Kicking Your Career Change Off Right- Happiness Project Style

I know I’m about 8 years late to the party (story of my life), but I’m REALLY digging Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project”. It is rocking my world right now, just in time for the New Year. For those who are unfamiliar with her concept, Rubin chose 12 areas of her life she wanted to work on throughout a year and spent a month on each area.

By the way, I’ve started video blogging over on my Facebook page here, (“Like” the page to get notified when I go live and post video tutorials and all that jazz!) but after staving off 13 people’s colds, three stomach bugs and my husband’s full blown flu three weeks ago, I have finally succumbed to Sickness-Palooza 2016/17, so with my Rudolph-esque nose, I think videos are a no go this week.

Anyway, back to Gretchen. While her way of approaching things and her perspective is similar to mine in some areas, it’s radically different in other areas, which got me thinking: I bet we all think about career changes or pivots in wildly different ways, with wildly different attitudes, ranging from “I GOT THIS” to “NO, PLEASE, MAKE ME DO ANYTHING BUT GO TO A NETWORKING EVENT!” to everything in between.

SO, as I was reading her “Work” chapter, it hit me that lots of her lessons are SO vital to career change that I’d be remiss NOT to write this post. So, without further ado, here are some of the critical lessons from Rubin I think we could all consider as we enter a career change or pivot in 2017:happiness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Happiness: A Happy Dog Contemplates Life In the Woods on New Year’s Day

  1. 1. In order to have more success, you need to be willing to accept more failure. Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy. Wow. This one was huge for me. As I looked back to consider my career change, I can pinpoint the few times I actually felt happy during it. I mean, I worked three jobs at one point to have some income while I built my business. I had months of $1200 or less in income. I had a ton of debt as I built and invested in my business and my skill set. I worked for a CA-RAZY company at the beginning of my career change (the one I mention that I don’t even put in my resume) that made my additional schooling all the more stressful. You get the deal. My career change was (and still is) fraught with risks and potential failures. Some came to fruition and others never did. So when you are considering your career change- or maybe you’re in the thick of it and feeling a little all over the place- know that it is normal, and that to really achieve that next level, there ARE inherent risks and nothing’s a done deal, but nothing is irreversible (besides questionable tattoos) either.
  1. Your Inner Critic Can Be Your Bestie, of Sorts. And no, not necessarily the margarita and taco night bestie, but more the friend who tells you like it is and doesn’t sugarcoat the message. What the heck am I talking about here? When instead of believing what your inner critic says about your abilities to change careers (“you don’t have what it takes”, for example) you can use that as information to KEEP.GOING. Acknowledge that this is your Inner Critic talking and keep going. If you want to get anything accomplished, you need to keep pushing ahead without constantly second-guessing yourself. So, terrified of networking meetings and think you bombed your first one? 1) you probably didn’t and 2) in order to hit on something big, strike a chord with someone, learn to present yourself better, you just gotta go out and do it again, and again until you start to hit your stride.
  1. When You Feel Rushed for a Solution, Slow Your Roll. When I’m trying to figure something out for the first time, I get all anxious like I need to know the answer right away or I’ll spontaneously combust. Like today, my assistant sent over a new program to help us keep track of passwords better (ummm dashlane.com if passwords are the bane of your existence like they are mine!) and I just HAD to know how to do it RIGHT THEN AND THERE. But…ya don’t, I promise you. So, if you’re embarking on your career change and feel like you just gotta know what your actual next step is RIGHT NOW OR ELSE, ya don’t, I promise you. Trust that you will figure out a way. When Rubin feels anxious and that she needs to know X now, she “puts herself in jail” which means that she tells herself she’s locked up with nowhere to go until she figures out a way to slow down. She also tells herself that it doesn’t matter how long it takes; the end result is that the project (in this case your career change) will get done.
  1. Work Smart. I talk about this in the Career Change Kitchen online course. It can’t be stated too many times. If you say to yourself, ‘Well I have all day Saturday to write some networking emails to start gathering info for my career change,” chances are it’ll be suddenly Saturday night and you’ll put your dancing shoes on and head out the door. Instead think about setting a timer (I suggest 45 minute work blocks) and focus on one SPECIFIC task. So with the networking emails, maybe you spend 20 minutes making a list of people you’re going to reach out to with their email address, 15 minutes drafting an adaptable email that can be tweaked per person slightly and 10 minutes sending the first one or two.
  2. Flip the Script: OK here it is: NOW is the fun part. I know, I know, a hard pill to swallow when you’re starting to put yourself out there in ways you never have before, so hear me out. The challenge for happiness, Rubin writes, is to take pleasure in the ‘atmosphere of growth’ – in the gradual progress made toward a goal. This brings in another concept I’ve been using a lot for clients and students of the Career Change Kitchen (and myself too!), and that’s Todd Herman’s idea of the WOW versus OWW Brain way of thinking. OWW Brain people look at accomplishments in terms of how far they still have to go and WOW brain thinkers look at accomplishments in terms of how far they’ve come. A very small yet huge distinction. SO, as you contemplate how to enjoy the career change process, try to think about it in terms of how far you’ve come. Maybe you’re just getting started, but making the decision to actually start after years of contemplating it is a huge deal. And then, as you rack up ‘wins’ in the career change process, you’ll note that doing a little something pretty often starts to stack up to bigger wins, and a WOW brain mentality is further cultivated.

