How to successfully execute a career change

career

Changing careers can often be an idea looming in the back of your mind.

You think about it and think about. Never brave enough to make the move.

Then one day, you regret it, because it’s too late and you never got to turn your hand at the career of your dreams.

Well, the first lesson is that it’s never too late to change careers.

The second lesson is that you have to be ok with some risk.

Once you’ve decided that changing your career is absolutely something you must do follow these steps for a successful career change;

1. Start with the why

So many people know they hate or have outgrown their jobs, but the awareness stops beyond that.

You’ve got to get clear on the why before you start spearheading for something new. Otherwise, you could end up in the exact same position but just with a different title.

Think about these questions:

Why do I want this?

Why do I think this new career will enhance my life?

What are the risks or potential downsides?

Through this excersise, you match your expectations with any future potential role!

2. Determine the what

What will a new job or career look like for you?

What will your day to day look like?

What tasks will you be faced with?

How will you be in the role?

Also, a very important question to consider:

What is my career capital? In other words, are you going to be able to leverage your skills, your contacts, and your professional brand to make a successful transition?

You are much more likely to be successful, in any new transition, if you leverage your existing career capital. That means, try if you can, to move into roles that leverage the career capital that you’ve already built up over the years and draw upon your areas of expertise in new and creative ways.

3. Understand what you need

Once you’ve mapped out your career capital (as above). Fill in the gaps. Work out what other skills/experience you need to get the job.

Think about it from a recruiter perspective. Are you an attractive candidate? Do you need more qualifications? Different experience?

Don’t be put off if you need to learn new skills. It could simply be a matter of taking an online course in order for you to say confidently, “Yes, I know Excel” or “Yes, I can use X program.”

Even if the skils require more of your time and effort, if you really want to make the change, you will do it. However, if you are unsure now is the time to know.

You also want to be very clear on the resources you’ll need to fill the skills gap. Will you need childcare assistance? Will this effort take time away from other relationships or activities in your life? Can you have an income free period whilst you transition?

Assuming you feel you’ve unturned every stone, then it’s time to make a plan.

4. Make an Action Plan

Start with the end goal.

What’s your key goal and desired timeline?

Figure out the skills you need to acquire, people you need to meet and who you need to be. Understand each and every milestone.

Write a list of things you need to achieve and get them done. A career change is a huge amount of work. You need to be seriously productive to make the move in good time.

As you work through your tasks you’ll feel the adrenalin and excitement as you ace your steps. You are now plummeting into “newness” and everything is going to be exciting.

5. Track the Effort

Make sure you reach your goals and hold yourself accountable if you miss your own deadlines. Monitor how you’re doing and what you might need more assistance with. Have your calendar organised with everything you need to do. Take no prisoners. If you can’t be accountable to yourself, how can you be credible to anyone else?

6. Rebrand yourself

You’ll need to reconsider your USP (“unique selling point”) in light of your new chosen audience. The easier you make it for them to “get” you, the better the odds that they’ll want to know more. If your skillset is confusing or there are some gaps, there’s more chance of them skipping to the next candidate.

You can’t expect them to join the dots and figure out why you’ll be perfect for a particular role. You need to make it strikingly obvious in your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile why you are the best for this job.

Your competitors will look great on paper because they’ve been in that industry (or worked in similar roles) for several years. So how are you going to brand yourself in a way, to overcome their direct experience and make you stand out?

Here’s an example. Say you’ve been a criminal barrister for a long time and now you want to become a content writer. Not only will your CV show that you’re a lawyer but it will be hard for any recruiter to see why you are a good writer. What you need to do is focus on your transferable skills. So, using this example. Being a criminal barrister means never meeting your clients until the day of the trial. You are a real-life storyteller, in a wig. You have to design the most compelling story in your client’s defence (using his/her instructions of course) worthy of wowing over any jury to overlook your client’s unattractive antecedents and convince them that this time he is innocent. You have to pull on the right strings, sing to the hearts of 12 lay people you’ve never met and rely on your outstanding character judgement in the hope that your client (and all the witnesses) fulfil their roles in your drama. You have to have your finger on the pulse and understand how your words will make people feel. You need to control the narrative, at all costs. And, that is why I can create compelling content, at the drop of a hat.

