Updated: May 5, 2022
A lot of people I’ve been talking with recently have come to me contemplating a job or career change and aren’t sure where to start or are afraid to make a change even though something is calling to them. These fears often manifest in self-doubt as they tell me that they’re afraid that they won't be successful somewhere else, they might not like it once they get there or the mere idea of making a change is scary. The first thing I suggest is that they reflect on their purpose or "why" for considering a potential change and I also ask how long they've been thinking about it.
What advice would you give someone who's looking to change jobs or careers but is afraid to?
I recently posed this question to my LinkedIn community and got some really great input which I’ve bucketed into four steps:
1. Figure out what’s important to you
2. Address your fears
3. Make a plan
4. Take some action
If you’re one of those people considering a change, my hope is that you find a nugget or two in this compilation to help you move forward in your exploration.
Step 1: Figure Out What’s Important to You
Identify what matters to you. Create discernment between what you want versus what others want for themselves.
Is the new opportunity better/worse with regards to: finances, upward mobility, commuting, job match for skills and passion, brand affinity?
What do you hope to accomplish in a new role? What characteristics and factors are most important to you and does the potential new role get you closer or further away from accomplishing your goal?
Ask yourself what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would you do if no one paid you to do it? What would make you come alive?
If you add value but don’t feel valued, then your cup will be empty. If you feel valued but don’t add value, then your cup will be emptied.
If you don’t love your company or your job anymore, help define for yourself what changed and why.
Ask yourself what level of risk are you willing to take?
Step 2: Address Your Fears
Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.”
Yet” is one of the most powerful words in the English language. Adding that word to the end of a sentences that starts with “I can’t” pave the road with possibility.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong decision and that learning, and growth comes from things that are scary.
Play out the worst-case scenario.
If there was ever a person to bet on, it should be yourself!
If your best gig was 500 “no’s” away, how long would it take you to get there?
Replace fear with facts.
Everything we do is out of love or fear. Are you staying in your job because you love it or because you fear change?
Believe in your strengths.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Visualize how tomorrow will be different and identify one step you can take today to make tomorrow different.
Make your plan realistic. Include a plan B if things don’t work out.
Can you afford to be out of work for a few months until you land another job? Build a financial cushion ahead of time.
Do you have a support system to support you emotionally?
Research the roles and industry you want to pivot into before making the switch.
Identify the skills required for the role you want.
Step 4: Take Some Action
Just start! Clarity comes through action.
Practice a daily check in with yourself.
Connect with a mentor in the job you want.
Meet with key leaders, partners, and associates in the field you are interested in if it’s a career change.
Tailor your resume to the field or job you are interested in.
Attend association meetings for those industries or functions and meet people face to face to ask them what drew them to that industry or function.
Celebrate your actions.
Contributors: Anthony Pisa, Bernadette Pawlik, Brian Mark, Chris Hogg, Christine Trippi, Dorothy Liu, Jennifer Dimaris, Jessica Baker, Jill VanderYacht, John Byers, Kristen Fife, Laurie MacPherson, Mikaela Kiner, Nancy Poznoff, Sara Armbrecht, Sean Oliver, Stephanie Kara Jordan and Vito Calabretta.