“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
Lewis Caroll: Alice in Wonderland
Ever wondered why and how transitioning to another field widens your perspective and changes the way you set your future goals? How might the skill of transitioning help you in other fields of your life? Let’s look at the superpower of transitioning to another field or career switching from a skills perspective.
My journey as an instructional designer started in early 2021, when I enrolled in the IDOL Courses Academy. When I completed the eight-week program and transitioned from higher education to instructional design, I did not have a clue how it would transform not just my profession but other areas of my life as well, including my professional mindset, my hobbies, and my communication. Now let’s see the how and what of it!
The most important takeaways of the eight-week program were (1) fight the imposter syndrome, (2) fight perfectionism, (3) do it, now, (4) create a killer portfolio, (5) know your stuff, and (6) find your community.
Transitioning to another field means acquiring and developing a new skillset, which means practicing and developing new behaviors as well. Let’s take fighting the imposter syndrome as an example. Knowing about the imposter syndrome and ways to fight it is only the first step; establishing these processes as regular practices in one’s life is another, and inhabiting it, fully incorporating it into one’s mindset, is the top. It is a new meta-skill for superheroes. A meta-skill is a skill that enables you to learn and build new skills faster. It is more like a mindset. Meta-skills are permanent and allow you to organize your skills, set future goals, and achieve them. There are many recognized meta-skills. Liz Ryan, for example, discusses the five important meta-skills needed for the 21st century: storytelling, interviewing, pain-spotting, and connecting the dots.
Fighting the imposter syndrome was the main demon for me in my professional development. It took me a long time to absorb this lesson: I listened to numerous podcasts and read a lot of articles and blogs posts about it. But when I got onto the next level of this fight, it truly changed my life. It started with my hobbies. In a nutshell: I started to train rigorously for my full marathon, dived into hand-building and wheel-throwing pottery, and I became a certified yoga instructor (200 RYT). I never would have chosen most of these activities a year before. My mindset began to change, my actions changed, and then my behavior adapted. It started to change my personal life, too. After the long months of being in social lockdown during the pandemic, I began to rebuild my social life. I became a member of Toastmaster International and a Boomer Storyteller group, and I started to work on my leadership and communication skills. I also began to look for opportunities to volunteer and give back to my community. Changing like a phoenix, right?
Transitioning to another profession is a superpower. It is a huge, life-changing step, and it means you can deal with risks, think outside of the box, and be ready to face new challenges. It is not just a superpower; it is also a meta-skill.
There is nothing wrong with pigeons, but why not be a phoenix if you can?
Orsolya is IDOL courses Academy alumni who works as an Instructional Systems Designer for higher-ed. She loves running, yoga, reading, gastronomy, pottery, and spending time with her family. Connect with Orsolya on LinkedIn, or have a look at her portfolio.