Career change is no walk in the park.
If it was easy, the castle gates would have burst long ago under the stampede of restless corporate warriors. Even with a burning desire to escape, the gritty issues of money and future work loom larger than life. Add in the trauma of a lost security blanket and you've got a love-hate relationship that keeps you marching stoically in place.
It doesn't have to be that way. Successful career-changers take one step at a time. Learn a little?make a little progress. Learn a little more. Take a giant leap forward. You control the process from beginning to end. When you're energy is strong, act boldly; when you're feeling less confident, slow down.
Learn all you can about the process of change?and educate yourself about the most common mistakes career-changers make, too. Here's a list of the 10 biggest - and how to avoid them.
10 Biggest Career-Change Mistakes
1. Not seriously focused. Career change is a big and amorphous creature. Like any major life event, it takes consistent focus. Don't dabble! Jump in solidly with both feet. Schedule regular "career change" time into your calendar.
2. Poor support. Career change generally doesn't result from just reading a book. It requires a variety of resources and partnering with mentors who are both knowledgeable and objective. Create a "short list" of who could be most valuable to you.
3. Too few clues. To identify new work possibilities, you need a robust set of specific clues about your values, motivational preferences and skills. Start with about 20 - 25 values, passions, skills and preferences, and hone it down to 12 - 15 that resonate most for you.
4. Too much in your head. You can't think your way into work you love - it requires moving into action - asking questions, seeking advice, networking, experimentation.
5. Waiting for the perfect time. There isn't one, so take the first step now. Career change usually takes from one to three years. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll enjoy work that honors all of you - body, mind and spirit.
6. Living in hope. That things will change?magic will happen?someone will come along and fix it. NOT!. You control your destiny?one day at a time.
7. Doesn't take the long view. Reluctant to re-train or take other steps to "wire" yourself for success. Career change is long-term. Bite it off in small chunks.
8. Accepts emotional pain as a way of life. Truly, it doesn't have to work this way. Loving life isn't just for weekends.
9. Fails to create financial reserves that can enable change. Try this out -- see how much you can cut expenses and keep, virtually, your same lifestyle. I think you'll surprise yourself.
10. Thinking you are too old. You are not -- whatever your age. The average age of my client list is 45; the mean is 48; the oldest is 57; the youngest is 36.
Each day, you have a choice about how you want to live your life. Make it one that will give you all the peace and fulfillment that you deserve.
Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1999. Now, as a career fulfillment specialist, she guides unhappy corporate professionals into meaningful work -- both inside and outside the corporate walls.
For more about her background and approach or to receive 5 Complimentary Career Change Lessons, visit http://www.purposefulwork.com