The Three Most Common Career Change Myths

confused woman -shutterstock_152787200‘I’ve always been envious of people who seem know exactly what career they want to do and go out there and make it happen’ Fiona said to me in a coaching session.

Whilst it’s true that some people are naturally drawn to a certain path from a young age, the reality for most of us is that we ‘fall into’ a career path, and a little while later maybe ‘wake up’ and then consider whether it is right for us.

The danger comes when we start comparing ourselves to others and feeling that we come up short somehow by not knowing ‘what it is that we are here to do’.

The ‘What am I here to do with my life’ is a big question to ask and can be stressful because decisions you make about your career can affect not only your life, income,  and associated lifestyle but can also impact on your children.

But, as a Coach, when I dig a little deeper I always find that the ‘What am I here to do?’ question is only part of the problem. The real stress is usually caused by believing three myths about changing career that can stop you from moving forward.

Myth # 1: You should know what you want to do with your life

In Fiona’s case she described having been to University with some girls who always knew what they wanted to do and followed their dreams to become a doctor. She was comparing herself to them and thinking ‘why have I never known what I want to do?’

The trouble is it is an absolute myth that we should know what we want to do with the rest of our lives. The truth is we are dynamic, ever changing individuals; as we grow and age our interests, abilities, hopes and desires change with us.

A career path that excites us in our twenties can be overwhelming in our thirties, and what interests us in our thirties may bore us in our fifties. That’s normal and to be expected.

We need to consider less ‘what am I here to do with my life and instead consider what will fulfil me for now, which brings us on to…

Myth # 2: Your career change is for the rest of your life

Gone are the days of the thirty year corporate career followed by a fob watch or carriage clock at retirement, the reality for most of us these days is that it is now normal to have had several complete career changes over a working lifetime.

But belief in this myth can keep you stuck when contemplating changing career for fear of ‘getting it wrong’ and what that might look like on a CV. Recognising that any career choice is just ‘for now’ gives you much more freedom and opportunity to explore new areas and experiment, to follow where your heart leads you, safe in the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out, you can move on and try something else and that this is normal in the current job market.

Myth # 3: You’ll be able to figure out your perfect job before you get it

So much of the struggle with career change is caused by trying to figure out what the perfect job role will be in your head before taking action, as I outlined in a previous post here, when in reality the perfect job often evolves out of experience and learning over time what fulfils you.

What’s important is to give yourself permission to try different things and pay close attention to how different roles make you feel, recognising that your head may choose a certain path but, crucially, when you are doing the role if it doesn’t make your heart sing, if your energy sags, that’s a sure sign that it isn’t right for you.

How about you?

What has your experience been of changing career direction? What helped you to move forward? What hindered your progress? Please share your experiences in the comments box below, I’d love to hear them!

Want more help to make a confident career choice?

Take a look at my There’s More in Me’ career coaching programme. You can fill in the form here and then schedule a FREE consultation to get some clarity on the situation you are facing.

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