Category Archives for "Career Change"

4 ways to make change easier
Jan 11

4 Powerful Steps to Make Any Change Easier

By Tammy Banfield | Career Change


4 Powerful Steps to Make Any Change Easier

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Tammy Banfield B.Sc.
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4 ways to make change easier

If you hate change, you’re not alone.

Along with the 34% of people in this study who said they would avoid change at all costs, I am also among you change-haters.

I’m one of those people who despises change, yet, seems to constantly hurl themselves into it. Whether it’s a new project, a new athletic endeavour, moving from city to city (and sometimes to different countries), or forming new professional and personal relationships, I’m as restless as they come. While I’m constantly pushing the envelope and testing my boundaries, I don’t feel I handle change well.

Fearing change is perfectly normal. Change brings about a loss of control, increased risk, potential to fail, and a general sense of uncertainty. Most of us are comforted by order and predictability, and bristle at the mere thought of those comforting routines being disrupted.

So why change? Why invite the discomfort?

Well, there are many major motivators; chief among them: The desire to be better and feel better, the desire to chase and accomplish big dreams, the hope of a more enjoyable future. For me, if nothing is changing in my life and I’m no longer learning, pushing, and growing, I feel stagnant and dull. I’m a better person when I’m adapting to change – even though I may be fighting fear every step of the way.

Science backs me (and you) up on this one.

Our brains love efficiency. So, when we attempt to make a decision – like changing our career or applying for a promotion – our brains look for historic data and past thought-patterns to arrive a conclusion that’s consistent with our sense of self. If, in the past you’ve been turned down for a promotion, or a job search lasted for months, or received negative feedback from friends and family about a career decision, your brain will try to protect you from those negative outcomes. Your brain will push back against the change.

Your brain is simply reinforcing a story that you have about yourself. A story that says if you try, this bad thing or feeling will happen. But you don’t have to be stuck with that story. You can outsmart your own self and make yourself that much more comfortable with change. And trust me, there are better ways than my personal “feel the fear and do it anyway approach”.

1. Change Your Internal Story

What you think about yourself and how you see yourself make all the difference when you’re embarking on change or making a decision. You’re far more likely to proceed with a change if you feel positive and confident about the outcome. If you are constantly telling yourself that you’ll be too stressed or that you’re doomed to fail, you likely will be (or you’ll be unlikely to attempt the change at all).You are not beholden to the scripts and stories you have about yourself – those can change too! Your brain can be re-wired to think differently. If you consistently tell yourself that things will work out for the better, that you have the skills and strength to overcome difficulty, and that you will succeed, you are much more likely to accomplish your goals. Practice complementing yourself and eventually, your brain will see this as the new default response – it will prop you up with support and encouragement (instead of defeat and fear) when you see a job you want to apply for or when you want to meet with your boss about a promotion or raise.

2. Don't Muscle Past Your Feelings, Embrace Them

Unfortunately, feelings don’t just go away if you ignore them.

You may get away with “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” for a little while, but eventually it will sneak up on you and you’ll end-up in tears in the middle of grocery store trying to select a bag of apples (true story).

It’s vital that you really listen to your feelings and give them the respect they deserve. This is what will allow you to move forward with the confidence and self-compassion that will lead to success.

Try using this HeartMath tool when you are facing an immediate difficult decision or situation. Start by recognizing what you’re feeling and give it a name. Is it fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, disappointment? Naming your feeling will help you to accept and understand what’s going on in your body.

Then, focus on your heart area and breath in love for about a minute. This is an act of self-compassion. If negative thoughts or feelings continue to arise, just refocus on your heart area. As you focus on your heart, you want to radiate this compassion to any issues you are experiencing (fear, inadequacy, insecurity, self-pity).

As you do so, you’ll notice those feelings subside. Sitting with your feelings and giving them space for understanding, gives them less power over your actions. When you give your feelings the attention they demand – but in a calm and self-compassionate way – they are less likely to pop up in destructive ways.

