Planning Career Change – STEP 2: Possibilities


Human nature loves to move from identifying issues to solving problems, skipping the discovery process altogether.  We adore solving problems and use this as a method for avoiding the mess and discomfort of career change (or any life change).  Career change can be confusing, overwhelming and anxiety producing as what we do for a living is delicately tangled up with who we are, how we see ourselves.  Yet, when we don’t take the time-out to consider all the possibilities, opportunities, and motivation for career change, we rush to action unfocused taking us back to the same predicament we just left behind.

In Step 1 of Planning Career Change, we defined our “FROM” – the challenges and obstacles that brought us to this point of career change, whether it was our career aspirations became out of sync with the needs of the organization, we were asked to exit, we need greater flexibility in our job, we outgrew the role that once fit so well – we want a job that is more creative, more analytical, or more management oriented.


In Step 2, we explore career possibility, opportunity, creative ideas, and unexplored avenues by accessing our imagination.  Children provide fantastic inspiration as they live in imagination daily, arriving at endless possibilities, and without the skepticism of adults.  Career change can easily bring skepticism and fear, sneaking up on us before we realize, materializing as all the reasons why our possibilities won’t work.  Moving through the discovery process with fear and skepticism will limit our brainstorming ability and creative ideas.  Activities and support that help us stay resilient – calm, optimistic, focused – are essential.  There will be a useful time for editing and refining – later.

During the discovery process, we ask ourselves questions such as:

  1. What would my career be like if it were more engaging and fulfilling?
  2. What are 1, 2, 3, professions I might explore?
  3. What do I need and want from my career?
  4. When have I felt most energized in my work – what were the responsibilities, projects, tasks, activities that brought me energy?
  5. What are my gifts, talents, skills, and abilities?


The answers to these questions come from both quiet, reflective time in which we can thoughtfully consider what is we need and want from our career, and from experimenting, exploring, trying new.  If accessing imagination or entering into quiet is difficult, a coach can help guide us through the process of identifying answers to the above questions and challenge us when skepticism threatens to get us off track.  A coach also helps us to organize possibilities into practical, concrete career goals that are realistic solutions for how we need our careers to be different.

Finally, before moving on to STEP 3 – MY PLAN, commitment to action must happen.  Have we committed to moving forward towards career change?  What are we willing to pay (time, money, support) for what we need and want?  Without an honest commitment to change, our career change plan remains magical thought, lost in a wish.

Lisa Montgomery is a Certified Professional Coach in Career ~ Leadership ~ Business and a 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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