Career Final Four: Tips for Your Next Step

This year’s NCAA Tournament started off without many upsets, but as the field of 64 dwindles to the Elite Eight and Final Four once this weekend comes to a close, the madness that is March in college basketball has finally begun. Heading into the Sweet 16, there was only one bracket out of millions that remained perfect, but even that is no longer, suffering a blemish in the latest round and falling to 49-1. While the madness is typically reserved for the basketball court this time of year, if you’re looking to make a career change chances are the madness surrounding this big transition has followed you for a while.

Changing careers can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. Whether you’re an athlete ready to begin a career after sports, or simply looking for a new challenge and passion project in your life, this transition process is difficult. It is a period in which you may experience self-doubt and fall into a funk. If this is the case, your self-confidence at work will also start waning.

According to Dris Mhammedi, this doesn’t have to be the case. Just as an athlete approaches the next step of his or her life as a challenge and uses the skills they have gained through a career in sports, you too can recognize your skillset can boost your confidence and reinvigorate your career. In realizing the skills you have gained, you will also realize that you can apply them to a different field of work.

If you’re thinking about a change of careers, regardless of your reasons of if you’re an athlete or not, Mhammedi has four tips to help you “look beyond the job title and into their core skills to help you make a successful career change.”

Reframe Your Identity

This is a major issue for athletes transitioning to life after sports. After identifying as an athlete for most of his or her life, once he or she decides to step away from the game, it becomes challenging to find a “new” identity. Similar to career professionals, after working in a certain role for a while it can become difficult to find a new one to identify with.

Regardless of what you have been doing in your career up until this point, it is important to remember that your role does not define you. Instead, it is simply a job title. The skills you have gained to this point are what have led you to where you are, not your title. Once you can separate the two, you are on your way to creating a new identity.

Identify Your Resources

According to Mhammedi, this is the step that most people get stuck on because they don’t realize the resources available to them. These can be broken down into internal and external resources.

Internal skills are those that you’ve developed through your career; detail oriented, organized, social skills, emotional intelligence qualities, etc. These skills are transferable to other roles and can play a role in your career transition.

External resources are the tools that you have access to. For example, in your current role you might have access to certain software programs that you otherwise might not have had outside of the role. These assets can help you achieve your career goals.

Establish a Growth Mindset

Having the right mindset as it pertains to your career is crucial. Without this, you might actually be stifling your career potential and any future growth opportunities. When you establish a growth mindset and eliminate any negative thoughts you open the doors to new opportunities. As Mhammedi states, “if you doubt yourself, you’ve already lost half the battle.”

Finding a new mindset, in your both your professional and personal lives, can make a world of difference. A growth mindset allows you the opportunity to continue developing yourself and push the limits of your comfort zone.

Start Planning

Thinking about doing things is great, and a start, but once you start actually planning is when the dreams start to become a reality. Once you reach this stage, you have not only become aware of your skills and resource but are ready to create a game plan for how to put them into motion and find the next step of your career.

When you’ve realized that you are ready for the next challenge or step in your career, these four steps will help you leap that first hurdle.

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