Integrative Nutrition Blog

Sharon's Take: How do I explain my career change to friends and family?

November 21, 2014

Changing careers is a big decision. As a little kid I had all kinds of ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up - astronaut, veterinarian, teacher, journalist, you name it; around 8th grade I settled on acting. Musical Theatre was my deepest passion. My walls were covered with Playbills and I listened to nothing but the latest Broadway hits.

I lived my dream. I majored in musical theatre, moved to NYC, auditioned in the morning, and waited tables at night. It’s what I always said I would do.

But somewhere along the way my dreams changed.

Performing no longer fulfilled me the way it had. I felt jaded and disillusioned with the industry. As I discussed in my last blog post, I knew my chosen career path no longer served me.

But even when I knew I needed to change careers, I dragged my feet.

I was afraid of how my family and friends would react to my career change. Would they think they had wasted money and countless hours investing in my future as an actor?

With all the pressure I was placing on myself to succeed, it seemed easier to stay unhappy and not run the risk of disappointing my family than to pursue what I really wanted.

I also worried my friends and family would think this career change was coming out of nowhere and that they wouldn’t take me seriously.

But I knew that I got goose bumps whenever I thought of my new future as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I decided, it was my life and I needed to change for me. So I enrolled.

What I discovered surprised me.

As a student, I learned to “feel the fear and do it anyway” which meant I had to start telling my friends and family all about the new life and career I was creating. It was freeing and the response stunned me! My family and friends were so supportive and many of them became my first clients!

I’m grateful that it all worked out for me. Looking back, I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety if I’d had a little help when it came time to talk to my friends and family about IIN.

So I’ve put together a little list of tips you can use to introduce the idea of changing careers to your loved ones so that you can feel supported in your choice before you get started.

1. Share your passion! Do you feel goose bumps when you think about health coaching like I did? Talk about it! If you know this is something you want, there is no reason to hide it. Let them know just how much the idea of helping others moves you. If you speak your truth, it's infectious. 

2. Let your family in on your vision for the future. What do you want to do with your new career? It’s ok not to have it all figured out but letting your family in on your new dream will help them buy into the new you that you want to create. Share stories and examples of the people in the industry who inspire you most that you’d like to model yourself after. Get stories and inspiration from some of our successful alumni here.

3. Get the facts. Our loved ones tend to be protective and sometimes they need specifics before they’ll get on board. Help them understand why you want to make this investment by sharing how you will benefit from changing careers. In addition to benefits like having a flexible schedule and more time to spend with the family – going back to school can open new doors. Integrative Nutrition students can use their training to launch a business as a Health Coach, complete an undergraduate degree, begin a master’s degree, and more. Share page 20 of our curriculum guide to let your loved ones in on what happens when you graduate.

4. Ask them to join you for an info session. I host weekly online info sessions about IIN to help potential Health Coaches get a better understanding of what it means to be a Health Coach, what to expect as a student, and answer questions. Bring your family along on one of these sessions so they can ask their questions, too. I’ll be happy to help! Check the schedule of upcoming sessions here.

5. Schedule a chat with an Admissions Representative and ask your family to be on the call. Our admissions representatives are graduates and Health Coaches themselves and would be happy to answer any questions your family might have about how this career change will affect them. Get in touch with our team any time at (212)730-5444.

Having your family and friends on your side as you’re going through this journey is important. You’ll want to have support as you’re going through this transition. I hope these tips will support you on your journey as you explore your options for career change.

Have you ever had trouble talking to someone about an important life change? What are some of the techniques you’ve tried that have made you feel more confident in this type of situation? Share in the comments below. I’ll be here to listen and support you!

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