How do you know you're ready to change careers? If you've had a sequence of jobs, each worse than the last, all in the same field, it's probably time to think about making a move.
As you probably know, most career change gets stuck in the very early stages. One common reason: you're attracting wet blankets that mirror your inner critic.
Your critics crawl out of the woodwork when you begin to ask questions: "Maybe I really need to make a change." They get louder when you come up with new ideas, such as, "Maybe it's time to start my own business."
Then your thoughts start getting jumbled. You think of all the things that can go wrong.
"I'll be so stressed I'll gain 200 pounds."
"Most new businesses fail within 90 days."
"My cousin tried to start a business. She had an MBA from Harvard and if she couldn't do it, what will happen to me?"
So you sigh a little and let that idea drift away. And then the next idea pops up and the same thing happens.
You get even worse reactions when you talk to your friends and family. They're used to seeing you the way you are. They're vested in you -- the "you" of the present, not the "you" that you could become. Frankly, they're a little scared.
They helpfully come up with all the reasons you need to stay where you are. You've invested a lot in your current career. You're earning good money. You can retire in fifteen years. Never mind that fifteen years of stress will turn you into a different person in the wrong way.
What can you do instead?
- Get some R&R. Take a vacation. Get out for a walk in the countryside.
- Try something new outside your job. For instance, some people take a new class at the gym or sign up for a new sport or a new creative activity, such as ceramics or painting. You'll experience an energy shift that will transform the way you think about your career.
- Start networking with people in the field to get solid info - not rumors from disgruntled colleagues or outdated facts you'd pick up from books.
Finally, consider investing in a couple of sessions with a professional career expert. Get advice on how to explore and assess your ideas so you won't reject the good stuff out of hand and you won't jump too quickly into a whole new world.
Author: Cathy Goodwin / @CathyGoodwin
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