The Sunflower Model Career Transition Guide with Ashish Kothari

What goes through your mind when you consider leaving your job for something new or when job loss forces your hand? Statistics indicate that workers will voluntarily change careers 5-7 times in a lifetime for more fulfilling roles. However, the fear and uncertainty that accompany these changes can be paralyzing. 

In this article, Ashish Kothari, Founder of HAPPINESS SQUAD, shares practical tips to overcome these hurdles and seize control of your career trajectory. He offers a comprehensive guide to career transitions using the Sunflower Model.


In any career transition, the first crucial step is to cultivate awareness. Ashish emphasizes that we see the world as we are and not as the world is. That underlines the importance of understanding our own perceptions and biases, which shape how we interpret our career needs and goals.

Before you jump to a new job, it’s important to self-reflect to uncover the true motivations behind your career aspirations. Why do you really want that promotion or that role change? Often we want to get promoted because we are chasing some societal definition of what it means to be successful. 

It’s crucial that we learn to differentiate between external pressures and our genuine desires. This level of self-awareness ensures that our career moves are aligned with our personal values and long-term objectives.


We all want to transition to a fulfilling career, so finding meaningful work is essential. Ashish stresses that those individuals who find meaning in what they do are more adaptable, and resilient, progress much faster, are more productive, and create a greater impact. So how do you find meaningful work?

Ashish highlights the concept of job crafting—a tool you can use to craft your job and fill it with more meaning. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Task crafting Focus more on the parts of your job that you enjoy or are good at and find ways to minimize or share the tasks you like less.
  2. Relationship crafting Spend more time with colleagues who inspire and energize you, or seek new collaborations that enrich your work experience.
  3. Purpose crafting Find ways to see your work as connected to something larger and more meaningful, such as how your role contributes positively to the organization or society.

Embracing this approach can transform a routine job into a source of inspiration and motivation, proving that those who have a ‘why’ can survive any ‘how’.”

Mindfulness and Mastering emotions

In the turbulent journey of a career transition, it’s best to equip yourself with a strong mind and heart to face the challenges. A simple mindful practice like meditation can go a long way, especially when managing your thoughts and emotional responses, particularly when faced with setbacks like not receiving a promotion.

Ashish highlights that when we invest in mindfulness, we unlock much higher clarity in thinking. We think a lot faster, and we gain a lot more emotional regulation because our brain structures fundamentally change with meditation.

It’s also critical to remember not to play the comparison game, not to let that take us down, act out in vengeance, or resort to numbing strategies. By regulating emotions and practicing mindfulness, you can avoid detrimental reactions and seize control of your career trajectory, embracing new opportunities with clarity and purpose.


Career progression isn’t an easy process. It involves thoughtful decision-making through the highs and lows. That’s why Ashish urges us, “Let’s be compassionate. Let’s recognize that what we are going through is hard.” It’s not just about being kind to ourselves but also about learning from the experiences of others and finding value in every step of the journey. 


When chasing our next milestone or career progression, we sometimes forget to enjoy the journey and the daily successes. Gratitude is just as crucial as compassion. We must learn to appreciate learning opportunities even in adversity. We can maintain a positive outlook even in challenging times by focusing on what we’re grateful for.


Due to our busy jobs, we often neglect proper rest and continue to push ourselves with inadequate sleep and high stress. To improve our overall well-being, we can take helpful actions like physical exercise, stretching, cardio, or strength training. But also include some training for your mind.

Ashish recommends putting together a set of practices that nourish you and truly increase your capacity for what you can achieve. Focusing on our well-being ensures that the boundaries we set between our work and life do not blur, maintaining a healthy balance that supports both our personal and professional growth.


Building and maintaining relationships supporting your career and personal growth cannot be overstated in the journey of career transition. Ashish highlights that those who have high-quality relationships are more successful. There are two types of networks that Ashish believes are both critical for your growth: 

  1. Open network – Open networks are weak ties or relationships with people you might not interact with as much, such as acquaintances or distant contacts.
  1. Close network – Close networks are strong ties or relationships with people that you interact with very closely, like the most common friends you hang out with.

These networks can open doors to diverse information and opportunities to propel you on your career transition journey.

Intention and planning

When you’re ready to take charge of your career transition after considering the previous practices above, it’s time to make intentional moves toward your dream job. Start by setting clear, SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. 

Clearly define what you want to achieve and actively make choices that align with those goals. By intentionally planning for your career transition journey, you empower yourself to move deliberately toward your desired career outcomes while reducing the likelihood of setbacks. 


Changing careers, whether it’s your choice or not, is a big step. It’s not just about getting a new job; it’s about finding what you really love to do and making sure your work fits with your life goals. With the right approach and attitude, you can turn this time of change into a chance to really grow and find happiness in your work.

It’s challenging to find any job after a job loss, let alone find one that fulfills. What steps should you take to make a smoother career transition? In this article, Ashish Kothari, Founder of HAPPINESS SQUAD, offers a comprehensive guide to career transitions using the Sunflower Model.

Learn more about Ashish at his LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast with Ashish below.

Access and subscribe to all of the episodes of the Happiness Squad Podcast here.

Visit the REWIRE Program powered up by the HAPPINESS SQUAD Community and experience your shift within your 30-day risk-free trial today. Cultivate your Self-Awareness, Gratitude, Purpose, Community, and personal growth more through the 9 Hardwired for Happiness practices. Integrate simple and proven micro-practices grounded in the science of happiness and neuroscience of habit formation in 5 minutes a day.

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With the focus on enhancing joy, health, love and meaning in your life, my transformational approach is interdisciplinary and integrates learnings from spiritual wisdom traditions, philosophy, positive psychology, neuroscience and organizational development.

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