As I’m nearing the completion of my Executive Coaching Certification from The Hudson Institute, my recent meetings always seem to meander their way to the topic of career pivots. Executive Coaching will be my third career of this lifetime. In more cases than not, whoever I’m speaking with admits that they would love to try something totally different, but they don’t know where to start. So they don’t. But the conversation sparks possibility and they inch open the door to exploration, and ask me how I have successfully pivoted multiple times.
I won’t go into my personal story (if you’re interested, click here), but can share with you what I share during these conversations. Each career pivot has been preceded by a period of feeling trapped and sure that I need to make a change. I fall into a funk, become even more of a homebody than I normally am and slowly start to emerge with inklings of what might re-energize me. I go into adventure mode, and start exposing myself to new ideas and new people in alignment with these inklings. During that exploratory phase, something’s always clicked and I get clear on my new direction. And then I go for it and re-launch myself.
Hudson has a great model that exemplifies what they call The Cycle of Renewal. When we first studied what I now realize is this ubiquitous human cycle, I had one of those “Ohhhhhhhh, now I get what I’ve been going through” moments. You see the line between the words “The Cycle” and “of Renewal”? That symbolizes a shortcut that we all take when we only need a minor life tweak to get us back in action. But career pivots typically take a bit more time to percolate. You can’t rush or cliff note the Doldrums or Cocooning. Sorry.
If you are ready to start exploring, here are some steps you can take:
- Read Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career. It deconstructs the process by which many have successfully jumped to new careers, yielding best practices for how it’s done. Not saying it’s easy, or that you don’t have to have a healthy dose of bravery coursing through your veins. But a road map makes that road less bumpy.
- If you are really at a loss, do an inventory of your passions, strengths, unique qualities and experience, and let that inform your exploration.
- Meet new people/do new things.
- Get an Executive Coach – it’s kind of what we do (well, one of the things). You can check out my coaching site here, and I am well networked with other coaches around the country. Happy to help you identify someone that is a great match for you.