Teeing off for career change success
I took my boys to play crazy golf this week and after their 9 holes of craziness, I spent some time on the driving range, something I haven’t done in years. As the boys sat and watched, an instructor asked them, “Is this an outlet for Mum to get out the stress of the summer holidays?” Maybe, but more importantly, the experience gave me some useful lessons about how my golf practice compares to a career change.
Keep your eye on the ball
The shots that went well were the ones when I kept my eyes on the ball, all the way through my swing. If I pulled my head up too soon, the ball usually dribbled off the tee – or I missed it completely! Throughout a career change, keep considering what it is that you’re aiming for – and then hold your focus. At the beginning, it doesn’t have to be a specific job – it could be general concepts like “increased autonomy”, “more opportunities to be creative”, “working in a culture of collaboration”. Having that focus opens the pathway to get there more easily.
The importance of alignment
The joy of hitting a clean shot was incredible. That loud “thwack” as the club face struck the ball. The sight of the ball soaring off into the nets. The feeling that I’d hit a decent shot. On the – it must be said, occasional! – instance this happened, there were a few things going on: my feet were the right distance apart, my head stayed down, my hands were lightly gripping the club, and my shoulders and hips were loose. I had alignment in my body. With our careers, alignment to values is so important. When our job allows us to honor our values, it gives us a sense of inner knowing that we’re on purpose. Alternatively, if our work doesn’t allow us to live our values, the dissonance can be as jangling as a badly-hit tee shot. As you’re considering what you want, let your values guide you to something that feels right for you.
Learn from what works – and what doesn’t
I noticed that when I put a couple of good shots together, I built on the success of the previous shot and got into a groove. Then, I’d squeeze the club too hard or lose focus on the ball, and have to remind myself to go back to what I’d been doing moments before. In your career change or search, be aware of what’s going well, and what feels good. If something isn’t working, consider how you can readjust for success. Is it to get out to more events, speak to more people, build in some reflection time, ask for feedback and then work to improve on those areas? It’s also a great reason to keep at it – to seize opportunities to refine your technique.
Get out of your head and into motion
I could have sat at home for hours and reviewed how to improve my golf swing. I could have read books, watched videos, or shopped for fancy equipment that I didn’t really need. But none of that would have helped me improve as much as simply going to the driving range and actually swinging a club. It’s the same with a career change – getting out of your head and into action will be so much more satisfying than sitting around considering a change. So pick one thing that you can do this week that would feel like a step on your career change path. It could be to speak to someone in a field you’re interested in, sign up for a short course that would give you more information about a topic you’ve always wanted to study, or write a blog about something that feels real and important to you. Whatever it is, you’ll feel empowered by the act of being in motion.
While I don’t see any professional golfing opportunities on my horizon, I did learn a few things about myself and my work, in the process. If something here resonated with you, I’d love to hear what it was. And if you are considering a career change, but you just don’t know what you’d like to do or where to start, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to support you to find work that makes you feel alive and as good as if you’d hit a hole in one at crazy golf.