Seven ways to stay motivated during a career transition

Top of the road on Haleakala Crater, Hawaii, a week before I started a new job.

You’re going places.

When pivoting to a new career, the road to that new job can be a long one. From handling the daily stresses of your current job (Hello! You are leaving for a reason!), and perhaps juggling classes and homework, polishing your resume and networking in on the side, we all feel it when the motivation runs low.

Consider these when that fight comes on and you could use a few ways to pick yourself back up.

Prioritize your efforts

Making a career change is a multi-faceted project with no magic bullet that makes it magically appear. Make time to identify and prioritize activities that keep you moving on a weekly basis. Once laid out, order them by importance. Drill down to the minutiae that give you the day-by-day and week-by-week tasks to develop your long-term success. There are a lot of tools out there to help you organize beyond an excel spreadsheet and these two articles (here and here) cover a few great ideas that might fit your style.

Cultivate thought leaders

Social media can be a devilish distraction when you desperately need to be productive. Clean up your feeds and follow change makers and conversation starters in your industry. Check out these TED talks on kickstarting a new career. Let your curiosity lead and learn more about the speakers and their ideas. Mute Facebook and activate LinkedIn notifications and participate there. Engage when you can and watch your network grow. And if you simply must procrastinate, check out these talks.

Use social media to envision your new life

Use Pinterest and Facebook to collect articles, lists, and ideas for your new field. Find boards that inspire you! Going into marketing? Pin examples of companies that used data in a clever way. Shifting to UX, screenshot that new app that just nailed the design and flow. Let new ideas fill your feed instead of fluff to steer your thinking back to the goal. You can always follow otters, pandas, and kittens again later.

Make your password a mantra

You use it every day, so make it work for you with a positive affirmation or vision of your future. A few examples: iWritegr8content, #Worktheplan2019, 2019dr3amj0b. If you are looking for more traditional mantras to use during your search, check out this blog for some situational ideas and this article for some inspirational quotes.

Invest in yourself

If you don’t, why should anyone else? Take the time to examine your resources, and identify the tools that will take you to the next level. It may be a technology upgrade- be sure to check out refurbished options if you are on a budget. It may be a new haircut, an inspiring retreat, or some new skills…

Connect and Learn

Consider classes in your new field or a monthly networking club ( is a great resource). Look for workshops and other consultative services that improve your resume or give you an interviewing edge. Whatever you chose, make sure that it keeps you engaged and moving forward.

Celebrate your wins

Big or small, celebrate. Get a massage, spend the afternoon watching your favorite series, or take a loved one out for a milkshake when you apply for that new job, or publish five portfolio pieces. Maybe when you knock off milestones along the way, put $20 in an envelope. When you get that new gig, you walk right into Nordstroms and get these sunglasses or this messenger bag or…these headphones.

Regardless of where you are at in the process, take the time to look up from the mundane details and see how far you have come and where you are going. Find what feels good and let that be what inspires you to keep moving forward.

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