Ok phew, that was a lot, but I hope at least one of these ideas re: happiness and career resonated with you as you start to contemplate or are going through a career pivot or change. They really are game changers once you put those mental hats on.

I talk about many of these concepts and more, as well as how to implement them in the Career Change Kitchen online course, a course I developed to help you achieve career happiness- in other words, helping you change your career in a soup to nuts way with way less anxiety and second-guessing. I’m guiding you every step of the way. You can check the course out here. I’m hosting a free info session on 1/9/17 and you can snag your spot here.

Tough Career Question of the Week: How Do I Know When to Stop?

This week’s TCQW (that’s kind of a crappy acronym) is from H.J. in NYC. She asks, “How do I know when to keep going with my career exploration and when to stop?”

 

It’s a fact: When we have full time jobs and are thinking about changing careers or are in the process of changing careers, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are kids to take care of (and be with) and bills to pay and weddings to plan and disagreements with partners, not to mention your actual DAY JOB– all of this is normal. What’s not normal is how we think we need to continue ‘doing it all’ when we’re JUST.TAPPED.OUT.

 

This is where HJ’s question is coming from. And while Old Jill circa 2011 when I was crazed would say “Keep pushing through!” New Jill says the following- and don’t worry, it’s SUPER simple.

 

I want you to ask yourself two things:

 

  1. How are you feeling right now?
  2. What do you need?

 

If today just isn’t the day for you to revamp your resume, let it go. It will not run away overnight (as much as we wish it would).
IMPORTANT disclaimer: I’m not saying ‘give up’. I’m not saying go back to the status quo. I’m just saying to be light with yourself as you go through this process and give yourself a break. If you need someone to give you permission to do this (as I often do) I, JILL OZOVEK OF SOUND MIND, am giving you permission.

 

It’s only when we begin to make conscious choices about how we’re feeling and moving through this stuff does the real progress and change begin to take root.

 

So follow me and grab a walk or a bubble tea or a weekend or week off from this career change work. And come back and rejoin the cause when you’re recharged. That’s when your best work will happen- I know it.

Resistance: ACTUALLY Do Something You Want To Do

Why we allow resistance to prevent us from doing what we ACTUALLY WANT TO DO when it comes to work and life has been of major interest to me lately.

I’ve been pondering things like, you know, why I was checking my email 43 times a day (Luckily I have won the war on Facebook and IG, turning off my feeds) rather than DO THE WORK or why I’d suddenly feel the need to dust every wood surface of my home office with pine-scented wood cleaner rather than DO THE WORK. Anyone who knows me knows I really can’t stand most forms of cleaning, so I sure as heck didn’t suddenly gain a new hobby.

By way of background,  “DO THE WORK” for me means something pretty specific. I’m not lounging around in my pilates outfit eating wasabi peas all day watching “Veep” (Ok, ok, Last Tuesday, you win). Instead, I’m working with clients, writing blogs, speaking at and attending events, incorporating my business and the like. What took me awhile to realize was, that although those activities felt good and productive (and some of them ARE needed), they were…just activities. They weren’t actions toward my ultimate goal. Which, for the record, is to build a suite of online courses to help my people out AND to create international retreats. Instead, they were exactly what I called ’em above- “activities”.

And then I looked around and I saw people resisting everywhere- clients, friends, family, colleagues, people who call me for my complimentary consults– many of us are resisting the very thing we WANT to be doing.

It struck me as nonsensical so I set out searching for answers. I was open about it with some friends and colleagues and Aidan and a friend and I were talking about it when she recommended The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. 

resistance

The aftermath of a WIN Symposium dinner party where I talked about resistance.

