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3 ways to prepare for a career change (and they’re not what you think).

3 ways to prepare for a career change (and they're not what you think). Photo of woman in sports gear facing grass covered mountains and jumping up in the air, her hands held high.

It can feel scary to leave behind the comfort of a known career, overwhelming even. 

You know what you’re doing, what works well in the organisation, what doesn’t, which people you can collaborate easily with and those that make your job frustrating because they won’t step outside their box to improve a process or share information willingly. 

You have built up experience and knowledge and have a network. 

I mean, you have a career here.

Choosing to leave this behind is fear inducing, which in turn is probably convincing you to stay put for another day, another week or another month.

It’s time for you to try the career change workout.

You are going to activate the ‘muscles’ of courage, risk-taking, articulating what you want, boldness and fun.

Why?

Because you’re probably not using these ‘muscles’ much at the moment and the thought of changing career and getting it right is bringing you out in a rash.

So, let’s not even think about how to change your career or what you could possibly do that’s different to now or whether making such a big change is even going to solve all the things you are battling with.

Instead let’s have some fun and build the ‘muscles’ you will need to use when you’re ready to make a change. 

As an aside, the funny thing is that as you build these ‘muscles’ in a way totally unrelated to your career, you will probably find your thoughts turning to the possibility that you can, in fact, start to explore doing something different without coming out in hives.

Let’s get to it!

Warning: you may find confidence and hope about your future career rise a few notches as you undertake these exercises.

The career change workout

1. Do something you’ve never done before.

With this exercise you’re giving yourself permission to test out something new in a low-risk and safe way whilst bypassing all the ‘what ifs?’ that may try to hold you back.

Pick something that you’ve never done before that appeals to you; you don’t even have to know why – the reason is neither here nor there with this exercise.

Examples could be: breadmaking, a workout class, a painting lesson, a tennis lesson, paddling in the sea at sunrise or sunset, doing origami…you get the picture. 

Keep it low risk and approach it with no expectations. Just see what you notice; which parts did you like, which didn’t you like? What does the experience tell you about yourself?

2. Follow your curiosity.

With this exercise you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a little and paying attention to what truly piques your interest rather than doing what you think you should be doing or what you deem to be worthwhile or useful.

Investigate where your curiosity leads you this week.

If you’ve got any ‘I wonder what would happen if…?’ questions rolling round your brain, notice how many you could try exploring. Where you would usually stop taking any action, pause and let yourself engage with the next step that you’ve been holding back from taking. 

Don’t worry about the outcome, release your expectations and instead focus on the process, noticing what it feels like to be led by curiosity.

3. Make a request.

With this exercise you’re feeling the fear of looking a fool and being rejected and making a request anyway.

Now this one may take you up a notch or two on the uncomfortable barometer but I promise it’s a real confidence booster!

The next time you order a coffee or croissant to take away, try asking if you can have it for free. Imagine you have no choice but to make this request and see what happens. 

Notice how you feel before and after making the request. 

As with all working out, the more you use the muscles, the stronger they become. 

Then, when it comes time to make a decision about your career, you can trust you have already been doing some groundwork – your courage, bravery and boldness have been activated in readiness! 

If you try any of the career workout exercises, let me know how you get on!

Here’s to building those ‘muscles’!

Today’s photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash.