#1 — BUILD SELF-AWARENESS
One of the most important initial steps you can take is developing self-awareness. The way we’re taught to approach a career change – or deal with dissatisfaction at work – is to look externally first. By immediately searching for a new job or trying to figure out your one ‘ideal’ career path.
As I often talk about, this method completely overlooks you. Instead, the strategy I teach starts from the ‘inside out’. By first understanding the impact you want to make through your work, what’s most important to you – and why.
What’s essential to you in your work and life? What are your unique strengths and what do you love to do? Knowing this is key to finding fulfillment and creating career sustainability.
Working through this process takes time, so it’s best to do it when you’re not rushed. There are two reasons for this.
First, figuring this out now helps you identify what is and isn’t working in your current career. Once you know what’s missing, you can make changes to improve your immediate situation. Second, self-awareness supports you to clarify the right career goals – and keeps you motivated to reach them.
A friend shared she plans to ‘figure out what she wants to do next’ in her career this year. But balancing a young child and a part-time job, she was struggling to find the time. Exhausted in the evenings, it was easier to fall onto the couch and switch off.
While acknowledging we all experience busy seasons, my suggestion is to focus on your priorities and purpose. We all have the same number of hours in the day and how you choose to spend your time is within your control. Knowing your vital needs will keep you on track to your goals – even during demanding times.
#2 — MANAGE YOUR MIND
Another essential area to focus on first is learning to manage your mind. What stops you making a change or developing the career you want? It’s self-sabotage – or the fears, limiting beliefs and self-doubts holding you back.
The false beliefs which tell you the career you crave isn’t possible. Those negative thoughts saying you ‘should’ wait or put everyone else first. And the fears which stop you taking action towards what you DO desire.
Creating the career you want is 80% mindset. Begin working on it now! The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll be able to move into what you want.
#3 — CLARIFY WHAT YOU WANT
Are you clear on your career direction and goals? Often what’s keeping you stuck is not knowing what to do next. But waiting until you need to figure this out urgently creates a lot of work – and pressure.
A better approach is to take your time with it. By taking small steps on a weekly or monthly basis to explore different career paths and work out what you want.
Start talking to people about the work they do. This action alone will reveal more career possibilities, introduce you to new opportunities and give you clarity.
What you’re doing is networking — or connecting, as I prefer to call it. I often remind my clients of the importance of ‘ABC’. To ‘always be connecting’ and building their network — even when they’re not actively job-hunting or looking to change careers.
#4 — MIND THE GAP
It’s also vital to identify your development areas. Once you’ve got clarity on your career direction, ask yourself… What skills and experience do I need to be successful in my future career?
Notice the gaps between where you are now – and where you want to go. Consider: What actions can you take to bridge these gaps?
Break bigger development areas down into smaller steps. If it will take time to develop, such as a formal qualification, get started now. Focus on the first step, such as putting together your post-graduate application.
#5 — MAKE A PLAN, NOW
Not quite ready to make a change in your career? Now is the perfect time to make a plan!
Start by getting clear on your long-term vision. What’s your vision for the life you want to create? By knowing where you want to be in future, you can easily identify the goals and actions you need to take to make your vision a reality.
There are plenty of steps you can take now, outside your day job, to find fulfillment and gain practical experience. Volunteer, begin a board role or start a side hustle. Use this time to bridge any development gaps and get the skills you need for your next career step!
The bottom-line is, there’s no ‘right time’ to change careers, jobs or start anything new in life. You simply need to start. Rather than wait until you need to make a change – and blow up your career completely – begin now.
My hope is I’ve shattered the belief you must stay stuck in a role which no longer fits. By implementing even one of these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to finding fulfillment, clarity and moving into the career you want!