Pondering a career pivot but not sure how to get started? I’ve found myself in the same situation in my career quietly sitting alone and analyzing all the options and wishing I had a set of instructions like we had as kids with our games and toys.
Building Lego sets was my favorite pastime as a child. I loved them! I could play for hours with the worlds I created but looking back I realize I had more fun putting the sets together and building castles and spaceships than actually playing with the finished product. When we are young, we all enjoy the process of creating something beautiful like Lego castles, coloring, or drawing pictures.
One Christmas I knew my parents had a number of big Lego sets wrapped under the tree. My family had a rule that everyone unwrapped gifts together on Christmas morning while my parents watched and my mother of course took pictures of everything. On this particular Christmas I got up around 3 am and with the colored lights on the tree illuminating the work, I quietly unwrapped my lego sets and followed all the directions putting them together before the rest of my family awoke. My Mom was shocked to see what I had done. Needless to say, I got in a bit of trouble and the family stills talks about that Christmas to this day.
Where Are the Instructions?
I still love Legos. There is a beauty about the process of a taking a big box of plastic pieces and following the instructions to build an amazing creation. Ah! The instructions are so important to the process. Their designers do such an amazing job of creating pictures with step-by-step instructions laid out in a methodical plan of action. Every child knows you must follow the steps and you will have success. Months later when all the pieces are in the toy box and the instructions are missing…good luck creating that castle or spaceship! We all know the creations that get made at that point. We can still have fun but it is much harder to create the picture of what we want without the instructions.
Life as an adult is not as easy as in our youth with simple to follow instructions producing the results we all desire. As we all know too well, our careers don’t come with a set of instructions and step-by-step guides helping us navigate all the complexities and changes we face daily. It is up to us to craft a plan to build a career, something that we will enjoy and be fulfilling for us and our families.
Get Your Score and Craft a Plan
Staring at the prospects of making a career pivot, many people without that formal set of instructions get stuck on never knowing where to start, how to prepare, and how to analyze the most important aspects of making a career pivot.
Having spoken with many industry professionals and people who have made big career pivots, I realize there is a common thread to success. Everyone who made a successful pivot, has analyzed key areas of their life and made a plan for each.
- What is Your Why?
- Mental and Emotional Readiness
- Personal Finances
- Network Readiness
- Family and Relationship Readiness
Knowing that these are essential areas to consider before making a big career pivot, I started working with a number of professionals to create a short quiz to help people dive deeper into these areas in their life. Based on your answers you will receive a (High, Medium, or Low) score for each area along with an action plan and resources that we have found incredibly valuable that will help you as you make your career pivot.
I learned in my life and by working with others and interviewing people who have been uber-successful in their careers that intentional design is preferable to impetuous action! All of us will experience some fear, apprehension, and uncertainty at the start of any career pivot. However, doing research, creating a plan, and starting to take intentionally planned steps in the direction of our goals creates clarity and we see the fog of fear and uncertainty quickly dissipates.
As a father of six, I have enjoyed taking my children to Lego Store in Chicago to see all the fantastic creations that can be built with a pile of multi-colored bricks. It has offered me a great teaching opportunity for my children to remind them that the greatest joy is in the process of creating and not the finished product at the end. As I teach them, I am basically reminding myself the lesson is even more applicable for me as an adult. I realize that to accomplish anything in life I need to fall in love with the process because the journey is the reward not the destination.
Avoid these two mistakes
To chart a course to your destination I hope you will find this quiz a valuable part of creating your plan. As you set out on your journey I want to remind you of two traps that I discovered. First, don’t be scared of the first step and thus do nothing. Many people get stuck on never starting. They have paralysis analysis and talk about doing something tomorrow which quickly becomes last year and then never. Secondly, don’t rush to get to the final destination no matter what your goal is. In that scenario, you miss the greatest part…the journey. It is the journey where we learn the most. If we learn to love the journey and all it provides us we will have a greater chance of success. Through the journey, we will have successes and failure, meet interesting people, create life-long friendships, and be a part of amazing stories we will one day tell our grandkids. Don’t rush past the journey in your career pivot. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Like building a Lego set…it is the best part.