Reading time: 5 minutes
“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life”. — Maya Angelou
You’re running towards a point where the earth stops and the sky starts.
As you get nearer you realize you’re actually hurtling towards a chasm.
You try to slow down, to stop as the ground runs out but your momentum is too strong and all you manage to do is stumble and trip as you plummet over the edge.
The ground rushes up to meet you and you realize in the moment before you hit ‘this is going to hurt’.
And then you wake up with a start….sweaty, knotted stomach, shaking, feeling sick.
This is what you feel like when you think of changing careers. Of giving up your ‘safe’ job and starting out all over again.
You fear ending up living under a cardboard box in the street begging for change to support you and your family. Or failing miserably at your new career and being shunned by your former friends.
A little dramatic maybe, but fear does that to you.
Because that’s the only thing standing between you and your dream life and career – fear.
And every time you peep over into the chasm of career change, it paralyzes you.
Here’s the thing: there’s a lot of good advice telling you stuff like ‘All you have to fear is fear itself‘ and often that’s true. But here’s the other thing. You know that already! And that knowledge hasn’t helped you make that career leap at all.
I’ve learned something about fear that turned my life around – it doesn’t go away. It’s stickier than sidewalk gum.
So how can you ever find the courage to jump into the chasm and grab that great new career and life?
The answer is to have a reason more powerful than the fear itself.
How To Find The Courage
1.”Life is too short to waste time waiting for other people’s approval on how you live it.” – Steve Maraboli
None of us like to disappoint people, especially those close to us. Maybe your parents put you through college, perhaps your partner supported you while studying. Fear of letting them down, of disappointing them, can be a total paralyser.
And yet by not chasing down your dream career, you’re facing a lifetime of self-disappointment.Ouch! Doing less than you know you’re capable of is pulling the trigger on your self-esteem.
Visualize yourself five years from now, ten even. Decide that the face you’ll see has eyes sparkling with passion, a smile bursting with confidence, head held high by the self-respect and confidence gained by finding the courage to go after the career and life you deserve.
2.“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.” – Philip Pullman
Wherever you are right now, you’ve done well.
In fact ironically as you’re not in your dream career, you’ve done incredibly well. You’ve managed to be a square peg in a round hole well enough to keep life ticking along.
But the fact that it’s a struggle is the clue that you are going against the core you. You’re sacrificing yourself on the altar of your current employment to no avail, living a half-life at best.
Decide today that you will let your light shine and your heart leap with joy in the career that will embrace and nurture your unique qualities and talents.
3. “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
Okay, it’s time to admit it – life just isn’t fair. Conscientiously trekking along the wrong path is never going to be rewarding. And to rub some extra salt in, you see how fast the world is changing? It’s not easy keeping up by any means.
Hesitating in making that career leap may well be the most dangerous thing you ever do. Decide today that ‘nowhere’ isn’t going to be your final resting place. ‘Somewhere’ has a space that is exactly the same shape and size as you – one that only you can fill.
4. “A dead end street is a good place to turn around.” – Naomi Judd
Wonder why you’re exhausted so much of the time? By chasing the wrong career you end up working twice as hard, fighting against yourself. Forever banging against a dead end wall will take every last screed of energy, enthusiasm and optimism you have.
Now, imagine that wall falling at your slightest push.
There’s an incredible phenomenon that occurs when you’re fired up by following your purpose –seemingly insurmountable obstacles shrink and crumble in direct proportion to your excitement, commitment and vision.
5.“I lost my passion for work. No, that’s a negative statement. I just had a bigger passion for something else, for my son, and growing up with him”. James Caan
Childhood is long on memories and short on time.
Make sure they are the right memories and the longest time. Your children are an intrinsic part of your life, your hopes, your dreams. Don’t look back and see only missed smiles, missed bedtimes and missed never-to be-recaptured moments.
Picture sitting with your children, now grown up with little ones of their own. You’re laughing over those memories and they lean over and tell you that you were the most incredible role model they could have ever had. You were and are their inspiration.
Decide to manifest your dream career and life for your, and your children’s future.
6. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
You aren’t your job title but with the amount of time you wear that hat, it can be hard to disassociate yourself from it. And why should you? If you’re doing the work you love, it isn’t work, it’s simply being you, making a successful income along the way. Heck, your title could be a badge to wear proudly.
Imagine it’s hard to find where your job ends and your life starts, not because you work too many hours, but because they’re so beautifully blended. You have the power to create that. Start by writing your perfect job title, visualize it on a door, brass plaque, up in lights, on a gallery wall…whatever works for you.
7. “Money Isn’t Everything, But It’s Right Up There With Oxygen.” – Zig Ziglar
It’s perfectly natural to fear a reduction in income or benefits from a career change. But you know what’s much harder to see is the slowing down of advancement when you’re in the wrong career.
The risks that seem so apparent over changing careers are in fact much less in financial terms than the risk of staying in a career that will never, ever give you the good things in life you crave.
Make That Change
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
Well, I’m not asking you to make that career leap right here, right now.
Instead, I’ll ask you just one question…
You have the knowledge, the opportunity and the reason to change careers, to create an incredible future, to be a powerful role model for your kids, to live your life, your way.
So are you drawing back from the edge because of your position, your finances, your kids …because of your fears?
Instead, make your reason bigger than your fear.
And then jump.
[Tweet “Let your courage be your wings.”]
Over to you. What one thing could you do today to overcome your fear and pursue your dream. Let me know in the comments below…
Bio: Laura Tong is on a mission to help you become the most positive, happy version of yourself. Download her free cheat sheet: 5 Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict)