How to change your career direction

So many people have gone through a change in their home lives and work lives over the course of the last 12 months, with the pandemic affecting us all in different ways. We have seen some go from being self-employed to employed. Others have been made redundant and some have had to leave their jobs completely. 

Lockdown has created an undeniable change for some of us and there has been nothing we could do about it. We just had to like it or lump it and, well, get on with it even when we didn’t know what was going to happen.

A lot of people experienced a shift in values. Values are the things that are really important to us in life. Deep subconscious things that we may not be aware of. Things like family, community, friendship and freedom. When our values are not being met we may feel unfulfilled in life, unhappy and possibly stuck.

When we don’t know our values we can sometimes be confused about what is important to us or why something is not quite right. Sometimes it can feel like things are just not going the way you hoped but you have no idea why or what to do about it.

How values can guide your new career direction

Understanding your values can really help you if you are changing your career direction, whether it’s out of choice or you have been backed into a corner through the pandemic. 

Values help us understand what is right or wrong in our lives and what we agree with and disagree with. They act like a compass for our direction in life which is why it is so important to understand what your values are if you are ever at a crossroad in life such as changing careers

They help us understand what action we should take so when a new opportunity does arise, like moving careers, we can make our decision based on what is really important to us and not outside influences that may leave us unfulfilled in the longer term.

The pandemic has given so many people the nudge and the opportunity to make a change in life. We can’t ignore what has happened and what may still happen, so if you have been thinking of a career change now is a good time to spring into action and start moving towards what you want. With so many resources available these days, you have a wealth of information and support available to you. 

Where do I start?

When it comes to changing your career, you may already know what you want to do or you may have no idea – you just know that you need to do something different! 

Firstly, it’s important to give yourself the space to allow yourself to change your mind. If you do start something new and then change your mind, well that’s OK. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that you start and you are taking the right action towards what you want. Give yourself permission to screw up and try again. 

Secondly, understanding your career values will put you in a great position so you can make choices based on what really matters to you. You can do this with a career coach, life coach or even a success coach. I will also walk you through the process now.

When you understand what’s important to you, this will give you a better idea of the way forward. You can ask yourself questions that will support you to understand if something is going to make you fulfilled or not. 

Start by asking yourself, “What is important to me?“. Write down anything that comes to mind. Keep writing until you cannot think of anything else. These can be single words such as ‘family’ or a short statement eg. ‘having a good income’ or ‘making a difference in the world’.

Ask yourself, “If I had all of these things, (everything you have listed) what else would I have to have to make me feel even more satisfied?”. Write anything that comes to mind. Ideally, you are looking for around 30 things.

Once you have a long list of things, go through them and bunch together any that mean the same thing to you. Then number them in order of importance, starting with one being the most important. Once you have done this, the top eight will be the highest values for you.

When you have your values you can look at your change of career with the understanding of what will support you long-term and what will make you truly fulfilled.

A few years ago I had an amazing opportunity come to me. I almost said yes on the spot. It was supporting young entrepreneurs, involved training and coaching which is what I do best and offered a healthy salary. I was so excited but something within me told me I needed to evaluate this before deciding. 

When I checked in with my values I realised that if I had taken this opportunity, it would mean I wouldn’t be home for my young children in the morning to take them to school or pick them up. Although on the face of it it all looked really exciting, it wouldn’t have met my highest value of family and would have left me unfulfilled pretty quickly. 

Lastly, bear in mind that whether you are changing careers, working for someone else or working for yourself, there may be some hurdles along the way. Expect this, and never assume that because things aren’t panning out the way you’d hoped that it is a sign from the universe that you should do something else. 

If you have checked in with your values and this is something that you are really excited about then adopt the mindset of the law of requisite variety. I teach this within my Neuro-linguistic Programming Certification courses. This means that if something doesn’t work, change your approach. If that doesn’t work then change your approach. If that doesn’t work then change your approach. You know what I am going to say next, right?

Keep moving, keep adapting, keep checking in with your values and things will always come together for you in the way the universe expected. 


Rebecca is a Master NLP Coach, NLP Trainer and author. Learn more about her work via her website.


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Written by Rebecca Lockwood

Rebecca Lockwood is a Master NLP coach, NLP Trainer and author.

Written by Rebecca Lockwood

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