As a career consultant, I work with mid-level to senior-level professionals, coming from different nationalities and industry backgrounds. In the last 4 years, I have worked with over 800 professionals who meet with me for various reasons, including to discuss strategies to progress their careers, identify and set goals, change jobs, go into entrepreneurship, etc. One common factor for these interactions is all the people who come to me are looking for a change.
These individuals typically fall under the below two categories: people who know they want a change but don’t know to what OR people who know what change they want/need to make but don’t know how to get started.
We know that their common factor is change. But, if you ask me how many actually make the change they want or need, less than half of these individuals. Why? Aside from the fact that change is one of the hardest things one faces in life, it is because the other common factor here is fear. Fear of change, fear of taking a risk, fear of starting over, fear of moving forward… or taking a step backwards, fear of failure, fear of disappointing others, etc. There are different ways to overcome these fears and minimize their effect on one’s goals. Below I want to share some tips on how to prepare for change and minimize the fear of it.
Do your homework. Whether you are looking to change careers, start a business, or just want to explore what is out there for you, you must do your homework about it. Find out what you want, where you can add value, what value you are looking for in return, what drives you, set goals, find ways to get more information about next steps, just take charge of your career and start exploring. The more information you have about yourself and your goals, the easier it will be to get there and the more educated choices you will be able to make along the way.
One mistake people make in their careers in general is they don’t take time to know what they really want or do enough research about the possibilities that are out there. You don’t know what you don’t know. In order for us to know what we want, it is essential to know yourself first, do some self-discovery, get comfortable with your strengths and areas that need improvement; understand your motivations, priorities, and what is the right step for you, so that you don’t end up in a situation where people are placing you into their own boxes based on interpretation of where they think you can fit it and thus possibly limiting you to career opportunities.
Maintain a healthy body and growth mind-set. As with anything in life, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a peace of mind. When your body feels good, you feel good, you have energy, and in turn your mind also is clear and focused. When going through any change, we often reserve to poor eating and sleeping habits. Be mindful of this and manage it accordingly. Make sure you are getting some exercise in, even if it is just a 30 min walk a few times a week, meditate when possible, seek support from friends and family, as well as coaches and mentors in this transition, ensure to check in with yourself on regular basis and give yourself a chance to reflect on where you are today, and give yourself some rest days for your body and mind to relax. Often times we need to just quite down all the noise inside our minds for us to see answers clearly, so give your mind time to be still.
Maintain a growth mindset through this can be challenging but it is essential. Look at every opportunity as opportunity for growth and learning. Perseverance and determination are half the battle here. We often give up when we are so close to the desired result, so keep with it, but then again reflect. Reflect on what is working and what is not and why. Don’t keep doing the same thing if it is clearly not yielding any outcomes or keeping you stagnant. Be mindful if stagnation need time to evolve or if you are wasting your time and you need to readjust your strategy.
Trust yourself and follow your heart. When people come to me to discuss change, this to me signals that they are ready to take charge of their careers and for the first step; otherwise, they wouldn’t come to me. That is essential, because you have taken the first and hardest step in this journey. The second hardest step is not giving up in the process and adjusting as you need to until you reach your end goal. Change is difficult, it is uncomfortable, and often draining. But, what is the alternative? To stay the same? That is for you to decide.
Each and one of us has the potential and the power to reach our goals. It is ultimately up to us to put in the work, move past the fear and take steps forward. Yes, there are things we cannot control such as the economy, job market, the weather, etc. But, there are lots of things we can control, such as the work we put into reaching our goals, the research that we do to minimize risks and fears, daily small steps we can take to get us closer, the persistence, the social environment that surrounds us, what we spend our energy on, what information we feed ourselves daily. It is all about taking small positive steps each day in the direction that you want to go. It is also important to acknowledge that with any change, good or bad, stress comes. It is about managing it and moving forward.
By applying and being mindful of the above points, you will minimize the uncertainty and the fear in the process.
If you need tips on managing change, stress, creating a career plan or related topics, feel free to reach out!
December 12, 2018
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