Personal Mindset Hacks: Top 5 Things To Do While in a Career Transition

Personal Mindset Hacks: Top 5 Things To Do While in a Career Transition

Today, we're introducing our first-ever TokyoMate article written by a guest author. 

Kristy Ishii is a career consultant and mindset coach for managers and C-suite execs who are experiencing a life transition or career change. 

A fifth-gen Japanese American, Ishii recently founded her own coaching company for executives both in the US and Japan. And we're excited to share her insights with our readers. 


People often come to me with basic career goals in mind, i.e., the target industry they want to break into or a benchmark salary they wish to attain. Others share that they want to have a career path that aligns with their personal values. While it's great to start with goals, here are a few holistic ways that you can start setting yourself up to be more attuned to your goals.

These are 5 coaching tips if you are considering a career change, up-leveling your lifestyle, or simply going through a big transition or promotion in life.

Tip #1. Create your vision with "I am" statements

If you cannot imagine yourself in your new role, it will be very difficult to attract the right jobs. Speaking in the present tense will help you gain confidence and reduce the amount of imposter syndrome shock if you find yourself in a position that seems "too good to be true." 

Studies have shown that the body doesn't know the difference between fantasy and reality. The body cannot decipher between your imagination and what is real because both experiences occur in the mind (ICM Certification 2020, Mod. 1, Alyssa Nobriga). 

By creating your "I am" statements, you will inform your subconscious mind that your vision is possible—and this unlocks and reprograms your mind to fall into alignment with less resistance. Once you write these out, you can keep them as self-affirmations in your notebook, at your desk, etc.

Rules around writing "I am" statements:

  • Write in the present tense: "I am" or "We are."

  • Use positive language and focus on what you want vs. what you don't want. (E.g., "I don't want to work in customer service" turns into → "I want to work in a role where I am supporting clients directly, in strategic business calls")

  • Your vision must be 50% believable to yourself.

  • Identify what your deeper "why" is behind your vision. Write it out.

  • Find a place that you enjoy being in when writing this out.

  • Remember that your vision is a north star, not a destination. 

Examples of "I Am" statements:

  • I am working in a team of highly motivated individuals who speak both English and Japanese fluently and respect my opinions.

  • I am living in a 1LDK in Setagaya, no more than 30 minutes from my workplace when I need to go into the office.

  • I am working for a company that permits work from home at least 2 days a week.

Tip #2. Quiet the background noise (listen to your intuition)

Sometimes external influences, like societal or family pressure, can cloud our relationship with our deepest desires. Many people either focus on what they want to be doing in the future or get stuck in old patterns and make decisions purely based on past experiences. 

However, when you stop living in the future and in the past, you start to focus on your present situation more easily. By fully embodying the present, you allow yourself to surrender to the strongest voice inside, your intuition. 

How many times have you heard about someone getting furloughed or laid off from a corporate job, only to pivot and create their own consulting firm or company? The silver lining behind layoffs is that it forces you to sit in the quietness, and this is when your true intuition speaks—if you allow yourself to hear it.

Ways you can tap into your soulful voice:

  • Journal for 10 minutes, nonstop, listing all of the things that you are good at doing (not limited to the workplace), list all the things that you love, and list all the things that give you energy. Then, write down a list of where all the previous bullet points overlap. Your "zone of genius" can be found at the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, and what brings you energy.

  • Surrender to your intuition, and let your ideas flow without resistance. So often, our mind overpowers what our heart wants, which results in cycles of disappointment. This leads to patterned belief systems that signal to you that you are never going to end up in a position that you enjoy.

Tip #3. Trust yourself + forgive yourself for old patterned beliefs

While self-doubt is something that people are familiar with, trusting oneself is often an unconscious block that many people in transitions run up against. Once you learn or re-learn to trust yourself, your decision-making time becomes much more definitive, and you are able to move through your job-hunting process in a natural flow, without hesitation. 

