Before we get into session 6 I want to check in with you to see how you went with your activities for session 5 on Applying leverage to multiply your results. What were your wins, challenges and insights?
Take a moment to write your thoughts in your journal
Overview of this session
In session 6 we’re going to look at step 5 in the pivot process: Developing momentum to get more success with less effort. The key to any successful pivot is knowing how to gradually build a momentum that becomes unstoppable. So this session will look at:
- How gaining momentum can boost your chances of a successful career pivot
- The 10 mistakes people make when it comes to creating momentum
- Tips on overcoming the 7 common setbacks you will encounter along the way
- How to create the right support system to supercharge your results
- A structured process for getting started with your pivot
Remember to use the worksheet to record your answers or copy and paste the questions into your electronic journal. You’ll also find some bonus activities to help you fast track your progress.
How gaining momentum can boost your chances of a successful career pivot
Momentum is a dancer’s friend. It allows them to use their body to efficiently move from point A to point B maximising the power of each step they take. Without it they wouldn’t be able to create the amazing movements that capture an audience’s attention.
In your career pivot momentum is what allows each of your steps to link together and create a path to your dream career. It helps you to maximise the outcome of each action you take so it feels more efficient. The hard part is getting started and I’m going to explain why using Newton’s first law of motion:
“an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”
Overcoming inertia and starting your career pivot is the hardest part. Staying in motion is vital to your success because every time you stop you lose momentum and it’s difficult to get it back. Once you have momentum the process gets easier so that even the smallest step makes a big difference. You just need to put one foot in front of the other and before you know it you’ve made real progress.
Gaining momentum can help you by:
Giving you more options When you have momentum it implies you’re taking multiple actions rather than doing one thing and sitting around waiting for it to pay off. This is automatically going to give you more options to choose from. If one doesn’t work out there’ll be another one along soon.
Letting you take advantage of opportunities Being in motion means that when an opportunity comes along you’re in a much better position to take advantage of it than if you were still just thinking about doing something. You feel more prepared and it shows the person making the offer that you’re serious.
Helping you deal with problems When you have momentum you see individual problems for what they are: minor stumbling blocks rather than major barriers to your dream career goal. If you’re taking a lot of action you start to see patterns and this will allow you to address issues more quickly.
Increasing your confidence Every time you have a small victory it boosts your confidence and that let’s you try something more challenging. Before you know it you are way outside your comfort zone and your dream career is getting closer and closer to being a reality.
Think about a time when gaining momentum helped you to achieve a goal. Which of these benefits did you see?
Write your answers on the worksheet
The 10 mistakes people make when it comes to creating momentum
Realising you need to create momentum is one thing. Making it happen is another. At first it’s easy to feel overwhelmed but if you can look past the work involved and think about your end goal you can do it. Sadly, over the years I’ve met too many people who never achieved their career goals because they made some common mistakes and never developed their momentum. There are 10 I’ve come across:
1. Confusing motivation with momentum Right now you’re probably highly motivated to do a career pivot but without the momentum of your actions to back that up your motivation can quickly fade. That’s because motivation is about feelings that can come and go. Momentum lasts because it’s about action. That’s what creates the motion you need to reach your goal.
2. Waiting for everything to be perfect You will never get the ideal set of circumstances to start your career pivot. While you’re waiting for that magic moment to arrive you’re wasting valuable time. You need to start now if you want to avoid living with career regret. Chances are you know what you want but are just too afraid to act. Stop waiting because a year from now you’ll wish you’d started today.
3. Starting before you’re ready This might sound like the opposite of the point I just made but hear me out. I’m talking about taking major action when you aren’t clear on what you want. This is often a knee jerk reaction to a bad patch in your career. If you leap without looking you can end up wasting time and energy going about your career pivot in the wrong way. Until you’re clear on what you want and have considered your options any action you take has minimal chance of maintaining your momentum.
4. Mistaking activity for action It’s easy to start doing random activities that don’t really help with your pivot. It’s like rearranging your office instead of starting on that report you don’t want to write. You might write lists and do research but never act on any of it. Sometimes it’s because you don’t know where to start or you’re scared of what might happen if you do. Stop being busy and start using momentum to get productive.
5.Taking giant leaps Here I’m thinking of the “there’s no going back” decisions like quitting your job and telling your boss where to go. They are dangerous, scary and have a limited chance of success. After the initial adrenalin rush wears off you crash back down to reality. Those highs and lows do not generate momentum, just exhaustion. Momentum is about taking small, consistent steps until you’re sure this is the right path.
6. Putting all your eggs in one basket This happens when you choose a very specific goal that offers only a win/lose outcome. Sure, it’s focused but remember I want you to have your dream career not your career dream. That means there are multiple ways to achieve your dream so it shouldn’t involve placing all your hope in one option. It’s destined to end in disappointment.
