Change is scary – especially when it comes to your career. So many important decisions hang in the balance of that one choice to hang on, change course, or jump ship entirely.

But just because it’s scary, doesn’t mean it can’t – or shouldn’t – be done.

More than the practical steps of making a career change, gaining mental confidence is critical in relaunching your career. Paving a successful new path in life lies in your mindset, your beliefs, and your psychology – and having the will to start makes all the difference.

How I Made My Career Leap

shaking handsBefore I started working in the area of career change and personal branding, I was working in the corporate world. I had 10 years of product branding & corporate marketing experience under my belt, working at a reputable company with a nice office, smart colleagues, and friendly culture.

But as much as all that probably sounded good on paper, I just wasn’t that happy.

I did think about leaving, but it didn’t seem like the right time. I had just gotten married, so I was definitely concerned about money. I also hadn’t been at that company for long, and had also just taken on a new role at work – I was afraid of how things would look on my resume if I left. This left me confused and stuck.

I had always thought about becoming a professional career & business coach, but I had no idea where to start. Starting was definitely the hardest part. I didn’t know if the timing was right, how I would find clients, how much to charge… and the list went on.

But you know what – if I kept waiting for the ‘right time’, I wouldn’t be here today. The right time is what you make of it.

One Step At A Time

office colleagues walking

So I just forced myself to start somewhere. I started to research a professional coaching course and took an introductory weekend course. I then laddered up to a full half-year training and started coaching clients for free in the evenings.

I think I only had two clients, and the coaching I was doing was a bit clunky.

But I improved. I got my coaching certification, started charging . . . and continued charging more. It got to a point where I eventually felt comfortable leaving my corporate job behind to focus on creating my business around career change.

A lot of my ideas got off to a less-than-perfect start as well. My first public talk on career change was at MarketingWeek London in 2013, one of the largest trade marketing conferences in Europe. My talk was called the Art of Taking a Career Leap, and you could tell I was taking a leap of my own at that point. My slides looked a little dated, and I kind of blew the end of it because I got cut short for going over time.

But my talks got better as time passed. I initially began by offering small, free workshops. Then I slowly shifted to hosting paid workshops at business schools and corporations. These days, my slides look much more polished than they did compared to those early days.

The point is – it’s okay to start small. It’s okay for that start to be a bit messy. Things don’t have to go perfectly right away.

What’s important is that you just start. Start in a way that feels manageable. You don’t need to be a superstar right away. Be an amateur, release a ‘Beta version’. Don’t worry too much if it’s not pretty at first. You will get better, faster, and more polished over time.

The first thing you’ve got to do is start.

This reminds me of a quote from Les Brown who said,

“Don’t wait around for things to be just right. Don’t wait for things to be perfect. Don’t wait for the ideal situation. It will never be ideal.”

Start Right Now

writing down notesIn the spirit of starting something new, my challenge to you today is to start pursuing one of your dormant interests. I define a dormant interest as something you’ve always thought about doing but have never actually taken the action to pursue. It could be a side project, a hobby, a class you’ve been thinking about taking, an idea you’ve wanted to explore, or another career path you’ve been considering.

Try allocating a few hours a week for this project and see how things go. Who knows, you might discover a talent, skill, or inspiration you never knew you had in you.

Listen in as I discuss “Pursuing Work You Enjoy” in more detail on Career Relaunch® podcast episode 1 with researcher turned vegan chef Kelly Cara.

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.

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