The last few years, I have worked with more and more business owners who have found themselves confronted with a career transition, voluntarily or involuntarily. Maybe the business sold. Maybe the business owner got bored and restless. Maybe the owner grew tired and weary. Maybe the business went bankrupt.
What then, do you do when you have owned a business for 20+ years, or 12 years, or seven years and you realize it is the end of the road for that enterprise? What do you do next? What do you do after owning your own thing and calling your own shots, day after day for years?
Here are five ideas to ponder:
1. Begin with the ending. And the ending to reckon with is the ending of your business, whether it ended due to a decision you made, or a decision that someone made for you. Begin the transition process with the ending. What did you lose? What’s changing? What do you need to let go of? How will the change impact you and others? And along with that, what do you get to keep? What, if anything, out of all that you have done in the past in your business, do you wish to carry forward to your new future?
2. Before you get “out there” and “start looking for a j-o-b” take some time to focus on what’s “in here” (within you) with respect to your knowledge, skills, abilities, values, preferences, goals, interests, likes, and dislikes before you dive in to the next big thing.
3. Rediscover you, who you are, what you want, what’s important, what’s not, and what matters most now before you start putting that piece of paper (your résumé) together. In Stephen R. Covey language, “first things first”. Figure out where you want to go – next – before you invest in writing that new résumé. Build a firm foundation from which to launch – it will serve you well as you move forward to your new future.
4. Practice talking about yourself before you go to networking events or job interviews. Master your script about the product You and the knowledge, skills, abilities, passion and value you offer. Know your product offering inside and out before you go to market.
5. Connect with others. Build a transition team. Reach out. Ask for help. Asking for help is hard to do, especially when you as a business owner have been the one doing the helping. Teamwork works. Going solo in looking for a new opportunity is lonely and limiting. Surround yourself with a team of people who care about you and who are genuinely interested and invested in your sustained career success.
Career transition is a process – a process that takes time, commitment, ingenuity, and tenacity to see it through from start to finish, inception to completion – much like building a business.
photo by billiesucher