7. Attempting to do too much at once I can speak from experience on this one as someone who has moved interstate to a totally foreign environment (Sydney to Darwin) and started their own business while their partner pivoted careers from a safe desk job to dangerous shift work (lawyer to police officer). It’s really hard to get momentum with so much going on. If you have big plans break them down into a series of smaller pivots and do one at a time. You’ll learn something from each one so it will actually get easier as you go.
8. Trying to go in two directions at once This happens when you’re interested in two attractive but divergent paths. It usually means you haven’t done enough research to start your pivot yet. Unless you can find a way to link them together you are better off picking one direction and running with that. Spreading your momentum across two action plans just doesn’t work. Sometimes they even work in opposition to each other.
9. Having unrealistic expectations This could be getting impatient because your pivot isn’t moving at the pace you’d like, not wanting to take a drop in salary or believing you can skip certain steps because of your past experience. Often doing a pivot involves taking a step backwards or sideways before you get forward momentum. Be prepared for that to happen so you don’t get a nasty surprise. Think worst case scenario instead of best case scenario and you will end up far less stressed by the process.
10. Viewing a setback as failure Depending on how big your pivot goal is, you’re going to take a few setbacks along the way. This doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong path. It just means you need to regroup and keep going. Use it to learn rather than give up. There are many famous examples of people who had early setbacks and went on to succeed. Read about them to inspire you to keep going. This is such an important point I’m going to discuss it in more detail in the next section.
When you look back on your career, which of these mistakes have you made? What impact did they have on your momentum?
Write your answers on the worksheet
Tips on overcoming the 7 common setbacks you will encounter along the way
Having setbacks on the path to your dream career is to be expected. If it was easy you’d have done it by now without my help. So instead of getting annoyed, look at them differently. Setbacks can make the process more worthwhile. There is nothing like triumphing over adversity to make you appreciate what you’ve achieved. You don’t have a choice about experiencing setbacks but you do have a choice about how you respond to them. Here are my suggestions for handling some of the common setbacks you’re likely to encounter:
1. Negative feedback This could be about your decision or about you personally. Some people will do it for good reasons, like giving you a reality check or testing to see how determined you are. Others do it because they are jealous of your plan or disillusioned with their own career. Ask for some context on their feedback so you understand where they’re coming from. Focus on the content more than the delivery as some people have valuable ideas but don’t know how to deliver their message. Look for patterns too. Negative feedback from one person can be overlooked but consistently receiving it from a range of people requires investigation.
2. Getting a no No one likes hearing that word because it means we’ve been rejected and that hurts. I hate it when people say “it’s not personal, it’s business”. It feels personal to you. In his TED Talk “What I learnt from 100 days of rejection” Jia Jiang set out to overcome his aversion to rejection. He discovered that it often happens when we don’t fully explain ourselves to the other person, we fail to address their concerns and don’t attempt to negotiate some other agreement. He learnt that asking for feedback on why they said no is vital.
3. Missing out on your ideal role So you applied for the perfect role and you didn’t get it. You’re devastated and you want to give up. Don’t. Go back and regroup. Remember that a dream career isn’t about one role, it’s about what a range of roles could give you. Sure, get feedback on why you missed out but move on. Despite what you think there will always be another opportunity if you keep looking for it. If you sit around moping about the one that got away you’ll miss the next opportunity when it comes along … and it will.
4. Procrastination You keep saying you’re going to start on your pivot but it just never quite happens. Maybe you kid yourself by making lists and designing action plans but you never follow through with them. Don’t wait for something dramatic to happen to spur you into action. That’s a terrible way to make decisions. Procrastination is your mind’s way of saying “I’m not sure” or “I’m afraid”. You don’t have to be sure or confident to start but if you do start then you might become sure and confident. Just take the smallest, safest step you can and use that to gain momentum.
5. Indecision You might keep weighing up your options because you can’t decide what to do or keep changing your mind once you’ve started so you don’t fully commit to any path. You need to check if it’s because this pivot isn’t right for you, you’re confused about how to take action or are you’re afraid. I find when I get stuck in this way of thinking I need to get out of my own head. I write down what I’m feeling and start asking myself why. Sometimes I can immediately see what’s going on and reframe my thinking. Other times I need to put it aside for a few days then read it again to get clarity.
6. Self doubt When you question whether you can or should do a pivot your momentum starts to slow down. This often comes from feeling like you aren’t worthy of success or fulfillment. To defeat your self doubt remind yourself of what you’ve successfully achieved in the past and remember that everyone has moments of doubt. Successful people just reframe it and tell themselves this is just their mind realising they’re getting out of their comfort zone.
