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How to Cope with Career Transitions

skillsIt goes without saying that for most people a change in career can be a daunting experience. Whether you’re leaving a successful career to start your own business, or just simply moving to a new company, the decision to take the leap is often full of uncertainties and fear.

Some people cope better than others, although it would be fair to say the majority don’t, which is why it’s important to appreciate that it’s perfectly normal to go through phases of fear, then uncertainty before embracing what the future may bring.

Tackling the uncertainty of making a career change is not something that should be taken lightly. It takes a certain amount of courage and self belief, but it also means knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses. The three stages that follow such an important decision can prove debilitating which is why it’s so important to appreciate just what it all entails so you can then deal with everything in a positive manner.

The First Stage

The first stage is a completely natural fear of the uncertainty that lays ahead. Acceptance of this being a perfectly normal emotion to experience  is a positive step forward. Coming to terms with fear is knowing how to root out the causes. The next step is to jot them down in question form before answering each one of them in turn. An example would be “How will I cope financially?” and then answering the question by noting down all available options.

survival skills

The Second Stage

The second stage is to overcome all and any uncertainties. Many “in the know” believe that writing down uncertainties in question form and then answering each of them helps restore confidence. More often than not it is a fear of not being able to earn enough money that instils uncertainty, but there’s always a solution which includes taking on a role as a consultant, as a freelancer, cutting down on a few unnecessary expenses and so on.

Then of course, there’s the all-important networking and the best way to build up a business network is to meet people face-to-face by attending organised events in industries of interest. The people you meet at these events could well become future clients or employers.

The Third Stage

The third stage is to embrace fear and uncertainty and turn them into strong assets. This is achieved by simply having an appreciation of just what you might be afraid of, by overcoming any uncertainties which then means all that’s left to do is take action. Treating life as an experiment is the route to go down because not every decision has to be the perfect one. Life is about “trial and error” and taking a few risks, making mistakes is par for the course.

Taking life a little less seriously helps ensure the ups and downs can be embraced and even enjoyed which in the end means a much happier existence. However, it’s also important to define success in your own personal way and not base this on how others may perceive it. This can only be done by defining the trade-offs you may have to make when changing careers.

Author: Honey Wood

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