Feeling stuck in your job? Looking to make a career leap, but aren't sure it's a smart move?
Career changes can feel incredibly daunting because the stakes are so high.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you make a wise choice:
1. Does this new career reflect my values?
Before making any important life decisions, it’s best to check in with yourself and make sure that your next move is aligned with your values.
Not sure what, exactly, your personal values are? Can you name your top three values?
So often, when I ask people this question, they either feel overwhelmed or ready to name at least ten values that are all sort of related and sound good.
For example, yours might be: Kindness, Altruism, and Work-life balance.
Here are some examples of values that resonate with me and that I hear often from my clients: Achievement, Adventure, Contentment, Creativity, Gratitude, Health, Inner Harmony, Integrity, Personal Development, Power, Recognition, Spirituality
Having three values at this deep level is plenty because it will allow you to stay focused on what matters to you. Creating internal clarity is the first step in establishing a foundation from which sound decisions can be made.
2. Am I making this switch because I love the prospects ahead?
Are you seeking a new job because you love what this next step offers, or are you seeking change because you hate what you currently do?
Depending on the place from which you act, you are either driven by a positive pull or a negative push.
Being aware of this is important, because it will impact what kind of opportunity you create for yourself.
Are you expecting to find a new job that you love or one that is simply not what you are currently doing?
See the difference?
If you're looking for a career change because you hate your current setting, refocus your attention away from the negativity and allow yourself to imagine a setting that you'd love.
Where does your imagination take you? What are you doing? What problem are you helping to solve? What are the people you work with like? In essence, create a positive pull for yourself!
3. Can I add value to this field?
We experience the most satisfaction when we are in flow with what we do. How do we get into flow? It's when our abilities, passions, strengths, and values are in alignment. It's when we feel perfectly challenged–neither bored, nor overwhelmed. It's in this sweet spot where you can truly add value.
Think about a time in your life when you totally lost track of time. Of course, we cannot expect to always be in flow at work, but these experiences are extremely valuable in that they tell you what to pay more attention to. This is especially important when considering a career move. After all, you'll spend a lot of time at your job, so you might as well choose one that brings you joy.
4. Does it allow me to live the lifestyle I want?
It’s simple. Don’t make conscious changes if they'll create a lifestyle that will make you unhappy. Of course, we cannot choose every aspect of our work, but if you're honest with yourself, you'll probably discover that not every aspect actually makes a difference in your personal level of happiness.
Therefore, being clear on what your top three lifestyle requirements are will make a huge difference in your everyday happiness.
Perhaps what makes you content is waking up in the morning and having time to eat breakfast with your kids? Maybe it's having the flexibility to work from home?
The point is to let your imagination flow and to tune in to the intricacies that matter most to you.
Once you're able to implement these top three personal “happiness-inducers” in your job, don’t forget to be grateful for them. Ever so often we take things for granted and don’t realize how blessed we are.
5. Am I myself when I speak about this subject?
Can you speak authentically about your work? Are you not only knowledgeable, but also curious about the work you do? Curiosity will fuel your fire and will allow you to think creatively when faced with challenges.
Are you yourself when you speak about your work, or do you have to pretend to be interested? This is so important because you're more likely to excel at your job when you truly care about the outcome, when you actually want to find the best possible solutions, and when you can own your voice and express your ideas constructively.
This is a lot of information and it can seem daunting at first. If you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath, shake off any discomfort, and start with the first question.
For today, only think about your top three personal values. That’s it. Once you've figured out those and feel like they truly reflect you, move on to the next step.
Give yourself this time. Rushing through will get you nowhere and only create more restlessness. Be gentle with yourself.