7. Feeling unsupported Trying to do a career pivot all by yourself can feel daunting. If you don’t have support from people close to you or, even worse, have people putting obstacles in your way it’s hard to build up momentum. You need to surround yourself with people who will help not hinder your pivot. This is another area that is so important I’m going to discuss it in more detail.
Think back to your past attempts to change something in your life. Which of these are likely to be an issue for you?
Write your answers on the worksheet
How to create the right support system to supercharge your results
I believe that a successful pivot isn’t something you can do alone. You probably didn’t get into your current career position on your own. You had supporters. The only way you’re going to pivot to your dream career is with support. Ideally what you want are people to keep you accountable. Here’s why:
Research by the Dominican University found that being accountable to someone increases your chances of success. They conducted a study that found when people sent action commitments and weekly reports on their progress to a friend they accomplished significantly more than people who only sent action commitments and no progress reports.
Having someone make you accountable helps you to stay on track and remain focused on your dream career goal. They can ensure you don’t lose momentum or stumble when you experience a setback.
So if support is vital how do you select the right people to help you? Well, let’s look at it another way: what does the wrong support system look like?
Biased Seeking help from people close to you can sound like a great idea but watch out that they aren’t biased. Family members can be more concerned about you following in their footsteps or damaging their reputation. Friends may not want you to make decisions that will impact your relationship or cause them to rethink their own career.
Ulterior motives I’d be careful about people who have their own motives for wanting to help. It could be the person wanting to sell you into a high fee course, the manager who doesn’t want to lose you or the recruitment consultant desperate to fill a vacancy. Always ask yourself “what’s in it for them in supporting me?”.
Wrong risk profile We all fit somewhere on a scale between low risk, highly conservative types who would only consider mainstream career options to high risk takers who have made and lost fortunes. Figure out what risks you’re prepared to take and then look for potential supporters who are the same or offer a slightly different perspective rather than a major leap in their direction.
Too many opinions Whilst it can seem that having a large team of supporters would help you to achieve your dream career quicker, it can actually slow you down. Having too many different points of view can leave you confused especially if they offer you conflicting advice and keeping them all in the loop will be time consuming.
Can you think of a time when you asked for support with your career from the wrong people. What was the outcome?
Write your answers on the worksheet
Here are my suggestions for the type of people who would make good supporters during your career pivot:
People who have done a pivot Someone who has done what you’re trying to do can make a great supporter. They know what it feels like to be in your position and have the benefit of hindsight.
People going through a pivot There is nothing like going through an experience with someone who is in exactly the same position. They don’t need to be doing the same type of pivot as you to be of support.
A career coach You could also work with a coach who has helped numerous people go through this process. They can bring a wealth of experience and potentially useful contacts to help you.
(If you need help with your career pivot contact me to discuss my coaching services)
Who do you know that can support you during your career pivot?
Write your answers on the worksheet
A structured process for getting started with your pivot
Creating momentum starts by taking the first step down the path to a new career. Now that we’ve looked at how to create momentum the question is where do you begin? Well, I have a 5 step strategy to get you going:
Reach out Start by reaching out to people who can help you, reading everything you can, conducting career interviews and finding supporters. Do the research you need to make a decision and press go on your career pivot.
Hang out Spend time with people who are doing what you want to do. It will show you’re committed, help you pick up ideas and ensure you’re on hand when an opportunity comes up. Your goal is visibility so join the relevant professional associations, attend meet ups or get involved in an online community.
Test out Now it’s time to test your idea. Try it on for size by “acting as if”, imagine you already have your dream career. Think about what you’d be doing, how it would feel. Then do it for real by becoming a volunteer or getting involved in a project, even if you have to start it yourself. This will let you show initiative and give you something to talk to potential employers or customers about.
Speak out Have an opinion or point of view that you can discuss with others, something that makes you stand out from the crowd. You can also speak out by asking to be considered for roles. Let people know what you’re looking for and be specific.
Step out You need to decide how you will step out and make the transition to your new career. This is when your pivot starts to feel real because you’re taking action that will impact your daily life. I’ve come up with 8 options for you to consider.
1. Quit your job I’m going to start with the most extreme option. If your current career is highly stressful or very restricting you may need to leave. On the upside you’ll probably receive a financial payout, get immediate relief from your stress and have plenty of time to pursue your next career. Of course it could make it harder to secure a new role and you are putting extra pressure on yourself to make the pivot work so you don’t have to ask for your job back.
2. Look for a new role A safer option is to stay in your current role and start applying for new positions internally or externally. This works if you don’t need much retraining to qualify for your new career so it could be used if you are doing a pivot to a new industry, new conditions or new clients. Consider how easy it will be to find time for your job search including getting time off for interviews. You may need to combine this with one of the others options if you want to increase your chances of success.
