Over the years, like most of us, I’ve experienced difficult days at work when I’ve felt frustrated and unfulfilled. However, once I realized that my bad days had started to outnumber the good, I knew that it was time to start exploring my options for a career change.

Does this sound like you? If so, there are some important things to consider before making the leap. While the idea of a new job shimmers with “grass is always greener” appeal, finding a new path for your career carries its own set of challenges. Before you quit your current job, make sure to ask yourself these five important questions to make sure that changing careers is really the right choice for you.

  1. Why Do I Want to Change Careers?

There’s a big difference between finding a new job and finding a new career. If you don’t get along with your boss or your company’s politics are driving you crazy, a new job within your field might be an easy solution.

However, if your dissatisfaction runs deeper and you’re fundamentally unhappy with the type of work you’re doing, ask yourself why:

  • Do you want to make more money?
  • Is your work boring?
  • Do you feel like you’re not good at what you do?

As you ask yourself these questions, be as specific and honest as you can — or you may find yourself feeling the same way even after you land your new job.

In Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why,” he underlines the importance of figuring out WHY we do what we do, in order to help us find our true purpose and motivation. By looking at examples of leaders like Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr., he illustrates how following our hearts can lead to inspiration and ultimately, more meaningful work.

  1. What Would I Rather Be Doing?

Once you’ve identified why you’re so unhappy with your current work, it’s time to think about what you might be happier doing.

Oprah Winfrey once said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Most people get excited by the things they’re good at doing, so start by considering your natural talents. Be sure to think about your strengths in broader terms than just your education and experience:

  • Are you excellent at organization?
  • Do you have top-notch communication skills?
  • Do you really excel at analysis?

Assess your attributes and don’t be afraid to ask your friends and colleagues to help. Then, compare your natural strengths with what you truly enjoy doing, and create a list of potential industries that may be a good match.

  1. What Will I Sacrifice in Order to Change Careers?

Finding the right job for your career change is just the first step in a long process. In some cases, you may be able to make an across-the-board leap into your new career—applying your existing skills and knowledge.

However, some career changes will require more education and experience. Ask yourself if you’re ready to go back to school, or start at the bottom of a new industry and work your way back up. Also, consider whether or not you can you afford to leave your current job and benefits to take such a big risk.

  1. Is a Career Change Possible and Feasible?

If you’re dreaming of being a NFL quarterback, you’ve probably already realized that a career change is not right for you. But if you’ve set your sights on something a little more attainable, consider how realistic your new job will be if you get it.

  • Will you make enough money?
  • Is the industry sustainable?
  • Is there room for growth and advancement?

You’ll also want to think about your personal and professional networks who may be able to help you with your job search. Breaking into a new field can be very difficult, and it’s often who you know that will open the doors for a new position.

In many cases, making a successful career change comes down to sheer perseverance. Consider the story of Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. Despite being unemployed and living off of benefits from the state, she was determined to make success happen.

She submitted her first Harry Potter novel to 12 different publishing houses—only to have it rejected every time. However, she refused to give up and eventually, her tenacity paid off big. She is now one of the world’s highest-earning authors, with a successful book and film franchise that has netted her millions of dollars.

Although the obstacles you may encounter can feel overwhelming, don’t let them deter you from reaching your goals. Instead, be prepared to show your mettle and stick with it until you succeed.

  1. Will I Be Happier Doing This New Job?

The most important question to ask when you’re considering a career change is whether or not you truly believe it will make you happier.

  • Are your expectations reasonable?
  • Once you go through all of the trouble of making this career change happen, what will make your new career different than your current job?
  • What potential pitfalls do you see?
  • On the bad days, will you still appreciate the work and your contributions to your new company?

Changing careers won’t solve all of your problems or make your life instantly fulfilling. That’s why it’s important to be honest about what you expect to get out of your new career—and whether or not it’s truly the answer to what you need.

If you’re currently thinking about a career change, consider working with a life or career coach to guide you through the process. They can provide valuable insights to help you find focus, identify your goals, and hold you accountable for the changes you want to accomplish. After talking with them, you may even find the inspiration to become a coach yourself — discovering a meaningful career by helping others find their own paths towards fulfillment.

To learn more about becoming a coach or choosing a coach training school, download this free guide: The 9 Key Considerations for Choosing the Right Coach Training School for You.