I am a Sport Psychologist, and in sport we take career transitions extremely seriously. We spend a huge amount of time working with athletes to better prepare them for the next stage of their career. Whether that be moving from junior to senior competition or preparing for life after sport.
Transitions are inherently difficult because we often have very few previous experiences to draw upon to help us through them.
Over the past 3 years I’ve started applying sport psychology to the workplace. And like sport, a person's career is made up of a series of transitions - starting your first job, becoming a leader, returning from parental leave.
But the key difference between sport and the workplace is that many of us in the workplace are drastically under-prepared to cope with our career transitions.
As an example, how many of us have been asked to take on increasing amounts of responsibility without training in focus and stress management?
Probably lots of us.
And this is because in the workplace it’s widely assumed that people should just have the skills to ‘step-up.’ But skills by their very nature can be trained.
And while we may sometimes be able to get through a career transition with no training, there will be times when we really struggle. And why should we struggle? Why shouldn’t we prepare for our career transitions and perform through them just like athletes?
We should work on our mental fitness the same way we do our physical fitness.