The Great Resignation: How Self-Coaching Can Help You Make a Change

The Great Resignation, or what some people have begun to call the Big Quit, has taken on a life of its own this year. If you turn on the news you are sure to hear about it. Monster reports that as many as 95% of workers are currently considering changing jobs, and 41% of the global workforce is leaving their current employer. I’ve found that the people who actually know how to self-coach in moments of change are able to create a path for themselves that leads to success.

So, if you are considering moving on to a new career, what are you looking for? How are you equipping yourself to make such life changing decision? Do you really know what you want and are you asking all the right questions? What do you value? Are you looking for the ability to work remotely when you can, looking for better compensation, a better work-life balance, and a flexible work schedule? Self-coaching can help you think things through.

The fact is, change is a constant force in business. I’ve learned as a leader that even your best people move on to other opportunities. Nothing in life stays stagnant, especially for people who want to grow. I’ve coached countless people through the process of making a career change, and I have discovered that your success often depends on your ability to coach yourself to the best answer. You are in the driver's seat and you will ultimately determine if you get it right or not.

I remember early in my career when I decided to make a change, I had my own type of “Resignation.” I worked as an account executive at an advertising agency and Frito-Lay was my big client. I was responsible for pitching the agency campaigns to the client. I was the go-between guy and I was good at it. But, I got tired of making recommendations all the time. I wanted to have the control that my clients did to actually make decisions and market the product. I found myself constantly frustrated by watching some of my clients ruin perfectly good advertising campaigns with poor execution. My job was slowly becoming joyless.

One incident kind of crystallized this frustration for me and put me at a decisive moment. It was a campaign we were doing for Doritos, and I thought the work that the creative team developed was terrible. I expressed my opinion to my agency colleagues, but I was told in no uncertain terms that my job was to “sell it”. So I went to Frito-Lay and presented the work. My client hated the campaign and he was so disappointed in me that I would present it as “great work”. My client asked me point blank if I really liked the campaign and if I would recommend going forward with it. I couldn’t say yes. It was during that self-coaching moment that I knew a career change was in my future. I needed to find a place where I had some ownership over the ideas I was promoting to ensure that they were things that I truly believed in.

David and his mustache.

I decided then and there that I wanted to work on the execution side of the business. I wanted to work in the marketing department of an iconic brand. That moment started my own self-coaching journey which ultimately led me to make a change and leave the advertising agency and go run marketing at Pizza Hut. And, as you can tell from this photo, I didn’t stick with the agency business and I no longer have my mustache. No regrets!

When it comes to your career, why waste your time doing something that is not giving you joy?

Insight to Action

So if you are considering making a change, here are three self-coaching questions I want you to ask yourself right now:

#1 What aspects of your current job really make you happy? Make a list.

I knew that I really liked marketing. I loved it. Creating marketing campaigns would bring me joy. I loved working with my clients and the relationships I built and really doing my best to think from the client’s perspective. I also really loved the creative environment.

#2 What aspects of your job keep you from feeling fulfilled? Be specific here. 

I realized how much I wanted to control and be accountable for the execution of the marketing campaigns. I was feeling stagnant and my perspective was undervalued by my agency. What parts of your job are frustrating? Why?

#3 Finally, are there still things to learn at your current job?

I learned so much during my advertising agency years. I learned how to think like a customer, be creative, use critical analysis and ask good questions. I worked my way up from creating copy to managing large clients and I soaked up all the knowledge I could. In my gut, I knew it was time to move on. If you feel you’ve learned it all and feel stagnant, it might be time to move on. If you still have things to learn and the opportunity to do so where you are then maybe you should stay.

Self-Coaching is the key to making a successful change

If you find these questions a little challenging to answer, that’s ok. It may just mean you need to dig a little deeper and learn a little more about yourself. Self-coaching doesn't always come naturally to everyone. You have to put the work in to develop the skills and understanding of yourself to make the best right decision in your life. You have to know how to coach yourself to move where you want to go next. You also have to take the time to make a thoughtful decision. I encourage you to spend the time thinking through your options and I hope you walk away with a firm understanding of your reason for staying or going. Believe me, you’ve got this!

Take Charge of You

To me, one of the greatest joys of my career was coaching some of my best people to their next job. I also recognize that not everyone has access to a coach to help them think through these decisions. That is why I co-wrote a book, Take Charge of You: How Self-Coaching can Transform Your Life and Career with my good friend, Jason Goldsmith, who is also a world-renowned performance coach. The book equips you with many more strategies for determining what you want in life and how to get there. If you think this could be a helpful asset in your life make sure to pre-order it today wherever you buy your books.

November 16, 2021