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Success in Career Transitions | Kristen Van Nest

Episode #37: In this week’s podcast, I am excited to have Kristen Van Nest. Kristen is a writer, actor, and business owner based in Los Angeles. She’s appeared on network TV, BuzzFeed, and more. Her work has also been seen in Forbes, the Huffington Post, and literary reviews. 

In this conversation, we talk about her current work, her past career transitions, how her time living in Shanghai helped her figure out her love for comedy, and her advice for people wanting to pivot in their careers. 

Kristen shares why we should keep our current job while building expertise in a new area when making a career switch, why pursuing work we love may look more non-linear, and how we can be more strategic when thinking about our careers.

This conversation will leave you feeling so motivated!

Connect with Kristen:

Show Transcript:

Lupe Prado

Hi, this is Lupe Prado. I am a career and life coach, and you’re listening to Paid Vocation. In this podcast, I’ll be sharing real stories of people who are doing work they love to help you find work that you love whether that’s a new role at your current company, switching careers completely, or starting a business.

And if you’re already doing work that you love, this podcast will be a place that you can come back to feel supported and uplifted. Thank you so much for listening.

Welcome to Episode 37 of Paid Vocation. In this week’s podcasts, I’m excited to have Kristin Van Nest. Kristen is a writer, actor, and business owner based in Los Angeles. She appeared on network TV, Buzzfeed, and more. Her work has also been seen in Forbes, the Huffington Post, and literary reviews. 

In this conversation, we talk about her current work, her past career transitions, how her time living in Shanghai helped her figure out her love for comedy, and her advice for people wanting to pivot in their careers.

Kristen shares why she thinks that we should keep our current job while building expertise in a new area when making a career switch, why pursuing work we love may look more non-linear, and how we can be more strategic when thinking about our careers. I admire Kristen’s ability to figure things out and I let this conversation feeling so motivated. 

I can’t wait for you to listen. Let’s get started. 

Kristen, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah, of course. I’m excited. 

Lupe Prado

So I started every interview by going back to the beginning. What did you want to be when you grow up?

Kristen Van Nest

I wanted to study lions in Africa and live in a van. I wanted to live in a van like the wild-born berries and follow the pride of lions around Africa and just study their behavior.

Lupe Prado

Why that, like, how did that come about? Do you remember?

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah, I’m obsessed with cats. Still, adults are obsessed with them. And Jack Hannah, who was the lead Zoologists at the Ohio or Columbus Zoo or whatever. He was my hero. I ran into him in an airport by chance. My hero. I was like five and my dad was like, that is Jack Hannah, your hero.

And I was like, what are you talking about? And he was like, your hero is right over there at the same gate as us. And I had my pet newts on me cause I was visiting my grandparents and apparently you’re not supposed to touch their skin. I didn’t know that. So I went up to Jack Hannah with my pet newts and was like a five-year-old girl with like short blonde hair and held up my lizard, river lizard, to Jack Hannah.

And he was like, “Jesus Christ. What the hell is that?” Completely terrified and this crushed my dreams of becoming a Zoologist. Yes. So, understand why he freaked out. If someone came up to me, if a small child came up to me with a river lizard, I would probably also freak out if I’m just trying to get back to Ohio but anyway. 

Lupe Prado

So he ruined your lion’s dreams.

Kristen Van Nest

Yes. Yeah. So never meet your heroes I think is the lesson here. Never meet them or terrify them. Don’t care either way your hero. Yeah. Either one of those. Yeah. 

Lupe Prado

How do you think that connects to what you do now? And would you share what you do now with our audience? 

Kristen Van Nest

Oh, yeah. So I’m a writer-actor right now. I’m working on, I’ve been published in a couple of literary reviews and I’m working on getting a book published. I’ve been on Buzzfeed and the show, Good Trouble, and soon a commercial. And then I do that. And then I’m in a career transition myself into that. So, my kind of day-to-day job is B2B technical copywriter. So I basically help increase conversion rates online. I help people sell stuff online, usually from one business to another business. So that is my current. 

