Your Life in a Circle

Most people would agree that a career transition is a daunting endeavor.

Yet one of the most challenging aspects of a career transition or a job search is something that most people don’t consider and plan for before I meet with them.

What am I referring to?

Carving out enough time in your life to devote to the process.

I have many clients who come to see me with a great deal of excitement about making a significant career change. They usually have been thinking about it for a while, and have finally made a commitment to themselves to make it happen.

A very important step.

Yet most clients have not yet given any thought to another very important element of the process. Finding and carving out enough time every week to actually devote to the process. (note: this is really crucial no matter what type of change in your life you are considering)

ImageUnfortunately, wanting a career transition doesn’t respond to magic wands. One needs to take many actions: Getting prepared with your career story, identifying potential paths, researching, talking and networking with people numerous times, re-assessing your potential paths, building new alliances, applying to various roles and practicing how you present yourself, etc. etc.

We can come to a decision about changing something about our lives and feel good about it – but nothing will actually change unless we take action. And those actions can’t exist in a vacuum.

Simply charting out your week in a pie-chart format can be very helpful.    Your Life in a Circle

Draw in all the pieces of pie that comprise your life every week.  Do you spend 60% of your time at your current job? 5% at church? 25% with family and friends? 10% at church or community activities?

That’s great – but where are you going to fit in the time to make a career transition (your pie already adds up to 100%+)?

You can’t expect that you will expand the universe and make each day have more than 24 hours. You can try but you will wind up just spinning your wheels and nothing will change. Which is even more frustrating.

That means something has got to go. You will need to make some decisions about what aspects of your daily life you are willing to forego in order to accomplish your goal.

What will you do differently?

  • Awaken an hour earlier each day to get in some morning time for networking
  • Use social media sites to strengthen your network
  • Use your lunchtimes to meet with networking contacts
  • Get to work 60 minutes earlier and use the extra time to research companies and associations online, etc.
  • Stay up an hour later each night to strategize and reach out to your online networks
  • Schedule Saturday mornings for career development activities

What is it?

What are you willing to change in your current daily activities to make room for the actions you must take to make a career transition?     Image

You are what you think.

I met with a very experienced woman named Jennifer today. She is in a transition. Her background is incredibly rich – she has been in various HR leadership roles over the years and she is extremely sharp minded – a real leader. Jennifer’s work has brought her all over the world. She is 56 years old, yet exudes energy and sharp-witted intelligence. She voluntarily left her last position because she did not want to work 24/7 and live in hotels in other countries 85% of the year…essentially, Jennifer wanted her life back.

The interesting part? Jennifer has lost her confidence. Why? She is concerned that she is “too old” to be perceived as still being able to make a valuable contribution to any organization. We met today because she is has been invited for two interviews this week and she is nervous and wants to be prepared – which is very smart.

Jennifer is most nervous about the details of the questions she will be asked about her background. Yes, that is important to be prepared for, but I believe even MORE important is being prepared emotionally.  My advice to Jennifer was first to step back and look at herself through a different lens.

“Keep in the forefront of your mind that you are an extremely experienced executive and have managed Human Resources throughout countries that most of us have never even heard of.  Your experience alone is a very rich resource of information for you to tap into and is clear evidence of your success”, I suggested.

Often I work with very successful professionals who have so much to be proud of, yet because they feel vulnerable due to various factors (age, a bad experience of being laid off, fear of having viable work in the final years before retirement, etc.), they lose their competitive edge because they have convinced themselves that they are the underdog.

I say, “Take a few deep breaths, remind yourself of all of your accomplishments and wisdom, and go into that interview with the confidence that you deserve. Talk with the interviewer from the standpoint that you are a very talented and experienced person, and you know as much as they do. They are a peer or colleague, not the keyholder to your future! This is an opportunity for you to evaluate whether this position is a potential match for what YOU want as much as it is a chance for them to decide if they want you.” This may help clients get grounded.

Go in with your head held high and from a position of strength – your body language and your intonation will, in many ways, demonstrate your capabilities. When they see how confident you are, they will instinctively know that you can do the job. (you can)

When they make you an offer, then YOU can decide if you want it.