by Lauren Durbin

 

I’ve been there. You studied hard in high school, worked your butt off in college, and paid your dues. You did everything on the proverbial Career Success Checklist and are still being forced to change jobs or even careers. Even though each one of us has heard the saying: “life happens”; we’re as surprised as the next person when drastic changes head our way. It may not seem like it at the moment, but here are tips on how facing your fears and making a career change might just be the best thing you could do for yourself.

 

Acknowledge your fear and what’s behind it

If psychology tells us anything, it’s that our perception of reality is always biased. We tend to think the worst so that we can force us into our comfort zones and have peace of mind. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the natural tendency to stay in our comfort zones does more harm than good.

Most people don’t like change and their initial response to change is running away from it. It’s just the way we’re wired. The first step to overcoming fear of any kind, is to acknowledge it. Acknowledging means being consciously aware of what your fear is and how you respond to its overwhelming stimulus. Only then can you begin to understand the roots of that fear and have hope of intelligently weighing out the pros of cons of giving into it and doing something about it.

Yes, a career change is a big move. But considering how our minds exaggerate the actual gravity of situations, it is safe to assume that that the acknowledgment of fear and figuring out its roots can help us realize the actual scope of the problems we’re facing – which is not always as big as we think it is – and help improve our decision making process.

 

What’s the worst that could happen?

If you truly start to acknowledge your fears and understand their origins, you’ll come up with lots of bad scenarios in your head. They will be scary, yes, and might overwhelm you and even make you anxious. Rest assured, it is completely normal to feel that way. Our minds fall into repetitive thought patterns until we either run away from them or go back into our comfort zones.

One way to overcome such thought patterns is to write down your fears, starting from the worst one. What is the worst thing that could happen? Will you lose your job? Will it take you some time to develop good standing into your new career? Writing these things down helps create a thought boundary in our mind and our fears somehow cease to be bottomless pits of despair and anxiety. Writing is realizing the worst that could happen and appreciating that anything else is better.

Having a boundary set for your thought process will allow you to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each course of action at your disposal. More importantly, it’ll help you visualize all the benefits that you can get if you overcome the fear and take a leap of faith.

 

Think about what you really want to do

It is always helpful to take a break from all the negative thoughts. Sometimes, the best thing you can do to help you make that long awaited career change, is to relax and think about what you really want. Ask yourself this: where do I want to be next year? Answering these fundamental questions will help you match your feelings, desires, and personal goals with the various career options you have right now. Moreover, it will also clear up what needs to be done and help you set some clear goals and objectives.

Brainstorming careers will only work if you understand what drives you and motivates you. You’ll automatically excel in doing things that you have a passion for. That natural drive is unparalleled when it comes to careers. A couple of days of brainstorming careers and different paths can help you make a lot of mental progress.

Do not censor thoughts that are about your progress. Explore every possibility and set new expectations for yourself. You’ll be surprised by how well you’ll perform by approaching things this way.

 

Look ahead and don’t look back

Being decisive is very important. It is the final action that needs to be performed to overcome the fear of something once and for all. When you reach this stage in changing careers, it is important that you look ahead and not back. It might be difficult at times, but not focusing on past mistakes and learning to forgive yourself for not knowing more or better, can boost your morale.

Avoiding thinking about the past helps in two ways. Firstly, it allows your brain to let go of past negative memories and any feeling of remorse associated with them. Secondly, it helps your cognition kick in and do what it is supposed to do: figure things out and to help you charge ahead.

Looking ahead can help your brainstorm careers more efficiently. It will excite you about all the good possibilities that can come out of your career change. It can also help you actualize some solid plans to achieve your dream life.

 

Do the work!

It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway: You have to do the work! Career changes are a big deal. Not only do you have to pivot at this point in life, but you also have to take on new challenges and learn new things. All of this requires time, dedication and a lot of effort. Accept the challenge and approach it with a can-do mindset.

Planning is crucial when it comes to career change. It helps you overcome your fear and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Set a goal for what you want to achieve in the next year and make a plan for each month for the next 12 months. Not only will this help you organize what you need to do, you’ll also find that quantifying the amount of work that you need to do helps your subconscious understand that it is not that much and is achievable. Sure, we all feel overwhelmed in the start, but as we start checking things off the list, we realize that progress is the inevitable consequence of our movement towards our goal. You’ll be hooked in no time and will start to see improvements in yourself and your mood. And let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love crossing things off a list?

 

Tyche Takeaway

Career change is a huge deal. Most of us aren’t blessed with perfect scenarios throughout our lives and have to deal with some setbacks. However, career changes are not the end of the world. In fact, they can be the beginning of a great new one. The more you understand the root causes of your fear and appreciate the fact that you can do something about it, the easier things will come to you. It’s better if you look ahead and not dwell on the past. Brainstorm career choices and opportunities and make an execution plan for every week, month and year for the next five years. If you take the necessary steps, you’ll find that the career change you were dreading for so long wasn’t as bad as it first looked. Soon enough, you’ll be on the right path and achieve great things in life.

P.S. If you’d like help on how to take the first step in your career transition, I can help!

  • You can get your free Tyche Career Change Roadmap here.
  • Or if you’re really ready to move the needle and get going with your career transition, you can set up a 60 minute Power Hour with me during which we’ll take a deep dive into the topic(s) of your choosing and come up with a game plan for you to move forward.

 

 

I’ve been there. You studied hard in high school, worked your butt off in college, and paid your dues. You did everything on the proverbial Career Success Checklist and are still being forced to change jobs or even careers. Even though each one of us has heard the saying: “life happens”; we’re as surprised as the next person when drastic changes head our way. It may not seem like it at the moment, but here are tips on how facing your fears and making a career change might just be the best thing you could do for yourself.

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