Struggling With Career Transition? Start Saying NO. (It’ll Help, Promise!).
I’ve been in a reflective mood recently.
My team and I have been welcoming a lot of awesome new folks into the Revolutionary Club and Career Happiness Community over the last few weeks.
Many of these people are just at the very beginning of the career transition journey.
And that journey is…well….a lot.
I remember when I was first starting out, thinking “How am I even going TO DO THIS???”
“Where the HECK DO I START??#$@@!!”
Often that was followed by falling semi-dramatically onto my couch while reaching for a bag of nachos.
We each have our own methods :).
But there was one major thing I did along my journey which made career transition much, much easier.
Struggling with Career Transition? Do this first.
Step 1: Say no.
Don’t say no to yourself or your dreams – please believe you can find your passion and work you love (here’s a free worksheet to help with that if you want it).
But start saying no to those things that prevent you from making progress. They tend to come in a few categories.
- Your own personal demons
- All of the stuff in your life that is happening now
- Your work
Step 2: Tackle your demons
The first thing you need to say “no” to is yourself.
You’ve got a very logical, well-thought out, deeply comfortable list of reasons why now is not a good time to make a career transition, why things will go to pot if you make a shift, why you will ABSOLUTELY fail, and about a million more depressing thoughts.
Your brain (and mine!) are fun like that.
It’s all about keeping you safe. Hey, if you never try to figure it out, you never have to fail, right?
Or if you don’t take a leap, you never have to find out if you could do it or not.
But for career transition, focusing only on safety is the enemy.
So, when you think about your next step and your brain steps in with a gentle cough and says “Don’t do it. DON’T DO IT. Seriously, don’t do it!” I want you to say “No!” and then maybe “Shut up!”
After you issue that no to your own fears and doubts, step back for a second and ask yourself this: “What if I could…?” or “Let’s assume this will work, what is my next step?”
And simply go from there.
I’m not asking you to quit your job tomorrow, let’s be clear. I AM asking you to at least start to think about how you could.
Say NO to your life
I’m not going to lie: Career transition is hard!
It’s a pain.
It takes a LOT of energy and motivation.
And you are going to have to hoard yours if you want to successfully make a jump.
So, it’s time to say no to a few things in your life.
Let me give you an example of what I mean: When I was getting my coaching certification, I was also working full time and working on a side business. It was almost like I had THREE jobs.
I also had a relationship, friends, family, and other stuff happening, like my addiction to Bravo TV.
I didn’t have time for all of it.
So I sat down and thought to myself: “What is my end goal? What is really important here?”
For me, what was important was making a career change. In that moment in my life, figuring out work that was meaningful trumped everything else.
So, I took a hard look at my life and started to say no.
First I said no to a lot of random social engagements.
Then I said no to seeing my friends, except on a specific night once a week.
I said no to tackling any volunteer work, taking on any favors, or anything beyond my career transition.
Then finally I said no to my side business – it wasn’t my future and while I loved it, it wasn’t my future.
I didn’t have to say no forever, so please don’t think I’m telling you to avoid your family or put every single thing on the back burner. But I am saying that you will have to make some temporary hard choices so you can make this transition.
And that’s okay. This is work worth doing.
Say NO to your work
This is bold, I know.
You are probably thinking: “Christie, it’s my JOB! I can’t say no!”
I understand that.
But I want you to start saying backdoor “no’s” when you can.
What is a backdoor no? It’s when you say no without really saying “no.”
When your boss asks you to stay late for the 1000th time for no good reason, say that you are always honored to help, but in this case you can’t. However, you can totally recommend someone else if they need additional help.
When someone asks you to take on an extra project or task beyond what you want to do (you’ve got an new career to find, after all!), gently ask them what priority it is, and let them know that if you do this new task, you’ll have to stop doing something else in order to make sure that no balls get dropped and everything keeps running smoothly.
And say no to some bad work habits, like:
When you think “I should check my email at 9 pm or 7 am” say NO to yourself. It’s okay not to work around the clock.
When you find yourself staying late out of loyalty versus necessity, say no to yourself and go home.
Here’s what I want you to remember: Your current job is not your future.
So do well at it, but don’t let it stand in the way of what you really want to do (or stand in the way of figuring it out).
Too many of us try and focus on everything at once, instead of being amazing at the most important things.
Meaningful work IS one of the most important things.
Finally, please remember this important quote: “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” – Greg McKeown
It’s time to say NO.
(Don’t panic, you can do it!)
Want more help saying no (and yes)?
If you are feeling really stuck in your career and unable to prioritize because you don’t even know where to start on this whole “meaningful work” thing, then please grab my Job UNstuck kit right over here.
It’s free, fun, and over the course of 3 days will help you figure out how to get unstuck, and also what will make you happy.