Has a job or project recently ended for you? Are you thinking about making a major career change? Are you finding that despite your best intentions, your energy level drops whenever you begin to take steps toward starting something new?
No one ever talks about it, but there is one crucial building block that must be in place in order for your new career to have a strong foundation:
Take the time to mourn the person you thought you were going to be.
If you're like most people, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" is a question you've been hearing your entire life. Now that you're an adult and officially in the work force, you may have found that your dream job isn't what you expected it to be. Maybe your job looks better in the movies; maybe it isn't fulfilling; perhaps it's not something that suits your natural talents and abilities. Maybe you've finally realized that your dream job was never even your own, but based on what someone else wanted for you.
Whatever the reason for wanting to make a change, there is a crucial aspect to the transition process that we tend to forget. Giving up on the vision or idea of yourself that you held onto for so long can easily be the hardest thing about changing careers. Often it's the sole reason that people aren't willing to consider other options. When a person's identity is so closely linked to what they do for a living, it can be traumatic to let it go. How will you define yourself without the title that you worked so hard for, that others have come to expect things from, that you've invested so much in?
Taking the time to let go and forgive yourself for not being the person you thought you were going to be is essential, and can create a profound shift in the way you see yourself. Accepting who you really are and what you really want is the first step toward making a healthy change. There are millions of jobs, and just as many people putting in their time at those jobs, but the most successful people the ones who embrace what they do because it feels like an extension of who they are. Whatever finally motivates you to let go of our current identity and start the process of finding a better fit, remember that change and failure are not the same thing. Finding the right work for you will not only make you more successful, but will make your contributions more valuable. Try to accept that though this transition may be challenging or even painful, healing is a process. Much like mourning the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship, you may need to let go of who you thought you were going to be in order to become the person you truly are.