, purposeful and happy they can move at their own pace from one stage of the process to the next.
For those with time on their side, the 9 – 12 session programme gives you space to slow down, reflect, explore and design your future at a more leisurely pace. This is perfect for those who are planning their 'retirement' or who have a financial cushion that allows them a comfortable breathing space to re-direct their career.
Or, to start your reflections by yourself, I’ve created a free download to Find Your Flow – designed to help you start reflecting on the work that engages, energises and challenges you (just the right amount!) This way, fulfillment lies!