Things my career change clients have taught me about careers

I love my job for lots of reasons. One of the loveliest things about career coaching is the chance to learn from my clients. Over the last 18 months they’ve taught me a huge amount about myself and about what can make or break a fulfilling career.

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So much of want we feel and experience is common to our human condition. Remembering this can really help when you’re feeling isolated and unsure about your next career moves.

Amidst the many insights my clients have given me, these six bits of career advice stand out. Each of them says something important and moving about our shared aims and experience at work and in life.

1. Give and get recognition

Although they rate recognition as a major motivator, most of my clients feel underappreciated and under-rewarded for their work. No wonder they’re thinking about a career change! To be clear here, while money and gifts are welcome, my clients rate praise more highly.

Everyone needs to receive praise differently. While my more gregarious clients love being applauded by the crowd, my less outgoing folk prefer one on one recognition sometimes by email or text.  

Managers everywhere can learn something profoundly simple here. Want to know how to acknowledge your staff for great work? Just ask them.  On the other hand, we can all practice giving what we’d like to receive – so take time to acknowledge and celebrate your colleagues’ successes. 

2. Accept that nobody has it all figured out

Many clients feel frustrated by being in a state of confusion and not having all their ducks in a row. At this point it is hard not to compare yourself to others.


But despite their shiny media fronts those wildly successful entrepreneurs, commanding CEOS and confident conference presenters don’t have it all together. Like all of us they’re trying to do their best. Odds on lots of them are busy faking it until they make it.

Scratch the surface of their perfect lives and you’ll most likely find someone else who feels like an imposter on the brink of exposure for falling short of ‘good enough’. So next time you’re gripped by that unfounded feeling of unworthiness, picture your favourite or maybe your most annoying famous person and remember that at least in this regard, you’re just like them.

3. Love yourself

Why are we so hard on ourselves? If I had a magic wand I would make all my clients instantly more self-accepting and more confident.  I’d use my magical powers to sow the seeds of self-belief and trust in their skills, strengths, experience and achievements. In the mean time, while I wait for fairy god motherhood to happen, I’m happy helping my clients to work their own magic and find their present potential in past success.

4. Give something back

We all want to make a difference. Some of my clients work tirelessly to raise awareness of a single significant issue; others volunteer their time and energy to make their community stronger and more connected. Most people hold kindness and gratitude highly.

Listening to my clients’ talk about how they‘re planning and acting to improve things, gives me hope. Suddenly working to make a positive impact feels less lonely, the problems less enormous. Together we can make good stuff happen.

5. Sit quietly with a problem


How often do you jump right in with solution within nanoseconds of a friend sharing a problem?

Next time try the Einstein approach - if you have an hour to solve something spend 55 minutes defining the issue and the remaining five minutes solving it.

This often uncomfortable but astoundingly useful method has produced excellent results for my clients. We’ve used it to untangle some really knotty problems holding up their career change progress.

6. Assume makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'

We usually don’t realise how fully our untested assumptions block the way. Most of us have this mind-boggling ability to assume things that don’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. I’ve worked with really capable, clever people who’ve doggedly assumed they’re not good enough for their dream job or that they lack the guts to change careers. Alternatively, I’ve cheered people who’ve move on after reality checking an awesome looking but actually totally unsuitable role they’d assumed would fit like a glove.

Validate your views by checking what the research tells you and asking trusted others. Add this information to what your emotional intelligence and intuition tell you about that great job you’re chasing or that ideal company you want to approach.

Finally, reread Point 3 ‘Love yourself’. Most of our self-sabotaging assumptions arise from a lagging sense of self worth and from underrating our potential to change. Stretch your sense of what’s possible and don’t miss out on great things by wrongly assuming that they’re beyond your reach.


Ready to share and shape your career change goals? Let’s have a chat.

By Jo Green, Career Change Coach

I know what it feels like to be lost in your career. I also know that when you find what you love, heart and soul, your life changes. I work every day with people who are reshaping their current careers, starting new enterprises or searching for a new direction. Basically I help people who don’t like their job to figure out what to do instead!

As a Careershifters and Firework Advanced Certified Coach and experienced career changer myself, I can help you figure out what fulfilling work looks like for you.

Drop me a note to organise a free 20 minute consultation to chat about your career change and how coaching could help.