3. Study part time You could continue in your current role as you work towards qualifications in a new career. This may be supported by your employer if it’s likely you can stay with them or you may need to consider how you’ll pay for it yourself. Having done this I can tell you that it requires dedication and good time management to be effective. You need to check first if this qualification is essential or will increase your options. Don’t be swayed by well meaning advice from the program provider. Consider a low cost short course first before committing to a long and expensive program.
4. Take on a second job You may choose to take on a second job to gain experience before leaving your existing role. This can help you get known to people in that organisation or industry. For example, with a “from doing to showing others” pivot you could take a second job as a TAFE teacher working at night or on the weekend. Over time you may get offered more teaching hours until it becomes viable for you to leave your other role. In some cases you’ll need to explore if your employer will see this a conflict of interest.
5. Reduce your hours In some industries there is an option to reduce your working hours to allow you to take on a second role, start a business or simply give you more time to look for other roles. This can also help if your chosen pivot involves developing a new mindset as it can reduce your stress and give you an opportunity to reset. Of course it would mean earning less money and not all roles lend themselves to part time hours.
6. Start a side hustle You could continue in your current role and use your spare time to work on a business idea until it reaches a point where you can earn enough income from it to leave your job. This only works if you aren’t going to be seen as a competitor by your employer. Some people find their side hustle fulfills their unmet needs and don’t need to quit their day job. This can be more stressful and time consuming than taking a second job and there is often no clear path to success.
7. Take a break Consider stepping away from your role for 3 to 12 months. You could use long service leave or take leave without pay to finance your break. Some people use it to travel and refocus so they return with a new mindset while others use it to explore their options. I know someone who worked in a government role and after being involved in a special project took a year off to explore a related business idea. They returned to their role and then resigned a year later to pursue their business full time.
8. Get a filler role You may want to take on a less demanding role or something temporary so you have more flexibility. This way you can still earn money and have some structure to your week. It will depend on your skill set and the nature of your industry whether this is possible. You might go back to a former occupation to make this work. That’s OK as long as you don’t get trapped there.
As you can see there are few factors you need to take into account when deciding on how you’re going to step out:
- Flexibility of your employer
- Restrictions by your employer
- The nature of your industry or occupation
- Stress levels in your role
- Your financial situation
- Your time commitments
- How long you want to take to do your pivot
- The level of risk you’re prepared to take
So now it’s time for you to create your personal strategy plan. How will you:
Reach out … Hang out … Test out … Speak out … Step out
Write your answers on the worksheet
So now that you’ve got a strategy to follow how do you get started? Well, you need to treat your career pivot like you would any other project and have a detailed action plan. I see there are 7 steps you need to take:
Step 1: Create a master activity list Write down everything you need to do. For now, don’t worry about the order or level of priority. Put down multiple options where you can. Think creatively about what you could do. This is a brainstorming session so no idea is dumb. You already started doing this at the end of Session 4 so all you need to do now is review what you wrote and add more items from Session 5 and Session 6.
Step 2: Create an activity plan Now take your master list and start analysing it. Determine the best steps to take then rank them in terms of cost, ease and likely payoff. Then put them in a logical order where possible. Finally you can create weekly and monthly action plans with specific steps.
Step 3: Set milestones Instead of just thinking about your end goal, have a series of milestones along the way. This will make the process seem easier as you regularly have something to celebrate. Plus it will allow you to have check in points to ensure this plan is still right for you.
Step 4: Get started The key is to take step number one as soon as possible and get momentum working for you. It doesn’t matter how small that first step is. The important thing is you feel like you’re getting somewhere. Taking any action no matter how small will improve your situation.
Step 5: Track your progress Keep a record of everything you’re doing so you can track how you’re going. You might like to record the degree of difficulty, time taken, stumbling blocks, outcomes and next steps.
Step 6: Record your successes Whenever you have a win, no matter how small, write it down. Keep copies of emails or anything else that’s going to keep you positive. It’s too easy to focus on the failures so you need something to go back and read when you have a setback.
Step 7: Do regular reviews On a regular basis do a review of your action plan. Figure out what’s working and what’s not. Look at where you’ve had your wins and where you’ve encountered problems. See if there are any patterns forming. Think about whether your plan is still on track or you need to make some adjustments. Share it with your support people.
For now I want you to focus on Steps 1 to 3. So write down your master activity list, create an action plan and set your milestones.
Write your answers on the worksheet
Putting it all together
OK, your final action for the program is all about step 4: getting started. I want to challenge you to get started right now, as soon as you finish reading this. There is just one question you need to answer:
What is the first step I need to take for my dream career to become a reality?
Where to from here
This has been the last session but the program isn’t over just yet. I’m going to send you 6 follow up emails, one every week for the next 6 weeks to help you implement the ideas you’ve learnt in the Dream Career Program.
Keep an eye on your inbox for your first email arriving next week.