Updated: Mar 23
Are you desperate to get out of teaching but afraid to take that next step? Or perhaps you’ve been looking but can’t find anything you think you’re qualified to do.
What’s stopping you from taking the next step?
Is it time, is it money, is it your lack of skills or something else? While these may be part of the problem, the real problem is much more fundamental.
As a career coach working with teachers I see smart, talented, creative, hard-working teachers who simply can’t find a non-teaching job no matter how hard they try. What they all have in common is Limiting Beliefs.
So what are limiting beliefs? They are things you believe to be true about yourself or the world, which may (or may not) have been true at some time. But now they definitely aren’t true, and they are holding you back from doing what you want to do.
Some very common teacher beliefs are:
I can’t do anything else other than teach
I’m too old to change careers
I can't afford to take a risk and lose a steady income (or other benefits)
I’m not smart enough (or too old) to learn and succeed in another field
All my experience is in teaching, so nobody outside of education will hire me.
Do you recognise any of these?
Let’s look at some of the effects limiting beliefs can have on your transition out of teaching.
Low self-esteem and/or confidence
This has the biggest effect because if you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to do a job you won’t be able to convince a potential employer to employ you.
Lack of motivation
If you have the belief that you are too old, don’t have the skills, won’t be able to find a job that pays enough, it’ll be difficult to maintain your motivation. Career change is difficult and requires persistence and determination. When you believe you can do it , it’ll be much easier to stay motivated.
Becoming easily overwhelmed and giving up
Finding a new career is time consuming and there are so many different aspects to think about. You are likely to get rejections too. If you don’t believe you have the skills or ability to find a position in a different industry, it is easy to become overwhelmed. In that case you may decide it’s all too difficult and you are better off staying where you are (and that is fine if you’re happy where you are).
Not recognising your transferable skills
Knowing and being able to communicate your transferable skills is the key to career change success. If you have the belief that the only thing you can do is teach you’ll find it difficult to translate your teaching skills to the skills required by another industry.
So what can you do about limiting beliefs?
1 Adopt a growth mindset and believe in yourself and your abilities
The first step is to become aware of your limiting beliefs by noticing your thoughts and self-talk. Then once you have that awareness you can train yourself to change your thought to something positive.
For example, if your thought is “ the only thing I can do is teach” change this thought to “ as a teacher I have many transferable skills that I can use in other careers”. You might also like to start compiling a list of all of your transferable skills. This will be useful in the application process as well as helping you to disprove your belief that the only thing you can do is teach.
2. Build your confidence by recognising and celebrating your successes no matter how small.
3. Reframe Failure: view failure as a learning opportunity. Yes getting rejections for your job applications can be very disheartening but rather than giving up, try to work out what you could do differently next time. You might need to rework your resume; target your applications to jobs that are the best fit for you ; or customise your resume to each position you are applying for by using key words from the job description.
4. Make connections: seek support and guidance from colleagues, mentors or support networks. Identify people who have been successful in their career change and if possible reach out to them. Facebook or LinkedIn groups are good places to connect with likeminded people who will understand your struggles. I have a Facebook group called ‘Teachers in Transition’ which is a great place to look for connections and get some support and encouragement from other teachers in similar circumstances to you. Just by knowing you are not the only person experiencing a problem can be very reassuring.
5. Take action: start by taking small steps to work on your mindset. As your confidence builds you will be in a better position to begin the career search and application process.
Sometimes eliminating your limiting beliefs is easy to do but often it isn’t. If you suspect that limiting beliefs are sabotaging your career change it will definitely help to get some coaching. Coaching will help you to identify and reframe your limiting beliefs/negative thoughts. As a result you will develop your self-awareness and build confidence in your abilities. If you’d like to know more about this, book a complimentary 15-minute chat here to find out more about how I can help you.
If you prefer to do this on your own, in both my online career change courses I have a module that helps you to identify and deal with your limiting beliefs.
Getting Started with Career Change for Teachers is an introductory online course which will help you understand your beliefs interests, as well as your values, strengths and transferable skills. Get all the details here. .
Career Change for Teachers is a more in-depth course that guides you through a 6-step job search process that delves into your mindset, your beliefs, values, strengths, transferable skills, interests, passions and purpose. It then guides you to identify the careers that are the best fit for you and create a career pathway to get your ideal job. If this sounds like what you are looking for, you can find more details and enrol here