3. Create New Habits

If you’re looking to do something new on a regular basis, like speaking up more in meetings, networking with other industry professionals, volunteering for more difficult assignments and projects, you need to form a new habit.

The trick to successfully establishing a new habit is to pick something small and associating it with another, already well-formed, habit. For example, if you want to voice your opinions and ideas in meetings more often, start with one safe-feeling meeting that happens at work. If you have a weekly, small team meeting, try speaking up here first – ask a question or suggest an idea.

Once this becomes a comfortable habit, try it other more senior meetings. If expanding your professional network is a goal, connect your regular social media activity or web-browsing habits with LinkedIn.

After checking your Facebook messages, pop over to LinkedIn to send a few new connection requests.Whatever new habit you’re trying to create, make sure it’s easy and achievable. You can always build on it later; the most important part is making sure you consistently perform the new action.

4. Normalize Change in Your Life

Perhaps the best way to embrace change, is to make it a regular part of your every day experience. Cultivate a life where change is normal and welcomed.

Here are my top 4 tips for embracing change in your day-to-day life.

1.Be Open to New Things. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable.

2.Be Playful. Don’t take yourself too seriously, it relieves the pressure.

3.Be Yourself. Living authentically can refresh your attitudes and remove limiting expectations.

4.Be Inspired and Motivated.

Don’t neglect the activities and people in your life that bring you joy.Feeling discomfort around change may never fully disappear, and that’s ok. Just don’t let change avoidance or fear of the unknown keep you stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. The discomfort of change will never be as great as the discomfort that comes from regret.

Are you like me? To you fear change or simply avoid it? Let me know in the comments how you’re going to tackle change this year. Or, if you have an inspiring story about change, I want to hear it!

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Look Back to Plan Ahead in Your Career
Jan 06

Look Back to Plan Ahead in Your Career

By Eileen Chadnick | Career Change

Eileen Chadnick


by Eileen Chadnick, Career Counsellor, Leadership & Life Coach

The start of the year is a time to reflect, take stock of the year past, and plan for the year ahead. Each year I share an article with 12 questions to help guide a year-end reflection.

A year has passed yet it feels like a nano-moment since the last year-end reflection. Not surprising – our lives, work and society move at an unprecedented pace.

Whether you identify with the innovation notion or not, the core message is that significant forces are creating seismic changes in how we live and work. No one individual, organization, or even sector is immune from the disruptive changes at play.

A few years back taxi drivers, photo technicians, music/video stores, and travel agents may have been the early face of this disruption narrative — but today even those with seemingly steady careers within traditionally stable sectors like banking, financial services, and other areas – are confronting new realities.

The year behind:

1. What went well?

This is a staple question I ask each year. It’s far too easy to bypass the wins and the good that comes within any year. When working hard, fast, and often in challenging contexts, our brains tend to erase the positive as we focus on the loads and pressures at hand. But remembering the good fuels our wellbeing and gives us internal resources to step up to the challenges. Take stock of what went well this year and know that nothing is too small to own, celebrate and bring forward as positive fuel for the days and year ahead.

Of course, it can also be useful to acknowledge what might not have gone so well — especially if you can learn from those circumstances and/or at least be grateful for having worked through them. Acknowledging the good isn’t about suppressing what needs to be expressed. The next few questions might, in fact, give you some food for thought to mine for meaning from those tougher moments of 2016.

2. What surprised you? (US elections aside)

Life is always full of surprises and these days more so than ever. Whether for better or otherwise, the skills of the day are adaptability, heartiness, and resourcefulness. Reflect on the surprises that came your way – and then on how you responded. What do you notice about your ability to adapt and pivot within the unexpected? Those who are nimble and quick are better primed to seize opportunities and work with change. Resistors insisting on certainty and/or the same way of doing things can find themselves stressed out and side-lined.

3. What did last year teach you?

Every experience for better or worse can be a ‘teacher’ if we use it well. How did you grow from your year? What insights, knowledge, skills were gained or reinforced? Consider those beyond just the technical skills by reflecting on skills related to self awareness, trust, adaptability, resourcefulness, resilience. These core internal skills are critical today and will stead you well in the year(s) ahead.

