Thinking of a career change? Do this first
When people are considering a career change, the first steps they’ll often take is to polish their resume, update their LinkedIn profile, and spread the word about their job search.
Please don’t go there. Yet.
(unless you want to end up landing back in a role, work situation or environment similar to the one you’re trying to move away from in the first place)
Because here’s the thing –
Finding and creating a career path that is meant for you is not about crossing items off your to-do list. It requires diving deep into your needs, cravings and desires, in career and beyond.
And to do that you need to come back home to yourself, first.
If you want to leave a job you hate, or find boring, or stressful, or a job that dimmed your light, a job that takes a personal toll, it’s likely that you’re feeling drained, lack creativity, brain fogged about your strengths, and maybe even have a pessimistic view on what's possible for the next job.
You may have travelled a long distance from your heart.
There are a few important steps you need to take first to help you restore and replenish yourself so you can step into this new chapter feeling connected, powerful and aligned. Steps most of us skip but that make all the difference in where we end up next. And the more frustrated and depleted your current job has left you, the more you need these steps. The more you want your next job to be fabulous and fulfilling, the more you need to attend to them.
Before you embark on a journey of reinvention, before you can find a better job, or even answer the question, "What do I want to do next?" you have to recover from all that. You have to restore your creativity, confidence, resilience and reignite your spark. Here's how.
Give yourself at least 30 days for this work, focusing on these three simple steps:
Restore and Nourish Your Body. Being in a job that isn’t a right fit for you takes a toll on your health and wellbeing. Whether it’s a highly stressful job, toxic work environment or long hours, or it’s the worry of “Am I where I’m supposed to be?”, or if your job isn’t aligned with your values and passions – you’re probably feeling drained and depleted. You may do what most of us do when we feel this way – numb your emotions through food, endless scrolling through social media, alcohol… you get it, any distraction that helps us check out emotionally in order to survive. On top of that, not being happy with where you’re at in life and in work also interferes with deep, restorative, restful sleep. Which adds more stress on the body and increases the chances of making poor decisions. You don’t want to go into the process of re-imagination of what could be your next step in your career feeling this way. You don’t want to make decisions from this physically compromised state. The process of envisioning what’s next should be a fun, creative, inspiring process and none of it can happen when your nervous system is in overdrive and you’re exhausted. Focus on self care – make sure you prioritise sleep and rest, make home cooked nourishing meals and make space for movement.
Bring joy back into your life. During challenging times our tendency as humans is to see everything in a negative light, it’s our minds' negativity bias. We focus on what we don’t have, on what’s not working and even feel like the world is against us. Not only is it important to bring that spark back into our lives so we can find clarity, get creative and make empowered decisions, it’s also important to remember that what we focus on expands. If we want our life to get better, we need to start by focusing on what’s already good in our life. Start filling up your cup by doing things that bring you joy everyday. It doesn’t need to be something big, it can be simple, daily little things. Think about what momentary, sensory experiences give you a sense of comfort, joy and appreciation? Is it the evening light that comes through the windows? The smell of fresh coffee brewing? Your child's laugh? Lighting a candle? A walk in nature? Listening to the birds early in the morning when the world is still asleep? Baking banana bread or apple pie? Listening to music? A hug from your best friend? Soak these moments up, pay attention to them, as they already exist in your life. Where you can, invite more of those experiences into your life.
Ignite old passions, hobbies or interests. What passions / interests of yours have been lying dormant? Think about things you loved doing, learning, talking about, reading about before life got so busy. This doesn’t have to be something big or career related. Maybe you used to love cooking, exploring different kitchens and setting up a beautiful table? Maybe you used to love gardening? Maybe you used to enjoy taking photographs and writing little poems? Maybe you loved dancing as a child? Bring those old passions / interests / hobbies back to life. Commit to doing it at least once a week. Through these activities try to seek out “flow” states. A flow state, also known as being “in the zone,” is the magical mental state in which we experience when we are extremely focused on a challenging, engaging activity. It's that state that makes you pick up your head and say, "Where did the time go?" or "Oops, it's 3pm and I forgot to eat lunch." It gives us that wondrous sense of becoming one with the activity itself. It’s one of the most remarkable, nourishing states human beings can experience, as demonstrated by a significant body of psychological research from the last 30 years. Being in flow, even for just a couple of hours a week, has a magical effect on our lives. It restores energy, relieves stress, sparks passion, reminds us of our strengths, and lifts our mood. Doing flow state activities regularly for just a few weeks will give you huge juice – mental, physical and emotional – for your job search. Pursuing, making space, enhancing the topics, causes, and ideas that motivate and inspire you, brings in new energy into your life. Sometimes, especially if you’re going through a ‘life-realignment’, it’s important to nourish the tired soul.
If you follow this advice, over just 30 days, you'll start to come back home to you. To your happiness. You’ll start feeling like yourself. You’ll be more open to see possibilities, more open to receive opportunities, you’ll think more creatively and feel more confident and strong.
When you are feeling reconnected to a sense of possibility about your future, that's the time to begin to ask the career-focused questions: What kind of job do I want? What would fulfilment at work look like for me? What would alignment with work look like for me? What would expressing myself at work look like? What resources do I have to help me in this search?
It's from that place of vitality and possibility that you are going to be able to see and pursue the future you want.
If you’re looking for full guidance and support on your journey of re-imagining and transitioning to a new career, my Career Transition Experience is the most comprehensive program I offer. This is a personalised journey of reflecting on who you are and what you truly want (personally and professionally), clarifying what your career vision looks like and intentionally pivoting into a more fulfilling role, venture or work situation. You can apply for discovery call right here.
Sending you lots of love,
P.s. for more career change advice, I’ve also written this article on How to Start Your Career Change, you may find some more helpful tips there too.