Lupe Prado

I love that you shared that both of them though because I think a lot of people might be, I’ve had a lot of people on the podcast say they wanted to be an actor when they grew up.

And so I love that you like to share that you’re doing both. So, how did that come about? How did you go from wanting to work with lions and then when did you realize right that you wanted to do this for a living? And how did that happen? 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah, so I have career-transitioned many times. So before moving to LA to do comedy, I lived in Shanghai for three and a half years and I worked for the largest wine importer over there as well as a beauty company doing it, basically.

Lupe Prado

How did that come about? Why Shanghai and like, cause when I met you, you had just come back from Shanghai. 

Kristen Van Nest

So in college, I studied international affairs and economics, and I knew I wanted to do international business. After college, I worked for a branding consulting firm for a year in New York City. And I just felt like I still wanted to do international business and kind of like, well, and then I got the Fulbright, so I got a Fulbright grant.

So I’m like, okay, I will leave. I mean, I was living in New York and I was like, this is living in New York scrape, but I got this grant. That’s amazing. 

Lupe Prado

Would you explain that is to the audience for someone who doesn’t know?

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. So it’s a grant for the state department to spend a year abroad, either teaching English or doing research. So you basically need to find a school over there that sponsors you, and then you fill out a whole application for your project.

And then, it’s very competitive, very hard. So they get thousands of people who are like, “Please let me live in this country.” And so, then, they pick a small number of Americans who then are able to work abroad and do the researcher teaching English. So it’s a great program for teaching Americans about other countries.

And for me, that really liked kick-started my whole twenties abroad, just because otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to really get a visa. So it’s kind of amazing that that program really gives you an easy way to put your foot in the water somewhere else and see what it’s like. So I did a Fulbright and traveled all over Europe.

I went to 35 countries. Yeah. Well, living in Luxembourg, which is very centrally located in Europe. So it’s super easy to travel everywhere. 

Lupe Prado

So cool. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. And so then I did that for a year. Came back to New York was just kind of not ready to live at home yet. I like to live back in my home country. I had a lot of reverse culture shock where I had this very life-changing experience and returning to my hangout with my high school friends.

It was like, okay, love them all. But it’s just having trouble connecting with people because of the experience. 

Lupe Prado

I found this. I think it’s something people don’t talk about that it’s hard to transition back. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yes. Yeah. So, it’s just like when talking to people, I’ll be like, oh, well, you know when I was in Berlin, and then, no one else can relate to that.

And so it’s just like hard to take your experiences and make them a human experience that we all share. So for me, I wasn’t really ready to like fully commit to coming back after that. So I spoke to people all over Asia who worked in different countries all over Asia. I wanted to live in Asia next. I felt like that was a big challenge and something exciting for me to do.

And so I spoke to people all over Asia and then basically Shanghai sounded the most like New York and I do marketing. So it’s like, cool. It’s a huge port city that China is a Global Trade capitol. So it seemed like a great place to kind of do the next chapter. So I moved there, didn’t have a job, didn’t have a place to live, literally knew three people.

And it just kind of like, luckily networked my way into meeting the director or marketing director at a wine and Porter. 

Lupe Prado

And this was prior to you leaving or once you arrived? 

Kristen Van Nest

Once I was there. Yeah. So I just like showed up. I had a friend from high school who lived over there. My friend, who’s obsessed with Shakespeare from high school’s ex-boyfriend. Let’s clarify that. And showed up and he had visa issues. So he wasn’t even there when I showed up. Literally knocked on the door and he’s like a gorgeous Norwegian Girlfriend that I’ve never met. I’m like, hey, I think I’m living here for a couple of days.

So luckily had that as my launching pad then found an apartment kind of all the other steps. And then luckily got a job, which then got me a real, like a tourist from a tourist visa to work visa. So yeah. 

Lupe Prado

Walk me through what you were thinking about. Was there fear there? Were you just so excited because that seems like a big leap, right? Because you’d never been there. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah, I’d never been to Asia. So it was like, I really wanted a challenge and I felt like this was a great challenge to give myself. And yes, it was completely terrifying. But I spoke to other people all over. So I knew that it was doable. And that’s like a big piece of advice I give people is never take advice from people who haven’t walked in the shoes that you want. Because when I told people like I told my roommates in New York, oh yeah, I’m just going to move to Shanghai and find a job.

