I've personally helped over 200 people change careers. Here's what having a backstage pass to that many career changes has taught me:
1| Everyone is scared.
Everyone. Even when they know it's the right thing. Even when they're excited. Even when they have support. The people who have more resources are not less afraid. The people have who more work experience are not less afraid. The people who have more degrees are not less afraid.
Takeaway: Fear is normal, it's not a predictor of failure, and you have to address it directly so you can move forward.
2| It's always messy.
Even when there are simple steps to follow, things get messy. You get sick. You get scared. Your power goes out on launch day. The computer eats your new resume. You miss a filing deadline. You order pizza for dinner way too many times. You try a Big Thing and the response is crickets.
Takeaway: There's no tidy way to do something you've never done before. Expect some mess. Be resourceful and keep going.
3. It's about way more than your career.
Your career is about who you are, how you contribute, how you relate to the world, and what you expect in return. That's not just what you do from 9-5, that's your IDENTITY. In order to change careers, you will have to change part of you. The good news is that once you find your Homecoming Career, there's a positive ripple effect into the rest of your life.
Takeaway: It feels big because it is big. Treat it with respect and get the support you need.
4. It's not about the website or the resume.
People think that if they can get their website just so or get their resume in enough hands, that things will fall into place. No. Your website or resume can't compensate for your lack of direction, clarity, or confidence in yourself. When you know who you are, what you stand for, what you have to offer, and where you're headed, seas will part for you. And your marketing materials will be an extension of a truly powerful foundation: you.
Takeaway: You can't dress up confusion and doubt. Do the real work and your materials will reflect it.
5. People are far more capable than they realize.
It can be really hard to see yourself in a different way, or to see a different future for yourself. I've never had a client who wasn't 1. Capable of so much more than they were doing, and 2. Oblivious to a lot of their own value and strength.
Takeaway: There may be a gap between where you are and where you want to go, but it's not nearly as big as you think.