How to Know if You’re Making the Wrong Career Move

Imagine you are facing a major career decision. A new opportunity arose that would increase your engagement and give you more autonomy. Taking it however means leaving a job that you’ve enjoyed, focusing on a different type of work, and facing a substantial learning curve. Uncertain, you almost miss the window to apply… What do you do?

One of the biggest doubts that gnaws at a decision maker’s peace of mind, is worrying about making the wrong move. What if I take this new job and regret it? What if I’m not prepared enough to move up? What if I strike out on my own and fail? Just how, exactly, can you tell if you’re about to make a wrong move? Like many things in your professional life, there’s no black and white when it comes to making a bold career-changing pivot. But the following three questions may help you work through your concerns. (Of course, if your circumstances are complex, it’s time to schedule with one of our career coaches.)

1. Do You Have a Sense of Foreboding?

Do you feel a tiny lingering sense of dread when you think about the new opportunity? Maybe your potential boss minimized some of your accomplishments in the interview, making you wonder if your work won’t be valued in the new space. Or maybe you met the team, and while they were polite, they also seemed a bit tightly-wound, making you wonder how they handle a tough deadline or if this is the culture of the department.

Think you would just walk away if you encountered red flags like these? Don’t kid yourself—there are plenty of reasons we ignore warning bells, like a bigger paycheck, higher status, or the opportunity to live in a great location. But, if you see these signs, you shouldn’t overlook them simply because you want to make more money. A nagging unease or feeling of discomfort could be your big brain’s way of letting you know that you’re not ready or that it’s not the best option.

Look, it’s inevitable that a career change is going to create some anxiety. (If it doesn’t, check your pulse!) You don’t need to automatically turn down a great offer if you’re feeling nervous, but you should try to determine if it’s more than just butterflies. Ask yourself, “Am I uncomfortable about something that’s happened in this process, or am I just nervous at the thought of change?”

2. Are You Feeling Desperate?

If you’re in a crummy situation and you hate your job, and you get a chance to make a change, there’s a chance you might make the jump just to escape your current situation. Make sure you’re approaching the decision with a clear head so you can determine if the new opportunity actually offers something better or if it just seems that way. Remember that you need to vet this new opportunity. You need to assess if this new company, culture, team, management, product, is an actual fit for you and sets you up for success.

If you can’t find that clear headspace on your own, talk to someone. When you feel panicky, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain perspective. Someone on the outside, someone who doesn’t have your emotional attachment to the situation, can often be of enormous help. A trusted friend, mentor, or career coach can help you recognize and sort through your options.

3. Are You Trying to Spite Someone?

You’re not the only one who’s dreamed of getting an incredible opportunity to rub in that colleague’s smug face. But, c’mon now, that’s obviously a terrible reason to actually make a career move. If you let them drive your decision, you’re giving them control, and it’s unlikely that the decision is truly what’s best for you and your professional trajectory.

If you can remain secure and productive in your role, you’ll ultimately have more control, and eventually, new doors will open for you, giving you the chance to evaluate your options objectively.

Here’s a final nugget to bear in mind when wrestling with a major career decision: If you truly know what is a fit for you, if you know what you need in a career to thrive, and you have vetted the company, your potential co-workers and boss, the culture, then you are likely to make a good, solid decision. Still wondering “Am I making the fight decision?” Ask our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers who all offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Common Career Regrets

“I wish I asked for a promotion. I wish I didn’t dread going to work. I wish I didn’t stay for the money.” You don’t want to be reaching retirement only to reflect on all the things you should’ve done career-wise. You have the power to change your professional destiny. Ignite Your Potential career coaches have curated tips to combat four common career regrets.


1. Fear of Failure

Although risk taking is a part of career growth, many people play it safe because of fear of failure. Changing your perception of failure can make all the difference. If you are passionate about something you should adjust to the adversity and continue trying. Don’t be afraid to do things like present ideas or ask for promotions. You cannot expect to grow in your career if you are not willing to take risks. You may not always get what you ask for or attain your goal but going for it means you will succeed some of the time.

Avoid this regret: Consider taking a new risk every day until you become comfortable to do so at work.

2. Staying for the Money

You don’t have to suffer your entire professional life for a paycheck. “Money can’t buy happiness” is cliché, and true nonetheless. Research shows 85% of employees are disengaged from their jobs, according to psychologist Frederick Herzberg, author of The Motivation to Work. People are motivated by achievement, recognition, advancement, responsibility, and growth. Things such as pay raises and benefits are less impactful to a person’s sense of fulfillment. You should be paid what you are worth but don’t sacrifice motivation or a sense of engagement for money alone.

