I will give you a clue….. It’s also the one you have the most influence over…..yes it’s you!
You can blame the economy, we can argue that the timing is not right, use family restriction or geographical location as a reason why but in actual fact you are the biggest obstacle in your own career change. Many of the reasons why we put off taking action are due to internal thoughts that we carry around with us, those fears we focus on, those assumptions and limiting beliefs we hold. But the beauty is that we can absolutely do something about it. When we take a moment to really acknowledge what we are doing and understand the cost it is having on us, then we can start to take action and gain some perspective so that we can right-size it and move forward.
In my own career journey, I always carried a limiting belief around with me that restricted me from taking action. I believed that I couldn’t run my own business because I wasn’t very comfortable or good at selling myself or my ideas. I also assumed that I would find it too lonely and would end up becoming a hermit, spending all day in my PJs and dipping in and out of the fridge for chocolate and cheese!
I would be fearful of taking action, in case my new potential career path didn’t work out. What if I spent all this money, time and energy retraining and then realised that I wasn’t any good at it, I couldn’t make enough money, or I actually didn’t enjoy it. That I would jump from one career that was ok and into a new career that actually made me more miserable and I would struggle to pay the bills.
I also didn’t take action, because I didn’t know how to figure it all out, so I stayed put for 10 years in a job that I really knew wasn’t right for me. I was simply waiting for the bolt of lightning, that light bulb moment. I was adopting the duvet method. Burying my head underneath the duvet, trying to squeeze my idea out!
There are three main ways that we will get in our own way:
- Assumptions or limiting beliefs
- Not knowing how to change careers
Let’s talk about fear, perhaps you are telling yourself that:
‘What if the grass isn’t greener on the other side’….'What if you won’t be any good at it or won’t like it.’….’ You can’t do anything else that would make the same amount of money.’
For some of us, this lack of certainty in our next career can seem too much and so we would rather stay put.
But let’s really understand what is going on here. The emotional part of your brain responds first and it’s slamming the emergency brake, you are considering stepping outside your comfort zone and it doesn’t like it, it doesn’t know how to deal with it, your mind is trying to protect you from the unknown, the unfamiliar. But this part of your brain has no ability to understand if there is any truth in those fears; it’s just recognising that this is something different.
We need to engage the rational part of our brain to break down the fear and right-size it. The first thing is to acknowledge the fear, write it down. Second, we need to understand what is behind the fear and how can you manage it. In my own career journey, I needed information to help me deal with my fear and to speak to coaches to understand more about what coaching really entailed. I needed to understand the costs of training and the potential earning abilities and have an idea of a backup plan that I could implement if it didn’t work out.
Fear is normal when considering taking a step outside your comfort zone, but don’t be quick to dismiss any idea, explore it; there is a reason it keeps coming up.
Limiting beliefs are views we hold of ourselves and the world, which we consider to be a fact even though they aren’t. By having these beliefs we restrict ourselves in some way. In my example, I believed I couldn’t sell and as a result restricted myself from building my own business until I worked through my belief and realised that in actual fact I had no evidence to show this was the case. Just because I hadn’t occupied a sales role in my career history I still had to sell concepts, ideas and proposals to others as an HR professional. These beliefs are formed unconsciously based on our life experiences and are most often misinterpretations of past events.
If you recognise a limiting belief could be holding you back you need to question it, to really challenge yourself to see if your assumption has any truth to it. For example, I had never had a front line selling job other than working in food stores as a teenager, but when I really dug deep I realised that I had, had to sell concept and ideas to others and as part of the recruitment process I was selling roles and a company to candidates. The next step is to recognise what it is costing you to think in this way. To understand how your own thoughts are restricting you, are impacting you emotionally, financially and physically.
As you start to strip the power away from this limiting belief it’s then about replacing it with something that is more truthful. For example, although I have not held a selling position, I could sell ideas to individuals and therefore I could build my own business.
And then there’s the final obstacle because we don’t know how to make that career transition, we stay put and do nothing. You want to do it, you know you can’t continue in your current job, the feelings you have and the impact it’s having on your life is too significant. But you don’t know what else to do and/or you don’t know how to make that transition.
This is really common and is why people will work with a career coach. Changing careers is not a smooth process, you will meet bumps in the road, but with a coach supporting you through a process, it is achievable. If you want inspiration check out the stories of these individuals who have made it happen.
If this is resonating with you there are a couple of things you may like to do right now as your next step.
- Sign up for my new free webinar training on how to make a successful career change even when you don’t know what you want to do.
- Book yourself a free call with me to understand how a career coach can guide you through the process.
Life is to short to dread work, you can choose to change and make your life brighter.