And they were like, “Do you speak Mandarin?” “No.” “Do you know anyone?” “Not really.” “Do you have any job leads?” “No.” And they were like, that’s insane and not gonna work out and you’re going to fail. And so, so many people told me that this was an insane idea and that I was gonna but the people I talked to who lived all over Asia were like, you got this. This is doable.

So it’s really, that’s why I believe take advice from people who have been where you want to go because a lot of people have fear and will project their fear. And if they don’t have information on the next career step for you, they shouldn’t be giving you advice on it, honestly. So. 

Lupe Prado

Thank you. Let’s pause there because I think that’s a very important and powerful point.

We sometimes take advice or listen to people. Maybe we respect them, but maybe we wouldn’t trade places with them, or maybe they don’t have any knowledge or as you said, never lived abroad and that’s what you want to do and they’re giving you advice. And so it might scare us away. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. And like, they’re not coming from a place of not loving you. They are afraid for you. And so their fear for you is why they’re giving you advice. And so you just have to understand that it’s coming from a loving place, but you have to filter who you’re really going to listen to give you good advice.

So I think it was definitely very terrifying and people told me I was insane, but other people were like, “I know you, you’ll figure it out.” And that’s like, thanks. Hopefully, we’ll see. 

So that was like a huge, huge shift. And then I lived there for three and a half years and my kind of goal in college was like a right international business. So I was like, cool. And then I was over there and I’m doing what my goal was. I’m a manager. I manage people. I run global campaigns. I have reached the goal that I wanted as a kid. And yet I’m not very happy with it. 

So I come from a creative family. My mom’s a painter. My grandmother’s a photographer. So like it runs in the family, but I’d say growing up, I saw the struggle of being creative and I didn’t want that. So that’s kind of why I went to business. And so I started kind of embracing the comedy scene in Shanghai, starting with improv and standup. 

Lupe Prado

Did you always know that you like comedy or did that come up in Shanghai that you were like, “Huh, I’m kind of interested in that.” 

Kristen Van Nest

Yes, someone was like, “You connect with people through humor.” And I was like, “I do?” And they’re like, “Yeah.” I was like, “Oh, okay.” So it wasn’t something that I had wanted before. Like I never knew that I wanted to be a writer or any. Like, I never had this like, “Oh one day I’ll be a writer. I want to be an international businesswoman. This is what I want. This is my goal.” So it really wasn’t something that I had planned on or thought would be a chapter. But I very much believe that we live in chapters of life. And my personal life pretty much every three years, I just like completely change everything.

So I know that that’s part of my pattern. And so at this point, I’m very well versed in career transitions and it’s not an, I kind of like have a rhythm to it that I’m okay with. But I knew that I wasn’t happy in my current situation and so I needed to find a way to bring more of that happiness in. 

So, I was a content manager for Being a Brand. They asked me to move to San Francisco. I visited the office there. I just didn’t want it. Like I was like, this is not what I want. And so I started running Airbnbs in Shanghai. Like I would rent them out from local Chinese landlords. Have a designer come in and fix them up and then rent them out. And so that was kind of like an entrepreneurial fund project that I was doing.

And then in the evenings, and I would go on stage and either do standup or improv. So this was like five days a week. And I loved it, but it was like a very sexist scene. If you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, I was like, oh, white guy complaining about his Asian wife, which is just like, not the people I want to be around.

It was just like there was very much like a glass ceiling and it was very, I found it toxic. So I was planning on staying there just because I didn’t really know what my next plan was, but I did a vacation trip to LA and took an intro class at upright citizens brigade, which is the comedy school here.

Was, it closed during COVID. Very sad. Yeah. But anyway, so I took a class there and there were two Disney Princesses in my class. Like full-time, Elsa and Milan at Disneyland. And I was like, “Do I want to be a Disney Princess?” I think so. But apparently, in LA, you can be whatever you want. If you want to be a princess, you can be a princess.

