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A career change is also a life change. They are two sides of the same coin. Some people hold back on a change due to all of the risks that come to mind. Others are willing to take the chance right away, only to realize that they should have put some more thought into it.

Is there a general rule of thumb that can help us achieve a successful career change?

I believe there is.

As an executive coach, I’ve observed a lot of ways in which my clients made their decisions. When I reflect on and compare them to my career transitions, I notice a common trend in all successful career changes.

1. Clarity/Self-awareness (who I am). We will flounder if we don’t know who we are or what we want. Gaining clarity is always the hardest challenge and it takes work. But it’s the first thing we must do to understand if the timing or opportunity is right.

2. Aspiration/Goals (who I want to be). Goals and aspirations provide direction. They allow us to create our roadmap with actions steps. But it’s the journey towards our goal that allows us to grow. We learn more about ourselves from challenges and discomfort..accept them as opportunities.

3. People/Support (who I need). We all need help. Continue to network and cultivate relationships. Find a mentor or coach to keep you on track and motivated with your transition.

4. Selflessness/Gratitude (who needs me). Give back and help others along the way. In turn, we can achieve more of the previous 3 things.