4 Steps to Make the Most of Your Career Change Paralysis

“What’s worst that could happen!?” I asked my 6 year old son in an attempt to convince him to ride the ridiculously large rollercoaster whilst on holiday this summer.  Thinking back, this probably wasn’t my finest persuasion tactic. Fortunately, he didn’t have time to think through all of the worst case scenarios and we enjoyed the ride without incident.  But, it got me thinking that this question can be a hugely powerful one providing that you have the time and space to really think it through.


The career change rollercoaster

Dreams of career change are often put on permanent hold when a lack of personal confidence isn’t kicked into touch.  When I ask people in this situation, “what’s the worst that could happen?” they tend to respond with a whole range of weird, wonderful and quite frankly, highly unlikely possibilities. But as far as I'm concerned - anything goes and the crazier the possibilities the better! It’s about considering ALL of the possible outcomes.  It can be such a relief to off-load your worries and deepest concerns before taking the next step.  And that next step is to consider what you CAN do if those concerns do come to light.  Can you reduce the risks or prevent them entirely? Absolutely!

I met with a client recently who eagerly described the career change which led to the set up of her new business venture.  She spoke with amazing passion and absolute commitment about her ongoing plans and future business goals.  However, rewind 3 months and it was a rather different story, made up of fear and uncertainty. What made the real difference in that time was the background work and exploration she had done to define the long list of back up plans and contingencies for every possible worst case scenario. In the end, she was well aware of the risks (and there were some real corkers in there) but with that knowledge, she ploughed ahead with increasing confidence and conviction. If plan A didn’t work out immediately, plan B would support her financially in the meantime.  I’ve rarely seen someone so committed to making it work but with so much awareness of reality!

So next time you find yourself pondering over a change in career direction, take some real action and try these 4 steps:

  1. Consider the ‘worst things’ that could possibly happen

Make as long a list as possible.  Talk through all of the possibilities with your family, friends, coach or mentor.  Be honest, be wacky but write them ALL down.

  1. Consider the impact

For each ‘worst thing’ that could possibly happen, there’s always an impact and you need to be aware of that.  Whether it's an impact on you personally or one that affects your friends, family, finances, lifestyle etc; capture, describe and understand it.

  1. Consider what’s preventable

So you now know the 'worst things' that could possibly happen if you decide to change career.  You also know the impact that these things might have on your life and those around you.  The good news is that there’s almost always something you can do to prevent or mitigate those risks.  So what can you do?  This part requires a bit of deep digging and creative thinking.  If anything was possible, what would you do to prevent the 'worst things' from happening?

  1. Now, make your decision

You now have a much better handle on what the risks and less favourable outcomes might be, if you decide to make a career change.  That’s a lot of information to gather from just one little question…… "What's the worst that could happen?" but it gives you the clarity and confidence to put an end to that career change paralysis once and for all!

Good luck and if you need a little extra support to get moving in your chosen career or to get that new business idea off the ground, call me today for a confidential chat on 07719 690 967.

Tammy Windsor

Tammy is a professional coach, trained at post-graduate level and also holds Ph.D in Pharmacology. She spent 14 years in the pharmaceutical industry leading global clinical teams as well as supporting strategic and culture change across these organisations.

Tammy founded InnovaCoaching after seeing the significant and positive impact of change on individuals and organisations which coaching and mentoring provides,.

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