Top Ten Tips For A Confident Career Change

confident career decisionConfidently making a career change comes first from you knowing and believing in yourself. Assured action then kicks in to confirm the  right move for you.  Use these ten tips to move from confused, doubtful and uncertain to enthusiastic confidence.

One framing, bonus tip before we begin.  Career wisdom most often comes in the form of active verbs rather than final professions. Fulfilling work is more about what you’d be doing rather than what you’re called while doing it.

Too many career seekers try too hard to see the end game.  They first try to identify the profession and that’s wrong.  Trying to imagine whether you’d like to be a butcher, baker or candlestick maker is putting the cart before the horse.

I’ve been career coaching for 12 years and here’s a question I ask every potential client.  “If the best career change for you, happens to be creating your own business, are you willing to seize the freedom of self-employment?

Any response less than a strong yes, generally means that a client is either unaware of or doesn’t agree with, one of the following career change truths.   If you’re hesitating with a career change decision, carefully look them over.  You’re solution is to understand and embrace the truth(s) you find yourself resisting the most.

1. The absence of risk often indicates that you’re playing too small. There is no such thing as authentically playing it safe.  You can’t compromise yourself into a fulfilling and successful career change.  Getting real has nothing to do with being realistic and everything to do with self-honor.

2. You can’t see around the bend without getting off your ass.
No matter how good a career decision looks on paper you really won’t know until you step into it.  You can’t see what doors may open until you walk down the hall.  Knowing that truth will allow you to keep your cool, stay present and observe.  Adjusting actions and seizing opportunities as they arise, can make a once shaky decision a brilliant one.

3. Ease into change or make the big leap but don’t straddle. Straddling the fence is painful because it hurts no matter which way you fall.  Change doesn’t have to be a big leap off the cliff.  You don’t have to immediately quit your job and leap.

Entrepreneurship isn’t right for everyone.   You could even begin taking control of your career and advance your professional goals by earning one of these online degrees MBA.  Some of us love the leap and don’t sweat burning bridges.  Others have more of a toe-in-the–water style.  Be who you are.  If you’re naturally an ease in to it person, be that in your change.  You can start small in scope but remain large in authenticity. One way of starting small authentically is to create an authentically inspired product.

4. You really won’t care as much about the money following. Money doesn’t always follow doing what you love.  However, do what you love and fulfillment does follow.  Once you taste fulfilling work you just won’t care about the money as much.  Then a funny thing happens.  Once you’re not so afraid about making money you become more confident. And money does follow confidence.

5. As long as you choose you can’t really lose.
The only way you can make a big mistake is to ignore the longings of your heart and stand pat.  Settling sucks, for a day or a decade.  Don’t waste another day in soulless work. The instant you know in your heart, that you’re unfulfilled, decide to choose another path.

6. Desire = Proof of Capacity.
If you didn’t have what it takes to turn your idea into a business or a fulfilling position – that idea would not have come to you. You are enough.  You have what it takes.  You are more than enough to live the purpose you came here to complete.

7. Quit worrying about looking like you know what you’re doing.

Fear of looking like a fool will keep you from getting what you want.  Egbert Sukop.

Few of us ever do actually know what we’re doing.  But we are remarkable beings in our ability to land on our feet.  Every thought you have about what someone else might think of you is pure bull.  They just don’t care that much.  Start being your own authority this minute. What you think about you is the only thought that counts.

8. Find and follow your enthusiasm. Journal. Observe. Take notes of every appealing idea.  If a certain business or career change appeals to you, dig deeper and identify exactly what you find appealing about it.  Look for and record all themes of enthusiasm; they are valuable signposts.  Your life has been nudging you in the right direction.  Open your eyes and notice the nudges.

9. Be sure to imagine the upside.
So much of change seems to over-emphasize the downside of what might go wrong.  Remember; the reason you’re seeking a career change is to be fulfilled and happy in your work.  Imagine how gloriously delightful it will soon be to bounce out of bed each morning eager to face the day.

10. It’s all about fit, first and foremost. If you are miscast in your work you are out of place.  Out of place means out of authentic alignment with who you are.  Out of alignment means out of luck and good fortune.  Be authentic and make your own luck by understanding your authentic career change elements.

Which tip do you need to embrace the most right now?

