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3 Ways to Finally Commit to the Career Change You’ve Been Dreaming About

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How many times have you said you were going to leave the job that makes you miserable, burned out and empty only to give up after hitting a roadblock or rough patch? We’ve all done this, started out with the best of intentions but we quit trying and end up right where we started or worse. 

We end up feeling defeated and telling ourselves we’re a failure. Or we justify staying where we are because we question whether the change is worth it. We rationalize that we have a good-paying job, it’s stable, there’s financial security, it’s a good company, it’s an impressive place to work, etc.

Why does this happen? Why is it so difficult to stick with a change?

We don’t know why we’re seeking a change – Many times we don’t dig into understanding our “why”. Why do you want to change careers or jobs? Sometimes we want to make a change because we think we should make the change, not because we actually want to make it but because someone else tells us we need to change. Other times we think that the change will magically make our whole life better. If you have the resilience and perseverance to take the time to really dig into why you’re miserable in your job, discover what your purpose is, and then make sustainable change you’re more likely to find the fulfilment you’re searching for.

We think an external change is the answer – Hopping from job to job may seem like progress and you may be happier for a while, but a lot of the time it is short-lived. There may be instances where a change of environment may be appropriate but most of the time it’s not the external environment that needs to change, it’s your internal thought patterns and beliefs.

We think change happens overnight – Just like any significant changes in life, deep meaningful change takes time. It may feel like if you simply change jobs you’ll be solving the problem but it’s more likely that you’re only replacing one unfulfilling job for another and will wind up in the same place after the glow of a new situation diminishes. True change takes time and effort. It takes deliberate and intentional effort applied consistently on the things that will benefit you the most.

Now that we know some of the reasons why it’s difficult to stick to undertaking a career change, how can we be resilient and persevere so that we have a better chance to achieve our goals?

Below, are 3 ways you can finally make that a commitment:

1. Play the long game

It’s important to remember that change does not happen overnight, it’s a long process with ups and downs. Acknowledging that there will be times where you screw up or don’t make as much progress as you’d like, will set you up for bouncing back quickly. Consider creating a personal vision of where you want to be in the next one, three, or five years. Get very detailed about what your life looks like, how you’re spending your days, where you’re living, etc.

This vision can be like your north star and help you when you face decisions. Once you’ve set a goal, regularly reflect on your progress towards that goal, and don’t be afraid to pivot if needed. As you progress towards your goal, don’t underestimate the power of celebrating your wins and successes. This practice can keep you motivated and help you to see the progress you’ve made.

2. Get clear on your why

Digging deep to understand why you want a change, will help you make lasting and meaningful change. You won’t be wasting as much of your time and energy pursuing different positions because you’ll have a much clearer understanding of what you’re looking for. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try out different careers but doing so in a deliberate way will get you closer to living your purpose and finding fulfillment more quickly.

An exercise to helping you figure out your why is called ‘Five Whys’. Asking yourself why you want the change, write down the first answer that comes to mind. Now ask the question again and write down your new answer. Do this five times until you get to the real reason. 

3. Focus your energy inward

As mentioned earlier, focusing on your environment can only get you so far but putting in the energy and effort to evolve your thinking and mindset will be what changes the satisfaction and fulfillment you have in your career. Gain clarity on your values, wants, and needs.

Bravely question your beliefs about what it means to have a meaningful career, what’s holding you back, and ways in which you can move forward. Telling ourselves we can’t do something can often really be that we won’t do something. Explore the patterns of your past attempts at a change, have you been in this same unhappy and unfulfilled position before? What are you willing to do differently now?

One of the biggest things I hear when working with coaching clients who have quit their jobs and pursued a career aligned with their purpose is, they wished they had the courage to make the change earlier. Allowing yourself the time and energy to get clear on your why and do the inner work will make following through on your commitment to making a career change easier and more sustainable.

Leah Masonick is a Life Purpose and Career Coach. She empowers courageous and determined professionals who feel lost, burned out, and unfulfilled in their life and soul-destroying careers to rediscover themselves and create the freedom to live their life purpose. Sign up for her free personal vision workbook and check out her coaching programs at leahmasonick.com. 

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