First steps to making a change…

I often work with clients who are really keen to make a change in their careers, but lack the confidence to take the first steps that would help them to do so.

They might be worried that peers in their organisation are progressing faster than them, or that other people seem to have a balance that they just can’t find. Or it might simply be that they feel that they just don’t match up to where they want to be in certain areas.

Role-modelling can be a really useful, really straightforward, and entirely free method of self-development. You can work at your own pace and focus on the issues that are going to make the biggest difference to you personally.

Here are a few pointers to get you started:

1. What are your core values? What does success mean to you? Try not to be restricted by other people’s influences (whether those influences come from media, family or friends).

2. Who do see around you that is successful in the way that you want to be successful?

3. Try to identify what they have done, or do regularly, to achieve these successes. For example, if you want to improve your management capabilities, identify someone that you see as a great manager of people – notice what behaviours they exhibit as they do this, and reflect on how their team responds to them. If you know them directly, then just ask the right questions and see what advice they can share.

4. Once you have noted the specific actions that have made other people successful, work out ways that you can try to incorporate them into your own activities. You don’t need to mirror your role-model’s behaviours exactly (that could be a bit weird), but by being open to new methods of working, you may be able to adapt them to suit your own context and priorities.

5. Realistically, as with any self-development activity, it is advisable just to look to make a couple of changes at a time, and embed them properly.

Having role-models is not the same as having mentors, which tends to be a longer-term, structured relationship. A role-model doesn’t even have to know that you are trying to emulate their behaviours: I definitely would not advise approaching someone and asking them to be your role-model. What I am talking about here is a more subtle, observational, ‘casual discussion’ kind of activity: ‘I am so impressed at the way you manage to get out of the office at 5.30 every night – how do you do that?’. And then actually listen to their answer.

I definitely have role-models in my day to day life, both in a career context and in my personal life: people who have developed successful businesses that they are proud of, people who manage to keep a balance in their life that they are genuinely happy with, people who are creative and patient in their approach to parenting…

… However, I do currently have an opening for a role-model who can show me how they manage to keep a their house tidy with three small boys running around and wrecking it ;o)


If you’re looking for support to make a career change and would like to have an initial chat, either call me on 07966 718465 or contact me with your details and I can get back to you when it’s convenient for you.



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