Making a shift to a new career within an organization or changing companies or careers all together can be an exciting and in some cases, a stressful endeavor. We asked some who have forged a new path for advice on how to make the transition more successful. We’ve hand-picked a few of their lessons learned:

“Use the opportunity to stop and really think hard about what you do well and what you really love to do. When I am doing work that I love, I never feel frustrated when I need to work on something after dinner or give something up. Not the case when I am just doing a job.”

“After leaving a company after 23 years for another, I should have taken time off. I left one job one day and started the next. Don’t not take a great break.”

“I think when you take a job it’s really easy to just get into ‘task’ mode. You feel the pressure to perform and get things done right off the bat. Getting a 50k-foot view from different people who are looking through a slightly different lens is helpful because it gives me a much better understanding of the specific tasks that I’m about to start and finish.”

“The mistakes I see many transitioning executives make is to jump into operational work and decision making before investing substantial time — as in weeks — doing appreciative inquiry to understand the current context of the business as well as some of the history that led to where things currently stand — both the good and the bad.”

“Stay connected to those who know you and your good work. It is easy in life to be busy and not do enough of this. Designate a small portion of your day, every day, with an ongoing list of people to stay connected to.”

“Leave your current role with absolute grace and professionalism doing great work to the end.”

“I’ve learned to be honest about what I know and what I don’t know — and not to try being something or someone I’m not. People can figure that all out if you present out of character.”

“Career changes mean new responsibilities. Make sure the change meets your work:life ratio requirement. My advice would be to just really think through it and know what you want the outcome to be. Visualize your life with the change. And don’t overextend yourself so you can’t enjoy the experience of a new adventure.”

Recommended reading:

The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins

Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar