Every day, I hear from professionals who desperately want to change their careers. They typically have at least one or a combination of these key reasons for desiring change:
• They have stopped finding any value, meaning or enjoyment in their work
• Their work, colleagues, or environment have become toxic, exhausting and negatively impactful
• They no longer feel well-suited to the work they do day in and day out
• They believe they are meant for something very different and better in their life
All would-be career changers seem to know what they don’t want, but tend to have no clue what they do want , or how to go about figuring it out and getting it.
So often, when we get to this point of longing to change careers, things have gone south. We’ve also lost our confidence and our ability to see clearly who we really are and what we're capable of. Many are not doing well in their work relationships with their bosses, colleagues or management, or they’ve been passed over for promotions and raises. Some didn’t get that plum assignment they were excited about, and feel devalued and betrayed because of it. Others have been laid off and just can’t see the next step. In virtually all cases, their confidence has been flattened, and they can’t see beyond this one situation or job to realize what could be waiting for them that would be thrilling, meaningful and rewarding.
The reality is that if you want to change careers successfully, you can’t just run away from your bad situation and your flagging confidence. You have to consciously and purposefully shift it, and strengthen yourself in the process. I call it a “brave up” journey because it requires you to muster substantially more bravery and courage to see yourself powerfully despite what’s happening right in this moment.
In order to build something better for your future, you have to change the way you see yourself and how you operate, and tell a completely different, more empowered, positive story about your trajectory and what you have to offer. Until you can do that, you just won’t create the success you long for – either in landing a great new job, or changing career directions.
I’ve found that there’s a powerful, reliable and effective 5-step process that walks professionals through the 8 common stages of career transformation. Of all the steps, the single most critical (and most neglected) is the first: Step back for an empowered perspective of who you are and what you have to offer the world, and why that matters.
How can you step back for an empowered perspective of who you are?
Here are 3 powerful ways to understand what you’re capable of, and see more clearly what you’ve contributed, achieved and accomplished and why that’s important:
#1: Make a thorough inventory of all the accomplishments you’re proud of and have enjoyed bringing into being
It’s vitally important to know how to think and speak highly of what you’ve done and created, without feeling that you’re bragging and arrogant. Even in jobs that you’ve hated, there are things you’ve accomplished that are exciting that you can leverage and monetize. Spend a week brainstorming everything you’ve had a hand in creating throughout your life that is exciting for you to remember and talk about. And develop some bragologues and brag bites you can start using today.
#2: Power up your LinkedIn profile this week
How you show up on LinkedIn is very revealing. I like to say that " How we do LinkedIn is how we do our professional life. " It's a metaphor (for 450 million people to see) for what you think about yourself. It’s amazing to me that even when I’m working with top branding, marketing and communications professionals, their LinkedIn profile is often weak. There are several huge blunders career professionals make on LinkedIn, and you don’t want to make these mistakes. The worst is to have a boring, vague or confusing headline and summary. Don’t make your headline your job title, ever. You’re much more than your current job, and if you don't know how, you need to figure it out. And make sure to craft a powerful summary that shares the full, enticing and cohesive story of who you are, what you love to do and why that matters in the working world.
#3. Gain deeper awareness of why you are who you are
I find that once we understand ourselves more deeply, complete with knowing exactly why we do and think as we do, we’re more able to leverage that wholeness, and honor our unique values, priorities, and talents.
On the other hand, when you don’t know yourself well, you can’t move forward to build satisfying relationships and jobs, because you’re operating blindly, and in ways that sabotage your core values and passions.
To know yourself more deeply, take some time to contemplate and answer these questions:
Look back at every job you ever had and think about:
What specifically motivated you to take this job?
How satisfied you were with it? (Scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is highest)?
What did you love about it?
What did you dislike or hate about it?
What was your greatest accomplishment? Greatest struggle?
What aspects of this role would you like to bring forward in your next position?
As a child and younger person:
What did you absolutely love to do (hobbies, activities, passions, interests, etc.)?
What has always come easily and naturally to you, and are you making use of these easy talents in your work today?
How did you stand out from others your age?
What made teachers, parents, friends and others remember you and praise you?
What skills, talents and activities helped define your identity then?
What are you particularly skilled at now?
What are the areas in which you’ve received special training?
What do you love doing?
What do you love being?
What do you hate doing and being?
What was the one most pivotal moment in your life that changed everything for you, and how did it affect you?
Finally, what do you think might be some exciting, new directions that make sense to explore, research and "try on" now?
* * * * *
Once you have answered these questions thoroughly and deeply, go back and review your responses as if you were an outsider, looking for clues and core themes represented. See if you can identify aspects of yourself that have gone underground that you'll want to bring forward in your next chapter. And see if you can recognize, finally, the true brilliance of you (because every single person on this planet is brilliant and exceptional in some way).
Gaining a more empowered and positive perspective about who you are and what you're capable of, and learning to start speaking more powerfully about that vision of you, will help new doors fly open for you, and old challenges and traumas will start to fade.
Read the original article on Forbes.