Happiness is not about what job you do.
There are plenty of miserable people doing fantastic jobs and plenty of happy people doing decidedly less fantastic ones.
Happiness is available to all of us right now, regardless of what job we do.
The secret to being happy in any job is to work out what thoughts would make you happy and then have them.
And equally, if you want to be unhappy in any job then identify which thoughts will make you miserable and let them occupy your mind.
I’m not respected.
I’m wasting my time.
I could be doing so much more.
This is not where I’m supposed to be.
My life is slipping away from me.
I hate this.
Those thoughts will do it every time.
True happiness comes not from your outside world but from your inside thoughts about that world.
And as our thoughts are not facts – and with a little practice we can choose thoughts that serve us better – we can find true happiness right where we are.
So why bother with a career change?
Because you want to.
There never needs to be another reason than that.
(Though having more impact on the world, making more of a difference, getting better balance and expanding your income are all great reasons too).
So how to go about changing career from a career you’re happy in to another career you're really happy in?
Let’s start with how not to do it.
How NOT to change career
1 Try to change your hobby or side hustle into a full-time job without first understanding whether that’s going to better meet your core career happiness needs than your current job. That's a recipe for being very unhappy.
2 Opt for an easy life because you’re so burnt out by your current job. You don’t want easy in the long-term (believe me) – it will rapidly feel unfulfilling and empty.
3 Set your sights too low. A career change is rarely overnight – you need the motivation of a big, exciting change to keep you going.
4 Limit yourself to the narrow range of options that you think can meet your desire to do something that changes lives. Being a social worker, teacher or therapist are great careers for those they’re right for – but they would be an awful option for the vast majority of us.
5 Tell yourself you can’t. You can. Just look at the career you already created. Your second career is built on the foundations of all of the experience, expertise, skills, superpowers, networks and more you have from those years. What did you build the first one on? Three years at university?
6 Tell yourself it will take too long. This time it won’t take twenty years. You’re starting with a huge head start. See 5.
7 Tell yourself you can’t afford to start again. You can’t start again – this next career is just the next phase of your first one, delivered differently. And you bring all of you with you. See 5.
Happiness in your career comes from inside…
1 Work out how you want to feel when you have a different career. Happier? More successful? Calmer? More spacious? Then decide to feel that now. Don't put it off until you have completed your career change.
2 Learn to love the job you're currently in. Never leave a job you hate – that will make you leave in the wrong way for the wrong thing. Find what you can love about it and double down on that as you create a career you love even more.
3 Don't play ‘I'll be happy when…' Putting your happiness off until some unknown future point when you have your dream career/more time to spend with your family/better income trains your brain to focus on happiness being unattainably in the future and stops you taking the action that will make you happy now. If you want to be able to work less so you can be more present for your kids, do that now – not when you've reached the level of income you think it relies on.
4 A career change is not about a job. It's about aligning who you are with what you do. So stop thinking about what job you want to do and get really clear on what really matters to you at this stage of your life. The rest will flow from there.
5 Believe that everyone can do a job they love. We are all different so there is a job out there for all of us that will light us up – once we're clear on what will have real meaning for us. See 4.
6 Be open to the multiple perfect careers out there for you. Once you know your life purpose it becomes clear that there are many many different ways you can live that purpose professionally, all of which will have meaning for you. This isn’t about looking for the one, single job that will make you happy. It’s about knowing the conditions that best match your happiness and then choosing what you want to do within that. That will set you free from the anxiety that you might make the wrong choice.
7 Money matters. It won't make you happy but denying its importance will make you constrain your ambition. When you do work that brings incredible value and changes lives in important ways then there is no limit to what you should (and can) be paid for that.
8 Enjoy the journey. When you take action to start a career change that is a decision to take ownership of the direction of your life. That gets to feel great right away. You don't need to wait until your career change is finished before you feel differently. It starts from the very first move you make to start the process.
9 Surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to. Your brain works on patterns. Giving it the opportunity to see multiple examples of people succeeding in career changes will help it to believe that that is possible for you.
10 Build fun into every day. Know what is fun for you and take action to have it every single day. Don't wait until you have created the perfect career.
11 Take shortcuts. It doesn't need to take a long time when you choose to take the shortcuts that are on offer to you. Follow proven processes, learn from those that have gone before, get expert help, copy what works. Don't try and work it out yourself.
12 Your dream job will make you less happy than you think. But the things you already have can make you happier than you ever believed. Play the gratitude game. Get really granular on the incredible wonder of your life right now. The human beings that you come into contact with. The things you take for granted. How supported you are. Count the very many ways life is fantastic. Feel all of that. Then get grateful for the incredible job you're going to create and enjoy that feeling now, rather than in the future. You'll rapidly accelerate how quickly it comes.
13 The answer to what you do next in your career is already within you. Take action to get aligned and it will drop into place.
A new job – no matter how fantastic – will never make you happy if you haven't first learnt how to be happy in life as it is right now. But when you know how to be happy, and you take action to create a career that is aligned to who you are, then the impact on your happiness, wellbeing and satisfaction can be life-changing.
If you want to be happy in your career, begin by being happy now. Then use that energy to create a career you never dreamed was possible.
When you're ready here are four ways you can can get happy now and start work on your career change:
1 Join Reconnect the 28-day journey to understanding who you are as the basis for aligning it with what you do
2 Surround yourself with people changing career in my Transform Career Change Accelerator programme
3 Change career in a day with an immersive VIP day working intensively with me to get you ready to change when you're in a hurry – I have just one spot for this in July and one in August. Email me if you are interested.
4 Work with me 121 in my private coaching career change programme