Ready or Not: How to Make a Bold Career Move
2020 has been a big year.
It can seem like we encounter turmoil, hardship, loss, and setbacks everywhere we look. I'll be straight with you; it's easy to use this year's obstacles as an excuse to play small. But if you're ready to move past feeling stuck and move into action, then this is where I invite you to start.
Step One: Listen to your instincts
How do you know it's time for a big, bold move? Your calling for change may show up as a feeling of anxiety, dread, or frustration at your current job or with your existing responsibilities. Sitting too long with those feelings could lead you down a road of overanalyzing your current situation and endless scenario planning. What if you saw your anxious feeling not as an uncomfortable emotion to be fixed but rather an invitation for something new that should be explored?
Step Two: Know your "why"
Once you've identified you're ready for something new, spend some time clarifying your why. What is it that you hope to gain from a new job, a bigger role, or a career in a different industry? Set aside some time to journal, reflect, and write freely — without editing yourself.
Your answer may start as a list of things you don't like about where you currently are. That's okay! Knowing what you don't want is useful information in getting to what you do want. (But try not to get stuck in a list of complaints.)
When reflecting, imagine yourself in your dream role. What does it feel like each day? How are you showing up? What skills do you get to use, and what experiences do you most enjoy? Who are you working with, and what do those colleagues or clients bring to your experience?
To take this exercise even further, consider how this change allows you to be of greater service to the world. Think about the broader impact you want to make and understand how your next move can get you closer to just that. How would this make a positive impact on the people and world around me?
Step Three: Notice your thoughts
So, you've decided you're ready for a big change... What is the first thing you tell yourself? If you're anything like most humans, your mind likely kicks into overdrive and rattles off a list of all the reasons why you can't have what you want. (Add to it the state of the world and our economy in 2020, and that list can easily get very long.)
And yet, we work with clients every day who are using this year's obstacles to accelerate massive change in their lives. So, yes, it can be done.
The trick is to start noticing the circular thoughts that keep you stuck in a place of scarcity. These thoughts are easy to find once you start looking — they almost always include the words "too," "enough," or "should." It could sound like "I should be grateful for my current job and salary" or "I don't have enough experience for this role." Yet the reality is that all of those thoughts are nothing more than limiting beliefs that we've picked up from, and that keeps us stuck. The good news? These limiting beliefs can be challenged, refuted, and negated.
So next time you catch yourself in a limiting-belief spiral, confront it head-on. Pause, center yourself with a few deep breaths, and then choose a new thought. Practice with a mantra that reminds you of what is possible. (One of my favorites: "what if it all worked out?")
Step Four: Build your confidence
Now that you're clear that you want a change and why you want this change, it's time to work on your belief in yourself. Think about all of the qualities, experiences, and skills you have that would make you excellent in your dream job. Write them all down on paper, in your phone, or even on a sticky note that hangs on your mirror. Seeing it is believing it, after all.
And nothing is off-limits — including your personal traits or accomplishments that you don't initially think to apply to your work life. The point here is not to update your list of skills on your resume but to reboot your sense of self and your sense of worth. Keep this list close and refer to it whenever you need an inner confidence boost.
Step Five: Think big, start small, and then CELEBRATE!
So far, we've spent time building out a big vision for the change you're seeking. This is setting you up with a great foundation to make that big, bold move. But I also know that seeing your big vision on paper can also feel intimidating.
What you want may feel far from your reality. Even if you've worked on the limiting beliefs that try to convince you it's not possible, it's still easy to get overwhelmed about the work required to make a huge change. To move past this feeling, think about baby steps.
Can you commit to just 30 minutes a day to make your dream a reality? The goal is to build consistency so that your small daily actions build on each other. And most important of all, be sure to celebrate each action you take as you build momentum!
(Reading this is one such action — proof that you're ready for this.)