Career transformations are not easy.
They require a reinvention of the external environment and navigating the psychological transition to make sense of all the changes. They need us to be beginners in some areas while leveraging our existing expertise in other areas.
Prototyping is a very powerful tool for powering internal and external transformation.
First, it accelerates learning while removing the pressure of landing a significant outcome. Secondly, it offers real insight on whether we would like the day-to-day experiences of the new path, not only the results.
Here are three aspects of what to prototype:
✅ Prototype activities. Experiment with activities where your interest has grown over time, either in your free time, helping a friend, taking a role in a project, shadowing someone or consulting. You will build new skills, understand the new environment’s competencies and emotional nuances, and learn about concrete contexts and situations. You figure out along the way if you have the aptitude and mindset to enter these new contexts.
✅ Prototype relationships. A career change is not only about the skills; it’s about finding people we want to emulate or places we decide to belong to. Meeting people with similar backgrounds to ours who succeeded in a similar change makes a huge difference in deciding to pursue the new path. Their learnings and support can become a stepping stone on our journey.
✅ Prototype narratives. A transformation unfolds with the story of our life. Shaping that story as we go along is critical for our meaning-making. It will also build our case of why an employer should take a chance on us on our new path.
There will be many puzzling insights along the way, which, when appropriately explored, will give us information on what we want to settle on and what we want to change - all connecting back to our story.
The decision making of when and how to move forward with a career transformation is, to some extent, an intellectual and emotional process.
But it’s also physical because by trialling in real life our ideas, we get feedback and validation on what we are and what we are not.
A guide on how to design a prototype here.