Have you been thinking about changing your career but for whatever reason you’re hesitant?
These three things will pave the road for your career change and prepare you for a good start: Make up your mind to change your career and make it a priority, specify your exact career change goals, and figure out who your role models and learn from their experiences.
You might worry that it’s too late or perhaps you are just afraid to get the process started.
It’s never too late to start a new career, so don’t wait any longer.
Changing your career will take some time, it will not happen overnight.
So why not start it now in 2020? If you get started right now, then chances are that one year from now you’ll be in a different place.
A career change can happen in many different ways and some people might say that it’s luck or coincidence.
But if you want to make an intentional career change in 2020, then here are 3 things that will send you off to a good start:
1. Decide – Just make up your mind!
If you want to make a career change, you cannot go half on half on this.
You have to make it your priority.
The reason why many people are stuck in their old career and are not working toward a career that they want is that oftentimes they don’t feel that they have the energy.
And I get it.
There’s so much going on every day. You might be asking: “Where should I possibly find the time to work on switching to a new career? There’s just no time.”
And while I agree that managing time efficiently is challenging, the biggest challenge is managing our energy.
We have limited energy and limited willpower. If we spend all our energy on a plethora of things and we deplete it, then it makes sense that we don’t have any energy left to work on our career change.
If you want to start changing careers this year (and not postpone it again to next year), then you have to treat it as something non-negotiable.
It can no longer be something that occupies the 8th 9th or 10th ranking on your priority list. You have to shift it way up there.
You might still be on the fence about what you want to do specifically. You might still be deciding whether you want to start building that web design business or if you’d rather open a pet hotel.
If you want to make a change, you just got to make up your mind. At least for now.
If later on in the process you find out that this pet hotel business is not your thing, you can always change your plan and start the other thing.
Sooner or later you will have to go through that process of starting – failing – and starting again, anyway.
Let’s look at this analogy; Have you ever had a friend in town visiting from overseas or another city and who was only going to be in your town over the weekend or for a couple of days?
You’re trying to meet up with his friend but it turns out to be very difficult because your schedules clash. Your friend is super busy and of course, so are you. This evening and that afternoon didn’t work out, and in the end, you didn’t manage to meet up at all.
But the reason your meetup didn’t happen is likely not because it was impossible, because both of you didn’t make it a top priority. That meetup was just secondary on your mind. Something that “it’s great if it happens but if it doesn’t then it wouldn’t be a disaster either, and you both could accept that”
This mindset is the reason why the meetup didn’t happen. If you and your friend each told yourself that “No matter what, we are going to meet up even if it’s just for half an hour, even if I have to cram it in after I had dinner with my in-laws, I’m still going to get around and meet that friend”, then it’s likely to happen.
It’s the same with starting a new career. So get over it and make a decision once and for all this year.
Is this one thing that you have right now in your mind something that you want to pursue, or not?
I’ve gone through a career change myself. I started my first career working in banking as a project manager and was highly successful there. But it wasn’t the right thing for me.
I’ve made that discovery after a lot of discernment but also experimentation. And several years ago I finally got the courage to leave my career in banking and pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
It was a challenging process and it still is, even to this day. Career change is not one point in time where you switch over from your old life to your new life.
Instead, it’s a continuum. You have to work on it throughout your whole life.
I know how difficult it is. Especially when you’re still in your old career and you have these dreams and these strong intentions. You want to change your life and you want to start a different career.
But you have no idea how to do it and you don’t have the courage.
2. Specify your career change goal
It’s possible that you only have a very general and broad idea about what you want to do.
Let’s say that you want to become a chef and work in the culinary industry. This is a very broad area. If you want to make your process more efficient, you need to try to specify what kind of chef do you want to become.
Do you want to be a pastry chef? Do you want to specialize in making sushi or ramen? Or do you want to be an owner of a boutique restaurant – you know one of those smaller cozier restaurants that are unique and whimsical and who source their produce and meat from a specific farmer that they know?
Unless you define your goal as specific as possible you won’t be able to direct your energy.
Let’s say that in number 1 you’ve already decided what you want to do, and let’s say that you want to work in the culinary industry.
Having made that firm decision, in a way you’ve already allotted a portion of energy toward that cause. But now you need to direct that energy towards something more specific.
If you don’t direct your energy towards something specific, then that energy will be scattered all over the place.
3. Pick your role models and learn from them
One thing that I found can help you in this process and make it concrete is to have role models.
Let’s say that you’ve specified that you want to become the best pastry chef. Your role model might be this very accomplished pastry chef called Christina Tosi. You might know her if you’ve watched MasterChef.
It doesn’t matter who the role model is, as long as it is someone who inspires you.
It could be someone famous and accomplished but it could also be an acquaintance. You need to be able to identify at least one person who has been on the kind of journey that you are likely to take.
Of course, everyone’s journey is going to be different but by identifying this role model or several role models, you have someone or a bunch of people that you can research.
Look at their resumes and bios and find out how they got to the point that they are at right now.
In my case when I was about to start making my first future film I found a role model whose name was Brit Marling. Brit Marling is someone who also started off working in finance, similar to me, but then changed her career to become an actress and filmmaker.
I found her story to be very very inspiring. She was one of the few role models that I had at that time. And I started to read and watch everything related to her.
About how she left the corporate world and about how she started to make films. I wasn’t stalking her, but what I was trying to do was to try to learn from her journey.
I wanted to find out how she got that far. How did she get from point A to point B.
I found out that before she made her first feature film which was critically acclaimed at the Sundance International Film Festival, she made a couple of smaller films.
So reading about her experience made me realize how long and complicated the process was. In a way, it prepared me for my own journey of starting a new career.
It is extremely hard but I believe that if you do these three things: Make up your mind to change your career, specify your career change goals, and figuring out who your role models are and then doing your research, you will be off to a very great start.
Sometimes career change can happen coincidentally, which means that a friend of a friend or an acquaintance happens to have a job opening and offers you a job in a field that you are keen on working in.
But let’s be real – how often does that happen?
Would you rather be at the mercy of a possible coincidence and just let everything run its course, or do you want to actively choose and decide what kind of career you want and also when you want to start?