Just over a year ago, after nearly 2 years of planning and preparing, I made a massive career change. In July of 2022, I walked away from a very successful career in healthcare leadership.
Despite having the career I thought I always wanted – a wonderful team, a supportive boss, a fantastic paycheck – I knew I wanted more. As scary as it felt at the time to walk away, I knew in my heart I needed to make a change. A BIG change.
Here’s how I did it:
1. I gave myself permission to envision a very different future.
A better future. One that made me feel nervous and excited at the same time. It didn’t have to make sense right away and I didn’t have to know the answers as to how it would all work out. I just had to see it as something that was possible.
2. I started working with a coach.
The same coach I work with to this day. She helped me clarify my goals, shined a light on some of my blind spots, encouraged me to dream even bigger, pointed me in the right direction when it came to business and professional development, and held me accountable to myself. I didn’t do this alone.
3. I stayed consistent, even when it was hard, inconvenient, and I simply didn’t feel like it.
Consistency wins the game. Consistency over effort. Consistency over everything. This one DID NOT come naturally to me, friends. Please believe me when I say that, when left to my natural tendencies, I am the least consistent person I know. Now, instead of being inconsistent with the big things, I allow myself to play around with the smaller things. For example, you’re never going to find me taking the same way home from the gym 2 days in a row, and my homemade guacamole will probably never taste exactly the same way 2 times in a row. Variety (and experimentation) are still the spice of my life, just in less detrimental ways.
4. I started making decisions based on where I wanted to go in the future, not based on where or who I’ve been in the past.
This is especially important for anyone wanting to make a change of any kind. You have to allow yourself to be someone new. To make new decisions means to see things from a different perspective. If I wanted to live the life I knew I was meant to have, I had to stop seeing myself in my previous career and start seeing myself as the entrepreneur and coach I wanted to be, long before it felt comfortable.
5. I stopped mistaking gratitude for satisfaction.
I had the kind of career countless healthcare professionals dream about. Secure, supportive, independent, well-paid. But still, it wasn’t enough for me. Which leads us to this truth – we can be wildly, intensely grateful, and still want more for ourselves, our lives, and our careers. We can be grateful, AND unsatisfied at the same time.
In short, I wanted something different, so I did something different.
None of us are obligated to accept our current situations, however great it looks from the outside, if it doesn’t align with what we want. Everyone deserves to have the life and career they want, including you.
If you want something different – a different job, a different relationship, a different life – than what you currently have, you can do it too. You just have to give yourself permission to change.