“I’d love to change jobs, but I don’t know what else I’d do…”

I’ve written a number of blogs on general career topics such as networking, failure and decision making. Today, I thought I would discuss the most common reason people give as to why they stay in jobs they don’t like: “I don’t know where to start, or what else I would do”.

Out of all the informal careers chats I’ve had with friends, colleagues, and prospective clients, this is one of the most frequently stated reason for not making the first move towards a career change.

I’ll start by saying, I understand where people are coming from. I am a big fan of certainty, and sometimes struggle to start something unless I’m pretty sure I know the outcome I’m aiming for. The challenge with applying this ‘logic’ to a potential career move is that it’s nearly impossible to work out the final destination before you take the first step to explore options.

In my personal experience – as well as that of many of my clients – the process of self-reflecting, analysing options, and taking steps to execute a career change (big or small) is not a straight line. It can be a bumpy road, with twists, turns, dead-ends, excitements, disappointments and many coffee chats along the way.

Not having a clear idea of your end goal or ideal next career move is extremely common. And is not a valid reason to do nothing at all.

When I started considering my career move away from corporate graduate recruitment, I had no idea what I wanted. I knew that I enjoyed coaching among other things, but had heard numerous stories about there being no stability or money in it. It was difficult for me to justify exploring this further, when for a long time I was convinced it was a completely unrealistic option for me.

Tentatively, I started dipping my toes in the water by talking to other coaches. I spoke to executive coaches, career coaches, and I spoke to people that worked in-house and those that were self-employed. The mixture of advice, support, encouragement and warnings I had from those in the industry varied a great deal, but I loved immersing myself in a new world with new people. And I found that when approached in the right way, most were generous with their time and happy to chat to me.

At the same time as these conversations, I started devouring books about motivation, success, mindset, and about high achievers. I read the ‘secrets’ behind the success of people like Henry Ford and Walt Disney, many of whom had multiple long-standing failures before achieving their career goals.

Reading so many stories of others’ mixed experience of success I started to form a view that the differentiating factors that led to industry leaders’ success wasn’t luck or connections. Often it wasn’t even about skill or ability. The factor that separated those that achieved their biggest and most unrealistic career goals was persistence. Consistent action, backed up with a belief that even if they weren’t successful this time, they would try and try again until they were.

When I was right at the start of considering a move into coaching, I didn’t have the self belief that I would eventually be successful. I very nearly didn’t start at all. But as I started taking small steps forward to explore paths further, my self-belief grew.

As well as the training and inspiration I received from my coach and my coaching training, there were a number of books I read and audio books I listened to that fundamentally changed how I viewed myself, careers, and what is possible.


These books aren’t specific to a career change into coaching, and I’ve shared the names of some of them below if anyone is in need of some January inspiration. I don’t necessarily agree with all parts of all the books, but I definitely took a lot from each of them. I’d love to hear from you if have any recommended books to add to my collection.

Happy reading!

The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek

Working Out Loud: For a better career and life by John Stepper

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferris

Reinventing Yourself: How to Become the Person You’ve Always Wanted to Be by Steve Chandler

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg

If you want to find out more about how I help others achieve their big, complicated, and sometimes not-yet-created career goals, get in touch for an informal chat using the contact form below, or drop me an email

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