Exercises I wish I’d done before making a career change

More than 12 years ago, I made a career pivot. I ended up in a completely new field of work which was Human Resources. Although worth it in the end, the journey wasn’t easy. I was unsure of a lot of things.

Looking back, I could have made the process much less stressful than it was. I wish I had thought things through more clearly. I wish I’d considered ALL the alternatives available to me and what the change would mean in my life.

If you are thinking of taking the plunge, you will first need to work out if you’re really ready for a career change. Explore thoroughly what it is you want to change and why. Once you’ve worked that out, plan and prepare for the move because it will require your time, effort and commitment

Get inspired

These 5 exercises are going to help you understand yourself and discover what could make a great career move for you. After doing these exercises you should be inspired and excited about the future, with a clearer idea of what your career transition will look like.

Enjoy the process!

Exercise 1: Reveal your passions

The things you love to do must play a key role in your career if you’re to be happy. But in addition to that, to keep yourself from boredom and stagnation, you’ll need to find out what your driving forces are. So ask yourself these important questions:

  • Which activities (at home or work) do you get most satisfaction from?
  • When have you enjoyed your work the most?
  • What talents do you enjoy using the most?
  • When have you been the most sure of yourself and your decisions?
  • When do you use your creative side?
  • What do you strongly stand for?
  • When have you been most committed, passionate and enthusiastic?
  • What impact do you want to make in this world?
  • What tasks do you like to do at work when you have a choice?

Exercise 2: Timeline

Sometimes we overlook the significant events in our lives and how they impacted us, whether positively or negatively. By doing this timeline exercise you’ll reflect on the past and develop insights to help you create a better future career.

  • Draw a horizontal line across the middle of an A4 piece of paper.
  • Plot your age along the line starting with your current age on right-hand side, and work backwards to the left.
  • Then put a ‘plus’ (+) above the horizontal line to signify times you look back on as being positive and enjoyable. Put a ‘minus’ (-) below the line to signify times you look back on when things were not going well.
  • Think of the significant events from your past. For example, starting school, early career decisions, job roles, and any other important events in your personal life, eg moving home, starting a family etc. 
  • Write each of these above or below the line to represent whether you experienced it as being a positive or negative time. 
  • When you are happy that you have enough of the key points on your chart you can connect them with a line. 

    Here is an example of how it looks:

    When you are ready you can share your line with a trusted partner. Discuss what impacted you, how, and why.

    What insights do you have for your next career move?

Exercise 3: Strengths stocktake

When making a career or job change, it is important to know your top strengths. It’s not necessarily obvious either. This exercise is always worth doing thoroughly.

Look for the evidence of your strengths using these sources…

Look in your CV

Go over your CV to remind you of past job roles. 

  • What did you do in each role that you really excelled at? 
  • What did you do better than anyone else?
  • Which of your achievements are you most proud of?
  • What advantages do you have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?

Your timeline exercise

Use your timeline exercise to jog your memory as well. Were there events in your life when your talents really sparkled?

Ask others

What do other people (your boss, peers, and clients) see as your strengths?

Exercise 4: GROW into action

To get from point A to point B you need a clear set of steps. I didn’t have that when I made my career pivot, which meant I wasted a lot of time and energy.

Here is a powerful simple framework used in coaching, mentoring and problem solving called The GROW Model.

It will help you:

  • get clarity on what you want
  • gain awareness of your current situation
  • explore options and generate solutions, 
  • establish a clear action plan and ultimately reach your end goals.

    G is for GOAL

    Ask yourself:  Where do I want to be?

    R is for Reality

    Ask yourself “What does my current situation look like?”

    O is for Options

    List ALL of the options available to you, whether easy or difficult.

    W is for Way forward

    Decide what actions or steps you will take.

Post published on the coachspace.com

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