If you are afraid to change careers, read this story about one of my clients and how he worked through making an important decision to move forward with a new career.
He sits in front of me silent with his head hanging then after a long pause, he looks up and breaths a deep sigh and says…”I’m afraid to change careers”.
What seemed like a young and upcoming professional who had his new career all sewn up neatly, is a man who is wrought with anxiety over the fact that he must change his career but is verbally telling me that he is afraid of this change.
I had seen him many times before for other consulting never knowing that his heart was in so much turmoil. He never said a word about how uneasy he was about the direction he had chosen for his career.
He was only 25 years old and single, he has his bright future ahead of him and his education behind him. Correction…his expensive education behind him.
Afraid to change careers – what will they think of me?
He made his folks so proud as he chose to follow in their footsteps. Both of his parents are in the education industry and have been in one capacity or another for their entire adult life. This field was all that this young man knew. It was only natural that he chose this path.
After probing and gaining new perspective as to what he was feeling and learning how he got to this point, I was able to begin coaching him. You see, he was feeling a calling in a different direction. He saw what he called “crimes” playing out in the education industry that he was appalled by and wanted so desperately to play a different role and make lasting, positive changes. To do this, he needed to grow.
We discussed many different scenarios as if he could stay in this career but he intuitively knew what he needed to do but was ultimately afraid to change careers.
These where the questions that he was grappling with.
- What would it mean if he changed careers?
- Would his folks be disappointed if he changed careers?
- Would people look at him as if he was a fool to throw away four years of college?
- How could he deal with the guilt of throwing away tens of thousands of dollars on the education?
- How could he justify in his mind spending even more money on his education?
- How would he find time to go back to school and work full time?
He’s fortunate that he doesn’t have children or a wife to consider because his list of questions to work out would be even longer. These are realities for many people. It is a most difficult decision to make and easy to see why a person would be afraid to change careers.
These are the life-changing decisions that I was inspired by which turned my attention to life coaching.
Afraid to change careers – How DOES one go about making a difficult decision like this?
- Make a list – Your fist line of defense is formulating a list like we did as to what exactly you are afraid of. Be certain to be detailed so that you can deal with each issue. This is important because you will have homework. Highlight any concern that you have that impacts a loved one as this is the issue that gets the most focus. Your needs/wants vs. someone else’s is a bit more complex and needs tremendous attention.
- Research – With each issue, you will need a certain amount of research to “answer” them. In some cases, you will need to educate yourself about what will be involved with the new career. For example, what will be the financial investment and what sort of time constraints re-educating yourself may be.
- Visualize -Take your time and evaluate this fully before making your decision. Do yourself a favor and visualize what the steps would look like, especially if you were to be adding education on top of your full-time job and any family commitments that exist currently. You really need to understand what impact this career change will have on others that are close to you. The more you visualize HOW you can make this change, will become imprinted on your mind’s eye and will eventually become easier to embrace.
- Get uncomfortable – Understand that fear in and of itself can be used to gain strength. When you are too comfortable, you will not likely grow and alternatively the fear that you feel could be a positive thing. The more you are uncomfortable, you are growing and this is a positive thing. Reaching for something better, reaching for your dreams is what a fulfilling life is all about.
I can relate with my client. I too was afraid to change careers. Some people would say that I threw away my spa but I say, I became authentic. Who throws away a successful business? I suggest that people never look at it as if they are “throwing away” the career. You gained something from it. Experience. That is priceless…Most of all learning who YOU are through it all is what you have to live with. Look, this is not a trial run. Life is happening in the now and when you can take your experiences and be honest with yourself as to who you truly are and listen to your authentic self, you will be certain to be on the right path.
My client was listening to his gut and learned that he wasn’t fulfilled. This is a major reason people change careers. Change is difficult all on its own, but when money is tied to the decision or it impacts family members, changing careers should not be taken lightly. Where you ever faced with this dilemma? Leave your comment below and share how you overcame your fear of changing careers.