Career Change Motivation

Keeping the show on the road

Changing career is often quite a long, slow process, so keeping your career change motivation going can be a challenge.

Are you finding yourself going through difficult periods when you have feelings like these?

  • I can't do this
  • It's too difficult
  • It won't work
  • I'm scared, so I'll stay safe by doing nothing
  • I'm too tired for this
  • I'll start tomorrow
  • I've got too much on at the moment
  • I always mess it up anyway

If you have moments like this – welcome to the club!

It is quite normal and natural for your motivation to waver.

So if you feel that your career change motivation is failing, read on for some tips about what to do to get motivated again.



What is motivation?




Motivation is a state of ease and flow when the actions you want to take come easily and you feel energised to continue. In a sense, motivation is action. If you are doing nothing, motivation is clearly absent! So career change motivation means that you are moving forwards, step by step towards the new career goal you have identified for yourself.

If you have lost that sense of flow, then action can easily grind to a halt and so do your career change plans.

But it is important to realise that motivation is not a simple on/off switch. It is much more like a scale from low to high and you will find yourself at different points on that scale from day to day.



So what influences your motivation?



There can be a number of factors that will influence your career change motivation. Some of these will be positive and will keep you excited and focused on your career change goal.

However, there will also be some negative ones, and sometimes these are influences that you are not even fully aware of. These can get in the way of your progress and sap your motivation.

What are the positive and negative motivating forces for you?



Saying 'I should...'




If you find yourself saying 'I should...' a lot (I should make that phone call, I should do that research into small business training…), it indicates that you are caught up between part of you that does want to act and part of you that doesn’t.

You need to explore the bit of you that is resisting the change. Try asking yourself 'What's stopping me?'



Do you lack some key skill or knowledge?



Sometimes you just doubt your skills or abilities and that holds you back. Is that self doubt a really fair assessment? That may be true at the moment, but is it a permanent state of affairs?

And are you being fair to yourself in the way you assess your skills?

Have a go at this personal skills audit and find out!

Try exploring where you can get the skills you need and who can help you. You can't be expected to know everything you need right now. Of course you may need to learn new things. Or maybe you don't – is the 'missing skill' actually something you could easily delegate or outsource?



Is there a hidden agenda?




Career change motivation can falter because of factors you are not fully aware of. This can lead you to feeling very stuck but not really knowing why.

You can tease out some of these hidden issues by stating your career change goal and then completing a 'but' phrase at the end.

Look at the examples below.

  • I want to change careers, but I don't believe I can make it
  • I want to become a lawyer, but I don't think they’ll let me into law school
  • I want to be self employed, but I don't want to have to work 15 hour days to achieve it

And of course, there is the big one...

  • I want to change career, but I am afraid that...


Often you will find that just bringing the hidden issues out into the open is enough to kick start your career change motivation again. You can look at your 'yes, buts...' critically and either recognise that they are not real obstacles. Or you can tackle them directly by seeking advice, training or support.

You can read more about tackling these negative beliefs here.




If you are just feeling that you have lost a bit of your initial impetus, there are a number of strategies you can use to keep your motivation going.

Click this link to read more about self motivation techniques.

If you are feeling very stuck and know you are getting bogged down with self doubts, but can’t work out what's stopping you...

Here are some strategies for overcoming self doubt

More articles about Mindset and Motivation


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