How to ‘let go’ of your career

Few of us find change particularly easy – especially when it comes to our careers. For the majority of us, letting go of an old role to seek a promotion or leaving a career we’ve outgrown isn’t as simple as throwing caution to the wind and just doing it.

The trick is to let go of the thought patterns (the fear and self-doubt) that are holding you back, while carefully planning and preparing for your next move.

Let go of: old measurements of success

It seemed as though ‘career success’ used to be about having a fatter salary than your neighbour, a corner office with a view, and an intimidating job title. Nowadays more people are considering things such as fulfilment, personal satisfaction, and work/life balance as greater measures of professional success.

It’s time to let go of what you used to think it meant to be successful and craft your own definition of success. Focusing instead on what you want from your career, and how you want it to make you feel, can allow you to make the transition without worrying if you’re taking a backwards or sideways step.

How to ‘let go’ of your career

Let go of: comfortable duties and tasks

If you still love your current industry but you’re struggling to make room for new opportunities and chances to elevate your skills, it’s time to let go of duties and tasks that might be holding you back.

Stop thinking it’s quicker to do a task yourself rather than teach someone else. Re-evaluate your duties and consider what can be delegated, or shared with a colleague. Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you should continue doing it. If your workload is overly full, it can become impossible to make room for new challenges. Be brave, think about your future, and discuss opportunities for growth with your manager.

Let go of: your 20-something life plan

If you’ve worked hard to make it to the position you’re in now but it simply doesn’t spin your wheels any more, it can be hard to move on. You don’t want to feel as though you’ve been on the wrong path, or that the past years have been a waste of time and talent.

No-one is the same person at 30 years of age as they were at 20, which means the life you probably had planned for yourself back then doesn’t exactly match the your goals and expectations now. For some, you may be beginning to realise you need to let go of your current career and industry to chase a job that really makes your heart sing. Brush off fear and self-doubt, and embrace who you are now.

Read more about changing careers in your 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s.