7. Enlist the help of your contacts

Get your people on board. Get help where possible. Identify your needs. Make it clear how they can help you. Try to offer some value in return but if you can’t just know you’ll get them back when you can.

8. Network

You must know successful people working within that new field of interest. Don’t stress about this. People are actually more generous with sharing their knowledge than you think. especially when you show interest in them and flatter their careers.

The best way to approach is by paying a compliment or noting something that they’re doing that seems interesting. Try not to ask for favours (unless your judgement tells you its appropriate) just use them to study. See who they are and how they do their thing. This knowledge is invaluable.

Change is terrifying.

But, imagine how awful you would feel if you never took the risk.

A life of embracing change (and all consequences that flow with it) is far better than bearing the burden of regret.

So, once you muster up the courage to make the move, you have everything you need here to make sure it’s successful!

For more information read this very helpful blog on Muse by career strategist Jenny Foss.

Master your morning routine with the five M’s

morning

Morning routines are nothing new. It’s likely you’ll have your own routine in the works but how effective is it? Many people won’t want to change up their mornings for fear of getting off to a bad start. Well, these people are far too comfortable. If your morning routine is providing you with nothing more than comfort and perhaps more sleep time, it’s time to shake it up. Here is how to bring max productivity to your morning with the five M’s. Enjoy!

1. M Is For Morning Journaling

In our busy, day-to-day lives, our minds end up collecting a lot of nonsense, fears, negativity or worse. Morning journaling is one of the best ways to resolve this.

Morning pages is a creativity-unblocking technique first described in Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It involves writing three pages by hand before you do anything else in the morning. Try it out and see what you think – it could be truly life-changing.

It really works because you declutter your mind and get rid of all your distractions before your work day has even started.

2. M Is For Meditation

Meditation is different for everyone. You are certainly not limited to sitting cross-legged saying “OOOM”.

Meditation is one of the best and most effective ways to keep your mind calm.

People typically spend 5-10 minutes on meditation each morning. There are great apps for a guided meditation – the Headspace app is particularly popular.

But more than anything else meditation helps you to stay focused and on track with a stronger and more balanced mindset. If meditation is new to you research what type would be best for you and give it a go. Meditation can be done in various ways such as listening to an app which takes you through a guided meditation, walking or even running.

Meditation is a highly personal act, so experiment until you find a way that “clicks.”

3. M Is For Make The Bed

It sounds odd but If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It sends a message to your brain that you’re not a slacker and it gives you a small sense of accomplishment encouraging you to continue to complete tasks, throughout the day.

4. M is for Morning Meal

If you want a supercharged, productive day, your body needs fuel via your morning meal.

Make sure your breakfast is healthy, nutritious and delicious. Enjoy eating it and use the time to focus on the food and just get lost in the moment. Before long you’ll look forward to waking up and enjoying your breakfast.

5. M Is For Movement

You could be the type that works out before work and if so then you’ve already nailed this M. If you’re not then you can fulfil this M by setting aside just 10 minutes, every morning, to move your body.

What does this mean? It simply means that during this 10 minutes you will focus on your body. Simply stretching for 10 minutes will activate your muscles, help you to wake up and also help you to create energy for the rest your day. You can obviously set aside more time and go further than stretching however this is the bare minimum required.

A bit of advice – implementing all five 5’s at once might be too much. Try introducing one at a time until you can do all five, with ease.

So, what are you waiting for? See how the five M’s could change your world today.

Read more on the five M’s with this excellent blog on Forbes, here.

The efficient trick of honouring sadness

sadness

We are told time and time again that focusing on the “good” is the best way to deal with depression or sadness.

However, this does not mean that we should suppress sadness in order to only focus on the good. In fact, we should treat feelings of sadness with the same respect we give to happiness. We should honour sadness.

Many people put pressure on themselves to be happy all the time. This is not realistic. Life is not a happy cartoon. Distracting yourself, or even ignoring sadness only makes it worse. Sadness can actually be beneficial if you deal with it correctly.

