Tag Archives for " career transition "

Oct 19

How to turn your career vision into reality

By Felicity Dwyer | Career change , Motivation , Small Business

A first step in making a career change is to work out where you want to get to.  This is true whether you want to land your dream job, or want to start or grow your own business. But this may not be enough, on it’s own.

Create a vision of your future

Creating a vision is an important step towards your ideal future. It’s worth taking time to work out what you really really want. Sometimes that clarity can be enough to set you on the path to success.

But sometimes, identifying an ambitious goal can spark a sense of overwhelm. The gap between where you want to be and where you are now seems huge. How will you bridge the chasm?

Assess your current reality

The answer is to start with an objective assessment of where you are now. A vision of a desired future is an important element to achieving goals and can provide the pull to get you going. But it’s not enough on its own. You have to find the motivation to take action.

In her book “Rethinking Positive Thinking”, psychologist Garbriele Oettingen shares her research that indicates positive visualisation on it’s own can actually reduce your chances of success. You may feel so psychologically buoyed up by your happy thoughts that you lack the sense of urgency or internal motivation needed to actually do the work needed.

She suggests that once you have identified your end goal, you then actually face up to and imagine the reality of the obstacles or the internal stuggle that you will face along the way. Research shows that “mental contrasting” between your goal and the current situations will make it more likely that you will achieve what you want.

Creative tension leads to action

In “The Path of Least Resistance”, Robert Fritz differentiates between people who just dream about or imagine their desired future, and the creators who take action to turn their vision into reality. The gap between the vision of your dream job and the reality of what you have now provides the structural tension needed to take action.

Writing a bookSo you need to be clear about where you are now, and what are the steps you need to take right now to move towards your goal. It doesn’t matter how small your first step is – the important thing is that you take it. And you need to be aware of what might get in the way, for example fear of rejection or the distractions of social media. Then make a plan for how you will move past this obstacle if it comes up. And then you take action. And then you take a next step. Build in some time for reflection, learning and planning after each step.

For example, if you want to write a book, it’s one thing to imagine your successful book launch, and all the wonderful ideas that you will be sharing. But you also need to consider what might get in the way of you sitting down day after day to get your words on paper. And then identify some specific strategies to help you overcome the resistance, moments of self-doubt and procrastination that hit almost every successful author along the way

Small steps up a mountain

Climbing a mountainAnother example, if you’re considering self-employment after 30 years in corporate life, there may seem as though there’s a mountain to climb in terms of learning. But there are plenty of people who were in this position a few years ago. So a small step could just be to have a conversation with one or two of them.

You could book into a small business networking meeting, chat to a few people and find out what they do. Or if you feel nervous at the thought, overcome this by taking an even smaller step. You could contact the leader of a local networking group leader for a chat. They will soon let you know if pre-start ups are welcome at their events, and how to make the most of your visit.

Look back and celebrate

A final thought. It can be helpful to look back on goals you have achieved, and celebrate the steps you took that led you to where you are now. Remind yourself that goals are great, but action is awesome. You can do this!

Career Change Toolkit Report

Career Change Toolkit

Contemplating career change or job search can feel daunting. Download this free toolkit full of resources and tips to help you feel more confident about your next steps.

Butterfly symbolising change
Sep 30

Manage transitions in your work and life

By Felicity Dwyer | Career change , Motivation

Making a big career or life change can be tough. And we all have to face changes in our lives. You may want to move to a new job or start a business. You may face redundancy or retirement. You may need to move home, start a family, or return to work after a break.

An approach which can help you manage change comes from the work of William Bridges. Bridges describes the difference between the external change, and the internal process of transition.

“Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”
William Bridges “Managing Transitions”

Of course, the two don’t always dovetail neatly. Often the external change happens before you’ve had time to make the internal transition. That’s when you can feel stressed, overwhelmed, confused or fearful. In this state, it can be hard to make important decisions about your future.

Understanding the three stages of transition can help you through this process.

Phases of Transition (Bridges)


An aspect of change is that something is being left behind. It is important to acknowledge what is being lost. Even when you want the change to happen, it is valuable to recognise that something is finishing. It allows completion.

Imagine you’re returning to work after time at home with your children. You may be keen to start using your professional skills again, but also need to acknowledge the loss of time with family.

Or you may have been promoted to a management role. This is a positive change. But you may miss being part of your former team, with plenty of camaraderie and fewer responsibilities.

It can be particularly hard when the change is not of your making. If you’re made redundant from a job you enjoy, there is a clearly a loss. It is important to be able to “mourn” that in a sense, before you’re ready to move on. The moving on process can take some time, or it can happen quite quickly. Sometimes the recognition of the ending is all that is needed to free up energy to move forward.

Neutral Zone

This is an in-between stage. You’ve accepted that something is ending, but are not sure about or committed to what comes next. When you recognize that feelings of confusion, uncertainty and even fear are part of this, you can see that they will not last forever.  And there are positive aspects to this phase if you allow them in.

You have choices; choices over how to react to the change, and choices about what to do next. You may find it helpful to re-frame your feelings of uncertainty. You can choose to see them as part of a process of research and ideas generation for creating your next steps. This can be a creative time.

Again, we may pass through the neutral zone quickly. Or it we may have to live in this stage for a while. This is particularly so with a big life change such as moving to a new town.

Mark was struggling with imposed retirement. He needed to go through the process of acknowledging his feelings about the loss of status and routine. In the neutral zone, he started to think about positive ways to spend retirement. He became involved in an active voluntary group fundraising for his community, and also volunteered to mentor younger people in his former line of work.