And so I was like, cool, like maybe this is the next step for me. This is the next big challenge that I want to give myself. And again, I want to be a comedian. You’re insane. That is overall, like I’m going to move from China to LA to be a comedian is like, what is wrong with you? But that was kind of the big move.

So I did that and I’ve been doing it for three years now. I love it. I’m not at the point where it’s like my full-time income, but I have other skills from my other work experience. So I can work with clients as a copywriter that I can be picky at this point with who I want to work with. So it’s really cool because that’s another piece of advice I give people on career transitions is that I feel like a lot of people are like if I want to be a writer, I need to quit my job, just cold Turkey, and go to the next thing.

I would never advise that to anyone. People pay for expertise. And if you’re starting out, you don’t have the expertise yet. So you cannot make a lot of money. You need to have something specific that they’re buying and that comes with experience. So for me, I always recommend, as you do a career transition, hold onto your current job or find a way that you can keep making income on the expertise you have, while you transition to this new expertise that you’re trying to build.

Lupe Prado

Yes. So much. Yes to that. I can share that with clients so much because there are so many. I remember when I first started coaching, I was coaching someone who left her job for her dream, but she was the main breadwinner. She was the source of income for her family and there was so much pressure on him. For her kids, for her family. And it was just really hard for her. You know what I’ve noticed from clients who have done this transition successfully, like you, you’re doing both. You’re giving yourself space so that you’re not dependent. 

And I love that you shared it from the experience and expertise standpoint because you’re right. People want to hire experienced people. They want to hire someone who can solve their problem. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yes. Yeah, exactly. So I’ve been able to work it out where now as a contractor, I can work part-time and support myself, and I can use that other time to work on my writing and acting. So I really like set it up the structure to support this current career transition that I’m in.

Yeah. Pressure doesn’t help you get good at everything. Pressure is a bad thing to have when you’re trying to be creative or when you’re trying to build something new or learn something. The pressure is very bad. And don’t get me wrong, when I moved to LA at first, I had no work. I had zero work.

In my first year, I basically blew through my savings, which was terrifying. And I was like, almost out of it and almost ready to go back to working full-time in marketing. And my mother was like, one more month. She was like, “I will give you a little bit of money for you to just try for one more month.” And luckily I got a client who then was able to carry me through the next year.

And then from now I have like triple the income from like that point. So it’s really scary and that all that stress of like, how do I pay my bills? How do I support myself? Like all of that makes it even more difficult to really focus on the new dream, which is hard work. So yeah. 

Lupe Prado

Well, I want to go back really quickly to when you said you’re used to having this pattern of chapters of life. And client conversations, sometimes, what comes up is if someone wants to transition, maybe completely transitioned away from what they’re doing.

What comes up is I’m throwing it all away what I used to do, all that experience, all that I’m just giving it all up, and what a waste. Should I really do this other thing that I really want to do when I’m giving up all that progress I made. How do you think about that? How have you gotten past that where you don’t let that thought stop you from pivoting. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. So a couple of things there. There are transferable skills and there is how you position yourself. So one is like a concrete thing that you have and the other is a way of voicing your skillset. 

So these transferable skills are the things that you already developed in your current role that you can use in other roles. And those make you an expert faster because you already have some of them, maybe not direct, but periphery experiences that you need. As an example, being a manager has helped me be a director. Now, directing is a creative thing that is creating a vision, but it’s creating a vision with experts in their different fields – sound, photography, whatever it is, actors.

So it’s helping everyone around you be the best at what they do, which is what a manager does. That that is a piece of management. So it’s really like finding a way to describe what, like I would advise, making a list of the things that are your transferable skills and then what are the skills of the new role and then which overlap. And you can look at that and that’s like a concrete thing. 

Then there’s the way that you talk about things. So for me, when I moved to China, I was working in marketing for a wine importer, but I knew I wanted to do more writing because this is something that I’d kind of gotten into in between my time as a Fulbright and my time in Shanghai.