Why honouring sadness is good for you

1) Feeling sadness is the only thing that helps release it

Much like any suppressed feelings, you can only push them down for a short period of time before they shoot to the surface, at the most inconvenient time.

Instead, bringing a spirit of curiosity and compassion to sadness lets you explore feelings without getting stuck in them. Become your own detective, think about why you feel sad and just feel it.

Notice where the sadness is in your body. You might feel chest aches, heaviness on your shoulders or tears. Accept these feelings and let them rise to the surface.

2) Unpick the sadness 

Think about back to when you started to feel sad. Is there anything familiar about this feeling? Is it triggered by something in particular? What early life experiences felt similar? Start to increase your self-awareness around why you feel sad and this is a sure way for you to understand how to cope with it.

3) Invite Them In

What would you do if you allowed yourself to just be really sad? What would your day look like? Ho much would you cry? What movies would you watch? Would you sleep? What would you be in your pyjamas? If you let yourself just breakdown, would it help? What would you be thinking? Or doing? Even if you can’t take a sick day, or literally have the sadness breakdown you believe you’re on the brink of having, imagine if you did. Don’t live in fear of your sadness.

4) Get creative 

Emotion unlocks art and creativity that our rational mind tries to keep muted. It’s a great time to explore what you really have broiling under your veneer of reason. Use this time to write, draw or play an instrument. Do whatever skill takes your fancy or whichever you have a natural flair – just make sure you do something.

5) Be kind to yourself 

Often we can make ourselves feel a whole lot worse by our reactions to sadness. Thoughts such as “this is pathetic”, “I need to be stronger” or “Just snap out of it” – are particularly problematic – you are not a robot. Embrace your humanity. Just like being kind to others in their time of need we should equally be kind to ourselves. Not only does kindness make us feel better in the moment but it also helps us to deal with the sadness in a more efficient way. Instead of encouraging us to surpess feelings of sadness it encourages us to accept them.

The absolute best way to deal with sadness is to honour it and who knows, you may find something beautiful at the end of your blue tunnel.

 

 

How to combat the effects of stress

stress

Thankfully, according to researchers at Stanford, a meaningful life is almost always a stressful one; the more we care about the things in our life, the more stress we are likely to feel. We simply can’t have one without the other. So, for all of those finding that stress is a daily occurrence – at least it means we are having a meaningful life. Apart from this statistic, there is little advantage to stress only a heap of consequences, many of which, actively reduce the quality of our lives.

But imagine if you could have a meaningful life, with stress (as we can’t have one without the other, unfortunately), that didn’t involve health consequences or unhappiness? Sound too good to be true? Well, actually, it isn’t – we have a lot more control over our stress than we think. Here are the best strategies to overcome the consequences of stress.

Change your thought process 

How you think about stress ironically impacts you more than the actual stress. Positive attitudes about stress were correlated with better health outcomes even when stress levels were chronically high. Interestingly just knowing you can handle stress is a way of protecting yourself from its harmful effects. For more reading on how to rethink stress, see Kelly McGonigal’s Upside of Stress.

Forsee your stress

Don’t let stress throw you into a tizzy. Instead plan when stress might hit you and foresee when it might reduce your ability to be as organised, eloquent or as efficient as you usually are. If you have trouble remembering things or spotting mistakes in your work during periods of stress be aware of this and make extra allowances or time to ensure it doesn’t impact your life.

Let stress motivate you

Stress is adrenalin, that can be put to good use. Rather than letting it crush you – use it to let you crush everything else. Knowing you are putting your stress to good use, or even thinking it benefits you actually helps you to avoid its negative consequences so, it’s a double win.

Social contact

Whether you walk with a parent, chat with your colleague or talk to your spouse during your commute, socialising helps you to cope and feel supported. Irrespective of whether you talk about the stress at hand – simply knowing you have people around you makes you feel stronger and more able to defeat consequences of stress.

Stress can be challenging, especially if you are career driven and ambitious. But, by simply changing your perspective, on how stress fits into your life, you can avoid its negative consequences and even reap a few rewards!

 

For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out this useful anxiety blog.

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