4. What are you noticing or even having hunches about?

Sometimes if feels like change comes out of the blue. But often there are early signs and/or hints abound. Think about the year past and your world of work (and life). What signs or even inklings of change need to be heeded? Where might the opportunities come from? What are you ignoring that can put you at risk? Paying attention with an open mind and some self trust can prepare you better for even the seemingly unknown.

5. What needs to be left behind?

Old ideas, poor habits, and self-limiting behaviours – ahh, who doesn’t have at least a few of these? When life and work pressures demand the best of us it is a good idea to take stock of what’s no longer working and might be holding us back. Also, ask yourself if it’s time to let some doors close this year (if they must) and shift your energy to new areas of opportunity? Where do you need to discard ideas, strategies, and ways of doing things that don’t work any more despite your best efforts? Perhaps there might even be relationships that need to be let go or less heavily invested in?

6. Wrap up your year with a name that fits.

Give 2016 the distinctive, memorable quality it deserves by considering the stand-out experiences and lessons and complete this phrase: “2016 was the year of ___.

The year ahead:

7) Where do you need to go next?

Think about the changes showing up (internally and externally). What’s next for you professionally and personally? Even if you don’t have precise answers yet, staying in this question will keep you on your toes so that you can plan and pivot to opportunities more easily. To paraphrase the famous words conveyed by Wayne Gretzky, ‘focus on where the puck is headed and skate towards there.’

8) How will you evolve in the year ahead?

While you can’t predict the whole picture, it’s a good idea to get intentional in your development and identify new skills, experiences and knowledge that will help you grow. Visualize yourself at the end of 2017 and ask in what ways will you have grown? This is your chance to reflect so you can plan for this to happen.

9) What are your top goals?

Now it’s time to get specific and concrete. Forget resolutions – they don’t work. But goals – if meaningful, relevant and backed up with a plan — can provide focus, direction, a sense of purpose, and energize you with new motivation. Got any goals for yourself?

10) Who will you connect with?

Don’t wait for sudden change to test the strength of your network and relationships – invest now. Take stock and make a commitment to connect meaningfully, authentically with those important to you. Expand and/or deepen your professional and personal network and find ways to show reciprocity by giving back to others.

11) How will you navigate ambiguity and uncertainty?

Ambiguity and uncertainty often comes with disruptive change. How do you cope (thrive) in the unknown? Those who do well tend to foster flexible, resilient, hearty mindsets – along with other skills. Take heed, if not yet natural strengths, know that we can all tap into our deep-rooted capacities to adapt, learn, and find heartiness even in challenging conditions. Start by setting the intention and then commit. Then don’t be afraid to seek support in developing these skills.

12) What’s your mantra for 2017:

What stands out for you that marks your intentions for the year ahead? Create a mantra to hold on to this by completing this phrase: 2017 will be the year of _____.

Note: A version of this article appeared in The Globe & Mail and Huffington Post.

Feb 29

3 Steps to Leap Ahead In Your Career

By Shirin Khamisa | Career Change

Shirin Khamisa - Careers by Design Founder


Written by Shirin Khamisa, Founder, Careers by Design

Did you start 2016 with a desire to get More Happy Mondays?

Working towards an important goal like advancing your career or doing work that makes you smile comes with wins and setbacks.

Whether you are leaping ahead or feeling a little stuck, here's a practical strategy to support and inspire you.

Listening to a webinar with New York times best-selling author, Marci Shimoff, I was reminded of a catchy phrase that outlines a formula for achieving any goal.

It summarizes an approach that we’ve been using at Careers by Design for over a decade to help clients achieve success.

It’s worked for hundreds of people and can give you the edge, too.

Here's the 3 step formula:

1. Intention

2. Attention

3. Reduce Tension

& here's exactly how it relates to your career success ...

1. Intention

Achieving any career goal requires being very clear about the specifics of what you want.  

Many of our clients start out with a fuzzy goal like: "I want a good career that pays well."

Through the process of understanding yourself at a deeper level, you can identify the specifics of what will bring you Happy Mondays.  

