5 ways to build resilience during career transition – By Pam Cottman – Resilience Coach

Re-entering the workplace after a career break or redundancy? Planning a move into a different industry, sector or role? Looking to start your own business? Whatever your next move on the career path, there are few things that can evoke self-doubt, fear and imposter syndrome more than career transition. Many of us struggle with questions around where to start, whether we’re capable, or maybe even whether we should bother.

But if you’re going to get out there and realise your dreams of a career that fulfils you, one with purpose and that you look forward to working on every (or nearly every) morning, you need to be resilient.

Resilience is often defined as the ability to spring back, rebound or overcome adversity, achieving good outcomes regardless of life events or circumstances. But true resilience can be better defined in the following two ways, both of which are important when you’re looking to change careers:

  • Self-awareness – to be truly resilient comes from a strong sense of self and a clear understanding of your values, strengths and purpose, enabling your to reach your potential and giving you the confidence to make decisions that serve you well, even in challenging times. Our sense of identity is often challenged or eroded when we work in a role that doesn’t align with our values, take on greater responsibilities, or experience significant personal or professional change. It’s therefore a vital starting point when you’re going through career transition.
  • The regular practices that enable us, and those around us, to thrive – our environment and our regular or daily actions have a significant impact on our ability to feel resilient. As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant advocate in their brilliant book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, you don’t have a fixed supply of resilience: you can continually build it.

So how do we do it? Here are 5 tips for building your supplies of resilience when you’re going through career transition:

  1. Go back to basics: who are you and what’s important to you? Before you embark on any change, it’s a good idea to take some time to build that strong sense of self. What are your values? What do you see as your purpose? What do you love to spend your time doing? All of these answers will give you clues as to what’s important to you in this next stage of your career.
  1. Give yourself a pat on the back – when you’re heading in a different direction, it’s all too easy to forget all the things you’ve already achieved over your working life. Take some time to reflect on your career to date – what were the highlights? What skills and strengths were at play? What difference did you make? And if you’ve been out of the workplace for a while, don’t underestimate the value of what you’ve been doing and the importance of ‘soft’ skills – empathy, confidence, listening, communication, teamwork, leadership, flexibility, problem solving, positivity, creativity: they all make a difference.
  1. Use your network – connecting with others isn’t just a proven way of building and sustaining happiness and a positive sense of well being. Our family, friends, and colleagues past and present all hold possibilities for future work, spark ideas and, most importantly, provide you with moral support as you make changes. And the more people you tell about your plans – in person, on social media, at the school gates – the more practice and confidence it gives you, and the higher the chances of an unexpected offer of support or work.
  1. Practice a growth mindset – Dr Carol Dweck’s research on mindsets promotes the importance of effort and hard work, views mistakes as learning opportunities, and recognises the emotions at play when we feel challenged. A growth rather than fixed mindset is invaluable during career transition and will help you to recognise your progress, to take risks in the knowledge that any ‘failure’ or setback is a chance to learn, and to know that fears are a natural part of your journey towards achieving your goals.
  1. Take a break – whatever your plans and chosen path, it’s likely it’ll involve hard work, energy, and putting yourself out there – all of which can leave you feeling depleted. Think about what tops you back up and make time for it. Whether it’s time outside, sleeping, eating well, time with friends, journalling, exercise, a dose of peace and quiet or all of the above, acknowledge that the simplest (and least expensive) actions can reap the biggest rewards for your resilience.

About the company:

Transition Peak Limited™ is an online career coaching and training portal that helps companies and individuals move forward and faster following redundancy, retirement or return. Our online programs provide access to tutorials, documents and checklists. We also connect individuals with some of the best career transition coaches and experts in the UK. The coaches and experts can provide workshops, group or on-to-one coaching. Find out more on www.transitionpeak.com

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About the Author

Pam Cottman, Business and Personal Coach
Pam CottmanBusiness and Personal Coach
Pam is a business and personal coach, trainer, consultant, and mum. A former Assistant Headteacher, she spent 14 years working with students, staff, parents and governors to support the development of young people and her teams. She now runs her own business, working with individuals, teams and organisations, supporting them to reach their potential, and focusing particularly on building resilience – through self-awareness, confidence building and exploring the self-care tools which help people to cope with challenging situations. She is a member of the International Coach Federation.