What Is Change?
Fear of change is common and has been talked about widely. To prepare yourself for a career change (or any change for that matter), you must first understand what change is: a transition from one stage of being and/or thinking to another. Therefore, change is not simply an external event but rather entails a mindset shift, without which there can be fear of and resistance to change. How can you alter your mindset and prepare for a transition?
Comfort Zone And Taking The Leap
Firstly, to face change you must determine and understand the need for it. What seems off? What is bothering you? What is not working? What is at the other end of this change/transition?
For voluntary career transitions, this is usually a feeling of discontent in your career, a lack of fulfilment, or feeling as though you don’t belong, which highlights the need for change. You may feel undervalued or unappreciated, or you may be facing an internal block – such as lack of confidence, or an external block – such as a boss from hell and impossible career progression. Sometimes, it is something more subtle, such as your values and company or industry values diverge.
In involuntary career transitions, such as being laid off or not finding employment after a pause from work, the need for change is palpable. In this case, the need for change stems from the fact that there are no options in the current track, therefore something must change in order to open new avenues and possibilities.
In either case, you need to step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. It is scary, it is uncomfortable, it is unsettling. It is accepting the discomfort and pushing through that will take you to the other side – after all, you ARE LEAVING YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
When The Pain of Staying the Same Becomes Greater than the Fear of Change – We Change!
I have seen many clients struggling to take the leap. They tell me in the initial call that they are 200% committed and then – they do nothing. Why? Because the benefit of staying the same still outweighs the potential benefit of changing. The hidden benefit may not be what we are accustomed to seeing as a benefit – staying put, being stuck, clinging to the situation we know, even if that situation is undesirable – the KNOWN provides comfort, even if it’s deeply unsatisfying, whereas the UNKNOWN is scary.
However, when the ‘pain’ becomes bigger than the fear, we jump. We take the leap. And that’s where I come in as a coach to catch you and provide a slightly softer landing.
Of course, there is push and pull. Stick and carrot. Pro-active and action biased people follow the pull – they look at the sweet carrot and reach out. Those with more fixed attitudes may relate more to the pain – or push. The stick. Oftentimes, it is a combination of both and varies very much on the size of the challenge as well as personal outlook, life circumstances, etc.
There are also particular aspects of an unfulfilled career that must be determined, to understand what has to change in order to make a successful and fulfilling career transition. To help you determine what you might be struggling with, take my Career Fitness Quiz.
One of the most important factors that must be explored when facing a career change is core values. These not only help determine why your current career is unfulfilling, but when carefully explored these provide insights into what is non-negotiable for YOU, and what you must find in your new career. Career transitions are often initiated and driven by core values, so uncovering and exploring these is one of the most important mindset preparation steps you can take.
You must then work various other factors into the career transition, such as strengths, competencies, goals, and multiple external factors. However, without a deep understanding of your core values and using the newly gained insights to build a roadmap for your transition, you will either stay stuck or just scratch the surface. What do you choose?