Three things you need to know to ease your transition to a new career role.

Three things you need to know to ease your transition to a new career role.

It can be a blessed relief to start out in a new role after a period of frustration and uncertainty in your career.

I understand what this feels like, as I write this I am four months in to being self employed which is a new venture for me, following a long period of stress and uncertainty.

But, after the initial euphoria fades, I have learnt that there are some common pitfalls to be aware of that will make your transition so much easier:

1. Beware the pressure of keeping up appearances

Several times in the last few weeks I have had coaching clients express thoughts like ‘Now I’m Service Manager I need to show them that I can lead and inspire my team but I’m not sure how to do that’ or ‘How can I ask for training and development, that makes me look like I’m not up to the job’ – variations on a theme of ‘what will people think?’.

The danger here on gaining that promotion, or stepping out into self employment, is that you think once you have stepped into the role you should be fully formed and have all the answers. You then unwittingly put pressure on yourself to perform which at this early stage is unfounded and actually impedes your natural performance.

It’s like stepping into a pair of shoes that are too big for you, teetering and faltering, trying to be something you that you are not – as yet. And when you are trying to be something it feels false, to you and to the people you are trying to impress, and this only feeds the gremlin fears and doubts as to your abilities further.

So what can you do about it?

2. Recognise you are in the process of becoming

The truth is you are in the process of becoming your role. So rather than thinking in fixed identity terms: ‘I am now a Leader / Business Woman and need to act accordingly’, recognise that you are in a process of becoming and developing into the role.

I liken it to becoming a Mum for the first time; you may have given birth but you only truly become a mother once you have experienced the role over time; immersed yourself fully in the doing and being, and embraced all the lessons; the many highs and lows.

The same is true for your new career move, although you have passed the interview or taken the leap, it’s only now that you are doing the role that you are growing into and filling those new shoes.

4. Give yourself permission to learn

 By recognising this truth it gives you breathing space and time to reflect; so allow yourself to absorb this perspective and give yourself permission to learn as you become the leader you want to be in your business and career.

Cultivate patience and be kind to yourself as you will inevitably make mistakes along the way. See these as learning points, rather than evidence of a lack of ability, and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help from those who are more experienced, from mentors or a coach, as you grow into your new role.

Keeping this perspective of learning and growth, and utilising the invaluable support of a business mentor and coach, has certainly eased my own performance expectations and smoothed my career transition in recent times.

So now I’m curious about your experience.

How about you?

What have you learned when taking on a new role? What has helped you relieve the pressure to perform at this early stage? I’d love to hear from you.

Want more help to develop confidence and ease your transition as you take on a new role?

Take a look at my career and leadership coaching programmes. Or you can fill in the form here and then schedule a FREE, no obligation consultation to get some clarity on the situation you are facing.

2 Comments
  1. Lots of wise advice here, Hilary, thanks for sharing.

    Feeling the pressure to ‘live up to’ a new role is something I really struggled with in my twenties and even thirties.

    Understanding that I’m always ‘in the process of becoming’ has been key for me, and allows me to relax into the moment, be present and enjoy the adventure of discovering new things about the world and about myself.

    Getting support from a coach or mentor has also been crucial in helping me process and overcome the self-doubts and lack of confidence that inevitably get triggered when we embark on something new – particularly something like starting a business – where we ARE the business!

    • Thanks for commenting Linda, I whole-heartedly agree with the doubts that arise when we embark on self employment; delightful companions aren’t they?!! In fact I have just written my next blog post on this very transition…

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