Having mentors and close friends can be a strong asset. But at the end of the day, you know yourself best. The advice and career path that worked out for someone else does not mean that it will pan out the same way for you. Thus, being able to trust yourself as you make career decisions is a huge skill set to have during any life or career transition. 

It's easy to fall into cycles of distrust, especially after making a career move that turned out to be a negative experience. Here are a few tips on how to climb out of old patterned beliefs.

Ways to re-establish self-trust:

  • If you find that it is difficult to trust your own career decisions and often turn to others for guidance, think about a time when you made a decision that you were truly happy about. Pinpoint examples in your life where you made great decisions. This will serve as a reminder to yourself that you can make empowered decisions without fear of the unknown. Write it out, talk it out, whichever works best for you. As much as possible, keep that voice inside your head to combat any moments where self-doubt reappears.

Exercises for self-forgiveness:

Think about what your inner block is (e.g., procrastination, lack of motivation, etc.). Ask yourself some of these questions to start learning how to forgive yourself for believing in old patterned thoughts:

  • What is keeping me from achieving my goal?

  • How do I think this block is trying to help me? In what ways has it served me in the past, and why did that work before?

  • Use this statement to create a new affirmation: "I forgive myself for believing in the misunderstanding that _______. The truth is ________." (E.g., "I forgive myself for believing in the misunderstanding that I cannot get a job outside of education because I have no recent corporate business experience. The truth is, I have a strong sense of customer success and management from previous roles, and my current position in education is only a layered asset to the foundation that I already have.")

Tip #4. Reframe your mindset → use positive self-talk

The way that you speak to yourself will be reflected in your job interview and how you show up when networking amongst peers and potential managers. 

You are your own biggest advocate. If you don't speak to yourself in a positive way, you will start to rely too heavily on external affirmations to justify your self-worth. That mindset is not a sustainable way to head into a new job or any aspect of life, relationships, partnerships, etc.

Examples of negative phrases you can change to positive self-talk:

  • What if I don't get the position? → What can I achieve when I am in this position?

  • What am I missing on my resume? → How can I highlight my strengths for this position?

  • I failed that interview… → I learned ____ from that interview.

  • What if I fail? → What if I succeed?

Tip #5. Write down your intentions 

Intentions are promises that you make to yourself. However, without constant reminders and a visual of what your intentions are, oftentimes those intentions go unseen, left behind, and sometimes entirely forgotten. Writing down your intention is a great practice to do in either monthly, quarterly, or yearly timeframes.

How to write your intentions:

Write down what your honest intentions are for the month, quarter, or year. They can be in short statement form. It can be as long or short as you wish. It's great to set a theme for the month - if you don't have specific goals. If you have thought about your goals in more depth, then I typically recommend 5-7 intention statements to anchor them into your mind.

Examples of intention statements (yearly example):

  • I am hitting revenue of $100k in my consulting business

  • I am hosting 3 group coaching programs

  • I am serving 50 clients a year

  • I am living in a 2LDK in Setagaya

  • I am receiving and attracting in everything that I do

In closing

Mindset hacks are truly just the tipping point for a lifelong journey of self-discovery and self-reflection. Changing old patterned beliefs can take time. Thus, the earlier you start, the more lessons you can pull and insight you can gain as you go through life and career transitions. 

Give one or two of these tips a try, and feel free to let me know how it goes! I'd love to hear what intentions or "I Am" statements you come up with!


To learn more about Kristy Ishii's coaching services, message her directly via LinkedIn.


About Kristy Ishii, CEO & Founder of Kristy Mariko LLC

Kristy was born and raised in a small rural town, Salinas, CA, received her Bachelors at UCLA, and has spent the past 8 years working, volunteering, and collaborating with agencies, non-profit organizations, universities, and professionals between the US and Japan. Her experiences of life as an expat in Japan (both in rural Japan and the city), learning Japanese in her mid-20s, and going through various home relocations, life transitions, and identity inquiries has defined the way she navigates the space between the US and Japan—and molded her into a highly trusted mirror for her clients as they themselves experience various life and career transitions.

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