Avoid this regret: If you are overwhelmingly unhappy or your paycheck is the only positive thing about your job, strategically plan your exit. We encourage you to read about “5 Reasons a Big Check Is Not Worth Staying at a Job You Hate”. As well as, reading about visual artist Vanita Lee-Tatum experience with taking a pay cut for a more meaningful job.

You also don’t have to do this alone. The Ignite Your Potential coaches are here for you, to collaborate and build a strategic action plan, so you can make a career pivot that pays you and motivates you. You can have both.

3. Not Maintaining Network

It is tempting to leave a job you dislike and never look back. In spite of this desire, you should consider maintaining the work relationships you have built. Previous coworkers and bosses can be an important part of building credibility and a professional support system. By not maintaining your connections you are missing out on countless opportunities. You never know how former colleagues can benefit you in the future. In order to maintain a fruitful network, you must stay connected!

Avoid this regret: Take the time out weekly to connect or reconnect with long lost friends and coworkers. Here’s how “6 Tips for Building and Maintaining Your Network”.

4. Not Pursuing Passion

Leaving a lucrative job to pursue your passion is not an easy task. However, if you are committed to being persistent and patient you can reach personal fulfillment and success. You owe yourself a chance to pursue your passion. Life is too short to spend the majority of your day doing something you thoroughly hate.

Avoid this regret: Begin looking for training and network with people in the industry you wish to pursue. Read our blog on how to get out of a work rut before you make your final decision to quit.

After reading this article, you may be inspired to begin pursuing your career without regrets. And remember, all of the award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you meet your life goals and career goals. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

“Find something you love to do so much you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.” – Chris Gardner

Seven Signs You’re Experiencing Job Burn Out

We’ve all been there. You get a job that you really wanted, and you put everything you have into it. You work late. You obsess over every little detail. You volunteer for projects you don’t really have time to do. You want everything to be perfect. You want to make a difference.

But what happens when the job that you worked so hard for starts affecting you in negative ways? How do you know if you’re just in a rut or if you’re experiencing job burn out?

Here are seven signs that it may be time to step back and take a break:

1.Your Job Becomes Annoying

If you find yourself annoyed by a job you use to love, you may be facing job burnout. Meetings, deadlines, and even your co-workers may become hard to bear. You might even feel trapped and unappreciated in your current position

job burn out

2. Exhaustion

Are you tired all the time and catch yourself napping after work more often than you use to? You may oversleep and arrive late to work due to overwhelming exhaustion. This is a clear sign that you’re pushing yourself too hard.

3. Lack of Enthusiasm

Do you find yourself not wanting to do activities you use to enjoy? It’s a possibility that you’re even avoiding friends and family because you don’t want to make excuses about why you’d rather hang out at home than go out on a Friday night.

4. You’re Irritable

If you’re unhappy with your work life, it can begin affecting your personal life too. You may find yourself being short-tempered and responding in a less than polite way to your friends and family.

5. Cognitive Problems

Do you find it hard to concentrate? Feeling unfocused and dissociated from life can be a side effect of working too hard. Burnout can have you making mistakes at work, you may become forgetful, and miss that 9 a.m. meeting.

6. Neglecting Yourself

With burn out, you may neglect yourself in favor of dedicating yourself to your job. You may skip lunch to work on that important project and meet the deadline, or you may comfort yourself with food. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is also a danger. Unwinding with an occasional glass of wine is fine, but overindulging is a problem. You may notice that you’re not doing the self-care habits. Suddenly putting off the very things that help you recharge and be your best.

7. Your Health is Declining

Pushing yourself too hard can have a negative affect on your health, and this is probably the most serious sign that you’re experiencing burn out. Ways that burn out can affect your health are:

  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Frequent colds
  • Depression
  • Feelings of Apathy

How Do I Fight Burn Out?

If you think you’re experiencing burn out, you need to dial it back at work. Don’t take on extra projects that you know will stress you out. Take your breaks: having a few minutes to unwind and center yourself can release the tension that had built up throughout the day.

It’s also important to have a support system.  Your family and friends are there for you, so don’t feel guilty about confiding in them if you’re having a hard time.

job burn out

Take care of yourself. Getting an adequate amount of rest is vital when attempting to overcome job burn out. Make sure to take regular days off to do what you enjoy, and, if you’re stressed out, don’t overindulge in activities that are not sustainable and actually deplete you.

At Ignite Your Potential, we work with clients who are experiencing burn out. We help them make the adjustments they need in order to get things back on track. In some cases, we help clients transition into a new role, better suited to their strengths. Whatever type of help you need regarding your career we can be there for you. Click here to schedule a complimentary initial 25 minute phone session with the coach of your choice.

