Have you ever felt confused when it comes to your career? Maybe you've felt unsatisfied in your work, longed for some challenges, or knew you wanted to enter a certain profession or start a business, but just felt unsure about what to do. Whenever this topic comes up with my clients (as it has also come up for me), I've learned to notice that it isn't really about confusion, it's more about fear of success.
Do any of these fears connect for you? The fear of starting something new, fear that you won't be able to measure up, fear of disappointing others that count on you, fear of not doing something right, fear that you're a fraud, and the biggie, fear that you DON'T DESERVE IT?
I don't think I know anyone who hasn't experienced some form of fear when starting a new career or beginning a business. It's natural. The problem is when it stifles our energy, and leaves us living dull and disconnected from our purpose.
So how do we move past that fear and on into the success of our lives? We look for the coffee.
When I was a teenager, and would get so nervous the night before starting a new job, my dad would always say to me, "By this time tomorrow you'll know where the coffee is." This was code for--you're scared because it's unknown, but you've got to actually go do it to get to the known. And he was always right. By the end of my first day, not only did I know where the employees got their coffee, but it was also always a good conversation starter to people I didn't know, "Could you please tell me where the coffee is? Oh, I take mine with just milk. No sugar, thanks." You get the idea.
Fear of change keeps people from thriving, from evolving,from asking for what they really want, from reaching out to connect with others, from taking care of themselves, and from challenging themselves. You are the manager of your energy, and this equals the master of your life , which includes what you do for work and the level of your success.
Ok, so this sounds all good, right? But exactly HOW does one become the master of his or her success? Well, I'm what I like to call a "Get-It-Done-Gal." If I'm going to master anything (especially my life's work) I'm going to want to know some concrete steps I can take to do that. Now I know you're thinking (maybe wishing?) that I'm about to try to pass on a magic bullet. Nope. What I am going to say is there are exact steps to take, but those steps aren't about expending your energy outward. Instead, those steps are about turning your energy inward. We've got to shift the inside to see the results on the outside.
Here's what you do:
Begin by identifying the original fear that's holding you back from making a career change or starting a business. (Fear of starting something new, fear that you won't be able to measure up, fear of disappointing others that count on you, fear of not doing something right, or, again, maybe the biggie, fear that you DON'T DESERVE IT...or perhaps it's something else for you)
Look at your work history. Start with your first job. Write it down. (Don't just read; do. You'll get faster results. Trust me.) Continue the list from there. Now go back and mark what you did and did not like about each job and how long you stayed in each position. What map do you see in front of you?
Celebrate what you've done. Give yourself a big pat on the back for everything that you've experienced and achieved so far. Nothing is too small. Wahoo! Go you! Seriously. To energize your success, you want to start with acknowledging what you've done so far.
Accept the compliments of others. This is just as important as #3. If you want more energy and success in your career and business, you've got to be able to let it in! If you can't say "thank you" when someone tells you they like your sweater, what makes you think you'll leave your energy open to accepting a large raise, bonus, or new, high-paying clients?
Track your commitment. Career, confusion, and fear of success, are great ways to talk around what you say you want, without having actually to do anything. It's important to check in with yourself. Do I really want this? Take one week and track the amount of times you think about/talk about making this career/business change. What kind of energy is generated? Do you feel excited, but scared? Or, could you really care one way or another?
Visualize your new career/business success. Take a look around you, right where you are this moment reading this. Take everything in. Now, what would you like to be different? Close your eyes and see, and really feel, what it would be like around you if you were successful in your new career/business.
Reevaluate the limiting belief or your fear. Is this fear who you are or maybe, just maybe, now that you've shed some light on it, not so powerful after all? Is it perhaps just a defense (again, it's natural to defend yourself when you're scared) or an excuse because you're actually happy to stay where you are, but feel pressured by others to want more--do more. The more open and honest we can be with ourselves about our fears, the less power they have, and the more energy we have available to us actually, to make the change.
**Bonus** If you can't shake the fear, then FEEL it, but act. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You must do the things you think you cannot do." That's been my practice. (This can happen a lot as a self-employed professional. You never know what the day holds.) When I feel myself being stuck, I recognize the fear, I take a breath-break, and then I do it. It usually turns out just to be about the "unknown" and then I remind myself that I NOW know where the coffee is.