Many people are afraid that they will be disappointed if they dare to believe that they can get what they want. It can feel risky to get your hopes up.  

We live in a time of unprecedented choice and opportunity. When you have the courage to declare what you want, you will be able to spot and leverage opportunities to get it.

Here's a concrete truth: When you have a specific goal, the better chances you have of achieving it.

Don’t waste your precious time and energy!

Take the time to get clear and aim your arrows at the right target.

2. Attention

Your career goals need your time and energy. Life is busy and it can be challenging to make room in your schedule for what's important to you.

Without focused attention, goals cannot be realized.  

Use strategies that help you to make your goal a priority. Choose the ones that work best for your motivational style.

Here are a few suggestions....

Don’t try to do it all yourself. Get others involved in helping you to move forward. Your chances of success multiply, as more attention is placed on your goal!

Schedule times to work on your goal and commit to being there for yourself, no matter what.

If you find too much structure stifling, give yourself more choice about when you will work on your goals and what activities you will do

If you are low on energy, charge your batteries first. Make a deposit to your energy account before making a withdrawal.

3. Reduce tension

This is the real game changer that will allow you to LEAP forward.

From a biological standpoint, stress limits our ability to make full use of our brain’s higher order thinking and problem solving capacity. This means our ability to be creative and resourceful is restricted. Goals can take longer to achieve or get stalled.  

Many of us are afraid to let go of stress. We may believe that we need it to move forward. You can use positive emotions instead of stress to fuel your success. It’s a much more productive and pleasurable route to getting where you want to be.  Research indicates that happier people are more successful.

Can you think of a time when you encountered a challenge but were at your best? Remember how much easier it was for you to deal with life’s challenges.  When our bodies and minds are in a state of tension, it's challenging to leap forward. Taking the time to shift into a state of ease is a game changer. You'll have more energy to take action and creative solutions will be born.

This is one of our absolute favourite parts of our work.

It's absolutely magical to see this truth come alive in your own life.

Intention.  Attention. Reduce Tension. 
A simple phrase to help you stay on track.

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6 Tips to Stay Strong Through The Season
Nov 17

Cultivating Hope For Your Career: 6 Tips to Stay Strong Through The Season

By Lee Weisser | Career Change


Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach, Careers by Design

Cultivating Hope For Your Career: 6 Tips to Stay Strong Through The Season

I’m not a gardener.

While I love having plants and flowers around me, once I’ve done an initial planting in the spring, I have no interest in tending to the garden while it grows. Weeding is always at the bottom of my to-do list.

But now, in late fall, I’m trying to get motivated to plant some bulbs to bloom next spring. I’d love to have daffodils in both the front and back gardens.

The problem for someone as impatient as me is that next spring seems awfully far away.

I really have trouble believing that if I dig up the ground now and plant bulbs while the skies are grey and menacing, and the leaves are gone from the trees, there really will be flowers next spring.

But the reality is that bulbs must have a long rest in the cold – they won’t flower without it. I guess it’s the same for long term planning. You really have to have faith that your efforts will create the results you want. And it doesn’t hurt to have some lucky weather along the way too.

So what do you need to create a long term plan that can keep you inspired and motivated?

Here are 6 tips to help you stay strong in your career plans:

1. Think of someone you admire who persevered through a long winter of doubt and successfully reached their goals. Their story can keep you going through periods of uncertainty.

2. Keep your vision top of mind. Just as some gardeners create a visual plan of when and where flowers will come into bloom, you can create a mantra or a picture of what you want to achieve and post it where you will see it every day.

3. Spend time immersed in good soil — people who will nurture your dreams. Ignore people who don’t support you. To get encouragement about planting my bulbs, I look to a friend who is a patient and caring gardener, someone who knows from experience that a garden takes years of loving attention to reach maturity.

4. Most gardens need a pathway constructed through them. Every long term plan needs stepping stones that are clearly marked and identified and are directed toward the goal.

5. Create a way to monitor progress. Although I can’t see my bulbs under the leaves and snow, I can see the winter months pass on my calendar and know that spring is coming.

