Last week I ran in to an old school friend whom I’d lost contact with over the years despite our healthy Facebook accounts. After a few minutes we quickly fell in to the what-are-you-doing-now conversation, as you’d expect.
I explained my partner, son and I had moved to Townsville (my home town) so we could buy a house in an affordable market, expand our family and generally spend more time with our own families after many years away.
These all seemed like obvious reasons to her, but it wasn’t until I mentioned that it was also a great opportunity for me to focus on developing my own business that the conversation took a very interesting turn.
While my acquaintance was happy for me and showed her support, she quickly dismissed any notion of ever starting her own business because she was simply too busy and ‘it’s not a good time to open a small business in this economic climate’.
After a few more questions (as I am trained to do) it became clear, it wasn’t the concept of stepping out on ones own that made my friend nervous, it was the assumption of more responsibility, more working hours, more stress, more pressure and more opportunities to fail that had her admit she was happy to stay in her current role.
Her conventional assumptions of what my life must be like made me think about why I took a leap of professional faith in the first place and how many others could be doing what they love (for themselves) but hold themselves back because it’s ‘not a good time’.
‘What if I fail? Yes, my darling but what if you fly?’
I’ll be honest, there was definitely an element of ‘just jump’ playing over in my mind when I did finally resign from my 9-to-5 job, but as a Career Coach who has worked with women searching for change, I understand this positive philosophy is not a default setting.
The range of excuses we tell ourselves for not being able to progress our career appear very logical at first glance such as, the need to further one’s education; financial limitations, not enough experience, capacity to add something else in to one’s day, family and home commitments etc… etc….
Yes, these are all valid reasons worth consideration, but could they also be well-dressed excuses we tell ourselves to avoid creating change out of fear of failure?
The slightest doubts, fears and negative perceptions of what could happen instantly builds a wall around our hopes and dreams, determined to keep them contained in a safe private place where no-one could judge us for them.
But, what I have also come to learn, is when you do feel the need (note: it’s always a feeling never a rational thought) to follow your heart’s pull to a new career, promotion or small business venture, it usually comes at a time in your life when you’ve already got the experience, capabilities and skills required to follow a new path, because the universe is showing you signs of what is next for you.
These intuitive hits generally come when you are indeed ready to expand, grow, learn more and undertake your next challenge.
The bad news is, we allow our logical mind over analyse every aspect of this new path, until it’s no longer recognisable as ‘the next step’. Instead, it remains a pipe dream, a long-held wish or a concept that you wish someone else would create – then you wouldn’t have to do all the hard work and potentially fail.
It’s this general fear of failure, judgement and sabotaging beliefs that keeps our career stagnant in a scenario we already know, convinced it’s safer to stay where we are instead of swimming to the remote island in the horizon.
If you are feeling the urge to create career change, here are three things to do that could help you shift from stress to success:
1. Visualise success
What will your life look like when this new stage of your career is in place? How will you behave, think, act, feel? If you can put yourself in the picture and understand the potential changes that are coming, you are better equipped to prepare for them as well as feel excited and motivated to achieve change.
2. Believe in yourself
When your heart pulls you towards a significant purpose, understand that this is your truth and opportunity to flourish. You are ready. You are enough. You are a smart, intelligent, capable, dynamic woman who can achieve anything if you truly believe that you are worthy of it. Believing in yourself and your ability to figure things out will ultimately path the way to success (as you define it).
3. Get to know your inner critic
What are you telling yourself? What is the motivation behind keeping yourself small and restricted in this current situation? What are you attempting to do when your inner-critic gets loud in your ear?
Getting to know the internal mind games we play is a critical step in overcoming fear and opening ourselves up to receive what is meant to be. When you genuinely believe in yourself (step 2) negative words, thoughts and self-sabotaging actions start to appear out of place and no longer serve a purpose for you. It’s important to know the ‘what if you fail’ voice will always occur because it’s a natural human reaction to change, but the sooner you understand what motivates your inner-critic and the times it’s most likely to attack you, then learning how to work around it and keep going will get easier and your rise to empowered success will arrive sooner.
Now it’s your turn… Have you had to battle the fear of failure and get out of your own way to thrive in a new role? How did you handle it and what did you learn. Leave a comment below and let me know.
Like these tips? Know someone else who could benefit from them too? Feel free to share with the social links below.