Change Just Ahead sign on desert road

At some point in our careers, we all come to a point when we realize a change is needed. Sometimes the change is internally driven, like a desire to pursue more meaningful work. Other times change is externally driven, like a shift in the market. Either way, once you have arrived at the decision to make a change knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Here are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Reflect: To know where you are going you have to know where you’ve been and how you got to be there. What are your key accomplishments? What did you really enjoy doing? What did you hate? What are the things that you want to spend more time doing? What are the things you are to spend less time doing? The answers to these questions will help you create a roadmap to where you want to go next.  Retool: Once you know where you are trying to go you need to figure out how to get there. Often this means evaluating your experience, skills, and talents to identify the gaps. Think of retooling in terms of asking yourself the following:

2. Retool: Once you know where you are trying to go you need to figure out how to get there. Often this means evaluating your experience, skills, and talents to identify the gaps. Think of retooling in terms of asking yourself the following:

  • What do I currently do that is related to what I want to do next? These are the things you need to figure out how to spend more time doing.
  • What do I currently do that is of no value to what I want to do next? These are the things you need to figure out how to spend less time doing.
  • What are the things I need to know to be successful in my next role that I don’t currently have? These are the things that you need to put into a self-development plan.

The exercise of retooling will help you figure out the actions you need to take to move closer to your next career move. It is important to realize that retooling is more than an exercise, it requires you to reprioritize, make some difficult choices, and take action on a daily basis.

3. Rebrand: Whether you realize it or not, you have a personal brand. This brand is created by what you put out into the world and the perceptions others have about you. If this is the first time you’ve realized you have a personal brand and are in a panic, take a few deep breaths. In the words of Maya Angelou “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, Do better.” Now, you know better so let’s focus on doing better and purposefully creating a brand that reflects the career you are moving toward. Do a Google search and you will find articles, webinars, online courses, and much more on this topic. My favorite resources I’ve found on this topic is Business Model You.    Reexamine: While success requires a great deal of work on our part it’s important to recognize that we do not succeed on our own. Success requires partnerships, mentors, coaches, in other

4. Reexamine: While success requires a great deal of work on our part it’s important to recognize that we do not succeed on our own. Success requires partnerships, mentors, coaches, in other words, it takes a village. This doesn’t mean that simply having the right relationships will make you successful, it means that in addition to competence, skills, talent, desire, and hard work, you also need relationships. In making a career move, reexamine your current network to see if you have relationships that align with where you are trying to go. If everyone you know and associate with is at your current company it’s going to be really hard to move away from the company. Focus on building relationships that align to your future career, think about groups and associations you can join, seek out volunteer opportunities  Reprioritize: All of the strategies listed above, require time. If you do not deliberately set aside time plan and execute actions that get you closer to your dream career, it won’t happen. So, you need to take a look at the schedule and determine how you are going to carve out the time. What are you willing to give up for a short period of time? Can you move a few things around? Would you be willing to wake up at 4 am? Wherever you can find the time, block it off and make the commitment to yourself.

5. Reprioritize: All of the strategies listed above, require time. If you do not deliberately set aside time plan and execute actions that get you closer to your dream career, it won’t happen. So, you need to take a look at the schedule and determine how you are going to carve out the time. What are you willing to give up for a short period of time? Can you move a few things around? Would you be willing to wake up at 4 am? Wherever you can find the time, block it off and make the commitment to yourself.

Change of any kind is difficult and career change is no exception, even after we decided we need to change, actually making the change can be an uphill battle. So, when you find yourself wanting to stay where you are, remind yourself that you will spend one-third of your life working. Then ask yourself, don’t I deserve to spend that time doing something fulfilling?