When it comes time to think about a career transition or any big change, we are often our own worst enemies. For example: Has this sequence of thought ever occurred in your brain?
Angel: “Ugh. I’m so tired of my day job these days. The money is great, but I want to do something with more of a purpose…or at least that I feel more passionate about! And you know what I love? Pie. I LOVE pie. I should open a pie shop! YES!”
Devil: “You can’t open a pie shop! You would fail. You only know how to do your 9-5. Plus, you’d be poor and living on the street.”
Angel:”Ugh. I guess you are right.” *Kicks foot sadly*
I think our biggest fears about leaving our jobs can be summed up in this order:
1. If I leave my job, I’ll never replace my income (and then be homeless, with no ability to buy shoes/makeup).
2. If I leave my job, then what will I do? What if I hate the new job? Then where will I be? (Devil: “Probably homeless, with terrible makeup and ugly shoes”).
3. I’m good at this job, what if I suck at the next thing I want to try?
4. It’s too overwhelming — I don’t even know how to figure out what I want to do next!
5. How can I even find time to make the transition? I can’t find the time to do most things today!
So first I’m here to say that all of these fears are completely normal! Completely!! We, as humans, are designed to want stuff like food and shelter, and look for situations that provide us with these basic comforts. So, when you take a risk and your salary/lifestyle might be in jeopardy, then you start to feel afraid. And that is ok. So, you have my permission to not feel guilty about being afraid. (I know, I know! if it was only so easy as to have my permission, well, then we would all be a lot more successful! )
However, there are two things that I want you to keep in mind:
1. Recognize that the fear is not who you are — it’s just a piece of the puzzle. So, when you start to immediately jump to: “I can’t” versus “I can” – take a moment and relax. Is that you really talking, or is that the fear? And if it is just fear and not you, then you have a choice as to what you do next. You can set it aside (hey, it’s just the fear talking, not me. And that is ok), or you can let it shut you down. It’s your choice — YOU get to decide.
2. Once you’ve got the fear firmly in check (or at least sent off to the corner for a moment), then take each question/concern and ask yourself one simple question: “How true is that really?” So, if you make six figures in corporate America but decide that you would rather own a pie shop, when the fear of “If I leave my job I will never replace my income” rears its ugly head, then pause, acknowledge it, and ask yourself: “How true is that really?” Will you never replace your income EVER, do you know that for sure? Or will you be able to make a successful (however YOU define success) living? Have you done the research? Do you really know?
Keep asking yourself “how true is that really” and honestly answer those questions until you are sure that you have really thought about everything from all angles and have all of the information that you need to make an informed decision. At that point, congratulate yourself because you are no longer operating from fear, you are operating from a place of confidence. I admit, this is easy for me to say, and hard to do. But if you keep trying you will get there, the fear will lessen and you will be able to see your way forward with clear eyes. And doesn’t that feel nice?