You’ve had it with your old career.
You want a new one that gives you more freedom, creativity, and joy.
Maybe you’re transitioning from a Steady Eddy day job to become an entrepreneur, or you’re breaking into an entirely new field.
You have a plan, you’ve done your research, you’ve followed your heart, but do you talk about your new career with confidence?
There are many reasons why introducing yourself with your new title can be challenging.
One, it’s new. Even though you have a lot of work experience, you’re now doing a lot of things you’ve never done before.
Two, people aren’t always supportive. Questions such as, “If your new business fails, can you return to your old job?,” can be a real downer.
Three, if you’re entering a new field, your current network may have a hard time understanding it.
And let’s not forget that you’ve worked hard to gain a certain amount of status recognition in your old career, so it’s hard to start over and lose all the cachet you’ve earned.
I had a 15-year career in international humanitarian aid. It was all I ever wanted to do as a child. But I realized five years into my career that although it was a noble profession, it wasn’t the right profession for me.
It took me ten years to transition to a line of work that felt more authentic. Through the years of transition, I worked hard to overcome a range of fears, but the biggest obstacle was owning my new identity.
I loved my old identity.
Born with adventure coursing through my veins, I went to countries where no one wanted to go but that were on the nightly news. I helped the innocent caught in the crossfire of conflict.
I was attached to my international aid worker of mystery title even though the work behind the title no longer fulfilled me.
When I finally decided to pursue my passion, I had a hard time saying that I was a life coach. Although I am certified, there’s no Ivy League degree, no prestigious organization to meld into, no wow factor.
I tried to come up with other titles that sounded sexier than life coach, but the only lasting solution was to own my new identity.
When I started to truly own my new identity, that’s what I became. As a consequence, my work took on more meaning, my confidence grew, and greater success came my way.
If you’re transitioning to a new career, the following are 5 ways to help you to own your new identity:
1. Speak about your new profession with the utmost confidence
Introduce yourself and your new profession with confidence. If you left your job as an investment banker to become a flower arranger, then say it with pride.
Develop a brief elevator speech about your new line of work and practice saying it out loud.
2. Explain your title in terms of what you do
If you’re having a hard time owning your new title then focus on the work behind the title. For example, if you don’t like to say that you’re a nutritional coach, then say that you help people heal from illness through diet and exercise.
3. Magnify your success to the Negatrons
Negatrons are those people who seem to get upset when others follow their dreams. Their ears perk up when they hear, “I quit my job as a corporate lawyer to design t-shirts.”
Negatrons will be quick to respond with, “Wow, it’s a tough time to be in the t-shirt business.”
Don’t give them the opportunity to suck the wind out of your sails. Say this instead: “I own and design a successful line of t-shirts, and I love my work.”
4. Understand that you’re growing into your new title
Taking on a new identity takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Take turtle steps every day towards owning your new identity, and in time, it will feel more and more natural.
5. When necessary, think back to your worst day in the old career
If you’re having a hard time with the transition, then take a trip down memory lane. Remind yourself why you wanted to quit your job. Put yourself in that windowless room seated in the hard chair listening to the third hour of that Powerpoint presentation.
This will remind you why pursing your dream is so important, why you’re ready to embrace your true nature, and why your happiness is so much more important than your old identity or status recognition.
Owning your new identity is about accepting the truth about who you are.
If you’re changing careers to pursue your passion, I challenge you to start owning your new identity.
When you embrace the truth about what you most want to offer the world, nothing will sound or sell better than that.
I’d love to know. Do you have a title that you’re trying to own? Post a comment below.
Allyson Scammell is a Life and Career Coach who helps aspiring entrepreneurs transition from underwhelmed day jobs to launching and growing new careers, businesses, or passion projects. Learn more by signing up for her FREE 10-day Bold Action Challenge at: shantipax.com, and connect on Facebook or Twitter.