Have you been thinking about chucking your current career and striking out in a different direction? Do you know someone who is on the precipice of a big leap in a new direction? Protracted economic woes and a free-agent job culture have made many people think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It very well might be, but you’d do well to take these three crucial steps to make your move a smart one.
1. Be sure that you are running to something not running away from something. Frequently, people want to pull the rip cord and parachute out of their current career into something totally different because they haven’t dealt with issues in their current career. And, surprise, surprise, those issues dog them into their next career endeavor. For example, difficulties dealing with a challenging boss carry over when the person strikes out on her own and has to deal with a challenging client. Are you running from something that you need to learn how to navigate?
2. Be clear about your hopes (not someone else’s) for your next step.
Figure out if your passion is a flash in the pan or the real thing. Sometimes we become attracted to something because it’s the “hot new thing” to do or what others expect of us. Enduring success requires connection with your deepest hopes. With someone serving as a generous listener for you, answer the question, “What are your hopes about your talent?” But, don’t stop there. Go deeper. Answer, “Why are those hopes important to you?” When you plumb the depths of your hopes, your development will become more focused and authentic. With this foundation, you’ll have the clarity and energy to accelerate through obstacles and multiply the payoffs for yourself and others.
3. Explore multiple options to zero in on the right fit for you.
Think of making a career change is like getting the right prescription for your eye lenses. You need to compare several choices to know if you have the right match. Unfortunately, some people become so enamored with their first idea that they don’t consider other choices much less look or listen for potential shortcomings. They just want to make their dream come true. If, however, you have three possibilities to consider, you can track which one sustains your interest and attracts resources and which ones fade over time. You’ll be more open to helpful input from others and make a more rewarding choice.
In today’s environment, almost everyone will have multiple careers. So, it’s not so much whether you make career shifts but how you make them. Take time to honor yourself and sort through what fits for you.
Photo Credit: Bhavesh