The 5 Rules of Career Reinvention: Creating a Life YOU Want After Maternity Leave
5..4..3..2..STOP! That is how I felt right before I had to go back to work after being on mat leave. I was not quite ready. So much had changed since having a baby; my body, my sleep (what sleep?) my schedule and more importantly my priorities. I know I wanted to still be productive, have a life beyond my family and contribute to the world but perhaps not on the same old terms.
I wanted to do something different. I needed to reinvent myself that better reflected who I was today. Here are the 5 reinvention rules I used that helped me go from PR exec to maternity coach which is more aligned with who I am today.
Rule 1: Don’t Have A Plan!
Yes you read that correctly, DON’T. We can only plan for what we know but there is so much out there that we do not even know exists yet. Case in point, I had no idea about maternity coaching when I first started out, so I could not have “planned” for it and I would have missed an amazing opportunity to help working moms reinvent themselves. Ditch the plan!
Rule 2: Get Out and Explore Beyond Your Comfort Zone
If you just stayed in your house (without a computer!), it would be familiar and comfortable but how much would you learn and grow. Explore places, people and concepts you don’t normally have in your world:
Go to a workshop on something completely new
Take a course on something that peaks your interest
Meet people at Meetups that you find intriguing
Hang out in a coffee shop in a completely different part of town
Explore websites you would otherwise not visit
Rule 3: Talk to the Locals
Once you are out and about exploring, take time to talk to the locals of that group. They can tell you the real deal on what this new world is all about:
Follow up with the workshop or course leader for more details about the subject
Set up informational interviews with people that work in you area of interest and keep them as part of your growing network
Connect with the bloggers who inhabit that subject on the internet
Check out videos on YouTube of experts who are already in the field
Rule 4: Examine Your Toolbox
So by this point you may have an idea of what you might want to do after having spent time immersing yourself in the new culture. Before you run out and decide to take a 2 year course to get credentials to put after your name, consider what you already know and can bring to the table. You already have many transferable skills:
copywriting can be transferred to blogging
customer service to networking
marketing to coaching/mentoring others about sales/comms/pr/marketing
project management can be applied to many different areas
Rule 5: It Takes Time
Reinventing your life takes time. Don’t expect changes overnight but know that you are heading in the direction YOU want. Perhaps you may have to go back to work/stay home/take courses while you figure things out, allow yourself the time to do so. Once you get there, it will all be worth it! This is where you can start following a plan but do leave room for tweaks as you adjust your course.
Bonus Rule: Take Action!
None of these rules work if you do not follow this one. You need to take action, make changes and don’t give up on your reinvention. Strategies to help you do this:
Get an accountability partner/coach to help you find a path and stay on task
Track your progress. Easier to manage what you measure
Have a budget/resources dedicated to this life process
Drop me a line if you have questions or let me know how your reinvention is going!