If you feel like you’ve done EVERYTHING RIGHT and you STILL don’t know the right career, learn the five common career change mistakes to avoid in order to get back on track.

Here are 5 common career change mistakes:

Mistake 1: You take action without analysis

Some life coaches tell people that “clarity comes through action.” There are many circumstances in life where this is true, but trying to choose a career, can be a DISASTER.

Because let’s talk about the ACTION you may have taken. Have you…

Started a blog, took a class in one of your interests, researched going back to school, started a side hustle, brainstormed job titles, took on new responsibilities at work, applied for jobs you don’t even want, rewritten your resume, networked in LinkedIn, done informational interviews, volunteered, listened to podcast interviews of people doing inspiring things, yoga teacher training, life coach training, coding boot camp, signed up for marketing courses when you don’t even know what business you want to start, traveled the world to try to Eat, Pray, Love yourself into the right career?

And did all that action help you confidently choose the right career?

Or did all that action leave you more confused, drained, and discouraged than before?

So when choosing a career, here’s your new catchphrase: Clarity comes through analysis.

You need a process of analysis backed by proven strategy BEFORE taking aligned action.

This makes things much more manageable and gives you the confidence to make the right choice. One of my clients said it so well when she said, “This process builds a solid foundation, ­so you can’t argue with the outcomes!” That’s what you want. So that when you DO take action, you get somewhere you want to go.

Mistake 2: You ignore self-development

Another of the common career change mistakes a lot of folks make is putting time and resources into resumes and business plans, but not nearly enough time into growing into the PERSON they’ll have to be to reach their goals.

  • Do you have the beliefs it will take to reach your goal?
  • Do you have the identity it will take to reach your goal?
  • Habits? Practices? Resilience?
  • Do you have an emotional connection to your vision?
  • Can you stay true to your path when others don’t understand or criticize you?

You are not going to white-knuckle it into your dream career. Were we talking about analysis? But the strategy alone won’t save you. You must have the self-leadership and resilience to fuel your goals and show up in your power.

And if you’ve been in a work situation that has left you drained or questioning your abilities, you will not make powerful choices from that energy and identity.

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

Mistake 3: You make it all about you

Your new career should meet your needs, use your strengths, fuel your dreams, AND it can’t be just me, me, me.

Because the secret to choosing a fulfilling career is to come from a place of service so your work will make a contribution you care about.

If you’ve been in a role where you aren’t valued or feel like you’re just making rich people richer, I understand why you would be drawn to me, me, me. But I promise that if meaningful work is what you’re after, you want to start with service. That’s also the surest path to money.

Mistake 4: You try to do it alone

It is so easy to isolate in a transition like this. You might not want to be vulnerable in front of friends; you might feel ashamed because you haven’t figured it out already. The people closest to you may be sick of hearing you talk about this! Or they might be super supportive but not know how to help.

But going through a change like this alone truly makes things more complicated. It’s not that you need everyone to give advice or be a cheerleader, but you do want people you can share the ups and downs with without judgment.

Find a mentor and/or peer group that shares similar goals and values and can be there to celebrate you when you’re at your best and hold you accountable when you’re at a low point.

We are social creatures and are not meant to do the big things in life alone.

Mistake 5: You wait too long to figure it out

Do not wait until your savings is almost up, your work visa almost runs out, your contract is almost up, or until the layoffs come. Start figuring out what you want to do as soon as you know you want or need to change.

Just this week, I heard from a client named Trudy who just finished my program, and she said, “I am in the best space ever right now. Some of my colleagues who didn’t secure positions in our department restructure are shell-shocked and scrambling with what to do next.”

She saw that change was on the horizon and did not wait to determine her options. Her colleagues were not so prepared and were left to scramble. Making intentional, grounded choices is more complicated if you wait until the last minute.

The analysis of figuring out what you want to do comes first, but then there’s the action part. It helps if you give yourself a runaway to find or build your next career.

It is possible to choose and find aligned, meaningful work. Make sure you avoid these common career change mistakes on your way.

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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