The easiest and most fun way to unstick yourself from a job that doesn’t fit, is to instigate small changes in your life. The baby steps you take to shift your perspective don’t even have to be career related, they don’t have to happen between 9am and 5pm either. Get inspired by Arash’s story to get ready for the career change you are longing for, one baby step at a time.
Arash (not his real name) had come from Iran to Canada on a work visa and had been sponsored by a software developing company. When he decided to make Canada his new home, he applied for landed immigrant status. Since his application took several years to be processed, he found himself in a holding pattern. He was grateful for the opportunity to continue working for the company that sponsored his work visa but at the same time he felt frustrated to be limited in his professional development by having to stick with this company. The situation became more disappointing, when the company went through some internal changes which affected his role in negative ways: namely away from innovative, creative work and towards administrative maintenance tasks.
By the time Arash reached out for career coaching support, he had already received his permanent resident status and was ‘free’ to look for opportunities on the open market. Unfortunately, the years of routine work in his underwhelming job had taken a toll on his level of confidence as well as on his skill set. He was out of the loop on the newest trends in software development, one of the fastest changing industries. Arash, being very loyal, felt a strong sense of commitment to the company that initially brought him to Canada. Nevertheless, he knew deep down that there were no opportunities for growth within the company for him and that he had to leave.
To build up his confidence, I encouraged Arash to begin taking baby steps. “How can you initiate small seemingly insignificant changes in your life, right now?” I asked.
Arash Began Taking Baby Steps…
As his first baby step, he decided not to carry his change in his pocket any more. The dangling sensation on his leg and the noise irritated him. From now on he carried his change in his wallet. He felt a sense of freedom and relief.
He felt so encouraged by his ‘bold’ move that he started thinking about other ways to switch up his routines and try new things.
His second baby step was bolder and more visible to the outside world. Arash decided to change his wardrobe. As long as he could remember he had always been wearing black. Arash bought himself a few white T-shirts and started wearing them. It felt fresh and new and exciting.
His third baby step was much more than a baby step. Arash began rock climbing, a sport he had always been intrigued by. It was so different from all the sports he had ever done in his life. As he was stretching his limbs in new ways, he was also stretching his mind.
Soon Arash Was Ready to Take Baby Steps Professionally…
Only weeks after embarking on the journey of baby steps and small changes, Arash was ready to begin to grow and change professionally. He began taking baby steps in his professional life. First, he took an online course to upgrade his skills. He felt invigorated and energized by the new learning. Second, he found a networking group called “geek talk” that he liked and started hanging out with other software and web developers, after hours.
Through his new connections, Arash heard about a small software company that was looking for an innovative leader to head up one of their newest projects. He applied, was interviewed and received a compelling offer. Arash accepted the offer and was excited about this new opportunity. In addition, he was delighted about his regained sense of freedom and confidence. He enjoys making plans and developing ideas with his professional friends from “geek talk” and knows that sooner or later these ideas will lead to the creation of his own company.
When you are longing for a big positive change in your life and career, you may not know how to make it happen and where to even begin.
What Baby Steps Will You Take to Move Forward?
The best way to grow your courage to the point where you will eventually take the big leap is to follow Arash’s example and take baby steps. Begin by inviting change into your life in small ways.
Here are a few ideas for baby steps that will get you started:
- Change what you have for breakfast
- Take a different route on your daily walk or commute
- Order a different kind of beverage, next time you are out
- Switch up your exercise routines
- Begin listening to a different radio station
- Try a new restaurant
What small changes would you like to welcome right now? What are the first baby steps you are going to take?
Celebrate Your Baby Steps!
Each time you deliberately change your routine, take a moment to celebrate your courageous move.
What’s your favourite celebratory gesture? Here are a few to help you choose YOUR move:
- Fist pump
- Exclaim a resounding “Yes”
- Perform a happy dance
- Stand tall, hands on your hips, looking up
- Throw your arms up in the air
- Exclaim “Woo-hoo”
- Self hug
- Any combination of the above
How will you celebrate your courageous baby steps?
As you do your favourite celebratory pose, your body releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives you a happy feeling. Your body will begin to associate change with positive feelings and you will begin to crave more change.
Change will no longer be a scary thing. On the contrary, you will become reacquainted with the wonderful feelings of freedom, adventure, discovery and fun that come along with creating changes.
Along the way, you will discover all kinds of wonderful things about yourself and your environment.