Want to know when it’s time to pivot your career even if things aren’t falling apart? Read on for some guideposts.
Before Beyoncé was Queen Beyoncé, she was one of Destiny’s children. Before Oprah was a tv hostess, network owner, and knower of all things, she was a news anchor. Before Shonda Rhimes inked a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix and gave us Bridgerton, she wrote the Crossroads movie for Britney Spears.
All of these successful entrepreneurs started their careers in one direction and then made pivots that lead them to greater influence, success, and happiness. The decision to shift their careers may seem like no-brainers to us now, but that’s our hindsight view. Change is never easy in the moment.
As professionals, far too often, we remain committed to jobs, titles, ideas, and strategies that are well past their expiration date. Unlike spoiled milk, our chosen paths never admit a foul order to let us know that it’s time to move on. If we are still earning a great salary or generating revenue, we don’t notice that the tide has shifted, and we must react accordingly.
So how do you know when it’s time to pivot your career if things aren’t falling apart? Here are a few guideposts.
Pivot Before Your Resign
If you fantasize about leaving your job at lunch and never returning, then you may have missed the opportunity to pivot before the end smacks you in the face. Resignation sets in when your tank is completely empty. If you are burnt out and filled with anxiety every day, you’ve overstayed your welcome at your job. If you wish someone would throw you a lifeline so you can quit and let it all go even though your job pays well, it has been time to go.
If this is happening to you, it’s time to act fast. You don’t want to throw everything you’ve built away simply because you failed to pivot when you first started getting the urge to leave. Instead of fantasizing about resigning without notice, put a plan in place to leave your current position in a way that sets you up for success in what comes next.
Your Needs Have Changed
Remember, when everyone had a palm pilot and a blackberry? If you sold protective covers for those devices back then, you were probably rolling in dough. But, if you are still selling those same covers today, your business is probably bankrupt.
Our desires and needs change all the time. So our reason for taking a position 5 years ago, it’s likely not relative to our desires and needs today. Instead of remaining committing to fitting a square peg into a round hole at your current job. Accept that your needs are different and find a role that meets them.
Your Heart Isn’t In It
Sometimes it’s not your needs that have changed, it’s your values and desires. Working as a legal professional is tough, and much of the work is thankless. To keep going in the face of those challenges, you need a compelling reason. So, if your values and desires have changed, then it’s time to pivot your career to match those core beliefs. By realigning your career goals with your values, you’ll find more joy and motivation in your work.
You Want Something Magical
In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert explains that, like humans, animals, and bacteria, ideas live on this planet and are swirling around us all the time. When we “get an idea,” one of those swirling thought-forms has simply landed on us. Once it falls, we can either say yes or no to that idea. If we choose the former, then we must commit to seeing the idea through to the end, or it will leave us and attach itself to someone else.
We all have had the experience of having a great idea, doing nothing about it, and then later seeing someone else turn that idea into a huge success. That’s because ideas are valuable. While every idea isn’t for you, if you stumble across one that turns your current career dream into a movement, it’s time to pivot.
This doesn’t mean behaving irresponsibly or failing to follow through. However, it does mean acknowledging that truly life-changing ideas are rare, and if you receive one, you must be courageous enough to act on it.
Are you thinking about shifting your career focus? I have strategies for that. Click the link below to schedule a free coaching call so that we can create some traction on a strategy tailor-made for you.
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