Embrace the change & make your move

Any type of change is hard. Leaving the security of your job is one of the hardest things there is – especially during these times. You may be leaving behind a stable income, a social status that came with the job, and part of your identity. But instead of letting fear stop you from finding more fulfilment, let’s use it to your benefit.

Change is a fundamental part of our lives. It is how we learn, how we challenge ourselves, and how we move forward. Without change, we would not thrive. So, if you are thinking of making your next career move, take some time to accept it: you are going through a change yet again.

It’s normal. Part of who you are. Part of your growth as a human being.

How does it feel?

Are you nervous? Scared?

Let’s take this feeling of fear and turn it into excitement: You are working towards a better you! Since you are your own agent of change, you are in charge of making your life even more interesting.

So where do you start?

1. Start with yourself, not the job

One of the things I often see people do, and I have done so myself, is to start with the job. What is required, what is expected from me? Of course, there is matchmaking to do in finding your next career move. But is this approach successful long-term? If you start with the job in mind, you are more likely to ‘mold’ yourself towards the given description and end up in a job that was not right from the start, driven by a desire to fit in.

To find a more fulfilling career, you must start with yourself. What is it YOU want? Once you have thought through what drives you, what you are passionate about, you will be more able to match yourself with the right job. AND be much better in selling yourself.

2. Break down your vision

Once you have created a vision for your future working self, let’s drill down to more specifics by answering some questions. You can use multiple frameworks for this (e.g. Meaning – Pleasure – Strength, by Tal-Ben-Shahar in his book Happier, or using the IKIGAI framework).

I like to bring it down to the following 4 questions:

o What is it I LOVE doing?

o What gives me a feeling of PURPOSE?

o What are my STRENGTHS?

o What gets PAID?

If you have a hard time answering these questions just like that, go back to your career so far. Can you pick those moments that brought intense joy? Why was that? What did you do? Did you use a specific skill for this?

When you know what lights your fire, your internal motivation, also take time to consider the practical side: How much time do you like to spend on work? How much flexibility do you need? And, how much do you want/need to get paid?

How important are these external motivators for you?

3. Assess your offering

By now, you have put some thoughts to your wants, your needs and what your long-term plan could look like. Now, in case your ideal job comes along, what are you bringing to the table?

What is it you have to offer to your future employer? Again, there are several useful tools for assessing your attributes (e.g. Gallup’s Strength Finder), but another relatively easy way is to ask a sample of friends and close (former) colleagues what they consider your assets.

Once you have a clear view on what you offer (your capabilities) and what you would like to receive in your new job, you have a starting point for your own ‘bargaining’ in finding a new job. You can start looking at some job descriptions and filter out the aspects you find attractive and not so attractive. Where are you willing to give a little, and where do you draw the line?

4. Shout it out! Get support on your journey

It is hard to put ourselves out there. Changes in our lives are vulnerable. We prefer to get them over with and do it successfully. But once you realize that change is part of our everyday life, you soon realize that asking for help will make it more successful.

To thrive, we must build on our network and reach out for help. So, talk about your aspirations, your ambitions, your dreams, with your friends and family. Share it with those that can help you move forward. It will make you more successful, feel more accountable, and more motivated.

If you need an objective set of ears, professional coaches are trained to find answers to the above questions and can help you put the right steps in place to find your next opportunity, building your confidence and finding the right fit.

Lieske is an executive & personal coach living in NYC. For more information, check out

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