Four tips on how to have a fun, exhilarating ride!

If you’ve decided to make a career change—or been out of work and forced to make a change—the journey ahead can be just as thrilling (and sometimes scary!) as white-water rafting. Here’s four tips on how to manage the scary while putting the fun and exhilaration into the ride!

Wear a Life Vest

You’re probably worried about your financial security, right? How can I keep my savings and retirement funds intact? What if I can’t earn as much as I used to make? These are very sensible concerns, like worrying about what will happen if you fall out of the boat into the rapids!

Just like white water rafting, wearing a life vest minimizes the risk. When you make a career change, make sure you have some kind of bridge income to keep you afloat while you explore your options. It may take awhile to find or create what comes next. You need time to explore your options, update your resume, learn new skills, or create your new business. It’s more fun to do this with your financial life vest on.

How to create bridge income? Keep your current job just a little while longer. If it’s too late for that, take a part-time job, explore doing contract work in your area of expertise, or sign up with a temp agency.

You don’t have to love this life vest—it’s keeping you safe so you can enjoy the ride to what’s really next for you!

Steer the Boat

You may have an idea of what you want next (and if you don’t yet, I can help you have fun getting clear). But once you get out in the current, you’ll need to keep adjusting your course. Unexpected obstacles and opportunities will arise. I encourage you to feel into whether the direction you’re heading in is right for you—I call this checking your Emotional Compass. Don’t assume everything you check out will be right for you!

One man I coached was initially thrilled to be courted by a high profile company for a position that included a promotion. As the interview process unfolded, he started to feel very ambivalent and concerned. We talked about all the red flags and his growing worry that it might not be a good fit. He ignored his Emotional Compass and took the job. At least it was a way out of the job he’d grown to hate! Right?

Not really. Just a couple months into the new job, he realized it was even worse than the old job—more hours, more pressure. To make matters worse, the department reorganized just before he arrived and his promotion evaporated. More unhappy than ever, he felt obligated for the sake of his long-term reputation to stay for at least a couple of years.

Remember to Paddle

There are times on a rafting trip where you have to put your oar in and work with the river. To make a career change, you must take action! In fact, just like a river guide might yell, “Everyone paddle!” You need everyone in your network paddling with you.

Multiple studies have found that 60-90% of jobs are found through people you know.

How to do this? Share the headlines of what you’re interested in doing next with everyone you think will be supportive. It’s the #1 most effective action you can take to find work you love. You have this opportunity every time you’re asked a social question like, “How are you doing these days?” or “Hi, who are you? What do you do?” You just never know where a great idea will come from. We all love giving advice and ideas, right?

One of my clients was interested in doing something with nutritional counseling. She mentioned this to a supportive colleague, who said, “Hey, my wife just got her degree in nutritional counseling! You should talk with her!” The school was one my client had wanted to explore. Talking with someone who’d been through the program gave her invaluable personal insights that helped her shape and refine her thinking about this new career path.

Enjoy the Ride

Don’t forget to have fun! Like whitewater rafting, change can feel scary, but it’s also a very exhilarating ride if you remember to enjoy it! Relax into the process—it might take a few months. Keep exploring and investigating until you find something that’s just right for you.

As my successful clients will tell you, following joy and excitement along the way will lead you to work that feels the same!