We can’t help but admire those who have achieved great success by changing careers, but rarely see what’s running through their heads behind the scenes. The fear of failure. The pressure to deliver. The anxiety that accompanies uncertainty.
Navigating unfamiliar terrain can derail even the most resilient people, testing your commitment and character. Choosing to switch gears in one’s career path means taking the road less traveled. Changing careers requires effort, determination, and a constant commitment to keep putting in the work each day in the face of frustration and demotivation.
Feeling Demotivated During Transitions Is Natural
Life doesn’t stop when a career shift happens. You must carve out extra time, resources, and energy to point your career in a brand-new direction. If this sounds impossible while keeping up with the demands of your day job, another option is to leave your job behind and focus all your efforts on pursuing your new career. Both options have their own stresses and risks, which can take a toll on your motivation.
During my past decade as a solo business owner, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt drained from trying to deal with complicated business decisions to sorting through the administrative aspects of running a business unrelated to the actual work I enjoy doing. Other times, I’ve felt frustrated over not making enough progress or not gaining enough traction as quickly as I’d hoped.
Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in a career slump. No one can remain 100% motivated all the time. Acknowledging your unproductive moments as a part of the journey allows you to maintain the healthy mindset required to deal with them head-on.
Short-Term Pressures Can Affect Your Motivation
Working on beginning a new chapter in your career means often involves adding a layer of complexity to your life. While thinking of your next moves and big-picture goals, you must keep up with your shorter-term demands: work deadlines, project pressures, and financial obligations. Just keeping up with your daily life can use up all your energy.
When times are good, staying inspired is easy. However, when you encounter setbacks, you may start to question your motives or desire to pursue a new direction in your career. Fortunately, beyond taking steps to maintain a positive attitude, a few concrete tools and sources of inspiration can help you stay on track.
Use Helpful Applications To Organize Your Workload
Hustling toward your goals can feel overwhelming. With many urgent tasks on hand, you may be at a loss on which to tackle first. Having systems and tools to manage your tasks and projects is very helpful when managing a seemingly insurmountable workload. This way, you can free up the capacity to focus on other things that take time and energy during career transitions like informational interviewing, interview preparation, or networking.
Task management apps like ToDoIst, Twos, Amplenote, or TickTick can help you categorize, prioritize, and monitor your to-do lists so you can plan out your days and weeks efficiently. Items can be broken down into manageable subtasks, making it easier to work through them one at a time.
For more complex, longer-term projects, apps like Notion, Coda, Taskade, or ClickUp can enable you to plan, organize, and visualize what needs to be done. Trello is another versatile application that operates like a virtual post-it note board where you can organize tasks like a Kanban board, where they’re grouped into future, active, and completed categories.
Find Sources of Inspiration
In the early days of my starting my own business, I attended a social entrepreneurship event in London, and the panelists tackled the topic of imposter syndrome. Hearing about the challenges faced by fellow solopreneurs was both enlightening and refreshing. Just knowing I wasn’t alone in my struggles gave me the courage to push on.
Inspiration is like mental adrenaline, giving your brain a jolt of motivation and perspective when you’re feeling stuck. With an almost overwhelming amount of content out there, finding just one source of inspiration can help you get a helpful boost of motivation.
Captivating TED Talks are a great way to digest expert information in 20-30 minutes. Podcasts are also a convenient way to get a dose of information, inspiration, or companionship during your work commute. Entrepreneurs may enjoy How I Built This or The Great Creators to learn from others’ career journeys or Masters of Scale for useful business lessons.
Connecting with like-minded individuals, either face-to-face or virtually can also be a useful way to curate useful perspectives. Consider tapping into resources like Eventbrite, Lunchclub, or Hive Index to connect with others.
Navigating a Career Change Takes Patience
Successfully shifting careers is never easy, nor can it be done overnight. Achieving long-term career success requires dealing with the inevitable lows of each career move. Everyone goes through tough times. Your ability to power through the slump will make all the difference.
Listen in on this topic as I discuss “Embracing Uncertainty” in more detail on Career Relaunch® podcast episode 15 with restaurant manager turned food writer Stephen Satterfield.
This article was originally posted on Forbes.
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