It is not uncommon for us to envision a career switch to work that we consider to be more meaningful, rewarding or simply fits us better. Our desire for a change may stem from dissatisfaction with our current job or personal developmental goals, but other times it could be rooted in an innate desire to fulfil our life-long occupational dream. Regardless of your motivation, there are pointers to bear in mind when executing the career transition. Kathy Caprino from Forbes.com has devised a 5-step guide to leaving your job for a career based on what you love:
1. Step Back for an empowered perspective
First, you have to understand yourself much more deeply than you do now, without which you cannot build a successful and enjoyable career. You have to know what you’ll give up everything for, what you value, your priorities, standards of integrity, non-negotiables and your style, preferences, and ideals.
Secondly, you need to step back and look at your life and career with a different lens than you’re used to. To connect the dots and make use of everything you are and have learned in your prior years working, you have to get off the hamster wheel and view your life from a higher, more enlightened perspective. You need a mentor, friend, coaching buddy, or other sponsor who can help you understand more clearly what your talents, gifts, and passions are.
2. Let Go of Your Habits and Routines
Do you know what is blocking you from more success and satisfaction in your professional life? The first place to look is where there are repeating negative patterns in your life – terrible bosses, toxic environments, being passed over continually, back-stabbing colleagues, draining responsibilities, etc. It could be limited beliefs and mindsets about financial resources, success, power, your ego and your worth barring you from success. For others, their communication styles, lack of confidence or reluctance to seek guidance when needed hurts them.
Until you let go of what you’re doing and thinking that keeps you stuck and small, you can’t build a happy, successful career. Your limitations will follow you in every new direction until you address them.
3. Say Yes to your compelling visions
Thirdly, you need a vision for the next chapter of your life. But, not just any vision or fantasy but one built upon a feasible, concrete masterplan. It’s critical to identify concretely what amazing success and reward looks like for you specifically, but then break that down into a vision that fits well with what you believe is possible. If you dream of writing a book, then start writing – a blog, an article, your first chapter, a paper, a guest post, something. Get going towards your compelling vision so that it doesn’t remain in the sphere of the impossible.
4. Explore it and try it on
Perhaps the most important step is exploring the top three directions you’re excited about, and trying them on as thoroughly as you can. For example, if you’re in real estate but think you want to start your own business, try it on – interview people doing what you want to do (and people who failed at it), research it online, go to SCORE for help developing your business plan, meet with your financial consultant to review your financial plans, read everything you can get your hands on about this new business direction, go to networking meetings with people in the field, create your marketing plan. Try on the professional identity of this new direction before you leap.
5. Create it S.M.A.R.T.
Finally, you can’t go from Point A to Point Z in a month. This process – of identifying who you really are and determining the directions that will align best with your values, visions and needs – takes time, energy, patience, trust and commitment. You need to be ready to charge right out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there to learn and grow. Results will not fall in your lap without a challenge.
You also need a plan with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals, and someone in your court to hold you accountable. Get help, build a plan with milestones that you can measure, and get on the path to expanding yourself so that you are a true match with the great career you long for.