Want to discover your right work once and for all?  Contact Tom for an exploratory coaching session to find your career clarity. 


  1. Spot on information – as always!!! I’ve got not one – but TWO kids in college right now – and I have been relentlessly pounding the drum with the message in #4 with them:

    When you’ve made the right career choice -You really won’t care much about the money

    Maybe I’m so passionate about that point because at one point – I was doing something I hated – and making 5 figures a MONTH doing it.

    Which of course leads seamlessly into #5 -“Settling sucks, for a day or a decade. Don’t waste another day in soulless work. The instant you know in your heart, that you’re unfulfilled, decide to choose another path.”

    Amen brother! AMEN!!!

    My oldest is a Bio-Medical Sciences major. She’s pursuing HER passion to be a Physical Therapist – and keeps running into smart people who want to be doctors – not because they love helping people – but because they think they’re going to make a lot of money.

    Keep preaching Tom – those future doctors will be here some day looking for a way into a fulfilling career!
    .-= Kathy | Virtual Impax´s last blog ..When a Pest Control Company tries to Exterminate Negative Customer Reviews =-.

  2. Tom, this was really great! I liked #1, #4, #7, #10 the most! 😉
    I think the most impacting and relevant ones for me today,..
    I have really been trying to align with confidence, and authenticity. I notice less anxiety with the financial as long as I am continuing to put in my day’s work doing what I love and edging forward to completion. It is only when I halt the process through resistance that I tend to get a bit nasty with myself and sometimes others.

    I thought #7 – Quit worrying about looking like I don’t know wha tI am doing. was really a wonderful tidbit!! I recently jumped into doing the AWeber thing even before I had the final plan laid out, and so I keep on adding in those things. Today another door opened for the ebook option for non-Kindle option so I was excited about that too! It is so tough in the last stages before completion. ick! But I am hanging in there..

    thank you for the support in this process..
    it has been very helpful!

    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..One Heart, One Voice…..Stepping Up to the Plate! =-.

  3. Jenn – Sounds like you are definitely putting yourself in authentic play in a big way! That’s powerful, you are a poster child for this post. Living proof that we can act, observe and continue to adjust as we go. You inspire me!

    Kathy – Glad someone else besides me is feeding our kids the right diet of career advice. I share your earning well but not being alive in work experience. All we are trying to do is help the youngins avoid the pain. 🙂 They can wake up with our wisdom or with their own struggle. Life is good.

  4. I believe that taking calculated risk is the most important factor here. As I have observed with many people, including myself, taking risk is something we do fear. But I’m looking at it in a different way now. 🙂

  5. Love it, Tom! I resonate with all of these points, but really chuckled at #7. I swear I don’t know what the heck I’m doing at least half the time … this is what happens when you run a business as an intuitive. And then when I look back, everything has unfolded in the most perfect way.

    Self-employment ROCKS!

    .-= Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul´s last blog ..Baby-stepping our belief system =-.

  6. My husband has been self-employed since 1984. He started out part time. He has been fully self-supporting since Oct. 1988. He owns his own parking lot striping business. He would not be happy having a boss telling him what to do any more. He is definitely a self-starter. From 1988 through the first three years, we barely scraped by usually paying the bills late ever month. During the fourth year, that changed. Now he does all of the work for several large construction companies in our area.

    His very first striping job back in 1984 took us all day to stripe. Today he does that same job in less than 30 minutes and moves on to the next job. He still does the striping for that first company, at least 3 times a year and makes from $500-$2000 in a weekend with all of the other stores that the owner has added to his business since then. He travels to Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana to do this job. We live in central Arkansas. Today my husband is so busy in the summer months that he can hardly keep up with all of the jobs that come in.

    Being your own boss is freeing and demanding. He loves it.
    .-= Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s last blog ..Truly Beautiful Women Know Their Self Worth =-.

  7. Thank you for such great tips! I especially like #8 and agree there has to be a passion in what you’re doing. I’m making a major career change and have been reading more about business. One book in particular that has really helped me is called, “Your Work, Your Life…Your Way.” The author does a great job at explaining the how to of creating boundaries, setting realistic goals, and developing the right priorities. You should check it out!

  8. Hey Tom,
    I love this list you’ve created. I love it – first – because it makes me a little uneasy. Uneasy – as in – if I answer honestly, there’s definitely some things I can do to be even more aligned with my heart. Maybe that’s all part of the journey – and how any one path can always veer off into some other direction.

