5 steps to kickstart your career change: What if I fail?

When you’re thinking about a big change, there are a lot of unknowns. And with that lack of uncertainty comes the inevitable fear of what might, could, maybe, probably happen… or not happen. ‘Failure’ – whatever that means for you – comes top of the list of worries. What if this new direction doesn’t work?

The good news is, there are ways to find out before committing. The trick is to find small ways to try it out without big investments of time, money or energy.

It’s all about adopting a Project Mindset.

Projects are short-term, have a self-contained goal, and can (should!) be fun. The goal of a project is to inch one step closer in your escape.

Launching a small project in a direction that excites you is a lot less daunting (and a lot smarter) than scheming a big, blind leap.

Growth and Comfort - Ginni Rometty

To start designing your project:

1. Set an amount of time (e.g. 6 weeks).

Long enough that you’ll need to keep going even if the first attempt doesn’t go quite to plan, and short enough that you’re not over-investing in a long term challenge.

2. Define a certain number of deliverables

Such as writing 5 blog posts or getting 3 paying customers

3. Adopt an experimental mindset – basically, think like a scientist.

Know that it doesn’t matter if your project is a ‘success’ or a ‘failure’; what matters is that you learn something about yourself and your future direction. A scientist may have a hypothesis and might be hopeful of a certain result, but that’s not her main concern.

Her job is to prove or disprove her hypothesis and remain unbiased through the process. She cares mostly about what she learns from the experiment.

4. At the end of your project, make a point of doing a review.

What have you learned about this area of work? About yourself? What could you have done differently? And most importantly – what does this tell you about what your next project should be?

Unfulfilled in your job? Know you need a change but struggling with the skills, connections & confidence to make the leap? Make sure you receive our fortnightly newsletter for the latest career change tools, stories and advice.  Read the first steps in this career change blog series:

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