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There comes a time in almost every career when you have to change directions. You have to take a step back in order to take a step forward. Maybe you have reached a ceiling in your current position and you’re no longer growing. Or, maybe you’ve simply lost your passion for what you’re doing and want to do something completely different.  You might even have the desire to start your own business. It doesn’t matter what the change is, what matters is how you approach it. There are a lot of barriers that prevent more people from leaving where they are and doing what they really want to do.

I’ve been in this situation myself, twice. I know what it’s like to start over. In my case, making the decision to change fields involved going back to school. This was not an easy decision. As anyone who has gone back to school knows, it involves a large time and financial commitment and the payoff is often years down the road. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Throw in the time commitments involved in raising a family and continuing to work full time and you can see why going back to school and changing fields seems like a fantasy for many people. More people probably would change what they are doing if they knew how to overcome these barriers. So, let’s dive in and see how we can tackle this.

Here are Lorraine’s  quick and dirty tips for successfully changing careers:

  • Do some soul searching: Ask yourself why you are making this change. Is it just to make more money? There’s nothing wrong with that, but it only gets you so far. (Stay tuned for a complete article on that.) Make sure that this change is meaningful and accomplishes what you need it to accomplish, rather than just having the same problems follow you in your new career.

  • Get the training you need: Changing fields usually involves going back to school, but not always. This is the part that a lot of people have a hard time with. Not everyone is the “school type” and the thought of committing to two years or more of research papers is enough to keep a lot of people where they are at, even if they are unhappy. Consider online schools that are fully accredited, or short-term certification programs. I’ve done both of these myself and with great results. Visit this site for a good starting point: http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education.

  • Manage your expectations: Managing your expectations doesn’t have to mean lowering them, which is what that phrase has come to imply. Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People suggests that we should always begin with the end in mind. This just means that you shouldn’t make an important decision, like changing careers, without first having specific and realistic expectations about what you want to achieve by it.

Change can be scary. But not changing is even scarier. There is always going to be a sacrifice when you are trying to achieve a goal. But the real question is how much are you sacrificing right now by staying somewhere that you don’t want to be? For more help, reach out to me about individual coaching sessions at lorraine@worksmartcounseling.com
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