    I love this list, also, though – for the spirit of LIVING it that I get from reading here. And that feels good…deeply good…

  9. Walter – Absolutely, that’s very wise. Every entrepreneur needs to re-frame the way they look at risk. Mistakes are good. Standing pat is nothing. I’ve always found this Teddy Roosevelt quote inspiring. “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. ”

    Andrea – Yes it does rock and so do you. It’s fun to admit we advance by stumbling forward. It feels clean to let go of all pretense that we know what we are talking about.

    Patricia – Thanks for that inspiring story about your husband. You’re right some of us are just unemployable.

    Lance – Good for you buddy. It is a living list and is meant to be. Each of us is challenged right to the point of our evolutionary limits and that’s they way it ought to be.

  10. Hi Tom,

    What a fabulous post.

    This reminds me of what just happened to us. As you know we’re self employed and recently diversified (again) to help get us through the tough economy. Anyway, we just did our first job and it was one of those, if anything can go wrong, it will kind of jobs. But, we did it and ended up with a very happy client. We looked back on it as a learning experience and said, “well, now we know what can go wrong and how to avoid it”. Although others think we’re making a bold move, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    P.S. Patricia’s comment about her husbands business intrigued me. I know exactly where she’s coming from.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Blog Badges – Beneficial Or A Waste Of Space? =-.

  11. Chris Edgar says:

    Hi Tom — yes, this idea of “trying something out” in the context of our careers is tough for many people to accept, even though it’s the key to ultimately finding something fulfilling. In our culture, I think, trying out various career/business possibilities is seen as “flaky” — “what will people say about your resume,” and so on — and I think it’s important to also recognize the courage that takes.

  12. Audrey – Welcome and best wishes in your career change. Since you are using them intentionally you’ve made me think about the distinction between enthusiasm and passion. They are close concepts but I look at passion as being something more that we want, like a heart’s desire. Enthusiasm is something that happens within, bubbles up and continues like a pure wave of inspiration to ride. I’ll keep thinking about this distinction.

    Barbara – Yes being in authentic play with everything on the line is really living. There is nothing like it and you can’t tell anyone else how it will be for them. They must put themselves out there and feel the freedom for themselves.

  13. Tom,
    I’m getting off my ass today;) Fantastic list and like Lance I have things to do and like Jenn I’m taking em one at a time and finishing the task!

  14. Chris – Yes it does take a lot of courage yet it takes much more out of someone to not go for it and then settle to a life of quiet desperation. I’d rather be a flaky failure than a proper settler.

    Tess – Off your ass and into action. Go girl – the world awaits your boldness.

  15. This is SO gold, Tom! I especially like the not straddling the fence part, and the choosing part. Oh and don’t worrying like you don’t know what you’re doing — that one sets me FREEEEE — thanks.

    Gotta fly!!

    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Graduation Angel =-.

  16. hery the monkey says:

    Hola, Tom! dondon and hery from the kitchenette of monkey and mouse just gave you a blog award because your blog is awesome 🙂
    .-= hery the monkey´s last blog ..Our Very First Award! =-.

  17. Great tips. I am making the transition from employee to business owner and I have some of the same issues to deal with.

  18. A terrific post Tom. Of all the tips the one relating to making choices most strongly resonates with me. In my opinion too many people put up with jobs they hate, bosses they hate, bad pay and working conditions when they don’t have to.

    I think another thing that holds people back is that they actually don’t know how to manage their careers. I’m convinced many people don’t have any appreciation at all of the worth of the capabilities that they have in the jobs market place.

    Of course people need to be prepared to do some self assessment so that they can confidently explore their career options and carry out a targeted jobsearch.

    Best wishes


  19. Anthony – Yes. Also many people don’t even think that they are in charge of their livelihoods. We can not only manage our careers but create them from scratch.

  20. John Abinsay says:

    Thank you Tom for this great list that assists me with viewing reality more clearly from a professional standpoint. Answering these questions to myself, it’s troubling to realize that I am still putting up with this miserable job that I have. It’s definitely ruining me as a person and are currently at a standstill right now. Do not know what to do or where to move to which is my main problem. If you can advise me on any sources that might help me, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks again,

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