Feeling trapped in your career is a lot like being trapped in a bad relationship. You've invested in countless years of training and climbing the corporate ladder only to leave you wondering, "How can I possibly get out now?"
And then what if you are really good at your job, where your boss loves you, you earn a six figure salary, and you've been promoted, but then you're still miserable? Leaving a successful career for something more meaningful is incredibly difficult, but it can be done. It should be done, actually, because living a life without a meaningful career can put extreme stress on you, your family, and your health.
I know this all too well because I have been there. I have been an entrepreneur and my first company put me in $350,000 in debt. Despite its failure, I was able to rise above and start a new company that awarded me with enormous financial success. But even with all that money and buying my dream luxury car, something was still missing. I was 37 years old with a wife and two kids, and our new life of luxury had painted me in a corner. I needed to start over, and find a meaningful career, but I didn't know how.
But then, I did these 7 things that turned my life around, and now I am a successful business coach doing exactly what I love and am meant to do.
Here's what you must do to start over and claim a career that you love:
1. Release and accept. Take ownership for your career choices and the past that lead you to it. Forgive yourself and do not blame others. Every single choice of your past has lead you to where you are now - and if now is the time to start over, then so be it. You will find that everything you learned in your past will greatly benefit your new endeavor.
2. Be very clear on what it is that you want. Before making any drastic or impulsive changes, ask yourself what you wish to do and why. What talents do you have that are currently untapped in your present career? What is that one thing you've dreamed of doing, but were too scared to do? And then identify that fear and assess if it is real or perceived. Often times we are fearful of doing something new because we are scared of what other people will think. Remember your dreams, talents and ambitions and visualize the grand outcome you are seeking.
3. Determine how much your move will cost. Making any career move will cost money - you may experience down time in salary should you quit before the new venture is established, and should you be starting your own company it will require a lot of start-up capital. Don't be afraid to dip into savings to pursue your dreams - if you love what you do, you will be rewarded financially, even if it takes months.
4. Don't be impulsive or emotional. Once you have pinpointed your next move, your excitement can get the best of you and you may impulsively want to quit your job. Identify the outcome of every step and determine if you are ready. Bottom line - don't rush!
5. Don't burn the bridge. You have spent a large portion of your life building the current financial pipeline, so don't waste your efforts. Consider switching to consulting/part time work if possible. Or perhaps change your career within the same company. My clients are often surprised by how easy this is after communicating their wish for change to their managers. You may have to take a lower salary for a year and work part-time in one department while supporting the other, or sign a contract with company if they pay for the change in career (MBA, etc.). Your entire network of contacts can be a major asset for a seamless transition.
6. Get input and support from your family. Yes, you may be the one who is miserable but a significant job change can affect your spouse and children. Ask them for their support and make sure they have your back. If you are all in this together it will mitigate resentment when things get tough.
7. Stay positive and be patient. Starting over takes time, patience, and a positive attitude. As long as you are confident that your next move is "the one", you will be able to endure setbacks, which are natural to any transition. Be wary of other "exciting" offers that will distract you from your goal - when things are tough, it's tempting to jump ship just for another steady paycheck. Continue to get weekly doses of encouragement from your peers and mentors. To set your expectations, while results vary, it usually takes between 6 months to 2 years to make a complete change.
Your life is yours and how you live it is only up to you. You can choose to live contently or you can live a life that you wake up loving. Which would you prefer? You deserve better, it's never too late to do what you love and get paid for it!
Allen Vaysberg is a career and life coach, who specializes in helping people find their purpose and align with it. For more information, click here.