How to Make Your Sea Change a Smart Career Move

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How to Make Your Sea change a Smart Career Move

Sea changing doesn’t have to be a backward career step

Picture this…

  • Being paid to sail around the beautiful Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef
  • Building a successful business and enjoying a ‘holiday feel’ lifestyle
  • A sea change that steps you towards your longer term career goals

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it.  Making a move like this usually involves quitting a successful career, doesn’t it?

Not necessarily…

On a recent holiday to Hamilton Island I chatted to Sam and Christie – two different sea changers whose experience shatters the myth that you can’t have a successful career AND a life!

Sam followed a girlfriend there 7 years ago and after the relationship ended, he stayed.  With sailing in his blood from an early age, he’s created a career out of it, crewing a yacht that sails around the Whitsunday Islands.

Meanwhile, Christie arrived a month ago and is already loving it. A talented florist, her former South Yarra, Melbourne life involved long hours, fast pace and high stress creating stunning arrangements and floral interiors for big events .  When she was offered the opportunity to work for the only florist on Hamilton Island, she jumped at it.

Although they don’t know each other (yet), it was interesting to hear what Sam and Christie have in common.  Both are passionate, ambitious experts at what they do. Neither see their sea change as ‘opting out’.  They both see it as a way to concurrently achieve their career goals and enjoy a great lifestyle.

While they work hard during peak tourist season, every day brings variety and challenge.  Christie’s day includes creating the flowers for an island wedding, helping a nervous boyfriend choose the perfect flower to accompany a sunset proposal, placing and managing orders from the mainland or buzzing round the island in an electric golf buggy delivering her arrangements.  Sam clearly enjoys meeting new people, being outdoors and adapting what he does based on the weather.

The island residents are diverse –  itinerant hospitality workers, business owners, retirees and holiday makers. This has created a vibrant and dynamic community of new and long term friends.  There’s always someone to hang out with when you’re not working and stunning places to explore. It’s easy to pop over to the mainland and thanks to regular flights, visit family.  Living somewhere so beautiful is also a friend magnet – there’s always someone dropping in.

Having a great job AND living a dream lifestyle sounds like a classic case of having your cake and eating it too!

But, before you give way to green-eyed envy thinking, “Oh, but I couldn’t do that,” here’s how to make your sea change or tree change a smart career move.

1. Be open to opportunity

Successful sea changers are naturally adventurous and prepared to try something different. While it may have been safer for Christie to stay working in the Melbourne events industry, the long hours and stress weren’t creating a guaranteed future.

Saying ‘yes’, to the opportunity to help run the Hamilton Island florist has given her a different career path to achieve her goals.

Explore opportunities that may at first seem short-term.  You never know where they could lead.

Sea Change Florist - Career Move

2. Combine your passions and priorities

Whatever it is you’re passionate about, there will be a way to make a living from it.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sacrifice career for lifestyle or vice versa.

Sam has always loved sailing and knows that he doesn’t want to spend his work days in an office or suit.  When you know what you care deeply about and what’s important to you, finding a way to combine professional and personal priorities becomes your focus.

“Could I make a living from [insert passion]?” becomes “How could I earn my living doing this?”

How to Make Your Sea Change a Smart Career Move

3. Have a clear, longer term career goal and defined steps to achieve it

Sam has his sights set on becoming a skipper and although it could take years for this much coveted job to become a reality, he knows that’s what he wants to do. In the meantime, he’s nearly finished the training he needs to qualify him for the job.

Christie would eventually like to own her own floristry business.  Taking the job on Hamilton Island will broaden her experience and teach her more about running a small business.

Decide where you’re heading based on what you’d ultimately like to do.  Then create a targeted career path to expand your skills and experience, whilst doing work you enjoy.

4. Choose an employer who values you and supports your growth

One of the reasons Christie took the job on Hamilton Island was the opportunity to contribute.  Her employer is welcoming her ideas to modernise and improve the business. The shop is already stocking new ranges and the display will soon rival trendy, mainland, high street florists.

The business Sam works for was taken over by a New Zealand company a few years back. This makes it possible for him to crew for them in New Zealand to gain more experience and embark on a new adventure, doing what he loves.

Finding an employer who welcomes your ideas and is prepared to teach you creates a win/win – job satisfaction for you and a loyal employee for them.

5. Balance income needs with ambition

Whilst Sam and Christie may not be on big incomes now, they have the potential to earn more in the future.  Meanwhile, both have adapted their lifestyles to live somewhere amazing, on what they earn now.

One of the traps of leaving a current, well-paid job is mistakenly believing you couldn’t live on anything less than what you earn now.

Check your assumptions and preconceived ideas about what your sea changed lifestyle will cost by doing the sums.

Your ambition is whatever you aspire to be or create.  When you are crystal clear on what this is, financial goals become easier to set and achieve.

Hamilton Island Marina

6. Do work you love AND be great at it

What struck me most about Sam and Christie was their enthusiasm, desire to do well, confidence and friendliness.   They are both prepared to work hard, whilst loving what they do and where they live.

While I’m sure not every day is ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’, the goal of all sea changers is to create more great days than bad.

When you enjoy what you do, you’re motivated to do more of it.  As you do more of it, you become even better at it. Because it doesn’t feel like work, this is a seemingly effortless way to build expertise, develop experience and create strong relationships.

So there you have it – living proof that sea changing can provide meaningful work with strong future career prospects and a fabulous lifestyle.

Learn how to do this yourself –  The Great Life Redesign will help you change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen TODAY!

Carpe diem!

Caroline Cameron


Caroline CameronCaroline Cameron is a master certified executive career and lifestyle coach, sea change coach, speaker and author.

Having successfully reinvented herself through 10 career and 4 major lifestyle changes, Caroline helps mid-career professionals harness the power of change to achieve success in business, work and life.

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