Content marketing, which is my current field that I’m in, didn’t exist back then because the internet wasn’t yours. They called it content meets commerce. And it was the idea that, oh, by writing things online, you can actually get people to buy stuff. I had this like writing experience because I wrote some articles on this phenomenon. And then I also had the marketing experience of working for a marketing consulting firm and working for a wine importer.

When I was approached by a head hunter for the content management role, I sent in some of my writing samples. And then I was like, oh, I also have all this marketing experience. Oh, these two things together are exactly what content. So I was able to kind of like a piece that together and make that transition.

My view is like, okay, let’s say you work in accounting and you want to be a writer. Can you write about accounting while you write your novel, can you freelance write about counting? You have the technical expertise to write on that topic. It’s really about finding the like specific niche that you have the skills for, and that sets you apart, and really like leveraging that. That was long-winded. 

Lupe Prado

No, that was so good. Cause I think that’s the missing piece of the puzzle that sometimes we don’t think about. And the word that came up for me was strategic. And I was having a conversation with an author last week on the podcast and we were talking about how sometimes as women, we don’t think in terms of strategy. What you just said was very strategic in the way you positioned yourself and the way you thought about your next role or how you were going to make that transition.

And I think. That’s wonderful. I think we all could be motivated to think more strategically and I think a part of me has struggled with in the past, like strategic. Maybe that’s like a bad word or say like, but it’s a good thing. 

And so I love the way you just, it got my wheels spinning of like, how can some of my clients think about this? How can I think about this in my mind? Do you think that came naturally for you? Something that you like picked up along the way? How did you start thinking in those terms? 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah, I think I’ve always been someone who thinks about, I’m like very much someone who values time. And so I think of how to do things better to save time. Like in college, I graduated in three instead of four years. And so I figured out how to do that by doing summer classes, by taking extra credits. So I literally like went through the whole course load that my school offered and found like, oh, this one-credit class and this one-credit class, or like, I can do this little thing to do this faster.

If I take these specific classes, I can double major and still graduate in three years. I think I’ve always been someone who’s like, what is the fastest way to do this and I’m going to figure out how to do that. And that is an extremely important skill especially if you’re looking at non-linear careers. Doing what you love is not always a linear career especially living in LA. 

I meet comedians, I meet writers, I meet actors where like they’ve been here for 15 years and they’re not any step closer to where they want to be. And it’s really sad and unfortunate when I listened to their strategy in their career, there is no strategy or it’s like repeating the same things that are not working over and over again.

An example is like, there’s like Facebook groups that post jobs, and okay if you’ve never booked a job off of one of those posts, is it worth still posting, commenting? People have given them the advice to do these things. Oftentimes acting coaches have also not gotten anywhere. So again, do they have the expertise to advise others? I’m not sure. 

It’s not that they’re not necessarily working hard, but they’re not working smart. And it’s like a really sad thing. But if you’re doing a non-linear career, you have to be really smart about how you are going to strategically move around the chessboard. That is the decision you’re making because it is nonlinear. If there is not a clear path and there are a lot of potholes. 

Lupe Prado

What are you said that is non-linear? Because I think in traditional roles, it is very linear. And a lot of the time, as you mentioned, following something we love is not very clear. 

I think I remember having this conversation with my therapist when I was thinking about doing more coaching or I was already in here. We were talking about how I liked accounting because it was very traditional and linear. I knew, okay. It’s the associate senior associate manager, senior manager. And there was a clear path. And all I had to do was just work really hard and follow that. 

And what was scary about leaving a teacher to do coaching is that it’s just like wide open. I could do anything, but also there was no clear path. So when you’re thinking about the smart move, like you just said, and it’s not that people aren’t working hard. It’s like looking for ways to be strategic, to work smarter, not harder, maybe. What do you do to start kind of like if someone’s in like this I’m posting on Facebook? Like trying to think of the acting jobs, how do you get creative? Cause I think a lot of times people are like, well, I don’t know what else I could do. So what do you do to get yourself up? Like if a person is in that moment, in that feeling that way, what do you do? 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah, so I think finding other people who have had success and talking to them is the greatest thing. 

