Before Making a Career Change Have a Plan

Do you know where you’re headed?

When making a career change, it’s important to have a sense of direction. The first step toward a meaningful career change is to know what matters most to you, and then design a road map for the journey ahead.

"Old stone steps" by Horia Varlan, on Flickr“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Discover Your Life Purpose

Your life purpose is your reason for being. It’s what you’re here to do. You might experience your life purpose as a calling or a sense of vocation. However you discover it, an authentic life purpose connects you to something larger than yourself and is meant to benefit others in some way.

Discovering your life purpose will give you a sense of where you’re headed and what you’ll do in your work and life. It serves to guide you and keep you on course. And making a career change that honors your life purpose allows you to unlock your potential.

Have a Vision

Here’s where you dare to dream big. Your vision is how you want to be when you’re living out your life purpose and your deeply held values. It’s a clear, vivid picture of how things will look when you’ve fulfilled your mission. Your vision is what you will continually strive for, your ideal future outcome.

It’s important for your personal vision statement to inspire and motivate you. At the same time, you want it to be possible and achievable. In career coaching, you use your career vision as a touchstone, keeping it always in front of you.

Live Your Mission

Your mission is how you are choosing to live out your life purpose right now. Your mission is smaller than your purpose and more focused on the present than your vision. A good mission statement serves as your guide as you move forward on the path toward your vision.

When making a career change, remember that your mission is broader than just work. It encompasses all of who you are. Personal mission statements allow you to declare how you will express your unique gifts and make a contribution.

Set Goals

When you’re clear about your life purpose, vision, and mission, you’ll be able to set goals that are in alignment with your deepest values and beliefs. This is the design phase of the career change process.

Think of your goals as stepping stones. Each stone takes you closer to the vision you glimpse in the future. When you’re making a career change, setting career goals helps you…

  • decide what’s important to you
  • establish your priorities
  • break the “big picture” into manageable steps
  • focus your time and energy
  • gain a sense of direction

Meaningful goals provide the action plan that can keep you motivated to live your mission and turn your vision into reality.

What steps are you ready to take toward making a career change?

Photo credit: Horia Varlan / CC license

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