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  • Tonya Montella

Finding Fulfillment Through Career Change

By Tonya Montella

Everyone always says, You should love what you do. It sounds so great, but for some reason it always seems a lot easier said than done, right? Well, the good news is that there’s a simple framework that you can use to guide your thinking and planning. It’s how I’ve navigated four career changes and was able to land jobs that I enjoyed doing and was incredibly successful at, and I’m now sharing it with others. One might argue that joy and success are enough to make you feel fulfilled, but there’s more to it than that. Here’s the framework:

• Uncover your passion, and be very specific

• Discover your power

• Align the two and identify common themes

Now of course there are several sub-bullets to each of these, but at a high level this is it! Aligning your passion and your power is the key to discovering what career(s) will ultimately bring more fulfillment to your life. To ensure that you don’t get discouraged by the mere thought of this, it’s important to know that talking this through with someone is the most effective way to really approach this framework. What I often find with the women that I work with is that it’s very difficult to step outside of yourself to evaluate what’s really beneath the surface, so you may need someone to help you do that.

You know the phrase “You can’t see the forest from the trees”? Well, it’s so true! Talk through this with someone who is great at active listening and asking meaningful questions to get to the root of who you are and how your past experiences have shaped that. This could be a close friend, current/former colleague, or a coach. Doing this will really allow you to dig deep, think outside the box, and ensure that you consider a variety of factors that should inform the next move in your career.

Such factors include:

• What do you value in a role/employer?

- As you work through this framework, it’s important to ensure that you don’t lose sight of what’s truly important to you when it comes to your job/employer. Maybe for you it’s autonomy, growth opportunity, or a flexible schedule.

• What are your strengths?

-It’s sometimes easy to pinpoint what we think we’re good at, but because we’re not outside of our own bodies, we often miss strengths that other people see in us.

• What is your why; your reason for being passionate about the things that light you up?

-It’s always important to ensure that we understand our reason for doing something or feeling passion for it. Sometimes folks lean into a career change because it’s the hot thing to do, or because it’s a big money-maker. If your why does not go beyond the surface level such as these reasons, then you’re bound to find yourself unfulfilled again in no time.

• Would a job that gives you X, Y, and Z really bring you fulfillment or are there other necessities you haven’t considered?

-The reason for taking this into consideration is that you don’t want to let your “nice to have’s” lead you to a job that still does not fill your cup. If we don’t stay focused on the things that we’re passionate about, then this is yet another thing that might lead us to a lack of fulfillment once the honeymoon phase wears off.

If you’re finding yourself unfulfilled at your job, or just feeling stuck because you often think, This just isn’t it for me, but you’re constantly left wondering, But what is? then it’s time to really dig deep and do the work to determine your next move. We often think that simply finding a new employer or moving to another department at our current employer is the solution, but we rarely take the time to really think strategically about what it is that we want in our careers. Our lives are so fast paced and instant gratification has been ingrained in us through social media, but when it comes to our lives…our careers…it’s so important to slow down for just a moment. This can really help you to avoid, what I like to call, the career rollercoaster.

You know, when you’re excited because you’ve landed a new job, and you enjoy the thrill of climbing up the ranks and all of the challenges you face along the way. Then you reach your peak and eventually find yourself on the other side of that hill screaming and feeling a new host of emotions that leave you wondering why you stepped onto the ride in the first place. It’s no surprise that job tenure is currently on the decline, and I believe it’s because everyone is seeking fulfillment in the wrong places.

It’s important to remember that, while there are many things in this world that you can’t control, one thing you are most certainly in control of is your career. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it! You just have to be mindful, strategic, and sometimes patient. I always encourage women to tap into their tribe. If you know someone who has made a career change and is more fulfilled than ever, ask them:

• What was your career journey that led you to where you are today?

• What were the key factors you considered when changing careers?

• How did you go about it?

• What were some lessons you learned along the way?

• Is there anyone in your network that you can put me in touch with who might be able to speak with me about the career path that I’m considering?

Whether you’re completely unsure of what career you want to move into next, or you already have one in mind, these exercises and conversations are important to have at either stage. If you find that you’re unhappy with your current job, start by asking yourself what’s missing; then go from there. We only get one life, so we should absolutely love what we do every single day. My hope is that, if finding fulfillment in your career is something that you’re currently seeking, this has helped you to kickstart your journey to doing just that.

About the Author

Empowerer of women, author and Career Coach, Tonya Montella is the founder of Tonya Empowers. After multiple career changes and success at every stage, she now gives women the tools to lean into career change with confidence and land the jobs they desire. Follow Tonya on Instagram at @tonyaempowers or purchase her eBook Fulfilled. How to Empower Yourself to Maximize Your Life and Career to learn more Tonya’s experiences and the topics covered in this article.

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