Have you ever thought about trying something new, changing your career, or making a switch in your current job, and then immediately said to yourself: “Oh – but I could never do that.”
The reasons you have are many: Your mortgage (or rent) payment. The economy. You’re worried about your kids. This isn’t a good time. Your current job isn’t too bad, so why rock the boat?
You think these thoughts to yourself quickly and then move on… and yet, something nags at you. You know that something is still unsatisfying in your work. You aren’t happy and you keep thinking “what if…?”
If you take a moment to unpack those thoughts, you realize that underneath those quick reasons you listed to stay, there are much much bigger fears about trying to leave… and these fears keep us stuck. They probably look something like this:
Do any of these fears sound familiar? They should, because feeling them means you’re totally, and completely, human. Congratulations and welcome! Who hasn’t felt afraid of failure, or the unknown, or even afraid of survival (that whole pesky rent thing…). I sure have, and still do.
So, understand that you’re not alone - anytime you make a change that could threaten your basic life order, some fears will surface. Those fears are coming from your subconscious, allowing you to think decision through, and protecting you from doing something crazy. So, take a moment to applaud your subconscious for working correctly.
So, we’ve given your subconscious its job recognition, but now it’s time to move on (end wild applause). Once you have confronted all the reasons not to make a change, it’s time to work on beating your fears so that they do not control your decision-making process.
Are you ready? Let’s do it!
Step One: Take A Deep Breath
As these fears surface, your body will respond in that “fight or flight” conditioning that is human. Your heartbeat will pick up, your muscles may tighten up, and your thinking might even speed up. Fight or flight was all well and good when we were fighting off cave bears 3,000 years ago, but now you need space to think, and not just to respond.
So, it’s time to breathe. Breathe in and count to five slowly in your head, and then breathe out and count to five. Do this three times, or until you feel more relaxed (and if you don’t feel more relaxed, then try it again. (And if you still don’t feel relaxed, try it with a glass of wine!)
Step Two: Get Clear On The Real Fear
Is it about money? Is it about the unknown? What’s really driving you to stay safe, stay stuck, and not make any forward progress, and where did the fear come from? Figure it out and write it down.
Step Three: Validate Your Fear
It’s time to rationally consider if your fears are really true. For instance, if your biggest fear about leaving your job is that you will not be as good at anything else, I want you to ask yourself: “How true is that really?” Can you say for certain that you have no other skills or passions that get you excited or energized?
That there is nothing else in your life that you do well? How true is it (honestly now) that you won’t be able to pay the rent or find the time to job search? Have you really thought about your options and seen what’s possible? I think you see my point!
If this was easy, we would all be in perfect careers. It does take work to address your fears. But you’ve made it to the end of this article (bravo!), so you absolutely can do these exercises and face some of your career fears. Just sit back, relax, and take a breath…
The P.E.P. Talk
This article is part of our P.E.P. Talk Series. Over the next month, some of the brightest and best authors, business professionals, and coaches are coming together to share their valuable advice for breaking free of “The Golden Handcuff Effect” so you can take full ownership of your careers and experience Professional Emancipation.
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