Career pivots: Thriving through change

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Written by Jeremy Snape on 17 May 2021 in Opinion
Opinion

Jeremy Snape is back to talk about the importance of change, however uncomfortable it may feel. 

There’s not a single one of us that hasn’t been affected by change in the last year or so. And for a species that craves security and certainty, it has been devastating. Many of us might look back and consider this period as the most turbulent in our lives, and perhaps, the worst.

For better or worse, however, change is what ultimately connects our experiences through life. We celebrate it; in our marriages and births, our promotions and victories. But we also fear it. Our divorces, deaths, our redundancies and failures.

It’s our leaps into the unknown - the graduations, relocations, the endless choices of this way or that. Whether it’s big or small, change sends reverberations down our personal timeline and presents new emotions, new opportunities, and new challenges to overcome.

With many of us being forced into unwanted change at the moment, especially in our careers, I hope this helps you re-frame, re-energise and move forward with joy.

To escape our situation we need to take control back with an entrepreneurial mindset that is inspired by the challenge of finding a way back to our best.

Avoid victimhood

Seeing change as an opportunity is easier said than done but playing the victim will only end badly. To escape our situation we need to take control back with an entrepreneurial mindset that is inspired by the challenge of finding a way back to our best.

Remaining in a helpless state is no good for our mindset and won’t change a thing. We thrive when we take ownership of the situation and see progress being made. We may not be able to control the decision of our CEO or the government policy but we can control our mindset and energy levels and use every day as productively as we can – that in itself is a small victory.  

Look back then forward

From leaving school to switching jobs, to relocating to new cities - change has happened before, and you’ve come out the other side more experienced and more confident. The problem is that we can’t ‘see’ these positives until we get to the other side of them.

Rather than panic about imagining what could go wrong, look back at what you’ve already done right. How did you recover from the loss of a loved one, how did you cope when you moved jobs or to a new city – these are the deposits in your resilience bank account and play a huge role in helping you cope in the future.

 

When we acknowledge the evidence of how we’ve adapted and coped in the past we have more confidence in our ability to do it again. Now – from this more balanced position we can look forward and visualise what success looks like – what would we like to happen and how can we move from imagination into action by defining three key steps to get us started.

Transformation starts with one choice, one step and whether this is a phone call or a social media post – getting started is the most important step.

You are more than your job

A major challenge for many of us, whether you're a sportsperson or businessperson, is that so much of who we are is taken up by what we do for a living. When you go to a dinner party and meet new people, the first question might be, oh, what's your name? But it's followed up incredibly quickly by, what do you do?

Everybody wants to know what you do. What's your rank, what's your status? Which is why being unemployed can sometimes feel like a confession. But considering most people will probably have between six and twelve jobs in our career, it's actually a normal thing to be in this transitional period between roles. There’s no shame, this pause for breath could be a gift.

When we are trapped by the weekly commitments of our full-time jobs, it’s incredibly hard to initiate a break. We worry about the consequences, the rumours and how to approach the conversation – so we carry on, for years, unfulfilled.

When a change and break is forced on us, we have freedom. Necessity is a great innovator and for many of us it’s time to kick away the excuses and to reinvent ourselves. So maybe we want to work in a different career or take some time out and learn some new skills, or have a lifestyle shift altogether.

There is an opportunity here to be that creator, to redesign your future from a new starting point with no guilt or restriction.

It’s easy to feel worthless when we can’t demonstrate our value through our jobs, but we have so much more to give. As a professional cricketer, I experienced low self-esteem that came from periods of low form. I learnt to shift my focus from feeling worthless by helping and mentoring others.

Even though I wasn’t scoring runs, I was making a wider contribution to the team. This act of service made me feel valued again and my form returned. We are more than just our business card and we need to factor in our contribution to our family, friends and community into our self-worth.  

So, these are some new ways to help you cope with the turbulence around you. You’ll notice that a lot of it is about shifting your mentality and looking at your circumstances from a different perspective. Imagine three years from now - it's May 2024 - you've just won an award for your new business or start-up venture and you're telling your story.

As you grip your trophy tightly, Covid isn't the villain anymore, it was the saviour from your dead-end job. Your story gathers energy and momentum with every sentence as you explain how you created a brand-new path. You are glowing with pride at your transformation because you know where this story 'started'.

While many of us are bogged down in the mechanics of our lives and our careers right now, we often ignore the most important catalyst of our happiness and success - our mindset.

 

About the author

Jeremy Snape is a former England cricketer with an MSc in psychology. He’s supported some of the biggest names in sport and business and his podcast Inside the Mind of Champions is in the Apple top 10 for Management.

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