Don’t let fear hold you back,
take the leap!
A career change can be daunting, that’s for sure. Maybe you’re unhappy in your job. Maybe your current career no longer exists. Whatever the reason, you know you’re ready for that big change. Yet making that leap has the power to incite fear in most of us, but why are we so afraid?
It’s daunting to imagine moving into a new career thinking you may be no good at it. Perhaps you are worried that you aren’t able to learn fast enough or that you won’t have the competency to fulfil the responsibilities of your new role. Remember that feeling out of your comfort zone in any new position is often part of the process while you find your feet.
You may be worried about what people around you may think if you change your career after already working in another career for years. Will your friends and family meet your decision with concern or disapproval?
Do you worry that you are letting go of everything you have worked so hard for in your current career? You’re likely to have racked up some invaluable experience, established meaningful and beneficial relationships and even climbed some way up the ladder in your current sector. It makes sense that you wouldn’t want to lose this progress!
Another common fear of career change is that of regret and making the wrong choice. Perhaps you’re afraid of taking the leap and realising you don’t like it and miss your previous path, or you’re scared that you aren’t making the right career change and will want to later do something else.
The biggest fear a career change brings (and we have all probably experienced this at some stage in our lives) is a potential drop in income. Will I be able to pay my mortgage? Will I be able to keep the family car/s running? Will I be able to put food on the family table?
These are all genuine fears, but not one that necessarily needs to hold you back.
We at Therapyfit for example offer courses that can be studied in your own time and around your current commitments. Once qualified you can work part time around your current job and still have a steady source of income whilst you establish yourself. We offer all of our students lifelong business support. This includes everything from business planning, what services to offer, how to offer these services, pricing of services (more on this to come in the next blog), social media planning, advertising and marketing, and future development, training and continuous improvement. You now still have a steady stream of income (if not more than before), have retrained for a new profession, got your business up and running without even leaving your current job. Is it now a fear or an opportunity?
Baby boomers, back when they were 18-48 years old, held an average of 11.7 careers. For millennials, this number will likely skyrocket as technology continues to replace jobs that were once viable careers.
But guess what? We don’t need to fear this. Instead, we can look at the positives of making a career change. Whether it’s two — or even 20 — years into a job.
It’s no surprise sticking with a job that makes you miserable takes a toll on your health. Research shows those of us who remain in careers in which we’re miserable are more likely to experience depression, emotional problems, and mental health issues, all before the age of 40. Bad news for us, right?
Not only that, but those of us unhappy with our current jobs report increased instances of back pain and colds in comparison to those of us happy in our careers. Sticking with a job you hate can also make you more likely to gain weight and rob you of your precious sleep.
So where’s the good news in all of this? It’s right here:
All of these negative effects can go away once you find peace in the source of your paycheque.
If you’re miserable in your career, take the leap. Make the change. Trust me: You’ll be better for it.
When we, as humans (we’re all humans here, right?) do the same thing repeatedly our brains eventually go into autopilot. Why is this? For one, it’s because our brains aren’t processing new information. When our brains take information in, they use previously formed pathways to process and understand it. This is because our brains are inherently lazy. They’ll always choose the path of least resistance.
But when we make a career change, we’re forced to learn new things. Obviously, learning is great for us (although I’ll admit it doesn’t always feel like it at first). Regardless, when we make this change, our brains rewire and form new synapses (connections). In this way, we can actually alter the physical structure of our brain matter, all just by making a change in the way we think. This is no small feat. Rewiring our circuits is easy when we’re children, but getting the brain to change is more difficult after the age of 25. As we age, improved neuroplasticity is so beneficial to us.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, consider this. Making a career change allows us the opportunity to find a greater sense of purpose in our lives. This study suggests those happiest in their careers have attached a sense of purpose to it. Having a sense of purpose is also a strong predictor of mental and physical health. Those of us who feel a sense of purpose in our lives have been shown to be less likely to have a stroke, heart attack, and may be less susceptible to viruses, diabetes, metastatic cancer and neurodegenerative disease. For instance, after studying autopsied brains afflicted with Alzheimer’s, researchers at Rush University Medical Center found that patients with a higher sense of purpose in life experienced reduced symptoms. So, try looking at your next career change in a more positive light.
Making a career change can be an amazing time of self-discovery. If you’re unhappy in your career and decide to make a change, you’re taking control of your life. You’re saying no to something that is sucking the soul out of you. This is already such a positive thing. Any time you stand up for who you are as an individual, you win. If your career has been taken over by computers and you had no choice but to learn a new skill and join a new workforce, you’ve proven to yourself you can roll with the punches and come out on top.
So, whether you had a dream you finally followed or a life-change that was forced upon you, don’t overlook the positives of a career change. While the road may not have been smooth, you navigated the turns and made it work. The potential for increased happiness, lifespan and improved cognition are positive factors to encourage the leap.