In the final part of our career change advice blog, we’re focused on the Reinvention Phase – or consolidation of the new you!
So far, we’ve tackled how to react to the knowns and unknowns of your career change journey as you enter the Realisation Phase and consider what’s on the horizon. In the Planning Phase we discussed defining big goals and dreams, making ambition reality, with the support of roles models and those in your network. The Transition Phase provided tips and advice for getting stuck into your new situation, managing change whilst staying positive and optimistic.
In the Reinvention Phase, we look at how to adjust to your new circumstances, finding your stride, managing energy and pace. We also look more deeply at safeguarding your long-term wellbeing. The Reinvention Phase is a great time to take stock and get into some self-assessment about your overall experience of change and personal development.
Buckle up, this is the most exciting part of any change process because now you’re living and breathing the reality!
Let’s pick up that career journal and continue.
Part 4: The Reinvention Phase
Now that at least some of your career change has been implemented, it’s a good idea to consider how things are going for you. Are there any checks or tweaks that need administering? Are further changes afoot that shift you further away from where you started the change process? Have you adjusted well to your new situation – managing your energy and pace optimally?
A simple place to start is with an assessment of what has happened thus far. Ask yourself the following:
- What memorable things have happened since you started your career change journey? i.e. new skills, knowledge, habits, qualifications
- How are your new relationships developing?
- Who or what has influenced you during this time and in what way?
- What thoughts and feelings come to mind when you think about your experience so far?
- What would you have done differently, if anything?
- Does your experience to date lead you to any conclusions?
- What’s on the road ahead?
When you’ve had time to consider these questions, have a think about your energy and pace. Are you feeling full of beans and with energy to burn? Has your new reality left you feeling drained and exhausted, or do you sit somewhere in the middle?
The performance curve
When we think about career change advice, one thing that always comes to mind is the merit in plotting a graph that determines whether your levels of stress are fuelling optimum performance or overwhelming it. Think of it as your performance curve.
Right now – where do you sit? Do you need a bit more stress to help you raise your game? Are you at the optimum point where the right amount of pressure is creating good performance? Or have you tipped over into negative performance, because too much stress is preventing you from doing what you need to do?
Where do you sit on the performance curve?
The result of being under-stressed or over-stressed is often the same. You feel unhappy, dissatisfied and confused about what to do next. If you feel under-stressed and like you would benefit from amping up the energy, you could try:
- Setting your alarm a little earlier and starting your day with a clear to-do list
- Asking for more responsibility or taking on something additional, such as training or extra projects
- Reviewing your objectives and setting further stretch in your goals
- Tracking progress more carefully
- Setting clearer measures and targets
- Speeding up your time to deliver
If you are feeling a little too stressed and feel like you could do with resetting the energy, then you could try:
- Asking for help
- Reducing your range of focus
- Assessing your time management
- Removing yourself from unnecessary meetings to improve focus
- Getting sufficient sleep, eating well, exercising and staying hydrated
- Giving yourself mindfulness time to process your experience
- Remembering to celebrate success and have fun
Safeguarding your wellbeing
It’s an unfortunate truth that when you finally get to the place of ‘living the new you’, you can often be exhausted by the journey of getting to this exact point! Here are the typical indicators and signs that your wellbeing is compromised because of your new work reality:
- Poor sleep quality
- Weight gain from eating the wrong foods
- Weight loss from not eating at all
- Increased alcohol consumption
- Skin rashes (yep, too much stress can certainly do that)
- Irritability, when perhaps there’s no real cause for it
- Lack of concentration
- Failing to hit deadlines
- Feeling overly emotional
- Issues with maintaining cordial relationships – either at work or home
- Poor quality work
- Fatigue or low energy
- You’re buzzing and on a high but you don’t ever switch off
- Working ridiculous hours with few breaks
- Having your smartphone glued to your hand almost permanently
- Trying really hard to please others and not thinking about yourself
These signs often lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy – you’re trying way too hard, or you think you’re failing. You’re stuck and unable to move forward. As a result, things start to get compromised and your performance does start to stutter. Before your new reality ticks any of the above boxes, take some time to put a few simple practices into play.
Firstly, focus on the problem. Identify exactly what issues are giving you cause for concern and think about how you can practically resolve or minimise the impacts of these concerns.
You should also reconsider your emotions. You probably have a lot of different feelings and anxieties going on right now. Think about how you can change the language in your head to look on the positive side. Perhaps try sharing your concerns or trying techniques to regulate your emotions.
If you feel you need some support, think about who can help you. Try and take this step before your feelings or any problems begin to overwhelm you. Can you speak to your line manager or another work colleague about support?
When things are challenging and difficult, it’s easy to lose perspective on why you set out on your new journey in the first place. Go back to basics and get some quality perspective. What were you hoping to achieve? What was exciting or interesting for you at the beginning?
Most people falter here and there when going on any journey of change. It doesn’t mean that you’ve made the wrong decision, it simply means you might need to change course a little or remind yourself of the original goals set.
Whether you’re riding high in your new reality or are feeling a little frazzled by everything that has gone on, don’t forget to keep up the regular self-assessments. This way you can be sure to avoid dropping into any ruts and stay optimally happy!
You may feel that you’ve had a sugar rush of excitement about what you’re now doing. Everything is going brilliantly (and long may that continue!). At this euphoric time – for good reason sometimes called the ‘honeymoon period’ – everything might seem rosy and perfect.
Just remember, you can’t always do everything at once. Maintain your optimum energy and pace for the long haul. For many, a ‘career’ (even if changeable) is still a lifetime pursuit. You need to enjoy building it over many years, not just a few months!
Self-assessments will also help if you realise that the goals you had at the beginning of this period of change have either taken you to a completely different place than expected, or made you realise what you thought you wanted isn’t actually what you do want. Chances are, there have been ups and downs to your recent experience. You want to maximise the ups and minimise the downs!
You can reassess your situation using all of the questions, tools and methodologies suggested across our four career change advice blogs.
Alternatively, you might like to consider some form of professional assessment tool – closely studying how your character, motivation, values, likes and dislikes change over time. We like The Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and Characterscope. However, there are many alternative questionnaires on the market. You could use our Value Cards, to help assess if your fundamental values and beliefs are changing as you try out new things.
If you’ve taken on board our career change advice, we’re sure it will have helped you transition from one situation to something new, just that little bit more easily. Keep believing and keep going!