As soon as I started reading it, I knew I had struck gold. Pressfield REALLY digs into the reasons we don’t do what we say we want to do and he gives us a framework through which to overcome aforementioned Wasabi-Peas in Pilates Pants Consumption. He says in many different ways that many of us are truly aligned with a path – we know what we’re meant to be doing- but we do LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE besides that one thing. This was essentially me for the month of April. I was super responsive via email, even more attentive than usual to clients and colleagues….and yet, nothing got done. What gives?

Some key takeaways:

Am I A Writer?: (Or a painter, or an entrepreneur, or a whatever it is you are). Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”

I’ll Get Started Once I Overcome My Fear: “The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.”

Fear of Criticism: a professional doesn’t take success or failure personally. Evolution is all about biological factors. It’s in our cells to worry about rejection. The amateur uses fear of rejection to prevent us from doing our work or showing it to the public for public consumption. To take rejection personally is to reinforce resistance- the battle is in our heads, not with critics or reviewers! It reinforces resistance again and again.

Knocking the Notion of Unlimited Choices on Its Head: This one is the kicker for me. Oftentimes as a career coach, I’m asked if I can transition anyone to any type of career. The answer is no, and not just because of the skill gaps one might have to fill before going toward a particular career (that is a totally workable situation for my work with my clients) but more importantly, it’s because we’re all not meant to do a huge number of things. (Despite my love for cooking, for example, I am NOT meant to do anything with sharp knives like work in a kitchen. Ask my college roommates and my doorman in Buenos Aires who had to get me to the ER in 2012.)

Which brings me to this idea. Whether you agree with it at its core or not, the idea of resistance is a very interesting concept to think about what you’re meant to be doing and your duty to breakdown the resistance and do it:

“Another way of thinking of it is this: We’re not born with unlimited choices.

We can’t be anything we want to be. We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.

Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.

If we were born to paint, it’s our job to become a painter. If we were born to raise and nurture children, it’s our job to become a mother.

If we were born to overthrow the order of ignorance and injustice of the world, it’s our job to realize it and get down to business.”

So…what’s the takeaway of this article- how DO you overcome resistance to do what you actually want to do? We’re going to get to that next week, so for now, the takeaway is to sit with some of these ideas and let ’em settle in. Next week we’ll discuss strategies.

In the meantime, if you’re tired of doing nothing about what you wanna be doing, let’s chat on one of my consults. You can sign up here. 

Just a Brief Pause to Say….I’M FREAKING OUT!!!!!

We spend a lot of time “focused”, “with our eye on the prize”, which often leads to us being overtaxed and spent and overextended. I am NOTORIOUS for not taking a pause, getting as much done as possible in as little time as possible, work-wise and personally. Years ago, one of my lifelong friends dubbed me “the world’s most efficient human.” While I viewed that as an accolade at the time, these days I’m viewing it more as a burden, and as detrimental to my health.

WHY? 

Because Zombie Jill is no fun.

And moreover, some key things have happened in the last two weeks that I almost DIDN’T take a pause for. I literally let these two amazing things almost pass me by without full on celebrating:

  • I got engaged to the love of my life.
  • Villanova won the title game.

Within 10 days of each other. And I almost kept working right through it.

Say Whaaaaa?

What did you almost do instead, Jill?

  • I almost said I had to work the Friday of Final Four weekend so I couldn’t go to Houston with my dad, who wanted to go together.
  • I almost worked Good Friday, two days after the engagement, versus going home for a long weekend of celebrating the engagement with my family.

I didn’t do either of those things, thank goodness, and I couldn’t be happier. Sure, I’m a little behind on my work and playing catchup on some marketing initiatives and goals I put on hold. After I took care of my clients, though- the most important part of this to me- I took a pause. And I fully enjoyed every second of the Final Four weekend with my dad and that RIDICULOUS history-changing buzzer beater for the championship with my fiance and friends last night. I have never felt so dialed in and “in the moment” as I have these last two weeks.

pause

My dad and me at the Final Four in Houston.

Because this is what life is all about – these pauses. And I’d also like to offer this up as an alternative viewpoint: Maybe the pauses are what we should be focusing on and what we should be striving to experience. And maybe the busy work and the “I have to dos” and “I can’t because’s” are not the main event, but instead, they are the words that bring us perilously close to never having those “pause” moments. And what’s life if we’re just doing the ‘have to’s’ all the time?

