As a life coach, I come across many people who are unhappy in their current job situation. My clients often complain of feeling trapped, uninspired and dissatisfied at the workplace - unable to reach their maximum earning potential or align their passions with their day jobs.
Often they have been feeling this way for a long time - but unfortunately, haven’t been able to take any positive or meaningful action towards shaking up their careers.
I like to ask my clients:
“What is holding you back from making the switch to your dream career?”
Surprisingly, the answer is rarely financial constraint or the lack of time, education or skills needed to make a job switch. The reasons are almost always mental blocks - some kind of negative thinking that prevents the person from taking life-changing action.
The top 3 reasons why career changes don’t happen are:
1. Fear of what others think
One would think that individualism, self-identity and being proud of being unique are the mainstays of millennial culture. Unfortunately, the reality is different and most millennials still define their success based on perceived approval of those around them. This ‘fear of what others will think’ is so deeply ingrained that most of my clients struggle to recognise it. Most will never admit to it openly, only discovering it when probed more deeply.
For example one girl stated that she didn’t want to leave her job for fear of being perceived as a failure. When I asked her who would think she is a failure she struggled to identify someone in particular. It was just a general sense of ‘people will think I’m a failure’.
I’m embarrassed to say that this has been my own experience in the past more than once. I had often assumed that ‘people’ would think ‘something’ about me, but later realised that I had no evidence for this. Upon reflection, I had to admit that the whole thing was my own internal perception, projected onto others.
My Life Coach training has now taught me to ask myself an important question,
‘What evidence do I have that supports this fear of what others will think?’
Usually the answer is ‘nada’ because, to be honest, most people are too concerned with their own lives to worry about mine.
Now I’m asking you, what evidence do you have that people will think you are a failure if you quit your job or change career? Has someone actually said this to you?
2. Uncertainty and confusion
A clouded mind is unable to focus with clear resolve. Millennials today have so many options that they usually end up feeling overwhelmed, confused and lost. The statement I often get to hear is:
‘I’m scared to change careers because I don’t know if I’m going to like the new career any better than the one I have’. This becomes an excuse to stay put, stay miserable and avoid the possibility of failure.
The hard reality is that there is no quick fix to major life situations. No one out there is going to tell you, ‘Here is a job you will love.’ The only way to get out of uncertainty is painstaking analysis and research. You need to:
This requires soul searching and mentorship in a non-judgemental and safe environment. A Life Coach is well-positioned to help you out in this regard. This is the reason why I launched my ‘Get Unstuck’ online program, to help millennials identify their values, strengths and passions. If you are struggling with confusion, I can help you map out your life direction precisely, helping you get your desired results faster.
No decisions are perfect - smart people don’t take right decisions, they make decisions right.
3. Self doubt
The third most common blockage I see my clients come up against is self doubt, which disguises itself as procrastination. Too often, people have a dream, a career they want to pursue or a side hustle they want to get off the ground. But everytime they go to take action, there is an excuse:
I don’t have enough time.
The learning curve is too huge
I don’t have the equipment
The list goes on.
Unfortunately, excuses are simply an expression of low self-esteem. If you don’t believe you can do something than you will find reasons why you can’t. Alternatively, if you believe you can do something, you will find a way and become more resourceful.
So how do you increase your self-esteem? You gather evidence. Some strategies I suggest that have always worked wonders include:
Writing down 50 things you have ever achieved. Look over this list and reflect upon all the amazing things you have done. We all have accomplishments to be proud of.
Gathering evidence of other people’s successes. I love reading biographies and learning about the amazing things people have achieved.They provide inspiration and motivation to shake my life up too.
So what is holding you back from making that dream career change? Is it self- doubt? Fear? Uncertainty? You CAN make a change. It won’t be easy and there will be lots of hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. Go for it!