Making a big career change: how to take the plunge | Women's Agenda

Making a big career change: how to take the plunge

Years ago I went from being Dr Findlay, a senior lecturer in medical radiation science, to being ‘Naomi the home stylist’. Making the decision for such a big career change was certainly not easy or without risks.

A love of design combined with various experiences in design and property over the years meant I always knew that I wanted to be more immersed in that field, and less in the field of medicine. However, actually moving from a career in oncology to starting my own home staging (or styling) business was a big step.

I had to ask myself some questions and be really honest with my answers:

  • Did I want to spend the second half of my working life in my current role? Would I be happy if I did?
  • What do I need to do to make the change? What structures and systems needed to be in place?
  • What personal attributes do I need to call upon to take the step and make the change?

My answers to all these questions made it very easy for me to know what to do. It then required some action. I could not simply throw caution to the wind and resign from safe occupation to launch into a new career, especially with a young family. Instead I put a two-year plan in place and haven’t looked back since.

I found that actually making the decision and creating the plan to make a big career change was the hardest step. Once you learn the skills that you need for your new career, the personal attributes that you need are innate and just require you to be bold enough to grab your dream with both hands and make the plan a reality.

If you are considering making a big career change, make sure you make the decision thoughtfully and put the time into creating a solid plan, and then go for it! Here are steps to help you through this process:

  1. Imagine you have the inborn ability to achieve any goal you could ever set for yourself. What do you really want to be, have and do?
  2. Identify the activities that give you the greatest sense of meaning and purpose in life. How could you do more of them?
  3. Resolve today to think and talk only about the things you want in life and refuse to talk about the things you don’t want.
  4. Determine the price you will have to pay to activate the goals that are most important to you and then resolve to pay the price, starting today.
  5. Imagine that you were absolutely guaranteed of success in achieving your goals and that you had no fears at all. What goals would you set yourself?
  6. Create a plan. Understand what is involved in entering the new career; for example, do you need additional training, qualifications or a mentor that can help you break into the area? Then explore the time and financial investment you will require to make your plan work. Break that down along with your plan, and lay it on a big wall chart so each week or month you can see how you are working your way toward your dream career.
  7. Go for it!

Starting my own home staging, or pre-sale property styling business, was one of the best decisions I ever made. The benefits I saw in making the jump inspired me to go out on a limb again and to found Australia’s only interactive online course for home staging.

Finding that level of fulfilment and determining the course of your career can be scary, but by thoughtfully planning how the change will work, the only thing left to do is to take the plunge and enjoy the journey.

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