Navigating Career Changes: 5 Steps to Success

Reading time: 4 minutes

Embarking on a significant change in your career can be both thrilling and challenging. Whether you’re pursuing a new career path or overcoming workplace hurdles, it’s likely you went through a range of emotions from excitement to uncertainty and frustration – like in a rollercoaster.

We’ll explore these emotional experiences and I offer five steps to help you navigate the ups and downs of change to achieve your career success.

Understanding the Emotional Phases of Career Change

Psychologists Don Kelley and Daryl Connor have identified five stages of emotional responses that individuals commonly undergo during periods of change.

(1) Uninformed Optimism, (2) Informed Pessimism, (3) Valley of Despair, (4) Informed Optimism, and (5) Success and Fulfillment.

Let’s delve into each stage to gain insights that can help you better cope with change.

Stage 1: Uninformed Optimism

The first stage is characterized by uninformed optimism, where you imagine all the great things that could happen with the new career and feel excited. However, it’s essential to ensure that you have all the necessary information to avoid unrealistic expectations.

Stage 2: Informed Pessimism

The second stage is informed pessimism, where you encounter obstacles and challenges that cause insecurity and frustration. This stage is where you can become aware of the realities of change.

Stage 3: Valley of Despair

The third stage, the Valley of Despair, is where you feel overwhelmed and uncertain, and progress seems impossible. This is a crucial stage in which people often give up, so it’s essential to seek support.

Stage 4: Informed Confidence

The fourth stage is informed confidence, where you have gained a better understanding of the change and the challenges. You feel more hopeful and motivated to achieve your goal.

Stage 5: Success and Fulfillment

The final stage is success and fulfillment, where you have mastered the career transition and achieved your desired outcome. This stage is the reward for your hard work and perseverance.

How to Get Out of the Valley of Despair

The Valley of Despair is the stage where many people get stuck or give up on their goals. To avoid this, having a clear and compelling vision is essential. Jim Rohn, an American author and motivational speaker, referred to these phases as the winter of life.

Here are some ways to get out of the Valley of Despair:

Recognize it’s normal: It’s normal to experience the Valley of Despair when undergoing a significant career change. It’s not a sign of failure but a necessary part of the process.

Seek support: Seek support from people who have been through similar experiences. Advice from mentors, coaches, or colleagues can help gain new perspectives and stay motivated.

Review your career goals: Remember why you started to change careers in the first place and focus on the big picture instead of the current difficulties. Breaking your goal into smaller steps can also help make it more manageable.

Celebrate small successes: Acknowledge your progress and take time to celebrate your accomplishments. Celebrating small successes can help motivate you to keep going.

Career transitioning can be quite a journey, filled with its fair share of challenges, but with a clear understanding of the emotional phases and strategic support, you can emerge successfully on the other side.

If you’re itching to kickstart a change and want someone in your corner, let’s chat. I’m offering a free coaching consultation where we can dive into your goals, tackle the roadblocks, and set you on a path to a career that lights you up. Don’t be shy; let’s make your career dreams a reality!🚀

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