6. Stay hopeful. Hope is not a plan, but it’s what inspires a plan. Gardeners know they have to do steady work all through the season, but they also live in hope that next year’s garden will be more magnificent than ever.

Imagine your long term plan is quietly and steadfastly unfolding every moment of every day.

Look and listen for the clues that reveal themselves when you persevere with your plan. It is a work of art and generates hope.

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How to Build Courage On Your Career Journey
Dec 23

How to Build Courage On Your Career Journey

By Lee Weisser | Career Change


Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

How do you build courage on your career journey?

Do you have a gremlin in your head telling you what you could have done or should have done to move your career forward - if only you were more productive, a better person, smarter, more creative, with more courage or [any other quality]?

We all have an ‘inner critic’ that tells us we’ve missed out on opportunities or failed to do what’s necessary to be successful – in essence, that we are not ‘enough’ as we are.

This message comes to us from our own minds, and usually has a long history that involves negative messages received from other people and/or our contemporary culture.

This negative thought process can become a default mechanism that rears its head whenever we find ourselves in difficult circumstances.

These thoughts and feelings keep us stuck in a perceived past and unable to break free.

The best help I have found on working through these emotions comes from researcher and author Brené Brown.

She has studied the issues of shame, perfectionism, anxiety and vulnerability over the past decade – and shares her personal struggles as well as those of the many people she has interviewed.

Her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, continues the conversation about how we can learn to engage the world by being our authentic selves – and not be afraid.

Brown’s main point is that courage comes from vulnerability, which at first seems counterintuitive. We usually equate courage with strength.

But in order to be open to new possibilities, you first have to be willing to acknowledge feelings of hurt, disappointment and fear.

That is the starting point for the path to joy, creativity and meaningful work.

Brown has a unique gift of communicating these hopeful concepts in a remarkable way. Read any of her books or blog posts and you will come away with a better capacity to accept yourself — just as you are.

PS – Finding a safe space to acknowledge these feelings is one of the reasons that people seek out a coach. A coach provides acceptance, not judgment. And only when our feelings are accepted can we move forward to a new place.

Beat Stress & Move Forward

We help you to build the skills for success and to stop sabotaging your career.  
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Doing What Matters In The Second Half Of Life
Nov 27

Doing What Matters In The Second Half Of Life

By Lee Weisser | Career Change


Written by Lee Weisser, Career & Life Coach

Doing what matters in the second half of life.

You’ve had a career. You’ve had a family. You have some significant accomplishments under your belt. Maybe you’ve even earned some public recognition in Life. Now what?

If you’re feeling unsure about what to do in the next phase of your life, you’re not alone.

We’re living longer and living healthier. Many of us want or need to keep working – but we want to do it on our own terms.

And, we want it to be meaningful.  I find myself reconnecting with the interests and activities of my youth. It’s both an eerie and welcoming feeling.

The pursuits I put on the shelf for many years are now finding their way back into my heart – and I’m listening.

I was involved in the world of contemporary dance for many of my younger years.

Dancing and choreographing fed my soul.

I want to get that back, but my body reacts in pain to the movements I used to do so easily.

I have come to realize that it may not be the actual activities that I can or want to do again, but the feelings they brought me – spiritual connection, flow, appreciation for life.

So, my challenge now is to find new activities to engage my spirit that will give me these same feelings.

What about you? What are you craving? Maybe you want to share what you’ve learned through a lifetime of challenges and accomplishments.

Perhaps you want your heart and mind to be engaged and active. Maybe you want to make a lasting contribution, something you will be remembered for.

  • Take stock of your current strengths, skills and interests.
  • Which would you like to use?
  • There are part time jobs, contract work, volunteer opportunities – these are just some of the choices available to you.
  • Use your networks to find people who think like you and share your goals. 

It’s time to get started on your new beginning.

Beat Stress & Move Forward

We help you to build the skills for success and to stop sabotaging your career.  
Get started with our most popular service - the jam-packed one hour Turning Point career coaching session.