Guest opinion: 5 ways to be intentional during career transitions
As a coach, I spend a lot of time working with individuals who are going through career transitions – desiring something different but not knowing what that looks like. This can be difficult because it’s human nature to want all the answers. We are more comfortable when there’s a clear path forward. It can also be an emotional process, full of frustration, self-judgment and discouragement.
If you find yourself in this cycle of craving change but struggling with taking the first step, I encourage you to shift to a more intentional mindset, and play an active role in your journey. Here are some practical ways to do that.
1. Take inventory: Write down your passions, values, skills and experiences. Do some reflection on what energizes you and what doesn’t. If you struggle with identifying your gifts and talents, ask someone close to you for their opinion. Identifying what you bring to the table and what ignites your passion is important as you consider your options.
2. Pay attention: Take notice of when someone describes a field or career that interests you or when thoughts come to your mind about something you may want to explore. Write it down. You don’t have to pursue it … just capture it. You will likely start to see themes in the things you write down.
3. Take action: I am a firm believer that life’s journey is traveled one small step at a time. For the past five years, I have used a 31-day process to capture actions that bring energy into my life. In career transitions, I encourage individuals to write down actions they will take in the next 31 days that will bring new insight into their career possibilities. For example, having a conversation with someone who has a job that interests you, exploring a company you think might be a good fit, or checking out a course that piques your interest. You don’t have to have all the answers right now, but by identifying actionable steps, you’ll start making progress toward your goal. New doors may open (or shut), which will provide some direction on the next small step you should take.
4. Use a journal: I often encourage individuals to buy a journal or notebook to outline the practices noted above. A journal can also be used to process the emotions that go along with the transition. Even if journaling is not your “thing,” it can be a very helpful tool to capture ideas, opportunities and actions.
5. Be patient: It is easy to want to rush through the process, but finding the right path takes time. Instead of being anxious or frustrated, use this time wisely to learn more about yourself and what is important to you.
You are the author of your life story. Being intentional throughout your career transition ensures you’re staying true to yourself as you navigate the change. Remember, small steps can lead to big things.
Dorene MacVey is the owner of ithrive31, a coaching and personal development company. She previously worked with Collins Aerospace (formerly Rockwell Collins), where she served as the executive sponsor for the Women’s Employee Resource Group.