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The Thing Most of Us Forget When Making a Career Change

Actually making a successful career change can seem terrifying. Or even if it’s not, your usual way is so embedded in you that thinking outside the box can prove challenging. Heck, I left the country and stopped working for awhile and my initial gut reaction was to go back to event management! It happens to many of us. (If you want that to stop being you, consider my 30 Day Bootcamp starting Jan 27! Details here. )

Ok, so consider this: according to a study by consultancy Lee Hecht Harrison and covered by Glamour last year, 48% of people wanted to change careers and 13% were “almost ready” to do so. That’s 61% of people. This is a little (ok, a lot) unscientific, but are 61% of people in your life making a career change? I thought so. Where have all the career changers gone? (Set to the tune of Paula Cole’s 1996 (only?) hit, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?”)554357_970041566822_17748492_n

You likely will stumble during your career change, much like I am here during a hilarious surfing lesson. It’s about how you handle it that matters

It can really be boiled down to the fact that there are a few things many of us are forgetting when we embark on this zany wacky world of career change. If we can keep these top of mind, then I think there’d be a lot more fulfilled people and a lot more stable of a workforce to boot (removing self from soapbox…now).

We Forget About What Matters To Us. This goes back to my point above about being so stuck in our ways, we can’t tell our arse from our elbow. It REALLY is imperative to check back in with your values and understand what motivates you. For me, I wanted to pursue meaningful work that helped others in a way that provided me with work-life balance, so going back to pursue a next step in my previous career where working long hours, advancement & promotion and money were king would not have been a good fit. I’m glad I pulled myself back from the brink there. So how can you?

  1. Ask yourself, “What matters to me? What makes me tick?”
  2. Work with a coach to understand your values
  3. Take a values assessment. (Google is your friend!)

We Forget to Dream Big. There are many jobs out there that we’d never consider because we say no before we even get started. That’s fear right there, yo. One of the most critical elements to a successful career change is spending some serious time thinking outside the box. I’m a career coach, for the love of Pete, and I’m STILL learning about new jobs and fields, AND new fields are emerging all the time, with the ever-quickening pace of technology. This can be tough to do when you’re chained to your day-to-day routine, so I’ll give you some ideas:

  1. Start cataloguing or bookmarking articles you gravitate toward online or in print. (Besides Buzzfeeds “Top Toys Every 90s Kid Had”). Start to think about commonalities between those topics and what that might say about your professional interests.
  2. Don’t dive right into job descriptions and job boards. Nothing says, “Stay in the same place” more than just looking at in-the-box job descriptions. We don’t want to put a name to what we want to do just yet.
  3. Spend some time alone doing a hobby you love…or doing nothing at all. Let your mind wander and see what comes up.

We Forget That There Are Freakout Moments. I said this to a client today actually. I have never worked with someone who was cool as a cucumber the entire time we worked on her career change. IT’S NORMAL, PEOPLE! What I’m saying here, is, if you’re jusssst about ready to take the plunge and do something about your career unhappiness, take a pause to recognize that this won’t be the easiest thing that you’ve ever had to do, but that it CAN be done. And that freakout moments are ok and normal. Once you take yourself off the SuperWoman pedestal where nothing gets to you, you can better embrace the uncertainty and move forward.

We Forget There Are Naysayers. Ah, the naysayers. I hired an accountant when I was first dipping the toe in Business Land a couple of years ago and while he was DOING MY TAXES, he asked me to sit down. “Jill,” he started. (Meanwhile I never had met the guy in my life.) “Jill, I want to just make sure you realize that most coaches don’t make it. I’ve seen a lot in this business and-” At that point, he started sounding like the Muppet Babies nanny with the green and white striped stockings and I have no idea what he said. (Needless to say I stopped having him on my team.) My point is, if we listen to these knuckleheads, we make them right. Nothing like a side of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy with that Naysaying Main Course, amirite?

Now, another thing that can and likely will happen is someone IN your desired industry will warn you about burnout or fiery hoops you need to jump through. And if you’re doing your career change in a conscious way, you WILL be talking to other professionals so this is likely to happen. This is where my #1 point above comes in. If you know what matters to YOU and it’s aligned, then you’re in a more stable point to listen. AND maybe that’s their reality but it doesn’t have to be yours. Also, if you do the new career for a couple of years and find yourself agreeing with this person you’re talking to now, GREAT! Information you can use to continue growing to the next step or next phase of your work. In other words, naysayers provide us with a win-win no matter what. 

I always just end my blogs with the list, so in an effort to be better at tying it all together, if you really get on board with the above 4 things most people forget in a career change, you’ll be more dedicated to the task at hand and more resilient at brushing away Muppet Baby Nanny Accountants. The End.

OH! If you’re looking for some more of this kind of guidance and want to do it with your peers in your pajamas, check out my 30(ish) Day Swift Kick in the Pants Career Change bootcamp, starting Jan 27. Apply here!