Before Making A Transition In Your Career – Three Things To Explore

Are you seeking to change your career? Do you want to make that transition but not sure about where to go from here?

Currently, I have three mid-to-top-level executives who want to make a change yet are unsure of what will be fulfilling for them. They feel stuck, discontent and all want passionate work in their next move. If you find you are in this position, here are some steps to explore before making a transition in your career.

Ask yourself, “What is at the root of wanting to make a change?” Until you understand the why behind your desire, you may end up not finding a job that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.

One reason you may be motivated to make a change is that you are not happy with your boss or the organization as a whole. Upon deeper exploration, that was the situation with two of my clients. Both of my clients have “bosses” who abhor change and innovation, shutting down new ideas. Delving even deeper, we learned that they do enjoy their work, just not in this venue with this type of boss.

Once you discover the root issue of wanting a career change, the next step is to take time to know yourself. It’s a time to become introspective and ask yourself, “What invigorates me?

Having this awareness resulted in both my clients taking a different direction rather than doing something altogether new. How to verify if this might be your motivation to change? You might find that you are comparing where you are now to the previous organization where you worked, where you were happier. When comparing the two organizations, you keep yourself in a state of longing. Once you discover the root issue of wanting a career change, the next step is to take time to know yourself. It’s a time to become introspective and ask yourself, “What invigorates me? Where do I feel empowered? What excites me?” Look at what you don’t want. I suggest to my clients that they write down these questions, then write without censorship, pushing themselves to keep writing until they’ve exhausted all possibilities. From this exercise, we often find a common thread, leading to a prospective new career that is exciting.

Now for the challenging part. The next step is to research what you need to do to be ready for this change in your career. Do you need to take some courses? Do you have the credentials? It might be as easy as getting a certificate to get your foot in the door. What might the downsides be to this new career? Perhaps you discovered you want to take what you are doing to the next level but fear is holding you back.

I had a client who wanted to move from being a senior director to a VP, but fear was preventing him from taking that next step. We looked at his self-perception and changed his mindset so that he would interview with confidence. If fear is holding you back, ask yourself, “How am I getting in my own way to be successful in this transition?

Uncovering how you get in your own way can be prevented if you have someone to hold you accountable. They can also provide insight, clarify your thoughts and explore the pitfalls that you may be unaware of. They can act as a thought partner who listens to when you might be losing momentum and can provide valuable feedback that is honest and critical during this transition time.

The final step is to network. Networking can form connections that lead to your next position and be a valuable resource. It can also connect you with individuals who are currently in your next role. Get to know the other person and learn more about the advantages and pitfalls of this new career. They may know of healthy organizations where innovation and change are appreciated and welcomed. And, they can often be a foot in the door. Be sure to focus on getting to know these individuals and what makes them tick. Building a sincere connection is the heart of networking. The rest falls into place.

Is it time to make a change? If so, pay attention to your mindset. Use the acronym HOPE as the attitude to have when making transitions: Have only positive energy. Maintaining this mindset is advantageous for aligning yourself with the right organization and people. Optimism is contagious and can open many doors.

Editor’s Note: This Article was first published on Forbes and is featured here with Author permission.


Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.
Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.
Melinda Fouts, Ph. D., International Executive Coach, Psychotherapist is a select Columnist & Featured Contributor for BIZCATALYST 360° and a Member of the Forbes Coaches Council (comprised of Top coaches offering insights on leadership development & careers), and founder of Success Starts with You. She was recently chosen to receive the Empowered Woman of the Year Award for 2021 given by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). She also received the honor as the top international coach of the year in 2020 by the IAOTP. She provides visionary leadership in her field and her many credentials prove she has the ability to empower women worldwide. Her exemplary role as a female professional in a male-dominated industry displays her influence, capability, and proficiency. Inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an honor in itself, only a few women are chosen for this distinction based on their years of experience, professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, and contributions to their communities. With innovation and compassion, these women empower others to reach their goals, while creating change for future generations. With over 2 decades of professional experience as a business coach and psychotherapist, Dr. Fouts has proven herself as an accomplished professional and expert in the field. As a dynamic, results-driven leader, Dr. Fouts has demonstrated success not only as an Executive Business Coach, but in every role she has held. Prior to executive coaching and leadership development, Melinda has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for over 20 years. She leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness. Owner and founder of Success Starts with You, is based upon the premise that you are already successful. Increasing self-awareness to increase emotional intelligence and unlocking blind spots are paramount to continued success. Dr. Fouts leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness and discovering their blind spots. It can be lonely at the top and as a thought partner, she makes sure you are not alone. Dr. Fouts’ unique approach from other business coaches is that she helps get rid of thinking and behavioral patterns that tend to keep executives stuck. Her key areas of expertise include but are not limited to: small business consulting, enhancing emotional intelligence, self-awareness, unlocking fullest potential, brainstorming, identifying limitations, challenges, obstacles and optimizing performance. In addition, her successful career as a Psychotherapist and International Executive Business Coach, Dr. Fouts is a sought-after speaker whose key-note address to Women’s Leadership Conferences is Channeling Feminine Power in the Face of Adversity. Her newly released book, Cognitive Enlightenment, was to be presented at the London Book Fair, March 2020, the NY Book Fair, May 2020, and the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2020 until COVID hit. Melinda received her Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology from Saybrook University and her Masters in Psychology from Pacifica University. Melinda has worked as a consultant with executives and businesses for over 20 years. As a result of her experience and studies, she has developed a unique craft to fine-tune leadership development for peak performance. She lives in Colorado with her big, beautiful dog, Stryder. For more information on Dr. Fouts please visit:

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