Lupe Prado

How do you do that if you don’t know someone? 

Kristen Van Nest

I think Facebook groups are a great way of meeting other people who are in your field. I think signing up for coaching with people where you’re paying someone who is an expert in your field like there can be both career coaching. That’s like generally getting through speed bumps. And then there can be like technical coaching of like, I don’t know how to do this specific thing in my field. 

So I think professional sports players, have a coach. And that’s how they get good enough fast. So I think that is the best way of doing things. I suggest if you want to learn something quickly, I suggest taking intro classes because every field has very specific words that are used in that field. And if you don’t know those, you will not get anywhere. They’re kind of like, it’s not intentional, but they’re gatekeepers where if you don’t know what that word means. It shows that you’re not an expert.

I recommend taking intro classes, but I’ve also seen the trap of where people take classes forever. I don’t think that’s the quickest approach. I think taking an intro class and then finding an expert who asked them for coffee. For me when I moved to Shanghai, I told everyone. I’m moving there and I don’t know anyone.

And so literally when I arrived, I had a spreadsheet of friends of friends of friends that I was like, “Hey, I just moved here. Can we grab coffee?” And that’s kind of like how I figured it out. So I think being able to articulate the career change that you want to make to family and friends, starting there. And then using Facebook groups, using associations in that field, going to events like those are great ways to meet other people. It’s hard to meet people at the level above you because there are just so many people trying to get to them. That’s why having personal connections or finding your way, that way.

Twitter is great for networking. There are tons of people who are super famous. And on Twitter might not like they are famous in their field, but on Twitter, their field might not be like they are movie stars. So you can kind of connect with people who are big deal or have experienced in your industry that like you don’t necessarily.

LinkedIn just being like, “Hey, I saw you also went to my university. Could we grab a coffee or could I just do a 15-minute zoom with you? I would love any advice.” 

Just being really genuine. And I think trying to find those experts because those experts already figured out the path. And I think also with non-linear careers is like, like with coaching too is becoming a coach is like, there are people who are like, oh, if you follow this model, you’re guaranteed success. But it’s a non-linear career and that’s not true.

And the sad thing is, is that if everyone’s telling everyone to do the same thing, there’s like this huge clog in the funnel. And so if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re going to be stuck too cause there are just too many people. 

So you have to find your own way out of that or in a job application process out of the pile of resumes. And I think that really comes from finding people who have already figured out how to get out of the pile and genuinely asking them for help. 

Lupe Prado

Yes. That reminds me of a book I read recently called Who Not How. He is my coach and he says that when we’re thinking about goals, instead of thinking about how am I going to do this? How am I going to get there? Think about who can help me get there? 

And I just heard you say experts and coaches and the spreadsheet with friends of friends. It’s all who? 

Kristen Van Nest

Yes. Yeah. So that’s like a big part of it. That’s just how things work because you want to work with people you like and trust. And so, no matter what you’re doing, it is very relationship-driven. 

And so yeah, if someone recommends someone to me, that person already has a huge advantage over someone random. Because I’m like, oh, they know this person. They said they’re good. So they must be good. 

Lupe Prado

This is so motivating. I think this is going to resonate with a lot of people. It’s going to like, it has me thinking about what else could I be doing? What are the relationships could I be building? 

So I think this will resonate with people who are thinking about doing something different, getting their wheels turning. So thank you for sharing that. 

Kristen Van Nest

No problem. 

Lupe Prado

I also wanted to highlight that you said relationships, going to events, hiring coaches, all of these things are not like sitting behind a computer. Well, you mentioned Twitter and LinkedIn but not just endlessly scrolling with that. So all of it was very active, like in terms of you reaching out, you sending messages, you hiring. It’s all very, in coaching conversations, I’d like to talk about it as passive versus massive where you’re actually reaching out to someone. You’re actually sending the message. You’re actually doing the thing versus just like learning, which is more passive. 

