What to do When You’re at a Career Crossroads

I recently had a conversation with a friend where we were reflecting on points in both of our careers that felt like a crossroads – either by choice or external circumstances. As we each shared how we navigated through these stages of life, I was reminded of just how unsettling it can be. We’re often filled with questions (and all kinds of emotions) as we try to determine what’s next.

And yes, while being at a crossroads can be scary and uncertain, it can also be an incredible opportunity to learn more about yourself, explore something new, and have fun trying new things. Easier said than done, which is why I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ways to help you navigate through a career crossroads.

Question What’s Possible

The visual of a crossroads where two roads diverge implies that we only have two possible paths forward. In reality, there are rarely ever just two options.

In working with coaching clients, I have noticed a whole world of opportunities open time and time again when we stop thinking in terms of “either or” and instead ask “what else?”

If you feel stuck between a rock and hard place, take a few minutes right now to dream up 3 new possible ways forward and see how it shifts things for you.

Take Care & Take Action

Being at a crossroads also indicates the end of the path we were originally on. Planned or not, experiencing a transition expends a great deal of our mental and emotional energy. For this reason, it’s important that we take care of ourselves so we can fuel further action. 

One technique that has worked for me in the past is to aim for movement, meditation, and reflection each day – even if just a few minutes each. Another is to offer self-compassion and remind yourself that transitions are a natural part of life that we all experience. Dr. Kristen Neff provides some great self-compassion meditations. Whatever activity restores you, the important thing is to make time for it on a regular basis.

The purpose of taking care of yourself in this way is to enable you to fuel yourself into further action – because we can’t make a change without taking action of some kind.

I’m a firm believer that we can’t think our way forward. Instead, we’ve got to try new things that help inform us of our next best step. Keep in mind that through these small next steps forward, your bigger goal will often reveal itself. You don’t have to know from the outset what it’s going to look like, as the world of work (and you as an individual) is ever-changing!

Listen to Your Inner Wisdom

Listening to our inner wisdom is a great way to help cut through the noise and confusion we often experience because we’re so used to making decisions from a solely logical or rational place.  It can provide us with another perspective and greater insight to consider before moving forward. Check out this more in-depth post about how to access your inner wisdom here.

~~~

Next time you’re at a career crossroads, try your hand at a few of these exercises. Have you navigated through a career crossroads before? I’d love to hear what techniques helped you do so!