Changing career: where to start?

Before becoming a coach and feeling committed to my new career, I had spent years exploring every road that I could possibly find. My fear of commitment and a search for answers outside myself made this journey a long and challenging one. Changing career is not an easy process if we don’t know where to look. Here are a few lessons that I learnt along the way, that I would like to share with you.

  1. Give yourself the worthiness you deserve

It breaks my heart a little when I hear my clients say “This is a silly dream of mine… I don’t know if I should pursue it”. Most of the time, they feel they don’t deserve to put themselves first. It is always about "others". They are usually hard working, so kind hearted, compassionate and… lacking self-belief. This dream of yours, whether it is a career choice or a hobby, listen to what it is telling you. It is an expression of who you really are and I can tell you right now: YOU DESERVE TO FEEL HAPPY AND TO LIVE IT. If you are happy and start feeling your worth, can you imagine what a positive impact you will have on your life and on others? It is time to put yourself at the centre of your life and to own it. What you want, how you feel, what you enjoy or don’t enjoy MATTER. You can say it out loud. No one can rightfully judge you on that. So you want to become a musician? Write a book? Set up your business? Sing in a choir? Start yoga, for real this time? Let’s make a plan and take that first step.

2. Your time is precious: how would you really want to spend it?

I call it “living each moment with an intention”. When you start feeling life is slipping away from you, it means that you are not doing what you are meant to be doing. Some would say that life is short so one must live it to the fullest. I agree with the idea -to a certain extent. This perception can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders: what if you don’t know what you want to do straight away? Does it leave you feeling like you are then wasting precious time? I used to live by this idea and I ended up worrying... a lot! I decided I would rather think about it this way: “I have a life full of opportunities with all the time I need. What do I really want to do with it that makes me happy?” A door then opens and it lets you (re)discover your passions, without pressure. You can start with anything you’d like, there is no deadline. Listen to who you are and what you want. You already know what you are made of.

3. You will need to let go of something, to give space for something else to come

The trickiest part. Change is basically going against our natural instinct of preservation and security. We keep the status quo because this is all we know. Although we are aware it doesn’t make us happy, at least, it makes us feel safe. The problem with remaining in what we call “the comfort zone” is that it creates a barrier that we see as positive because we think that we have some sort of control over it. Putting yourself in the right mind set to let go of, let’s say for instance, financial security for a short while, gives you the space and openness for other opportunities to come your way. I turned down an important contract to give myself the headspace and resources I needed to set up my coaching business. It was scary but I felt so relieved once I found the courage to say "no, I choose to not do this again". It was time to believe I could do this. There was no way I would go back to where I was! Guess what, that same week I made the decision to put myself first, I got two new clients I ended up loving working with!

4. Whatever comes your way, you’ve got this

That’s where the “confidence part” kicks in! Fear is about anticipating a negative outcome. In reality, as Susan Jeffers defines it in her book “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, fear is a manifestation of what you think you cannot handle. One of the best pieces of advice, pep talk and trusting words I heard were: “Coraline, we’ve got this. When you put your passion, your motivation and your energy into something, we know that you can make things happen. You’ve got this. Now go and get those clients that you want.” And I did indeed make things happen. When you get connected to your passions, know what you are capable of, what you are made of, you can go beyond your natural talents to get what you want. So I am going to give you the exact same advice: whatever you decide, you’ve got this.

5. Get the right environment and ask for what you need

What stopped me from achieving my goals was to not find an environment to get my energy and inspiration from. It is very easy to let yourself go to people’s negative or limited views of life and to just stop believing in what matters to you. After all, getting back to the routine is less hassle. DO NOT LET IT BE THIS WAY. Find your people, the ones who get you, who are interested in what you are interested in, who inspire you. Surround yourself with people who remind you why you want to pursue this passion of yours. Who you spend time with is a reflection of who you are. Carefully choose your crew. You have so much to offer and your environment has a powerful impact on what you can accomplish. Within that environment, ask for help and support, ask for what you need to keep becoming the amazing person you want to be. If you are not powerfully and genuinely listened to, ask somewhere else but don’t shy away or stay on your own in this journey. You can find plenty of mentors, coaches, organisations, online courses, peers, meetup groups, friends, family members to get advice and help you build your confidence. What you want to do DOES MATTER.

6. Look for these answers within yourself

I am guessing you have heard this before and you may be wondering what it actually means! Well, here is how I see it. It can be so overwhelming to see the infinite possibilities of what you can do. Figuring out what you actually WANT to do, without getting attached to what society dictates takes some self-exploration work. What are your values? What are the ones that are non-negotiable? What could you easily spend your days doing? What gives you a lot of energy? You know more than you think. Looking outside is distracting and will tell you about what you think you want, not what you feel and know you want. Direct your energy inwards. Don't look outside for answers.

7. Get yourself started even if you don’t feel ready

When I set up my teaching business 10 years ago, believe it or not, I started with one book, one note book (the old fashioned one, not a tablet!), one pen and one client. Several years later, I have worked with universities, institutes, charities, corporate, managers and CEOs of big international organisations! When I look back, I am thinking “S***- what a journey!” You will learn on the way, whatever you decide to take on, because life is a lifelong learning journey. Once you know that, I mean really feel it, you can start anything. You know enough and you are enough. Who you are and your values guide you towards what you want, your natural talents help you get specific about the impact you will have, skills are what will get you there and they can be learnt! So what is there to worry about really? Get started, even with baby steps, because if you don’t try it out you will never know how you truly feel about it, you will only keep imagining, and that my friend, is going to leave you stuck for quite some time!

Whatever comes your way, you’ve got this. Get started.

With care and warmth, Coraline

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