Planning Career Change – STEP 1



We know that change is hard, really hard – consider our new year’s resolutions that fade away come Spring.  Meaningful, effective, enduring career change, takes not just discipline and consistency but also an actionable, concrete game plan.

Absent a plan, we may or may not get from where we are to where we want to be.  And, our plan must be based on individual priorities, values, and desires, not all the “shoulds” that often determine our choices in how we live and work.  If our plan isn’t rooted in a foundation of what matters most to us, during those times of great effort and discouragement, we are likely to abandon the change that was wrapped up in the resolution which started it all.

The beauty of a plan is that it provides structure for the change process, broken down into concrete action steps which when executed leads to accomplishment.  Where plans go wrong is when we stubbornly cling to them because we made a plan and darn it, we are going to stick with it (the education, and resulting profession, we invested in would be misspent if we changed plans).  A plan can be defining and it can be confining.  The trick is to discern when we need a little helping hand in being defined (focused) and when the plan has become confining (serving as an obstacle to achieving our goals).

Most of us appreciate a “to-do” list, it’s how we get things done.  An effective plan is really a “to-do” list built on an overreaching strategy, resourcefulness, and heart.  And, the most effective plans have a measured amount of flexibility, adaptability, and fluidity after all these are requirements for living successfully and gracefully in our world today.


In order to create our “FROM,” we must ask ourselves:

    1. What are the problems, issues, concerns, or undeveloped opportunities that I need to change?
    2. What is working (not working) in my career, job?
    3. What do I need more of (less of) in my career, job?

In navigation language, this is the starting point of our drive from where we are today to where we need and want to be.  Without knowing our “FROM,” the journey for getting to our preferred future might be convoluted with lots of unexpected, wasteful stops, using more resources (time and money) than we can afford.

The trick is to get to the bottom of this question, not the top or surface level – to understand the motivation behind our drive for change.  I have worked with many clients whose motivation for change is stated as desired increase of income.  Often times, underneath this statement is a more fundamental need for recognition.  It takes reflecting and sorting which if challenging, is a signal to get the help of a collaborative partner such as a coach.  (It can help speed up the process and avoid it feeling like a never ending slog through mud.)

Once we have identified our “FROM,” we are ready to imagine the possibilities for a more satisfying, rewarding, meaningful career and business, onward…. Stay tuned for the next installment of our article series on Planning Career which discusses STEP 2 – IDENTIFY MY POSSIBILITIES.

Lisa Montgomery is a Certified Professional Coach in Career ~ Leadership ~ Business and Game Plan Strategist to driven professionals, leaders and business owners.  Gone are the days of putting your head down, working hard and waiting to get noticed – drive your career with intention while focusing on results, resilience, and reinvention.

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