Change. The very word can sometimes produce fear in many people. Why? Because lurking behind the word change is oftentimes the word unknown, and for most people it’s the fear of the unknown which makes them afraid of change.
When it comes to making career changes, the fear of the unknown is what keeps people paralyzed, which also keeps them stuck in unfulfilling jobs, hating to go to work every day. At least it’s known, right? And, for most people, a crappy known beats an unknown any day, even if that unknown will eventually make someone happier.
If you’re reading this and you recognize yourself, it’s time to take the bull by the horns and start making some changes. And, yes, that means facing the unknown.
When deciding to change career direction, you can help minimize the unknown by doing some of the following:
1. Realize How Many Times in the Past You’ve Faced the Unknown Successfully
Well, that sounds simple, doesn’t it? And, it is. Just take out a piece of paper and write down the many times in the past you’ve made changes successfully. What you’ll soon see is that many of those times you didn’t really know what to expect, but you went ahead and made changes anyway, often times achieving results far better than you’d expected. This helps drum it into your subconscious that you have faced the unknown in the past and you can do it again.
2. Visualize a Successful Change
Again, the point here is to get you used to the change, turning it from an unknown to a known. You can achieve this by sitting in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed; close your eyes, take several deep breaths, and allow yourself to get deeper and deeper into relaxation. Some people like to count backwards from 10 to 1, even imagining walking down a staircase, taking a step down with each count downward. Once you’re in a more relaxed place, imagine yourself achieving your career goal. If you’re going back to school, imagine taking the classes, either sitting at your computer taking an online course, or seated in a classroom. Imagine and visualize how calm you are, how you’re enjoying learning new things. Imagine graduating. Then imagine working in your new field. Really feel how calm you are, how excited you are to have made the change. Feel how the success would feel to you.
3. Prepare and Plan
Turn the unknown into a known by planning and preparation. Research the career change you would like to make. If the career change is owning your own business, research everything you can about running a business. If you’re going back to school, research all you can about the different programs, the success rate, what your job prospects will be after you graduate or earn a certificate. Once you arm yourself with knowledge, the future becomes less of an unknown.
Again, change doesn’t have to be scary. But, staying in a job you hate, or facing a downturn in your current career without a plan? Now, that’s scary.
Shari Hearn is a writer and creator of Training for a Different Career, where you can learn how to earn a college degree online.