It’s one thing knowing you want to make a change in your career, but it can be quite another thing actually doing something about it. It can feel overwhelming too, as unless you have already got it all worked out it can be impossible to know where to start.


And here’s the thing – when something feels huge and insurmountable our natural reaction is to file it in the ‘I’ll deal with that tomorrow’ pile and, well, it just stays there.


It’s my mission in this blog post to help you break the process down into smaller, progressive steps so that you have an action you can take TODAY, as the best possible thing you can do is just start!


Start with what you do know 


Whilst you may not have all the answers, you will certainly have some of them. Start by making a list of all the things that absolutely must be there in your new role/career. Then, make a second list of all the things that you definitely do not want there. Think of these are your deal breakers. You can then write a third list of the things that you would be willing to negotiate on.


Although you might not have a crystal-clear idea of the exact destination yet, you now have an idea of what you want it to look like.

Identify what makes you brilliant 


When we are unhappy at work, or have been away from work for a while, it can be very easy to lose sight of who we are and what makes us brilliant and unique.


An excellent exercise to help identify this is The Career Lifeline.  It’s a tool that prompts you to reflect back on your career to date and plot on a timeline the periods when you were most happy, fulfilled and working at your best, as well as noticing the times when things were perhaps not so great. You can download the workbook here .



Consider your options 


This is the explorative part of the process. Take the time to write down ALL of the different roles or options that you are considering.

Once you have them in front of you, take them one by one and interrogate them.  I mean really interrogate them!

  • What draws you to the idea, how do you feel when you think about doing this role, what barriers are in the way of achieving it, how might you overcome them and does the role align with your deal breakers lists?
  • What action (or actions) you can take to progress any of these pathways?


Create conversations 


What you might have unearthed in your interrogation is some gaps in your knowledge. Some of these might be able to be filled by good old Google, however a much more powerful tool to tap into is to start conversations with other people to fill these gaps. Do you know anyone who can help you develop your ideas further or introduce you to someone who can?


Make a plan


Now here is the crux – to make the changes you want to make happen you need a goal, and to achieve your goal, you need a plan. Spend time working out the outcome you want to achieve and by when, and then work backwards.


What are your major milestones to get there? Take your first milestone and break that down into smaller tasks. The smaller the better – so small its impossible not to achieve them. Finally prioritise that list with the things you can do RIGHT NOW at the top.


Bam! There is your first action waiting for you to take it.  The rest is up to you!

This article was written by Jane McKenna, who runs Brilliant Me Coaching. She is a career coach specialising in supporting women to make changes in their work/life to find career happiness. If this article resonated with you and you would like more support to make changes, Jane is running her group coaching programme RELAUNCHING BRILLIANTLY from the end of February, which does exactly that.  You can find out more about the programme here or visit Jane’s profile