When your career change has gone off the boil…
…. 10 Ways to Give it a Boost
When I was shifting from full-time paid employment to creating a new business from scratch, I can honestly say I changed my mind a hundred times.
The inside of my head turned into a misty maze and I felt like a pinball buffeted from one option to another. I talked myself out of it twice and back into it twice. Friends thrust their opinions into the mix and self-doubt roamed free. I went on two courses, took additional qualifications, had some coaching, took myself away on a retreat, and for most of the journey, woke up in the middle of the night in a state of terror that I would be penniless, homeless and friendless!
Does any of this sound familiar?
I had made the decision in my heart long before my head (which was still writing lists, validating options, checking things out) caught up! But here I am, 18 months into Freestyle Careers, 2 months into relying solely on this business for my income - and I feel 100% certain that I’ve made the right decision. How can I be so sure?
I look at my five highest values and see them honoured. I turn to my purpose and know it’s finding expression every single day.
I’m playing to my strengths and interests, going where my energy grows and my spirit thrives. Life. Is. Good.
It’s early days and I’m learning new ways of being a solo-preneur every week. Yes I still have doubts about being a businesswoman, but absolutely no doubts that I’m doing the work that fits me like a glove and rewards me in the ways I care about most.
And this, I think, is a wonderful place to be.
But the journey, where there seems to be little solid ground, an army of critical voices, and self-doubt and uncertainty by the bucket-load, is still very fresh in my mind. For anyone still on that embattled quest, I feel your struggles, your anxiety, uncertainty, perspective-swings and those mountainous peaks and troughs!
So I’d like to share what I found helped me keep going through those rocky 18 months – I hope some of these will see you through!
10 Ways to Keep Your Motivation Afloat When Your Career Change Hits the Rocks
1. Anchor your end goal to the two things that matter most – your valuesand your purpose. When you’re clear about your highest values, know their priority in your life now and can align them with what you’re aiming for, certainty grows exponentially. It’s the same with purpose – your WHY – or the impact and contribution you want to make in this life; when this has become clearer and it also stacks up well against your new direction, every decision feels more grounded and so much easier.
2. Celebrate every win– however small! Each time you discover a piece in the jigsaw, learn something enlightening about yourself or your goal, meet someone who helps you on your way, take a vital course or develop a new way to approach your shift, take time to revel in that step forward. Notice it and rejoice. Your richer future is one step closer.
3. Note how far you’ve come. Think about where you were 6 months ago and where you are now. You’ve learnt things that have helped you get clearer about where you’re going or what you’re seeking. You’ve made progress. And if you keep going, you’ll make more. If you turn back, you won’t. Which will you regret more?
4. Hang around with positive people– as many as you can find. Share your plans with people you trust and ask for their support to cheer you on. Go where your energy grows, where your self-belief is nurtured. Avoid the nay-sayers, the doubters, the critics - they’ll drain your energy and feed your self-doubts. You need a sense of reality, yes, but you don’t need dream-tramplers. Avoid them and learn to let their opinions fall from you.
5. Make friends with your strengths– and use them in your shift. If you love talking to people, lean into this, make the most of it to set up career conversations. If you love working to deadlines, give yourself some SMART goals to aim for along the way. Develop your strengths – and also pepper your change strategy with things that are just outside your comfort zone. Those will be big wins, and could become new strengths.
6. Dance in your sunny spots!Do the things you love. They’ll nourish your spirit, raise your energy, and do wonders for your sense of well-being. And of course, they might also be vital clues about your next direction. Get intimate with what you love doing, and do these things more. Relish them.
7. Ask for help. Yes, for many, this is a tough one. As adults, we’re used to being in the driving seat, to knowing our way around and being in control. As soon as we admit we need to make a change in how we live and work, that shifts. Suddenly we’re learners again. Some people find that hard. When I asked for help – whether by going on a course or working with a coach - my journey took a leap forward. Learning went into hyper-drive. It was worth the vulnerability of asking, ‘Can you help me?’ and it was worth the financial investment too. Being a beginner again is a liberating place to be. Just ask.
8. Taste your vision today.Do you know what you want more of in this future you’re aiming to create? Then do something to bring more of it into your life today. Volunteer, work part-time, start a mini-business. This is all great learning and testing out what you think you might be targeting. Yes, you can have it today! Give yourself permission and do it. One small steps at a time.
9. Boost your failure-immunity. Part of design-thinking is knowing that you can’t fail – you can only learn. Remember there are no wrong choices, no regrets, just a new space to start from. When plans get de-railed, try reframing that ‘failure’ as a prototype that didn’t work out. You can learn from that. You can use that knowledge to create the next one without burdening yourself with that bleak label ‘failure.’
By the way, did you ever give yourself space to answer the question: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? That might be a good place to start the next prototype.
10. You’re doing it! It takes courage and honesty to admit that things are not how you want them to be. It takes more courage to dare to do something about that. Go to your inspirers when you need to remember why you’re ‘Daring Greatly’ (Brené Brown), or ‘in the arena’ (Teddy Roosevelt). You are asking big questions because (I suspect) you want to live a wholehearted and meaningful life. Be proud of that. Don’t give up.
What’s holding your career change up? Leave your comments below and I’ll be happy to make some suggestions.
And if you’re ready for a specialist to help you gain clarity on what your more fulfilling life looks like and how to make it happen, just get in touch to arrange your free discovery call.