Three steps to the next career move

I’m well aware that this blog has become consistently inconsistent. For the past 3 months I was basically working four part-time jobs (and still not actually earning a living wage). I did manage to cut down hours from two of the jobs and last week was my last week at the third job. The fourth job is my own business (and the time I am putting into looking for work, either clients or full-time employment).

I wrote about my struggles in this version of my life back in April. Since then, I have continued to have challenges pulling it all together. I have nine rough drafts of blog posts in my “ideas” folder, yet have, for the past three weeks, been unable to complete those thoughts. I have promised myself that I would be mindful of when I am beating myself up and be more productive, so I’m going to do that now.

Going back and reading my own blog can be helpful. Practice what I preach. I wrote about the importance of having a plan two years ago. While I have had a plan and I’ve been committed to the tasks – showing up at work, marathon training, packing for my next move, spending time with the people most important to me – when I really thought about “the plan”, I realized I didn’t have a lot of clarity about what I really wanted.

That’s what I worked on last week. Are you struggling to find work, trying to transition to a new career, or more fulfillment in your current career? Or some other aspect of your life? Start by creating a vision statement. What is it that you want? What is that you can do and be successful (don’t allow self-defeating demons to sabotage you here – think about the times in your life when you were most successful and what was in place that allowed you to succeed).

Here’s my vision statement:

I want a job (or to earn equivalent of a full-time salary and benefits) that utilizes my non-profit and fundraising experience and coaching skills. I want to feel connected to my creativity, confidence, and passion (helping others, building community). I want to work with good people that I can respect and who make me feel appreciated and acknowledge the work I do. I want to feel valued for my expertise. I want to feel positively energized by the work I’m doing. I want to work where I can get positive results. While money is the bottom line, I understand that in accepting work, it’s more important to feel fulfilled emotionally. Consulting/coaching with/for non-profit organizations, leaders and fundraisers is where I know I can do well and be successful. I will focus on this vision and not settle for less.

The next step is to get really clear about what you’re saying to people: “the elevator pitch” (meaning a quick statement that you can say to someone in a short elevator ride that communicates what you do and plants the seed of how the other person can work with you or help you in some way). With my vision statement in mind, I created a concise and specific statement that I can provide when I’m asked what I do.

This is it:

I help non-profit organizations, leaders and fundraisers become more successful through strategic planning, board and committee development, systems analysis, community needs assessments, interim executive leadership, and special event fundraising maximization.  I am a consultant and certified professional coach with over 20 years in the non-profit sector, and I am looking for a full-time or contract position with a consulting firm or non-profit clients.

Now you try it. What will you say at your next networking event? Is it clear? Can you communicate with confidence?

The final piece is to stay focused. For me, that means not accepting every opportunity to make a little bit of money. It means saying “no” to “opportunities” that don’t fit with the vision. It means putting off immediate satisfaction for long term gains. All the little things are distractions. Distractions (perhaps amplified by my ADHD) have been an Achilles heel popping up here and there my entire life. Having a clear vision of what I want – writing it down and having it someplace I can see it every day – is a good first step to staying focused.

All of this is not unlike Marathon training. Know your goal first; create a clear vision of what you really want and create a realistic plan to get there. Now, to go be consistent with my training…hill repeats today!

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My Marathon Training Pace group. In addition to having a plan, a coach and the support of others can help you navigate challenging intersections — in marathon training — and life!

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