Changing careers involves a lot of adjusting. You may feel a little lost along the way. You might even have moments when you think it’d be better to throw in the towel.
Don’t give up! Dig deep for motivation, never forget why you started this journey, and keep going until you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.
When I need motivation, I like to collect inspirational quotes I can refer back to when I feel my drive start to wane. Here are five of my favorites — maybe they can help you, too:
1. “It Takes as Much Energy to Wish as It Does to Plan.”
(Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States)
You can’t just sit at a job you hate, daydreaming about a different job, and then go home to daydream some more. You actually have to do something if you want to get that different job.
Make a plan. It doesn’t have to cover your career change from A to Z; it just needs to entail some kind of action you will take in the real world. Then, once you’ve accomplished that plan, start the next one.
The key is to keep moving. Instead of getting bogged down in endless fantasizing, be energized by the momentum you build bit by bit as you navigate through the process. If you’ve actually done something to make your career change a reality, you’re already ahead of the curve. Most people just accept that their work is a drudge and get on with it day in, day out.
2. “Whenever You Become Empowered, You Will Be Tested.”
(Caroline Myss, Author)
A tremendous rush of excitement comes over someone when they decide to dedicate their time and energy to pursuing their true passion. However, things will get tough along the way. You may have to give up personal time to do some training or gain experience. You’ll probably be pressed during interviews about why you’re making this change now. Your family or friends may think you’re making a mistake and withhold their support.
All those things are tests of your sense of empowerment. You’ve allowed yourself to want more out of your work. That makes you different from most people, and you will meet resistance because of that. Some of that resistance will be positive, as when hiring managers want to make sure you’re clear about what you want. Some of the resistance will just be envy and cynicism. It’s up to you to hold onto your sense of empowerment through it all.
3. “Don’t Stand in the Corner Waiting for the Chance / Make Your Own Music, Start Your Own Dance.”
(Madonna, the Undisputed Queen of Pop)
Lifted from an infectious but mostly forgotten tune called “Spotlight,” these are lyrics to live by. Madonna’s material is full of positivity, drive, and ambition — no surprise, considering she’s still a force to be reckoned with more than three decades into her career.
Whenever you feel like giving in to doubt — whenever you’re ready to throw your hands up and say, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be!” — resist it. Go back to that place of self-discovery where you first decided to embark on this new adventure. Recalibrate and try a different path. Whatever you do, don’t just stand around hoping for opportunities to come. Put on your favorite ’80s beats, roll up your sleeves, and get back out there.
4. “We Must Be Willing to Let Go of the Life We Planned so as to Have the Life That Is Waiting for Us.”
(Joseph Campbell, Author and Professor of Comparative Mythology)
It takes guts to try something new, especially in your career. Fear of failure or, even worse, obsessing over the “correct” way forward can lead to inertia. When a change is important to you, you may want to control everything, lest you make a mistake that could jeopardize your success.
However, one of the most important components of a successful career change is the willingness to get lost and explore. Don’t be afraid to backtrack and start again. Approach every opportunity with a fresh perspective. Let go of your anxiety about not knowing what you’re doing and just do it. You cannot reach a new destination by walking someone else’s path.
5. “You Don’t Get What You Wish for. You Don’t Even Get What You Hope for. You Get What You Believe.”
(Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Talk Show Host)
Anyone who has ever achieved anything will tell you about the importance of knowing they would make it in the end. There are plenty of quotes that refer to this principle, but none sums it up better than Oprah’s triple-punch reality check about the difference between wanting, hoping, and believing.
Psychologists tell us our chances of making it in a life-or-death situation go up or down according to what we’re thinking. In other words, if you anticipate you’ll make it, you have a better chance of making it. If belief can help save your life, imagine what it can do for your career change! No matter how many stumbling blocks you come across, know in your gut that success is already yours. You just haven’t arrived yet.