Top 3 Reasons Big Career Goals Fail

Thinking back to when we were kids, we had such big career dreams. Whether we wanted to be dancers, firefighters, cowboys, or astronauts, most of us had MIGHTY dreams. And our parents may have supported those dreams until we reached that particular age. The age when we were encouraged to “get real,” go to college, learn a trade, and build a career that would look successful and was realistic and attainable.

Many of us gave up on our big dreams for something more practical, reliable…ultimately, safe.

Not everyone succumbed to this, but a good bunch of us watered down our North Star type careers aspirations to do something that quelled our parents’ fears while also making them reasonably proud. And then, years later, these same people who tried to do the right thing, felt uninspired, demoralized even, and weren’t sure why.

Ignite Your Potential is a team of career coaches who are here to expand those horizons. While we all know how to accommodate fear, avoid risk, and push our instincts to the side because uncertainty is scary. And we can look in any direction and receive messages reminding us of reasons we should be scared. The truth is, with the right tools, we all have the potential to achieve our right-fit career. We can live a happy and prosperous life doing what we love.

Here are the Top 3 Reasons Big Career Goals Fail:

1. Self Sabotage

Self-sabotage plays a part when our career goals go un-achieved. It’s easy to give up when the going gets tough. We find excuses as to why it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Part of the reason we react this way is we find comfort in what we already know and are used to letting our fears, of what might happen, guide us. We thwart our own chances at becoming who we are meant to be. Imagine if you saved your money for a piece of special, expensive jewelry but once it was yours, you became too afraid to wear it for fear of it being lost, or stolen, or of people being jealous of it, or of people judging you too bold to wear such a piece. So it goes unworn, sitting in your room, serving no purpose, being stagnant, slowly going dull. My hope for you is that you can find the courage, and get the support you need, to put fear aside, and own your desire and dreams, be true to yourself, and show the world what you’ve got.

Psychology Today “The forces that lead to self-sabotage can also be more subtle, such as an accumulation of dysfunctional and distorted beliefs that lead people to underestimate their capabilities, suppress their feelings, or lash out at those close to them. An important aspect of dealing with counterproductive behavior is identifying where it might be coming from.”

The best way to get over self-sabotage is to become eyes-wide-open honest with oneself. Find a way to get better at self-observation: begin a journaling or meditation practice or work with a San Francisco career coach or Los Angeles life coach.

2. Your People

As you can imagine, this can go in either direction. Being around people who are supportive and believe in you can be one of the most powerful aspects of success. We truly are the company that we keep. So it stands to reason if the people around you are unhealthy or fearful or lack self-awareness this can be a killer of big dreams and goals. Although at times they mean well, ultimately, their judgments pile up on us, causing us to doubt ourselves and our dreams because “maybe they’re right, maybe I’m not entrepreneurial enough to start my dream of owning a bakery.”

The best way to overcome other people projecting their fears on to you is to seriously consider who you are letting influence one of the most important areas of your life. Who is this person? Have they achieved their dreams? Are they a supportive force? Then, work to have positive people around you. People who also have goals and dreams they want to achieve or have achieved. Find your right support network of productive people who will cheer as you strive and thrive toward your dreams and goals. Having a life coach or career coach on that support team can be a way to move away from the fear and into fruitful action.

3. Your Environment

This is important because it’s the least obvious reason why our goals don’t get off the ground. The environments we create for ourselves can either help, inspire, and motivate us to reach ambitious career goals or hurt our chances to reach these goals.

For example, do you live in a disorganized house and can never find what you need to get things done such as your laptop or notebooks? This is an environmental factor that can affect your mood, behavior, and attitude.

Changing your habits starts by changing your environment. Stanford psychologist B.J. Fogg suggests that “goals are harmful unless they guide you to make specific behaviors easier to do. Don’t focus your motivation on doing Behavior X. Instead, focus on making Behavior X easier to do.

In short, eliminate everyday “choices” so that you have one, optimal routine. Fogg says that “by designing for laziness, you can stop or reduce a behavior. For example, put bad snacks in the garage on the shelf that requires a ladder.” Or placing your packed gym bag near the front door ready to go.

To achieve our most ambitious career goals we need to carefully observe our thoughts, habits, the company we keep, and our environment. As you notice what may sabotage these important goals, you have the opportunity to create a strategic action plan that will get you to your goal. Successfully reaching your career goals is the result of creating change in many aspects of your life. Remember, not only is it okay to ask for help with your ambitious career goals, it is exactly what smart, on track people do. They get people on their side to help them. High achieving people have a positive support network, they have coaches and mentors, who help them get there. Fortunately, you have an expert team right here who are ready to help!