How To Start A New Career With What You Already Have

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Exploring a new career can sound more difficult than a NASA mission to Mars. The older you get, the more you wonder: Is a new career even possible? Changing course might be daunting when there’s a perception that you’re throwing away the “perfect” career. Yet, the 9-to-5 hamster wheel is losing its appeal now that loyalty, benefits and pensions no longer guarantee career success and satisfaction.

Professionals are job-hopping more than before, some almost twice as much as they did two decades ago (and often not for money). A career change is no longer taboo; it’s becoming the norm. Value differences, burnout and stress are leading people to second-guess the careers they’re currently in. Regardless of the trend, many still feel stuck. What if you could start a new career with what you already have? Your existing skills, attitudes and value system could inspire growth in new directions.

Using your experiences and transferable skills is not new. We do this all the time when pivoting or moving up the chain of command. We fake it until we make it. Critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, creative thinking, researching — these are all skills that can be applied in any industry or niche. The point is, you have the skills you need, and anything you don’t know, you can learn.

Focusing on that next step starts with the first step you can take from right where you are. Here is what I call the four C’s approach to starting that new career, whatever it may be, using what you already have in your proverbial toolbox.

Change

What’s inspiring your desire for change? Thinking about a new career, what excites you? Is it being outdoors? Getting to be more creative? Being your own boss? What will sustain you when you’re not making money from the get-go? Why the change, and why now? Preparation is key. Being in the right mindset will help you tremendously when the transition might not go as planned.

Cross-Functional Skills 

As mentioned, you’re well stocked with skills, even some that are underutilized where you currently work. What professional muscles do you want to stretch? Remember, you do not have to limit yourself to your current industry. What are the skills, strengths and preferences you can home in on? What are the skills that are effortless and productive?

Comfort 

As humans we naturally prefer comfort to discomfort and safety to fear. This is why many delay making changes for weeks, years and even decades. If you’re naturally a predictable person, with an inclination toward security and structure, you might be risk-averse, but ask yourself what comforts you are willing to sacrifice for more fulfilling and meaningful work. And ultimately, looking back five or ten years from now, will you regret not making a different choice?

Confidence 

Every new idea is launched with some bravado. A career change is no exception. It helps to have support. As a career coach, I help clients overcome the fear and inner doubt that plagues professionals seeking change. Ultimately, your experiences and desires can defeat any inner uncertainty, but only when you realize what this change truly means for you.

You’ve likely heard of imposter syndrome and that inner doubt, but your strengths and resume speak for themselves, as do the accolades (accept those compliments!). Using the questions listed for each of the four C’s can help you feel more confident about your decision-making.

The Key To Preparation

Preparation requires soul-searching. You can listen to countless podcasts and amass a collection of self-help books, but eventually, you have to take action.

What will be that necessary nudge toward taking that one confident step in a new direction? You might be hesitant to send in your two-weeks notice, or you might be feverishly ready to do so without a game plan. Either way, consider what is required if and when you decide to change, and more importantly, think about how that change will look and work for you.

You might not have the time or energy to decipher all of this right now, and that’s OK. If you desire to seek a new career with what you already have, there’s an entire world out there to support your vision. Undeniably, there will be people and factors in your life that will prevent you from seeking change; remember the four C’s when that happens.

Always go back to the proof in your achievements and what you’re truly proud of — not what your lacking. No achievement you’ve made is without its lessons and merits. Now, onto the next career challenge you’re seeking!

[“source=forbes”]