I read an interesting article that featured a study finding 90% of people would rather die than make big health changes. The article postulated that it is easier to make radical changes rather than small incremental changes. I don’t have a scientific study of my own to confirm or dispute this, but the statistic and the advice give much food for thought.
Are there big changes that you want to make? Do you want to work in a different industry? Do you want to change careers altogether? Do you want to double your salary? Do you want to start your own business? Don’t worry about what is realistic at this point. Don’t let the market narrow your brainstorming. Just think big. Are you unable to think big about career choices, salary, lifestyle, even for this exercise?
What is stopping you from making those big changes? Do you not know where to begin? Perhaps, you can’t even imagine someone with your current background in the dream career you envision or making the salary you target or being able to launch a business. In this case, work with a coach or mentor, find people who have done it and get their perspective, read biographies of people who have done what you want to do. However, if you do know generally how your career transition might work, but don’t take the next step or all the steps required, then why not? What do you get by staying at your job? What would you get by changing? Is the former more appealing than the latter? Do you start but don’t finish? Do you get overwhelmed, bored, distracted? Don’t judge your answers. Just collect these insights to get better clarity on yourself and what you need to forward your plans.
Brainstorming on all the possible big changes, what are the ones you must do now, the ones you can wait on but definitely want and the ones that you could take or leave? All goals, but especially big ones, need to be prioritized. Maybe you want everything that I listed: a new industry, more money, an entrepreneurial chance. While you can work on more than one goal (and it can even be complementary), many times there just isn’t the time, money or energy to pursue everything. A new industry or more money? Is a new project at your current job best for now or do you need to strike out on your own? If you have to pick one, what is the biggest, most meaningful change you want to make now?
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of a career coaching firm for Gen Y professionals. Formerly in corporate recruiting and retained search, Caroline has recruited for Accenture, Booz Allen, Citibank, Disney ABC, Oliver Wyman, Pfizer, and Time Inc. She currently writes career columns for Portfolio.com and Vault.com and teaches Professional Development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
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