Potrait Becky Kilsby from freestyle careers - career change

Helen Miller

How Can You Make A Successful Career Change?

Career Changes With Becky Kilsby Founder Of Freestyle Careers

How Can You Make A Successful Career Change? This is a great question – but not a straightforward one to answer. That’s because it depends entirely on what you want this career change to do for you. Only when you’re clear on that will you be setting yourself up for success.

In her best-selling book GRIT, Angela Duckworth characterises paid employment in 3 ways:

  • A job (it pays the bills, you don’t expect to find satisfaction)
  • A career (you’re focusing on the stepping-stones to further development)
  • A calling (where service and purpose are most important)

Can you immediately say which applies to your career so far? And, which you’re most interested in at this point in your life? Here’s a question to help you focus:

What Do You Want From Your Career Change?

Which one of these applies to you?

a) You’re aiming for the same role but want to work more flexibly

This is a change in working practice rather than a change of direction. It may involve shifting organisations, starting to work for yourself as a freelancer or launching your own business. This is an obvious choice when you have other commitments in your life, but are you sure you’re not missing a trick? Isn’t this a good opportunity to take a deeper view?

b) You’re looking for a new role using different skills, in a new sector, making a more significant impact or working with different clients or customers.

This starts to get more complex because there may be re-training involved or you may need to make a more compelling case for why you are a good candidate when the perfect role comes up. This option involves some important decisions but how can you know you’re making the best choice, for the longer term as well as your immediate needs?

c) You know you need to change direction but you have no idea what meaningful and satisfying work looks like; or perhaps you have far too many ideas and can’t choose.

This is the most complex of all because you have to go deep to find the answers. It is the opposite of job-hopping, this is you getting very serious about understanding what you really want from your working life, evaluating options, then finding a path to make it happen.

This is the category I love!

Most of my clients have reached a turning point and just know – for their own sanity – that they have to finally grasp this thorny problem. If they don’t, their next move will turn out to be nothing more than a sticking plaster fix – and in a few more months or years they’ll be back again desperately wondering what fulfilling work looks like.

So, whichever of the 3 categories I described earlier, is the time right for you to ask what you want from your career in the long term?

If you’re waving your hand in the air with certainty or reluctantly coming to the realization that it’s time to tackle this – before you get too entrenched in your current (unfulfilling) career – then these 3 vital ingredients for a successful and rewarding career change are for you.

These are the foundations of all my career change services!

1. Know Your WHY

When you know what is most important to you, what you value most in life, what drives you to succeed and the contribution and impact you want to make in the world, you have the most powerful key to unlocking fulfilling work.

We’re talking here about your highest values and your purpose. You probably have an idea of these already. Do you have a sense of how well your values are aligned in your current work? When they’re challenged, you’ll feel restless and unhappy. When you’re not able to express what matters most to you through your work, there’s a real dissonance. You feel you can’t take your whole self to work and that you’re actually impersonating someone else. It’s uncomfortable – and hard to sustain once you’ve made the realisation.

Getting clear on your highest values and understanding the difference you want to make in the world are part of every career service I offer – they are the foundations of confident, aligned choices. This knowledge empowers you to create an authentic working life.

2. Know Your WHAT

But what do you actually want to do on a daily basis? The questions here are around what truly interests you, which skills you really want to use (rather than those you have acquired but which don’t motivate you), and where your real strengths lie (ask your colleagues and a true friend). What would it be like to use these skills, follow your passionate interests – and be paid for it?

If you’d like to start uncovering what it feels like to be ‘in flow’ – when time disappears and you’re engaged, energized and you’re feeling at the top of your game – why not download my free guide to ‘Discover Work that Sets You Alight.’

It’s a great starting point on the road to discovering career fulfillment.

3. Know Your HOW

This is where process and planning kick in.

Take what you know about your WHY, combine it with your WHAT and where that overlaps will be the core of your career change. Being able to align this with what the world will pay for is the artful part of this conundrum.

In my Quickstep Career Change Programme, we divide this process into 3 phases:


We explore the Why and What in the first two and in the final phase we evaluate your choices and create a plan (your How). You know you’ve made a great choice and leave fired up with a clear vision and a plan to make this new fulfilling working life your own.

So if your definition of a successful career is something like this:

‘To create a life that’s true to who you are and fits the life you want to live.’

you’re primed for the deeper career change journey!

If you’d like to find out more about how I work with career changers to turn their dreams into reality, check out:

Wishing you fun and success for the journey!

Becky Kilsby

Career Coach and Founder Freestyle Careers

Potrait Becky Kilsby from freestyle careers - career change

Freestyle Career Change Services.

Enjoyed reading this blog post about Career Changes? Then why not check out our other blogs including this one:

Flexible And Free (lance), The F Generation

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