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The Career Change Starter Kit

Why rewriting your internal narrative should preceed redoing your resume.

Photo by Drew Colins on Unsplash

I love reinventing myself, learning new things and taking off-roading adventures.

In my career I have successfully moved from publicity to marketing to advertising among other professions. Each role gave me incredible new skills and the ability to bridge gaps between teams since I had walked in their shoes.

During that time I also completed Floral Design, Positive Psychology, Project Management and Reiki Master certificate programs. I enrolled in those courses to try things out when my current job began to grow stale.

Walking this untraditional path, I have been approached by people of all levels who wish to do the same. Here is what I tell them.

Everyone knows what they are meant to do next but often there is a fear of moving forward. Good news, you can and will make it happen. Annoying news, this is not going to be an overnight process. Similar to doing stomach crunches to get beautiful abs, you will be sculpting your thoughts.

You’ll have to bury tired, low-energy stories that no longer serve you. You’ll have to nourish your brain with new beliefs and language. You’ll have to trust your intuition that you are on the right path. And you’ll have to do it daily until you are ready to go out in a crop top.

Here is my suggested Career Changer Starter Kit to help you dig deep, reconnect with your authentic self and figure things out. Let’s get started!

VISION BOARD

I prefer to do this in powerpoint and seek out photos that evoke what I want or what makes me happy. For years, I included stuff for myself and my family (vacations, better communication, home improvements).

In 2019, I only put my photo and surrounded myself with images of people who inspired me, whose energy I’d want to be around or who I wanted to emulate.

It includes Oprah, Awkwafina, a very young Mother Teresa, and more.  The nice thing about doing it in PPT (vs cutting and pasting) is that it is easy and you can swap images in and out as you transform. By summer, I had made some edits to better align with my own evolution. A board that can change as you do is a very powerful tool.

From left to right: Oprah, (me), the 2019 Pantone Color of the year (which I found hopeful and motivating), Awkwafina, Hoda, Ellen, Michelle, Mother Teresa, Iyanla (who midyear replaced someone else when I outgrew her), SisterShani, my soul sister, Noreen O’Donnell, Jen Sincero, Maxie McCoy, and Brene Brown.

REPLACE THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD WITH PODCASTS

You must start rewriting the narrative in your head and replace it with new statements, beliefs and thoughts. Listening to others’ stories of resilience and grit may resonate with your own fire and remind you of who you are and what you are determined to achieve.

My top place to pull from is Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Podcast and one of my favorites to start with is an episode called “the difference between your job and your work.”  I am a subscriber to this podcast and find myself listening every Monday morning to rally for the week.

A friend suggested one particular episode of TheRobCast (Rob Bell) which gave me a tidbit that I tried and found helpful when I was feeling stuck in my career. He said to put Post-Its on my computer “Show Me How To End it Well” and “Show Me Some Options.”  Soon I was able to see the opportunities unfolding before me as a whole (vs parts).

Another podcast that’s decent is called On Purpose with Jay Shetty. All of these are spiritual (not religious). I find having some kind of spirituality is important because without it you cannot trust the unseen or that things are happening as they should. So if they start talking about religion, and you’re not interested, just zone out a little. Either way you’ll find the majority of it is inspiring, insightful and, again, helpful to change the narrative in one’s brain.

GET QUIET AND READ

THE POWER OF NOW I got the audio book. It was powerful and transforming. I would listen to his weekly interview with Oprah in (you guessed it) her Super Soul Sunday podcast where each week they’d dissect one chapter of his other book NEW EARTH .  This is helpful for rediscovering your true self and can help with anything from career to relationships and more. The podcasts ran in January 2019 and together really get you up to speed!

YOU’RE NOT LOST Hands down one of the most powerful things I did for myself when I got quiet was read this book and DO THE WORK in the exercise sections. It absolutely shifted my mindset. 100% buy it and do it!

BIG MAGIC I got the audio book. It felt like the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, was giving me one-on-one coaching. This is especially helpful if you work in a creative industry or if you want to.

YOU ARE A BADASS was given to me as a gift by another curly-haired friend. It was humorous and helpful. The author, Jen Sincero, has written variations of it since (money, weight loss etc) and sells one-a-day calendars, organizers in case you’d like expand her advice in other ways.

REINVENTION ROADMAP I liked this book but I did read it at a time when I was in desperate mode so I’m confident I wasn’t ready to hear what it was telling me to do. I still liked it and found it helpful (it’s a workbook so the exercises help you think things through).  I’ve revisited what I wrote a few times and I can actually see what I had hoped to come true materializing. It’s great to have a tool to guide you and to refer back to for a pep talk as needed.

Reading about people you feel connected to or are inspired by is really a great way to open  your mind to your possibilities. Audiobooks are a great way to ingest this info too.

I personally loved listening to Michelle read Becoming to me via this audiobook. It was not just inspiring but it felt tangible because I could hear how she chose to share these words. Seek out someone who fills you with good vibes and provides inspiration around resilience.

VOLUNTEER AND BOOST YOUR SKILL SET

Find places you’d enjoy learning something new OR applying your best skills to the greater good of something you believe in. It’s a nourishing act, you are surrounded by like-minded people and can build an experience that reminds you of your talents or unearths ones you weren’t sure you had.

I volunteered in many NBCUniversal Employee Resource Groups and was asked by my peers to lead the Asian Pacific American ERG (very flattering and exciting). I am also on the board of Future Now Media Foundation and served on the Promax People & Culture committee, led a team within NBCUniversal’s Erase the Hate initiative and did some marketing communications for WICT-NY. I met so many great people and was able to share what I know and receive mentoring from others.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

I’ve tried many online courses but COURSERA is the one I liked the best. I studied Positive Psychology when I wanted to help coach people but felt imposter syndrome because I didn’t have a degree or certificate (even though I’ve been coaching people to make career changes for years).

It’s great because they often have a free month special and then after that it’s a very reasonable monthly charge. You pay based on how fast you can get through the course. If it’s $75 per month and you can do the course in two months, it’s $150. If you can jam through it in one month, it’s only $75. So that’s up to you and your commitment to moving through it. When you are done, you can easily apply the badge/certification to your LinkedIn Profile or other.

Also looking into things in local schools is great. That’s how I ended up studying and completing a Floral Design degree at Parsons and became a Reiki Master at NYC Open Center. When you feel stuck, finding a new outlet to feel challenged and see accomplishments of completing levels is really inspiring.

BUILD A LUCKY SAVINGS ACCOUNT

I collected anything I felt was a good luck charm, a sign or whatever all in one place building a Lucky Savings Account. Mine has found pennies, bird feathers of all kinds, fortunes from cookies and even 2 Sweet & Low packets (which my grandmother used to use in that quantity) that randomly fell onto my hand one day while I was fixing my coffee at a bagel shop. Hi, Mema!

Seeing those found items piled up gave me a sense of security that things were moving in the right direction and that I had something greater watching out for my well being.

Feathers, fortunes, 2 Sweet & Low from my Mema and protective stones to anchor it all in a dish that says LOVE

You’ve heard it all before, change starts with you. Simply getting promoted, landing a new role, making more money or moving to another city is not going to bring everlasting happiness.

Before you start redoing your resume and applying to online jobs like you’re playing Supermarket Sweeps, you must first align with your authentic self. And to get there, you can start with these tools or use them as a guide to find your own gurus, workshops and messages to help you along your way.

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