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Career transition

My 5 guiding principles

"Why did you leave your Captain’s job ?"
"Why did you leave your high-flying corporate job to get into coaching ?"
I get asked these questions a lot
There is no single or straightforward answer to these questions
Especially, because in both my previous jobs, I was doing well and I was enjoying the work
But somewhere in the background, I also had this question starting to pop-up each time :

What next ?
Over time, I realized that there are certain guiding principles which I had developed (consciously and unconsciously), which drove me to make those career-changing decisions

Most of them are interconnected by a common thread, which has led me to where I am today
I want to share those guiding principles with you :
It’s OK to NOT know what’s next
When I left shipping, I just knew that I wanted to go for higher studies
I had no idea what I will do next
But I was open to discovering what’s out there
Similarly, when I left my job as an investment banker, I had a vague idea what I wanted to do
But I was not really sure
You see….
Humans are wired to seek certainty and guarantees
That’s just how our brain works
We take actions and decisions which lead us to live a very predictable and templated life
And if you follow that pattern, you can almost predict where you will be or what you will be doing 5, 10 yrs down the line
Not knowing what’s next can be really scary
And it can be liberating at the same time
There are times in life when you need to allow yourself that freedom - freedom to NOT know what's next 
Allow that discovery to happen

Take risks in life
Leaving a well-settled and well-paying job 2 times in my career was a big risk
And on both occasions, I was doing really well and had a good career ahead
Taking risks is not just about uncertainty
It’s about making bold bets in life
In some cases, you know the payoff and in other cases, you don’t
When you seek too much comfort and security, it comes in the way of your own growth
Risk taking is not the same as being reckless
Its about having the courage to get uncomfortable
It's more about finding the courage to do something you always wanted to do or something you want to explore
Obviously, you need to plan and prepare yourself ( a lesson I learnt the hard way! )
But sometimes, it's worth taking that plunge
So go back and think on how you can bring the element of risk taking in what you do or want to do
You don’t know what else you can do until and unless you try it
We hear this quite often – we should maximize our true potential, right ?
But how do you truly know what your potential is ?
How do you truly know what you can and cannot do ?
In most cases, this is driven by our beliefs developed over a period of time
In some cases, you have tried something in the past and it did not work out, hence you start believing that you cannot do it
In other cases, you have not tried something at all and hence you belief that you cannot do it
For example, I had never been interested in art as such
But when my elder son started learning painting, I started learning too
And soon I realized that I could paint really well
Similarly, I had never tried writing
But once I started my own blog and newsletter, I realized that I was actually quite creative and could write well
And now I have a sizeable mailing list and blog followers
So push yourself to try out new things and experiences in life
You never know what you will discover about yourself
There is NO reason why you will not succeed
Success is not guaranteed
Yet, when trying out something new, we want someone to guarantee us that it will work out
We want instant success
And that itself stops us from trying out something new
You see….
Success is not just about hard work
It is more about perseverance and longevity
And a lot of other things....

So instead of believing that you will not succeed at something, I want you to repurpose that belief into a question – "Why will you not succeed?"
If you don’t have a skill, you can learn it
If you need more time, give yourself more time
If you don’t have the money, give time to earn it and so on….
In my own case, I had never been a public speaker
I was not shy – it’s just that I had never done it
But once I decided that I want to be on a stage and deliver talks and lectures to a large audience, I started working towards that goal
Which obviously included a lot of learning and practice
And now public speaking is part of my profession
I have delivered 4 TEDx talks and attend numerous speaking engagements
Always challenge yourself with this question – "Why will I not succeed ?"
Let go of your baggage and be ready to start from scratch
Whatever you have done so far in life has led you to this point
All your learnings and experiences have made you successful so far
However, the same knowledge can sometimes come in your way
It can stop you from seeing, learning and experiencing new things
Because you know what has worked for you – your success mantra
And in most cases, you are afraid to let go of it
It becomes a baggage of sorts
And unconsciously, it starts pulling you behind and down
But when you are ready to let go of that baggage and ready to learn something new, it opens up a whole world of possibilities
But remember....

It is not just about learning new things
It is ensuring that your past knowledge and experience does not come in the way
In my case, both my career changes ( shipping to investment banking to coaching ) required me to learn completely new skills, meet new people, experience completely new work environments
And on both occasions, it was a completely new start for me
I had to sacrifice the equity I had build in my previous roles
That itself is scary, especially when you are venturing into completely new territories
People may know you for your past laurels, but you will have to prove yourself in the new avatar
Leverage what part of your past is relevant in the new context, in the new environment and be ready to let go of what may not be relevant

Be open to exploring and learning 
That’s it from my side today
I would be keen to know what thoughts got triggered as you read this article


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