Changing careers can be a drastic move and frightening experience. One recent group of panelists compared it to jumping off a cliff.

But if you want to change your career path in the financial world—or any other industry—that’s exactly what you have to be willing to do, according to those who made the switch.

“There is an adrenaline rush to facing a challenge, and I love it,” said Lisa Dallmer, a former executive at BlackRock who is now figuring out her next move. “I was four years at BlackRock and I just left. I did not have room in my mind to figure out my next step while I was working.”

Dallmer recently joined a panel exploring the “Transition Mindset” at the RegentAtlantic Wall Street Women Forum held in New York City. Transitioning is the new normal, and financial professionals need to know how to approach the changes, the panelists said.

Although she left BlackRock intentionally, Dallmer said it is important to “go out gracefully” and not burn bridges and connections you may want in the future.

Before making a move, “determine what is the worst that could happen and decide if you could recover if the worst did happen,” said Andrea L. Lisher, a managing director at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Often women don’t push forward because of a fear of failing.”

Lisher was with JPMorgan for three years in the 1990s when she left her job there and moved to the San Francisco area to take part in the dot-com boom. She joined a teen comment website, working on the team that took the company public. But she eventually returned to New York and to Morgan.

“How you leave a company is so important because nothing is permanent,” Lisher said. When you are ready to make a drastic move, she said, “identify your fears and then see what you would do if the fears came true. You may feel lost and insecure, so focus on what you can control.”

She said when she moved west she had to redefine herself completely. “You will find you are more resilient than you think. You just have to decide what your ‘non-negotiables’ are.”

Dallmer said she is still in the process of doing that. “I’m not working right now, so I can figure out what I want to do.” She urges everyone to have a personal board of advisors to lean on during the transition process. Her advisors have told her to slow down to decide on her future. “I need space to think about what makes me happy,” she said.

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