So you’ve decided that the job or career you’re in just isn’t what you had in mind for your life. You’ve grown dispassionate about your projects and tasks. Quite frankly, you want out. Perhaps you just want different. You love your career, but the path you’re on seems to be leading you away from fulfillment and maintaining a well-balanced life. Well, join the club! You aren’t alone and you certainly aren’t crazy for wanting to align your career with your values, passions, and purpose. I’ve gone through the “change” and so have countless other women. Let me offer you five steps you’ll want to consider before and during your EPIC leap of faith. (See what I did there?) These steps are in no particular order.
Step 1: Don’t Lead with Your Need
When job hunting and arranging meetings with possible employers, business partners or clients, don’t lead with your need, lead with your value and passion. Sure, you may need and want a career upgrade because what you’re doing now isn’t inspiring or paying all the bills. However, if you let that be what guides your heart and steps, you will likely settle on a path that is intrinsically similar to the one you’ve been on or worse!
Desperation will lead you to settle. Instead, consider what makes you valuable. What are your core skills, the things in which you have mastered and gained expertise? You will have to take a fair amount of time to cultivate this list because we Epic Fab Girls do so much that we often don’t inventory. Next, think about what you are most passionate about. Nothing attracts quality faster than passion. That’s because passion breeds energy and confidence. What makes you lean in when you’re talking? That’s your headline, that’s your lead.
Step 2: Rock the Boat
Don’t be afraid to disappoint others. I’m talking about momma and ’em. Oftentimes we get locked into a career because we are bound to the expectations others have of us. Regardless of whether the path we are on is God’s will for us and is consistent with our purpose, we stay simply to please others and keep that boat still. If you’re on a path that’s leading you to a fruitless and purposeless career, it’s time to rock the boat. It’s time for that boat to capsize and for you to swim! You are an Epic Fab Girl, after all. Swim into God’s perfect will for your life. My experience has been that when those who love you see your joy and peace, they will rally behind you. Ultimately, they want what is best for you. However, you have to be the one to lead the conversation about what is best for you.
Step 3: Don’t Allow Fear to Grip You
Exchange that fear of failure with God’s perfect love. When I took the leap from a corporate employee to consultant and business owner three years ago, I engaged in one of the fiercest internal wars of my life. I thought: Am I really leaving the security of benefits and a steady paycheck for the relative unknown? Am I really about to do this in my mid-30s? Shouldn’t I be settling into my career by now? What will they think about me? (Who is “they” by the way?) What is happening God? What if I fail? Would all of this disruption have been worth it?
Well, it has been three years into my adventure and I can say that it was absolutely worth it. You see, adventuring with God requires faith and His love to be perfected in us. It requires a belief that He will not lead us down a path toward destruction. He is too good to do something like that. God has provided for me, prospered me in more ways than I can count, guided me to purpose, and made me tougher and far more resilient than I was while sitting at that lovely corporate desk with a heart that was growing hopeless and less passionate by the day.
Step 4: Squad Up
Do yourself a favor and surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do and speaking the language that is native to your passion. For me, the classroom has always been an incubator of creativity and vision. I guess it’s the combination of gaining knowledge and exchanging thoughts and ideas with peers that draws out hidden parts of me. I returned to graduate school to earn a doctorate in my late 20’s, after working a full-time job for years. That decision to follow God and find my in-group, my “squad”, represents one of the major upgrades I have experienced in my life.
Your squad is the group of people who speak your language, share similar passions, and are familiar with the wars you will face. They are people that are cut from the same cloth. So if you have been contemplating a career change, please allow God to lead you to these people and add them to your network. They will breathe life and hope into your dreams.
Step 5: Do Your Homework
But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (Luke 14:28)
I’m a huge proponent of mixing faith with God’s wisdom. If you are setting out to build your own business or brand, it’s especially important that you do your research and save up some money. There are plenty of financial experts who will give you tons of advice on how much money to save so I won’t go there. I’ll just say that you need to consider your lifestyle and to what degree you’re comfortable downsizing your lifestyle while you build.
If you’re breaking into a new market or parallel field than the one you’re currently in, know what aspects of your skill set make you the most valuable to those audiences. If you have a few gaps, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can fill the gaps, from online courses and webinars to professional conferences, your world is replete with information sources. Finally, pray. Part of your daily homework is communicating with God and Godly counsel so that you make your move in the most opportune time. Truly, only God knows what that time is so ask Him!
Cheers to you, Epic Fab Girl! I pray God will bless you richly as you journey with Him to purpose.