Overcoming Fear of Changing Careers

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Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
— Robin Sharma

This quote rings true for any type of change, especially when it involves a career change. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is only projected to grow in the coming years.

While a career change is inevitable how you make that transition is up to you. There are a few key aspects to remember and implement to ensure a successful development.

1. Embrace Fear

Recognize that fear is a normal part of the process. Resisting change is expected; however, you have to move past the initial feelings to move forward.

Identify your fears, whether it’s your fear of the outcome, fear of the unknown, or even what others may think of your decisions. Embracing your fears and address them head on.

Spend 10 minutes each day and truly allow yourself to think without any judgement. Ask yourself “What am I most afraid of?” Say it out loud and acknowledge it. And remember - no one but you is listening to the answer; unless, you decide to do this around your family, at yoga class or in the middle of the mall.

Know this - when you acknowledge your fear, you embrace it. This removes some of the power that fear has over you. It allows you to evaluate what’s really holding you back.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

You may have already to come to the conclusion that a career change is in your near future. Creating a list of expectations will allow you a sense of control, which can be reassuring in a time where many variables are uncertain.

Start by writing down what you hope to accomplish in a new position. Then make a note of steps you can take over the next few days and weeks to move closer to those goals. The key is to create more short-term goals. Think days and weeks instead of months down the road.

For example – ‘search for a new job online by the end of the months’ is a crappy goal. A better goal is – spend my evenings browsing jobs on Monster.ca and find 10 qualified positions to apply for by 10 p.m. on May 25th.

3. Fail Forward

“This could fail,” is something anyone can relate to. Just remember – this could fail does not have to mean, “I have failed.”

This = idea. I = self. There is a BIG difference between the two.

We have become accustomed to the thought that failing is a clear sign of defeat and something that should be avoided at all cost.

Failure however, can be extremely helpful in your career. If you look at some of the most successful individuals in history, many of them experienced incredible amounts of failure before reaching their current status.

If we allow it to, failing enables growth, directs us in an alternative direction and often brings us to a much different and better outcome than you would have initially thought.

Thomas Jefferson once said, 

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before.
— Thomas Jefferson


Your comfort zone is just that…comfortable! Familiarity can often creates prison walls where fear prohibits us from making any necessary changes.

Give yourself permission to explore other opportunities. You were made for great things and have the tools requires to break down those barriers that are holding you back.

So what are you waiting for? Your future is waiting for you!