There is a difference between the start of something new, and the beginning. In Bridges model, the beginning is where we have come through the neutral zone and are psychologically ready to commit to the new reality. And it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the new.

If we have gone consciously through the previous two stages, then we may start to feel the excitement and promise of the beginning.

So for example, we can start a new job with our focus on enjoying and making the most of it, whether or not we would rather have stayed in our previous one.

Isabel had to make some difficult decisions about returning to work after having her daughter.  She didn’t want to go back to the long hours and demands of her corporate job. So she researched her options. Her company didn’t want her to return part-time, and she found that local part-time jobs weren’t a good match for her skills.  So she set up as an independent consultant in her field. She acknowledged the loss of income and job security through her decision. This allowed her to move on and focus on the increased freedom in managing her time and workload, and the excitement of being her own boss.

Like all models, this one is a simplification, and in real life there is an overlap between the three phases. The value comes in recognising where you are in the process. Trying to rush through a stage is counter-productive, and so is dwelling longer than you need in any one phase. You can assess your journey through the transition by noticing the shift in your thoughts and feelings as one stage moves into the next.

Help with managing change – an invitation

Would you like some expert support to help you work through a change or decision in your life? Coaching can be really helpful at times of change, and my style is warm and supportive. Please email me if you would like to book a complimentary consultation.



Career gold
Mar 31

Can you enjoy the process of career transition?

By Felicity Dwyer | Career change , Career development , Motivation

In his book “A Life at Work”,  Thomas Moore uses the metaphor of alchemy as a way of describing our search for our life’s work. He talks about the value inherent in the process of finding and deepening our sense of what we are here to do. As the alchemists strove to transform base metal into gold, our search for a life’s work transforms our personal history and experiences into something unique and meaningful.

Sometimes it seems as though what is happening in our working lives is “base metal”: day-to-day frustrations, lack of progress, lack of focus. And yet if we are willing to trust that things will work out, and able to find value in the stuff of our lives, then we will find glimmers of gold emerging.

And finding a way to enjoy the process will in itself bring a sense of meaning. In every career, there will be successes and setbacks along the way. But there is almost never an end-point at which we can say “yes I’ve made it!”; life is always unfolding.

We are now into a General Election campaign in the UK. Standing for parliament is a situation where there seems to be a very clear end point and winner. But the process of standing for election can be valuable in itself. Whether or not you win, you have the opportunity to stand up for something and to state your case. If you win, a new learning path will begin as soon as the celebration is over, and if you lose you will undoubtedly learn from the experience. I stood some years ago for a local council election and although not a winner, I learned a huge amount about myself, including the realisation that this wasn’t the right path for me at that point in my life.

Whatever our career ambitions, there are aspects that are beyond our control. If we only focus on end results, we lose what is more important: the value of the journey through this, our one life.

If your career feels wrong for you, then change it, but don’t put your life on hold while you do it. The more you can focus on what you do enjoy right now, in your current life and work, the more positive energy that will release to help you make changes. And when you are willing to make changes on the inside, that’s when transformation can happen on the outside too.

What valuable lessons have your learned along your career path? Please share in the comments below.

Is this you?

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Flash point firework image
Jun 25

Triggers for career change

By Felicity Dwyer | Career change , Motivation

Many people who make a significant career change can trace this back to a trigger point, something that pushed them to re-evaluate where they were, and what they wanted to do and be. Sometimes this flash point can be quite dramatic, as was the case for Jane Hardy.

Health crisis

Jane had a high-powered job in sales in the financial sector, on the road, spending weekday nights in hotels, always looking for the next deal, the “kill.” Then her life changed dramatically when at the age of 42 she suffered a cardiac arrest. Only 5% of people survive this experience, and Jane was one of the lucky ones. As a result of this experience, she took at good hard look at her life. “I felt like she had been given a second chance and I wanted to make a difference.”

Jane retrained as a debt counsellor, working for different charities and starting her own debt counselling service. This led her to discover networking and eventually the Fabulous Women network where she said “I felt like I’d come home. It was all about collaboration, support, and supporting others to be successful.” Jane’s involvement in networking led to her third career. She joined Fabulous Women as a regional manager, and 18 months down the line, she now owns the company!

Fortunately for most people, the trigger will be a less dramatic but can still be life-changing. Events such as a significant birthday, starting a family, redundancy, or seeing children off to college, can push us to re-evaluate what matters in our working lives, and find a more satisfying future.

Milestone birthday

For Laura Geaves, hitting her 30th birthday was the trigger for a career change. Laura had been working as a PA. When she turned 30, she looked at where she was in her career and realised that there was no way up in the company and role she was in. This led her to asking herself some searching questions: “What am I actually achieving in life? What do I really enjoy?”

For Laura, marketing had always been something she thought was interesting and she decided to make it her career. She took her Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification and is now a Marketing Executive at KPC Creative Communications, a consultancy in Farnham, Surrey. Unlike her previous job, this business offers career progression, and Laura is working towards becoming an account manager. Laura’s advice for career changers is to “Look at what you are interested in, be committed, and believe in yourself.”

Time for a change?

However uncomfortable the trigger point, people commonly look back and see it as a step towards more positive and satisfying work. And you can sometimes avoid reaching a crisis point in the first place by picking up earlier on signs that you need a change, such as ongoing feelings of stress or boredom, or just a niggling feeling that something isn’t quite right.

If something is in your life, or inside yourself, is telling you that it’s time for a change, then it’s wise to take notice and spend some reviewing where you are, and where you want to be.