I recently read an article that claimed that 7 in 10 workers wished they’d chosen a different career. Another article said that this apply to 99% of us. In an article I wrote a few months ago (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-you-believe-passion-first-sight-mikaela-contreras-/) I referred to the study from Deloitte that showed only 13% us are passionate about what we do.
No matter what the exact number is, it’s evident that many of us are stuck in a career that aren’t right for us. No wonder!! We are expected to pick a career when we are in our teens or early 20s. Without life experience, with low self-awareness and most of the time, with very little guidance. How can we possibly get it right from the start??!
But changing the direction of your career and taking a leap into something new is scary. Leaving something familiar to try something new can feel daunting. Most of the times something (fear!) is holding us back. I want to share my 10 steps to feel braver so that you can start taking actions towards the career you ACTUALLY want.
- Decide that you are good enough. The most common limiting belief that I encounter in my coaching and training is that the client feel that she isn’t good enough to pursuit what she wants. Not smart enough, not analytical enough, not good enough writer.. you name it. You need to believe in yourself to make it happen, it starts here. Make the decision and start believing that you CAN do it.
- Face your fears. You can’t overcome whatever is holding you back unless you know what they are. Bring your fears to light! Is the reason why you’re not pursuing that management role because you’re afraid of public speaking? Is the reason why you are not starting your business because you’re not sure how entrepreneurship will effect your family? Be honest with yourself, flush out your fears and start to overcome them!
- Stop catastrophising! Many of us think of the worst care scenario when we think about change and uncertainty. We think that the worst possible thing will happen. “If I start a career that is new to me and I can’t perform and deliver, I will loose my job, be without income, unable to pay for my mortgage and my marriage will fail….” How likely is that actually to happen? Instead think of the more likely scenario: “I will start a job that I actually like, I will be more motivated to learn and my passion will be reflected in the results. My marriage will be even better since I will come home feeling happy and fulfilled”.
- Weight the risk vs the regret. What will it cost you to not make a change? If you read this article you are probably one of many that aren’t as happy as you could be in your career. If you continue on the same path, how will that effect you long-term? How will that effect your health, your relationships, your happiness? Can you afford not to take the risk that comes with change?
- Stop trying to be the “good girl”. I know, it is ingrained in us from an early age. We want to do well in the job we have chosen, we want to show up in the way we are expected to, we want to follow the steps our society has created for us, because we are conditioned to want to PLEASE. But when you try to be a “good girl” you forget to be your own girl. Follow your own internal values and desires instead of trying to fit into someone else’s.
- Stop striving for perfection. We think that we need to have everything in order to make a change. But if that is what we are striving for then change will never happen. If you are looking to have one more year of experience to start your own business or change specialism, one more certificate, on more company on your CV, one more project under your belt.. Then you will never take the leap. We won’t ever feel ready, we will never feel it’s the perfect time for a change. We just need to have faith in ourselves and look for progress instead. We learn by doing.
- Turn your inner critic into your inner cheerleader. We say around 1300 words per minute to ourselves in our heads – we are our biggest influencers! But we have a tendency to be very self critical. We look for what we are doing wrong and can do better rather than focusing on what we actually have achieved or are capable of. How can you change this? Think of yourself as your best friend! What would you tell her/him? If your desire is to become a Trainer for example, instead of saying: “I have never delivered training before, I can’t do it!” Say: “I’m a great communicator and connect well with others. I like the topic and can easily learn delivering training”. Isn’t that what you would have told your friend?
- Join a community of like-minded people! Is your desire to become a writer? Join online communities for new writers. Is your desire to become a digital designer? Join communities for digital designers! Learn from them, share experience, support each-other. You don’t have to be alone on your new journey, seek support along the way!
- Practice discomfort! You will never be able to achieve change within your comfort zone, you need to actively step outside if it. And when you do, it will be uncomfortable. But you can get better at it by doing it more often. Learn to regularly do new things. Start taking tennis lessons. Join a Toastmaster class. Cook a new dish at home. Reach out to someone you want to get to know. Practice to be uncomfortable and you will be more resilient to change.
- Change your relationship with failure. Adapt a Growth mindset and think of failures as learnings instead. When taking actions towards a new career you will most likely meet obstacles. Perhaps your first role in your new career didn’t work out. That’s ok, you don’t have to give up. Learn from your experience instead and make adjustment for your next role. Sometimes we need failure to guide us in the right direction.
In a time when many of us have more time at home, more time to reflect and our values are changing, more of us are considering a career change. But if something holds you back from creating a more joyful career, try these steps and let me know how they worked for you! Good luck!