More than anyone making career changes, career changers of a “certain age” leave themselves little room for error.
“One wrong move” you think, “and it’s all over. . . ”
And you envision Humpty Dumpty after the fall.
You’re just not interested in getting your yolk scrambled.
It can be really daunting to think about making a move when your margin for error is so small.
You might not feel you have enough time to make a wrong decision and then correct course. You also worry that recovering from a mistake could mean financial disaster.
So you really DO need to make the right choice the first time.
How can you get your career change right the first time when you are living with the paralyzing fear of getting it wrong?
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Failing Like A Kid Again
I was talking to a client the other day about failure and confidence.
She’s learning a second language. Actually, she’s learning a couple of new languages at the same time, but that’s just because she’s insanely hardworking and loves to learn. . .
Anyway, she talked about how hard it is to have confidence about speaking a new language in front of native speakers, knowing you’re making mistakes all over the place.
But I likened it to my 4 year old. Even at 4, she makes mistakes in language all the time.
She says things like “I holded the frog.” Or “I washded my hands.” (Good thing, because next she needed a snack.)
When It Comes To Career Changes, Failing Is Awesome
No matter what you’re learning, whether it’s a new language as a child or an adult, or if you’re putting yourself out there when it comes to making a career change you’re going to make mistakes.
You can’t control it, and there’s no way around it.
There’s nothing new and challenging that you can learn that you’ll do perfectly the very first time.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
What it does mean is that you put yourself out there in small ways at first.
Kids don’t really care. They don’t care when they don’t make any sense when they talk or if they want to do some physical feat that would surely get them killed, like jump off the roof a couple of times just to see if it was better to land on your feet or your head. . .
But adults have a bit more
sense fear – sometimes with good reason and sometimes not.
First, you have to evaluate how much risk is actually involved in a situation, and how much it’s just fear talking.
When we’re thinking about career change, it might be risky to quit your job right after reading this blog post. Maybe a little more preparation would be a good idea.
But if you can prepare yourself in every way possible, the rest is just plain old fear.
The only way around that fear is to take baby steps toward your goal and to mess up.
But if you’re prepared, and your step is small enough, your mess ups won’t be monumental. At that point we get to call them “learning experiences.”
And that’s an amazing thing.
Because no fear is more paralyzing than the fear of worrying anything could go wrong and that you’re powerless to stop it or fix it. You’re frozen at that point.
Learning experiences allow you to mess up and move forward anyway.
Do It Differently Tomorrow
Every career change – every big change in our lives in fact, is a series of learning experiences, which is a whole bunch of preparation followed by lots of small failures and course corrections.
Sometimes, we don’t get to prepare for our career changes as much as we’d like, or we don’t have all the answers we’d like to have, and that makes our failures and course corrections bigger.
But every career change must have failure, just like every other change in our lives. It’s impossible to get it completely right immediately – to know exactly what you want to do right away, to know the perfect time to leave your job, to know exactly the right choice and the right timing at every turn.
But with preparation and patience and trust in yourself you can know you’re making the right decisions along the way and if you get something wrong you have the ability to fix it.
Can You Do It?
Does it change your confidence and your willingness to go for it if you know that the only way forward is through mistakes, but that mistakes don’t need to be disastrous?