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3 Tips to Ease into a Career Pivot

A photo of Marcella Lopez reaching her arms out, smiling with sunglasses on

As the season changes to fall, I am reminded of the changes and transitions that have occurred in my life. A significant one for me was the career pivot I made in the summer of 2019 that led me to freelance editing, and eventually writing.

There are some lessons I learned in this transition that I believe were instrumental in helping me find my way. I'd like to share a few.

Tip #1 - Spend Time Ideating Your Life Goals

When you're in the grind, it can be difficult to take a step back and think through what you really want in life. And more specifically, to know on a deeper (honest) level if you're truly living out that life or if you are far from it.

I have found that giving yourself some time and space to disconnect from the stressors of day-to-day life can do wonders. What I found helpful was carving out some time to find a quiet space. This can help clear the noise from the outside world and dive within. Writing, painting, yoga, and walking have been tremendously beneficial for me.

Taking a step away from being on autopilot and putting some thoughts down on paper can really help clarify what you're thinking, feeling, and wanting. For me, journaling is one of the most effective ways to get thoughts out. Often times you don't even realize you thought or felt certain things until you're writing it out. When I was thinking about my career pivot, some writing prompts helped me focus: "How do you want to live your life?" or "What does an ideal career look like?" or "What did you naturally enjoy when you were young?" And then writing down some honest answers.

Drawing and painting are also great ways to tap into your subconscious. Doodling, sketching, and painting with watercolors, colored pencils, or acrylic paints can put your mind at ease to think through some internal truths and life goals. Sometimes a combination of these things is an added bonus. For example, when thinking through some big aspirations, I have journaled with words and sketched in pictures in the margins.

Find what works for you and spend some time to really think through what you truly want.

Tip #2 - Know When to Get Outside Help

While going inward on your own can be extremely beneficial, sometimes the best way to propel you forward is to seek help from experts. For me, I had a lot of thoughts in my head of potential career paths, though I wasn't quite clear on which direction to go. It was like too many choices was causing me to not make any big moves. As I was discussing this with a friend, she recommended a Designing Your Life workshop that she had taken. She said it helped her get clear on what her next step(s) should be and was totally happy with what she got out of it. The workshop uses design thinking principles (which are typically used for designing new products) and applies them to your life. Using tools like brainstorming, prototyping, informational interviews, and thinking through different versions of your life were all built into the workshop. I went to a workshop in San Francisco and was so impressed with how much it offered a totally new perspective—and I gained valuable tools that I can use again. So while I spent a lot of time beforehand thinking through my potential career pivot, I 100% would not have gained so much clarity on my own. Did it cost money? Yes. Did it take time? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Over the past few years, I've taken other workshops, including some art and intuitive work from Ignite Your Sol. The owner, Vasi Huntalas, works particularly with women in business and her techniques of tapping into our higher purpose is exceptional. I learned various art techniques and ways to use creativity to build my life.

There are many other types of services to consider for outside help, depending on your needs. For example, once I discovered I wanted to try freelance editing, I took a couple proofreading courses to help me get closer to that goal. Many services and resources are offered all the time either online or in person: workshops, coaching, continued education, and consulting to name a few. I think the key is to admit that you could use some help and be open enough to accept it.

I've found that there's a point where intuitively you know when it's time to get help from experts. And I believe it's a worthwhile step during a career pivot.

Tip #3 - Think About Your Natural Interests

Going back to your natural interests... I think it is so easy to get trapped on a hamster wheel in life and lose sight of what you actually enjoy doing. At least that was the case for me. When I reflected on what I naturally liked to do as a child, I couldn't help but think of reading. I was an early reader and remember myself feeling most at peace when I was reading books or visiting the library. And since I read a lot growing up, I naturally became a strong writer in school and eventually the workplace.

And since I had a strong command of writing (from reading), I thought "Why not get paid to read and help writers shine?" I also remembered that the idea of freelance editing struck my interest a few years prior to my career pivot brainstorming, but I never took steps toward it. I was probably a little (or a lot) scared to try it out back then. Fear had held me back then, but during my transformative year of 2019-2020, I thought "What do I have to lose?" And I soon realized, there's nothing to lose. So, I went for it. Three years later, I have no regrets :)

So, if you're feeling stuck, or don't know where to start, thinking about what you liked to do as a kid could help.

Tap into Your Higher Purpose and Go For It

I encourage continual exploration of your authentic self. Continue learning, evolving, and taking steps toward your best self. With some simple tools and outside help, you may find yourself with new ideas and a zest to try something new!

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