If you feel afraid to change careers, welcome to the club! You don’t get to change careers and not be afraid. You’re going to be afraid! But you can do this with less fear and more security, so let’s talk about how.

In my 12 years of doing this work, every single individual I’ve worked with has been scared at some point, BECAUSE IT IS SCARY.

Even if you KNOW it’s time for you to move on, it’s scary to let go of the familiarity, routine, the identity you’ve built around your work and relationships, and let us not forget the income from your job.

AND YET, with the right preparation, you can go from being scared to feeling confident about changing careers. And even be EXCITED!

I’m thinking of my client, Anne. She was mid-career when we started working together, and had lost faith in the choices she had made about her career, and lost confidence in her capacity to change again. After just 8 weeks together, here’s what she said:

”I know what I wish to do, why I wish to do it, and how I will do it. My career change is now a very exciting place to be in as opposed to being the daunting place it had been before.”

So let me take you through the 5 things that Anne and my clients do to go from SCARED to PREPARED to change careers:

1. They discover the meaningful work that’s right for them.

It’s way less scary to let go of your old job once you know what your new career will be.

When you’re still in the confusion and overwhelmed by trying to choose the right career, of course, you’re scared to change. That’s a change from something known to a complete unknown.

But once you know, and are CONFIDENT in your career choice, you will still have some jitters but you won’t be as afraid to change careers. You’ll be EXCITED to move towards this new thing that you KNOW is right for you.

2. They develop a practical plan for how they’re going to transition into their new career.

Doesn’t it always feel safer to have an intentional plan in place?

We don’t do “leap and hope the net appears.”

I help clients plan for what we call a Crossfade: you fade out of a current career, and fade into a new career. It’s the easiest, safest, most secure way to transition from one career to another.

We identify what the gaps between here and there and how you will fill those gaps. Common gaps include: education, finances, and networks.

A Crossfade may take take longer than a leap, but is safer, and therefore less scary.

3. They learn what they have to offer and how to communicate it.

Change is less scary when you know your value and can authentically represent yourself.

You can have the most amazing skillset and winning personality, but if you can’t communicate the value of what you offer in a currency that your audience accepts, it’s a non-starter.

So you start with developing your self-fluency so that you know you’ve got the goods. And then it’s about learning to translate that for the industry, role, or client you’re appealing to.

Think how much more confidence you’d bring to an interview process if you knew what you had to offer, were prepared to negotiate, and were ready to pass if they undervalued you. Think how much more quickly you’d recover from rejections. Think how much more authentically you could show up so they could get a sense of the real you to begin with. It makes the whole process so much easier.

4. They redefine their relationship with work.

This one is HUGE.

They know they are more than their work, and that’s where real confidence dwells.

The work I do is called Your Career Homecoming. First, we bring you home to yourself, then we find the work that’s a natural extension of who you are.

As my client Helen said, “It’s not that I suddenly became something; it’s that I found something in myself that I’d overlooked before.”

5. They know they’re not alone.

Knowing that they’ve chosen the right career and crafted their Crossfade plan with my support and the encouragement of our community, they know their plans have been vetted and that they aren’t winging it.

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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