How To Know When You Are READY To Take The Leap Into A Career You Love!

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Last year I ran the San Francisco Rock & Roll Half Marathon.

If you were to ask me how I felt the night before the race, my answer would have been, “Part excitement, part dread.”

I was excited because…

  • Running this race was a major GOAL of mine.
  • It reflected my VALUES of health & fitness.
  • The “Rock and Roll” series puts on some of the BEST races in the country!  Not only are they well organized… they are FUN! A band playing at every mile marker!  Marching bands & drummers! Elvis impersonators! Running over the beautiful Golden Gate bridge!
  • I love the thrill of the finish line!  (& I love collecting race medals!)
  • It justified the donuts I planned on eating afterwards!

I was also filled with dread because….

  • Truth be told, I wasn’t as “trained up” as I wanted to be.  I missed some long runs. Once I was sick. Another time it was raining cats & dogs.  And overall, I had gotten really busy with my coaching practice! (The good kind of busy, but it meant less training!)
  • The race consisted of massive hills.
  • I wanted to sprint and not shuffle across the finish line! 

But here’s the deal.

If I wait around until I am 100% “ready” to run a race before I run it…. I’LL NEVER RUN THE RACE & GET THE MEDAL!

Life happens. And life will never PAUSE for you to be “ready” before you go after your goal.

So to be clear:

I will NEVER be “100% ready.”  

There will always be a “little” more training I could have done. 

The conditions won’t seem “just right.”

Or maybe I’ll tell myself I can train more/ better prepare next year. 

I will NEVER be perfectly “ready.” And guess what… THAT’S OK!

Because sometimes… you just have to show up to the starting line… and run the damn race. 

In order to get that medal, achieve that goal…. you have to simply make the decision to SHOW UP.  

The same goes for your next career change. 

If you are waiting around for conditions to be JUST RIGHT…. I’m here to tell you, that you will be waiting forever.

The key is to JUST GET STARTED. 

Lace up your tennis shoes, and take that FIRST STEP.


With that being said… let me hop right into point #1.


You will never be 100% ready to make a major career change.

The key is to start BEFORE you’re ready.

Now, I’m not talking about quitting your job tomorrow.  I’m talking about starting to build and execute your strategy towards career change NOW.

Career change takes TIME.

Job seekers take an average of 5 months to find a job, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans in 2018. (Source: Randstad – Global HR Leader)

Please don’t wait until things are so bad at your current job that it’s a scramble.

If you start TODAY, it may take 5 months to career change and an extra month or two if you need to get career direction clarity first.

The time is NOW to get started on….

  1. Getting career direction clarity (What’s my perfect fit?)  Get clear on your career non-negotiables.
  2. Developing your targeted marketing materials.  (resume, LinkedIn, cover letter, elevator pitch.)  You need to develop a consistent narrative that indicates you are the perfect fit for the role you are targeting.
  3. Executing an effective networking strategy.  You want to get AHEAD of job postings. There is a science to networking effectively so that you are first in line before roles are even published.
  4. Interview Prep.  You don’t want to scramble to interview prep once they call you in.  Get started now on preparing to answer key questions in a way that positions you as the expert who will solve your target company’s pain point.


Often people want to start flinging resumes to any job posting that looks decent.

Don’t do this!

You need to know your target, before you shoot the arrow.

What you DON’T want to do is flail from one bad job to the next.

It’s imperative to get a grasp on the right career direction for you.  You need to take ALL things into consideration in uncovering your career non-negotiables such as….

  • Career Values
  • Life Plan
  • Job History
  • Personal Mission Statement
  • Work Environment
  • Salary
  • Training
  • Personality Type
  • Strengths
  • Job Function Favorites
  • Motivators

Once you have career clarity, you can reverse engineer all the milestones you need to achieve in order to move you into your dream career.

You can develop a dream career roadmap.

So, if you don’t have clarity yet, your first order of business is to get clarity on career direction.


Some of my career-changers are either…

  1. Leaving corporate to start their own business.
  2. Career changing into a different field which might require shifting down a level to get their foot in the door.

If this is the case for you…

  1. Assess how many months bills you want tucked away before you make the leap.
  2. Develop a career change financial road map.  This may require working with your financial advisor.  Or this may be you, a google spreadsheet, a calculator, and a discussion with your significant other.
  3. Minimize expenses while you are making the career change.

If you are going after a dream career, this short-term period of tightening up finances will be totally worth it to achieve your long-term goal.


When I decided I wanted to be a career coach, I didn’t hop straight out of my corporate communications job into coaching.  I took a bridge job and spent 9 months working on my career coach certification after work. I was building my arsenal of skills & tools.

So I ask you…

First, do you know what skills you need to hone in on in order to land your dream role?

Second, have you deveoped a game plan to go out and get those skills?

If your current job is flexible, draw boundaries on stop times so you can shift focus to chipping away at building your skillset towards the dream role.

Ideally, you volunteer for projects at your current job that allow you to build your desired skillset.

If your current job isn’t flexible, consider landing a bridge job (less hours, less stress) that will grant you more freedom to build your skills towards the dream role.


Being afraid of career change does not mean “STOP.”

And it certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t ready.

Fear means you are stretching yourself out of your comfort zone.

Fear is an indicator you are going in the right direction.  (Like my half marathon… you should feel part butterflies and part scared!)  

Your job is to feel the fear…. AND DO IT ANYWAYS.

Part of the work I do with my clients is on embracing this fear and using it as fuel while you go after your dream.  


Don’t change careers in a vacuum.

Build your career change dream team.

Who in your immediate family will support you?  

Do you have a mentor?  I’m talking about someone else who has been there / done that when it comes to the dream career you are shooting for. 

Do you have a career coach who can guide you through the steps it takes to move from unfulfilling job to dream career?  

Are you tapped into a tribe of others who are doing that thing you want to do for the rest of your life?

Start building your army NOW.


The last way to tell if you are ready to take the leap into your dream career is to answer the following questions….

Do you feel that you were meant for something MORE than you are doing now?

Is the career you are dreaming about more of a CALLING… and less of a “J.O.B?”

Are you currently flinging your covers off Monday morning, because you can’t wait to get to work?

Or not?

Does the thought of doing your current line of work for the rest of your life make you feel excited & expansive?  

Or does it make you feel constricted?  Put a lump in your throat? Fill you with dread or a sinking feeling in your stomach.

That’s your intuition whispering to you.  Listen to it.


Start the discovery process to uncover what your dream career truly is.

CLICK HERE to download your Free Surefire Guide to Finding Your Passion.

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Let’s do this.

Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP, is an executive career coach helping mid to senior-level corporate women transition out of unfulfilling jobs and into their dream careers. 




  1. Kelli F. on March 5, 2020 at 11:26 PM

    Hi Betty! I love your resources and just wanted to say thank you for always posting positive and valuable information! I’m definitely ready to take the next step in my job search.

    I get the “lump in throat” feeling and knots in my stomach when I think about staying in my current role any longer.

    I have my passions pretty nailed down, but am struggling to transition because of lack of formal resume experience in the career I wish to transition to. Do you have any advice for that scenario?

    • Betty Kempa on March 10, 2020 at 10:15 AM

      Kelli, Thank you so much for reading!! Glad you’ve found the information valuable!

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