Everyone will undergo at least one major transition during their professional career. This shiFt may be up (a promotion), over (to another organization or different career), or out (retirement). There are all kinds of shiFts going on around you every day as people ask themselves – why me, why now? It is likely you are either thinking of your own impending shiFt or trying to help someone who seems to be stuck in their own shiFt. The process of transitioning is a very personal and complex journey for each individual. It requires self-reflection and a deep appreciation of your values, desires, and goals – your why of shiFt!
I have coached many women with respect to some type of career shiFt and there are common themes, regardless of the type of transition. Most importantly, you must be clear on the why of your shiFt. Knowing your why will assist you in making the right choices and successfully navigating professional transitions, no matter what the size or direction of your shiFt.
In getting to the why of your shiFt, you must consider your values and your personal reasons for choosing to make a career transition. This may seem obvious to some of you; however, when you start to consider how your why might deviate from those around you and the culture of your organization, it may seem as if you are an outsider or that your why is incorrect. Your why is never incorrect. It reflects your personal values, dreams, and goals. As an example, I have practiced as a cancer surgeon for almost 25 years. One aspect that drives many surgeons is remuneration. This has never driven me, beyond the necessary level of support I need to raise my children as a single parent. However, I have often questioned why I do not find such strong motivation in remuneration as my colleagues do. Further, I retired from clinical surgery when I was in my mid-50s, as I no longer had the passion to continue. I had known for some time that my true calling was to support women in their professional success. It is my raison d’etre.
There are many reasons why someone might choose to make a career shiFt. As I have alluded to, remuneration is one aspect. These things are not right or wrong, they just are. Perhaps your why includes a desire for a less stressful career, a greater focus on work-life balance, the pursuit of a new challenge, or a newfound passion. Perhaps you would like a greater sense of security. Perhaps you wish to explore a different culture, a different language, or a different part of the world. You may wish to provide opportunities for other members of your family or you may wish to be near certain members of your family or friends. The list is endless.
Further, during different phases of your career, there may be different or competing reasons. In speaking with hundreds of people who have considered a shiFt, the commonality is that people want to see more, experience more, and achieve more.
A career transition without defining your why can result in a lack of fulfilment after the change has taken place. It is only once you understand the why of your desires that the when and how will become more clear. It is often the defining of this why which is assisted through the coaching process. So, take some time to define your why. Even if you are not currently considering a shiFt, it will keep you focused and confident as opportunities arise for you! Be prepared to know the why of your shiFt.
Listen to Episode Two – The Why of Shift now!