In the build-up to the Winter Olympics, its interesting to watch the journey of Summer turned Winter Olympian Jana Pittman. Jana is a two-time World Champion and Olympian for the 400m hurdles and has transitioned and will be competing in the Women’s Bobsleigh Team in Sochi this February. Her journey highlights three tips career changers can apply:
1. Focus on Your Strengths
Jana Pittman was a short to medium distance runner. Her inherent skills come in running. To compete at the Olympic level in bob-sleighing the initial acceleration gained is critical to success. Jana has brought her inherent strengths to this event. If you are seeking a career change, do not move away from your innate abilities. These are areas in which you naturally excel. To go against the grain of natural talent is counter-intuitive.
2. Build Muscle in Complementary Areas
Jana has built her career as an athlete. To convert to bob-sleighing, she needed to develop her push strength enabling her to gain speed while pushing the heavy sled. This required the addition of strength training to enable her to achieve greater speed with weight. For Jana, this has not taken her out of her comfort zone as she is still doing strength and fitness training however it has been tweaked for a different result – to gain a winning bob-sleighing technique. As you seek change think of roles that allow you to quickly ramp up a new skill similar to your current experience and attributes. Examples could entail moving from Accounts Officer to Book-keeper or Accountant; Moving from Graphic Design to Architect; Photographer to Graphic Design; Senior Manager to Business Coach; Chef to Food Technologist; Hospitality to Public Relations or Event Management; Labourer to Carpenter, Brick Layer, Cabinet Maker, Tiler, Plumber, Electrician. All these allow you to upskill in areas where you already have a sound understanding.
3. Practice and Gain Real Life Experience in Your Newly Acquired Skill Set
Not only has Jana practised and trained in home territory she has flown to Calgary to train and compete on a bob-sleigh track. She has officially “arrived” as a bob-sleigher and has earned her place in the side. Now we wait with baited breath to see her compete at the highest level. Once you have increased your capability through training, it’s vital to start applying these skills as soon as you are able. If you cannot gain a “paid” role in your new vocation, start volunteering. By applying your newly acquired qualifications and skills in simulated or real life situations you become an attractive candidate and employable in your new vocation. By doing this, you can charter your path to new career horizons.
For more information on Jana Pittman’s Journey Click Here