Positioning Your Personal Brand for Relaunch: Step Two - What?

This post is the third in a series on relaunching your personal brand. The idea for a multi-post discussion on how to position yourself for a career change was inspired by a piece that appeared recently in the Franklin University Back to College Blog. Much emphasis is given to how to prepare for an initial career launch, but what about when you want to make a career change? The ideas shared in the Franklin U. blog post provided a solid overview of steps one should take when pondering a career change. The last post discussed how the process begins by asking the question "why?" Why is a change desired - it is to pursue meaningful change or is it an attempt to escape from an undesirable situation? Is it your desire to change, or is it someone else's vision that you should be doing something different?

Assuming your outcome of evaluating Step One is that you satisfactorily answer the Why question and intend on pursuing a career change, the next step is to answer the "What" question. Convincing yourself a career change would be beneficial is much easier compared to knowing exactly what you will change to. In Step One, answering the Why question entailed identifying extrinsic and intrinsic motivations for considering a change. Similarly, when answering the What question we must separate potential new careers on the basis of extrinsic and intrinsic motives for pursuing them. Extrinsic or outside forces might guide us to consider a new career option because of the opportunities available, the average income, lifestyle benefits, or observing other people succeeding in that career.

Intrinsic motivations for career change are not influenced by what is transpiring in the world around us; they come from within us. While external occurrences like being overlooked for a promotion or dissatisfaction with salary can serve as triggers to consider career change, those events are nothing more than disappointments unless there is a deeper drive to do something different with our professional lives. Perhaps the best guidance I have ever seen when it comes to answering the What question is given by Kevin Carroll in his book Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. Carroll identifies seven steps we can take to pursue our red rubber ball, a symbol he uses for something that brings us immense joy and satisfaction. The seven rules are:

  1. Commit to it - It takes a strong resolve to follow your passion
  2. Seek out encouragers  - Do not embark on the path to career relaunch alone; identify mentors, teachers, and friends who can help guide you
  3. Work out your creative muscle -  Imagination leads to opportunity
  4. Prepare to shine -  A willingness to invest time to learn and do the "grunt work" is needed
  5. Speak up - Others will impose boundaries on you ("You can't do that..." or "That won't work"); do not accept their boundaries
  6. Expect the unexpected - Always be on the lookout for opportunity contained in everyday life situations
  7. Maximize the day - Be intentional in choices you make on how you spend your time.
Notice what the Rules of the Red Rubber Ball are not- they do not directly relate to building specific skill sets, getting certain training, or building credentials (that is the focus of Step 3). The rules are about adopting the proper mindset and developing a discipline of behaviors consistent with fulfilling your desires for a different path.