The Idea of a Career Makeover

The biggest challenge faced by many individuals who desperately believe they need to do something different with their careers is moving from recognition to action. It’s easy and cathartic to daydream about doing something different with your skills and interests. Yet, bringing these daydreams to life is another matter.

For too many, the process of finding a viable “next”—one that leverages accumulated wisdom and abilities in pursuit of something important just feels overwhelming. And so, nothing happens. The daydreams flare up from time to time and you do your best to suppress them and focus on your daily grind. As one of my Career Reinvent Boot Camp participants offered so eloquently, “We grow comfortable being miserable.


The False Belief that Keeps You Stuck In Place:

Career reinvention is a process, not an event.

When I ask individuals who have expressed dissatisfaction with their current situation why they haven’t started working on it, the most common answer is: “I don’t know what I would do.” A good number of individuals add-on the phrase “…and get paid for it.

The individual who has it all figured out and simply needs help with the business planning part of the career makeover process is rare. For almost all of us, the challenge is to get beyond that wall-of-resistance created by the false belief that the makeover process starts with a clear view of the destination. Instead, the starting point of every career reinvention process is literally giving yourself permission to explore.

A Deliberate Process to Help Find Your “Next”

I guide individuals through a deliberate Career Reinvent™ process with the following steps:

  1. Determination
  2. Self-Discovery
  3. Exploration
  4. Experimentation
  5. Preparation
  6. Launch

The first four steps are a little muddy, a lot challenging, and incredibly powerful and important in helping set a compass direction.

The Many Flavors of Career Reinvention

In the Determination stage, the focus is on identifying the wide variety of career makeover options interesting to you. I reference those as “flavors” as in flavors of ice-cream. At the early stage, most individuals have what one client described as “Ice-cream soup.” It’s great to have options and choices at the start. And, it’s liberating for people to recognize they have a portfolio of choices and aren’t pressured to know the right answer to get started.

Tuning In to You

The Self-Discovery phase is about tuning in to how others view your superpowers and how you describe yourself in life and career moments when you are at your best. You also look hard at your backstory both in your life and the lives of your family members and ancestors. It’s amazing how many people find a through-line here.

The output from determination and self-discovery help frame the next stage: exploration. Imagine the borders of a canvas or whiteboard now clearly outlined, but everything else left blank.

Giving Yourself Permission to Explore

Exploration starts out as a divergent thinking exercise. “What is the universe of options that might fit within my frame of abilities, interests, best-self, and through-line?” Once this creative process is exhausted, we introduce filters into the exercise. These include location, geography, the need for an income, or any others that are important to you. The raw ideas are processed through these filters and a few ideas that merit a deeper dive emerge and you shift to the experimentation stage.

Bringing Science to the Process of Career Reinvention

Experimentation is much as the name implies, about creating experiments to test hypotheses for your various ideas. This work pushes us out of secondary research and into action gaining real-world insights. A good example is the oft-described, “If you want to start a hot dog stand, first, go get a job at one 15 miles from your home and figure out if you like the work.”

While some like to hope the reinvent process is a stage-gate, it’s more of an iterative process. I’ve had clients identify ideas to experiment with only to return to exploration when the ideas didn’t pan out. In my mind, this is exactly why we run the experiments before you leap into something only to learn it’s a disaster.

Why a Process is Liberating

As mentioned above, the absence of a process for uncovering and validating your “next” is what creates the gravitational pull that keeps us from doing nothing. Armed with the process (and a guide), you are able to keep the day job while solving for “next.” More than a few individuals have indicated that working through this process reduced their personal misery index for the day job.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Don’t let the lack of a defined direction keep you glued to a job or profession that no longer fits you at this life-stage. Embrace the ambiguity and get started identifying options and ultimately creating experiments. And, don’t worry about “forever” in this process. It’s all about the “next.”

Art's Signature


Want Help Getting Unstuck in Your Career?

I want to help individuals with experience and accumulated wisdom find their “next.” I have two programs in early 2021 ideal for individuals interested in getting unstuck in their careers.

1. Career Reinvent Boot Camp is an eight-week small group and one-on-one coaching program guaranteed to help you jump-start the process. Join us on January 6 and you will be sprinting in pursuit of your career makeover by the end of our program in February. A professional discount for early registration before 1/1 is available now. Learn More and Register.

NOTE: I am sharing my top lessons learned coaching career reinventors in a Career Reinvent™ Open House on 12/16 at 10 AM Central via Zoom. Expect 40 minutes of ideas and lessons; 5 minutes of an overview of the Boot Camp and the balance for your live q/a. No registration required…just drop me a note and I will send you the zoom link.

2. Level Up Career: Knocking Down the Personal Barriers that Get in the Way of Your Success is for individuals who want to accelerate their success without the radical career makeover. This program blends my experience coaching thousands of professionals in moving beyond the mind-traps or perceived limiting factors in pursuit of accelerating their success. This program includes four live-online group sessions and two one-on-one coaching calls. A professional discount for early registration before 1/1 is available now. Learn More and Register.