People who skydive tell me the hardest part is the anticipation of jumping out of the plane. The first time anyway. After the jump, when the parachute releases and the wind catches you, it’s a-ma-zing. All the fear just melts away. (At least, so I’m told.)
The important thing is: it’s not even the actual jump that is so scary. It’s actually the anticipation of the jump. The million (or single) what-ifs running through your mind. All the ways that this jump could go horribly wrong.
But yet, something has led to this point. Something propelled you to get in place. Something brought you—parachute-strapped—to the open door far above the earth. Now you just need the get the nerve and jump.
As a career change coach, I’m struck by the similarities between skydiving and career change. The fears we face before the jump and the rush of freedom we feel after it.
If you’ve begun considering a change in your career, it’s likely something has inspired you to look for these fresh possibilities—to step out of your comfort zone. But there’s also something holding you back. You find yourself asking, “How do I build up the momentum I need to take the leap and change my career?”
Some unique tipping point has pushed you to get into that metaphorical plane. It inspired you to search Google for ways to change your career, look for other career options, or rage-type “how do I get out of a job I hate?”
The experiences that most commonly bring us to that tipping point of career change are usually ones that remind us of the brevity of life, cause us to reevaluate our priorities, or provide us no other choice. See if any of these sound like you:
– You celebrated a milestone birthday. Whether it’s 30, 40, or any other number that is significant to you, you’ve realized you’re getting older, and you’re done settling and putting off the things you want most in life for some other time.
– You recently lost a loved one. Grief has a way of putting things into perspective. You start to realize that life is too short to spend all your time doing something you do not love. You want a meaningful career and one that allows you to spend more time with the ones you love.
– Your health needs have become a priority. Perhaps for years, you have prioritized your work over your health and now your body’s whimpers have become screams. Your health can no longer be ignored or pushed down a to-do list. You need a new career, one where you can prioritize your health.
– Your mental health has become a priority. You’ve started to realize that your current career comes at the cost of severe stress and anxiety. It’s not uncommon for you to feel completely drained at the end of the day. You need a career where you can feel calm, rested, and internally at peace once again.
– You have no other choice. For you, career change isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. You may have been part of a reduction in force or otherwise laid-off, or perhaps the company you’ve been with for years has shuttered permanently. Now you find yourself looking into every option available.
– You’ve been through a global pandemic. According to reports, roughly 4 million Americans quit their jobs each month in 2021 in a trend known as “The Great Resignation.” About 50% of Americans want to make career changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It only makes sense. If there is anything that can cause you to reevaluate what you want out of life, it would be a global upheaval of our everyday norms.
There are many catalysts that can cause you to get up in the metaphorical plane so I can assure you: you’re not alone.
Whatever has brought you here has likely come with some very difficult emotions. Career change is a chance to make the best of those difficult emotions. To take something really, really hard and turn it into something amazing.
So, go ahead. Embrace that whatever has brought you here, thank it for being part of your journey, but then recognize that that journey isn’t over yet. Next, it’s time to make the leap.
You know you want a change. You tell yourself, “I can’t keep working like this forever.” But yet, something is holding it back.
When you’re getting ready to make a change, take some time to slow down, cut out any distractions, and ask yourself the really tough questions. What’s stopping me? What am I afraid of? What do I need?
During this time, it’s a good idea to journal about your feelings—to identify how you’re feeling about making the change. At this point, you might be feeling:
– Unsure where to even begin and uncertain about your options
– Stuck by analysis paralysis and “what if” thinking
– Worried about what your family, friends, or coworkers will think
– Frozen by lack of direction about what you want to do next (and lack of time to figure it out!)
– Afraid that it won’t work out or that you’ll find yourself stuck in another stressful job forever
Now that you know how you’re feeling, and what’s keeping you from making the leap, we’re going to start building momentum. Forget about making the wrong decision, and focus on taking the first step. The next thing you know, you’ll be soaring at new heights.
1.Take tiny + consistent action.
Commit to spending 5 to 15 minutes a day preparing for making the change. This can be done by practicing gratitude, researching a new company, or reading an article about a new industry. You’ll be amazed at how those 5-15 minutes add up!
2. Reframe your thoughts.
Start speaking to yourself as you would to someone you admire—with kindness, care, and encouragement. What would you tell those you love if they were wanting to make a career change? Encourage yourself the same way.
3. Visualize the change you want.
Imagine yourself in a new role/company/industry. A lot of people I work with go a step further and make a tangible representation of their dreams with a vision board or other illustration that they can keep close by and top of mind.
4. Develop a set of daily rituals.
Make the most of your mornings and evenings by creating positive routines that support the kind of life you want to live. These daily rituals are often the spark that creates new habits and builds momentum.
5. Complete a start-stop-continue exercise.
This is an easy journal exercise that can have you reflect on your progress toward your goals. Write down three things that you need to start doing, three things to stop doing, and three things you want to continue doing to make a change happen.
6. Find your support system.
Find an accountability partner or a community of like-minded people. Your support system should offer you a judgment-free space where you can swap stories and support each other on the journey to career change
But it’s far from it! Unknown to everyone else, you have a parachute pack packed with your growth mindset, your transferable skills, and your support system.
People around you may be yelling, “watch out!” But you know better. That parachute is going to open, and it’s going to be a-ma-zing. And so worth it.
Because, really, that’s all it takes. Studies have shown that doing something nourishing for yourself consistently each and every day—for even 5 minutes—will ignite the momentum you need to make change happen.
Your family, your friends, and your potential employer will love you for it. YOU will love you for it! Because five minutes a day can lead to a better version of you in body, mind, and spirit.
Want to know the best 20 ways to nourish yourself in 5 minutes or less? It’s free!