Kristen Van Nest

My belief on learning is again, it starts with an intro class, but then it really gets to people with experience. Working in a field is going to give you more experience than learning about it in a classroom. That’s why I very much believe that if you can get a new job in the new area that you want, that’s a great way of learning. But keep in mind, you’re not going to be paid a lot at that job because you don’t have the expertise yet. 

So yeah. But it is very much on you to push it forward. And my view on career transitions is you control the speed. When someone says they have 10 years of experience, I don’t care how many years of experience you have. I care how many hours of experience you have. And when you’re transitioning careers, it’s about getting in the hours. And when you already have another job, you might only be able to do 5 to 10 hours a week of writing or of learning this new skill or whatever. So every single one of those hours is getting you closer to that new career you want.

If you can only fit in an hour a week, it’s going to take you five times longer than if you can fit in five hours a week. And we all obviously have like life stuff that gets in the way of these dreams and sometimes you can’t do five hours a week. You can’t do 10 hours a week. But when I motivate myself in career transitions, I’m like, okay, I am unhappy with the main thing that I make money off right now. The more hours I can stack in each week, the faster I get to that next step.

And some weeks I’m like, you know what, this week’s exhausting. I can’t fit in the extra hours and some weeks I’m like, yep, I got time. I can do this. So I really think it’s thinking about how you spend hours and valuing your time. Like your time is precious. You’re going to have to say no to going to parties or whatever it is. Spending time with loved ones. There are going to have to be some sacrifices made to make time for that transition. But you have to, in your mind be like, my time is valuable and therefore I need to put this aside. 

Lupe Prado

Well, I love what you just said. You said you control the speed and there’s something also very like the word that’s coming to me is gentle. Or like, you didn’t say work really hard. You have to not sleep and like go fast or you’re going to fail. The way you motivate yourself. You didn’t say I’m motivated to do 80 hours a week every week. And there’s something very empowering about that. Okay, I value my time. I control the speed. What can I do?

Yeah. And the more I do the faster I get there. But maybe right now this week, I can’t, but next week I will. 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. It’s your career. So it’s really up to you. You’re not going to be in a healthy place if you’re like, I need to quit cold turkey and 40 hours a week on this new thing. And if I spend 38 hours, I have failed. Like you have to be gentle with yourself in this process because it is terrifying and switching from. I mean, we’re talking about the money used to support yourself when you switch a career. 

Literally, how you support yourself, it’s changing. Your coworkers are changing. Maybe where you live is changing. So your life is an incomplete change, which is emotionally intense. And so if you’re hard on yourself and you put unrealistic expectations, that’s just going to make you even in a more emotionally difficult state. And that does not help you on that journey. So you have to find what works for you within the confines of your own situation.

Lupe Prado

Thank you for sharing that. I think that’s going to resonate with people so much and help people. 

So if someone’s listening and saying, I am listening to Kristin. I’m so motivated. I’m going to try to figure this out. I’m going to work smarter. I’m going to be strategic. What would you say to that person? Just encouragement or advice or what are your thoughts as to that person who’s sitting at their desk right now, feeling miserable. It’s like, okay, I don’t want to change careers. What do you want to say to that person? 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. Like you can do this and it’s baby steps. You got to eat an elephant invite. Take the baby steps and map out what you think the next steps are. It might, like I said, it might be starting with finding people who are experts in your field and slowly take those steps forward or quickly. But again, what works for you and you got this. You can do it. And it feels like you’re the only person who has done it, but that’s not true. People have done it before you. And so it is doable. It is doable. 

Lupe Prado

Thank you so much. This was so motivating. How can people find you? How can people follow along your journey? How can people learn more about it? 

Kristen Van Nest

Yeah. So I’m on Instagram and Twitter at Kristin Van Nest, which is my name. And so check it out there. I post funny things, articles I’ve written, and all that kinds of stuff.

So if you’re looking for this type of motivation, definitely check it out. Yeah. 

Lupe Prado

Awesome. Thank you so much for being here today.

Thank you so much for listening to this show. I hope that you found the episode helpful. And if you liked the show, please subscribe and don’t forget to rate and review. I’d also love to connect on Instagram, send me a DM. I’m at @lupepradocoaching. I’ll talk to you soon.

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