One of the most glorious things about being human is that you can reinvent yourself at any time. In fact, reinvention can be a way to boost your confidence. I mean, think about it.
With a few hours of your time (and a swipe of your credit card), you can go from blonde to brunette thanks to a stylist. You can move across the country — or even across town — and shift the rhythm of your daily life. Or you can change careers.
Yes, I said it. Not just change jobs, but make a career change.
For a lot of folks, they’d rather chop off all their hair or make a big move than change careers. That’s because, on the surface, it seems both scary and stressful. Especially if you extended your educational years beyond a bachelors and got your Masters or Doctorate.
What would it be like to walk away from all those years of commitment and do something else?
I’m here to tell you, though, my dear, that if changing your careers is something you’ve thought about, even in passing, then it may be worth the leap of faith.
That said, doing anything you haven’t done before will feel uncomfortable. And you can manage the all the uncomfortable emotions by channeling the most powerful and confident version of yourself.
Here’s Six Ways to Maintain Your Confidence When Changing Careers
One — Get Clear on Why You Want a Career Change
Everyone you talk to about your career change will want to know why. While you don’t owe an explanation to anyone for your choices, it’s important for your own confidence to get crystal clear around why you want to change careers.
Grab a piece of paper (or your journal) and a pen. And write down the first reason why you want to change careers. Then, follow that with “And what would that give you?”. Once you do this about five times (Why + What Would That Give You), you’ll discover your answer.
Usually, the answer to your first round is sufficient for most folks you may talk with, like your sister in law. The third why can give you just the right thing to explain your decision to change careers in job interview. And that fifth why is usually JUST for you (and maybe your spouse).
Then, when anyone asks, you can answer with confidence no matter what level of answer is required.
Two — Brainstorm a List of All Your Skills
While you have pen and paper out, brainstorm a list of all your skills. This will serve two purposes.
First of all, it helps you remind yourself that you are smart and talented individual. This can go a long way into building your self-confidence.
Secondly, this allows you to take note of transferable skills. What I mean by this is to look beyond your current job title and look for those softer skills that are incredibly valuable. For example: presenting to high-level executives, speaking to large groups, training new employees, and negotiating with suppliers are skills that straddle most industries.
This will help you not only feel confident, but also present yourself on your resume and Linked In profile as being more assured in your skills. That will go a long way during the career change process.
Three — Dress Yourself for Both Success and Confidence
Have you ever noticed how much spring in your step you have when you’re wearing a new outfit that you feel great in? Clothing may not make the woman (or man), but it can go a long way in boosting your self- assurance.
Though I’d love to say that no one judges a book by its cover, we all know that how we dress, style our hair, and do our make-up does give folks an impression of how confident we are.
It’s doubtful you need to do any kind of extreme makeover. Yet, any career change will go a little smoother when you’re certain you’re putting your best foot forward.
Begin with a little research, especially focusing on how executives in the industry you want to change to dress for the office. Compare that with your current wardrobe and see if you need to freshen it up.
Yes, I know that more than your looks matter. However, there’s a direct correlation between what we wear and what we think of our potential according to a study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
It isn’t just about clothes, either. Don’t be afraid of updating your hairstyle or make-up. Though, in part, this is prep for presenting yourself well, it’s also about boosting your own morale. A study by Harvard found that women who wore lipstick performed better on tests.
It’s not anti-feminist or narcissistic to want to look your best! Because looking your best will boost your confidence as you embark upon a career change.
Four — Practice Speaking with a Period at the End of Your Sentences
Have you ever noticed how ending what’s meant to be a statement with the up-tilt of asking a question makes you wonder if the speaker is confident? The same applies to you. If you sound tentative about a subject, you’re not going to seem like you are coming from a space of inner power.
If you find that you don’t naturally speak this way, practice this with a trusted friend. Don’t forget to do this with written correspondence as well. Write in clear statements rather than as if you’re constantly asking for assurance or permission.
Using language, tone, and inflection that convey the fact that you’re a confident leader — even if you haven’t changed careers yet — will make you seem more poised. And that, my dear, will boost your confidence. Especially during a career change.
Five — Don’t Forget to Stand Up Straight
Your grandmother was right: stand up straight! Practice standing up tall with your shoulders back, chin up, and feet slightly apart. Good posture goes a long way in conveying assurance in who you are.
When you do this on a regular basis, it becomes habit. And you’ll begin to feel not just relaxed with positive body language, but more comfortable and confident in your own skin.
Your body language speaks loud and clear long before you open your mouth to say a word. The way you carry yourself sends strong messages about who you are and how you feel about yourself. Your presence and demeanor communicate your level of self-confidence.
Six — Create a Celebration and Compliment File
When someone tells you that you’re doing a great job, it’s easier to walk a little taller, isn’t it? While confidence in any endeavor is an inside job, it can boost your sense of self to be reminded that other folks think you’re fabulous.
While it can be risky to rely solely on external validation, when you’re questioning your decision to make a career change, a file of celebrations and compliments can give your ego just the boost you need.
If you don’t have a compliment file, create one with two sources of entry. First, collect any thank you notes or positive evaluations.
If you don’t have them in writing from others, brainstorm a list on note-cards for yourself. Then, create a big long list of your own accomplishments. This can range from all the goals you achieved to events that happened during your childhood.
Remember that a career change doesn’t have to challenge your very sense of self. In fact, by channeling these six ways to build confidence, you’ll go a long way into making the transition with more determination and ease.
Because when we are confident, we are able to access the smallest things that help us be happy. And feeling confident in who we are helps us be brave. Because a career change demands we channel that inner courage and take some risks. Risks that, in the long run, lead to us unearthing an even better life.
THIS blog post originally appeared at Greyzone Mentoring.