The idea of a slimmer, more toned body spurs me to try on new habits and behaviors. I:
- start a new exercise routine;
- become more resourceful in food prep;
- actively resist temptation, replacing unhealthy snacks with a sumptuous book or by engaging in a body-fueling, light-hearted activity. It’s not always about the food;
- grapple with the fear and anxiety of such a dramatic change in my being.
The idea of a more soul-fulfilling lifestyle spurs me to try on new habits and behaviors. I:
- become more mindful of the content I ingest;
- embrace new ideas founded on old truths;
- reengage my ‘hope’ button which sometimes gets quashed by hopelessness in media or other content streams;
- grapple with the fear and anxiety that intermittently interrupt my path toward hope.
The idea of a more soul-fulfilling career spurs me to try on new habits and behaviors. I:
- hire a coach to help me focus inward, while actively taking outward steps toward renewal;
- get comfortable with initially uncomfortable new career garments: new website; revamped fee structure; new story; etc.
- grapple with the fear and anxiety that sneaks up on me from time to time, disrupting progress and in some cases, confusing me with temporary periods of discouragement.
Fear and anxiety thread through each idea; similarly, for the professional and executive careerists I engage with, I encounter fears and aspire to gently, but firmly spur them through a guided approach to their ultimate career change or transformation destination.
The ideas and challenges they come to me with often resemble my own challenges. I recognize their incremental, and sometimes, more dramatic responses to the process–a process that often reveals vulnerabilities, anxieties, discomfort, fear and, occasionally, frustration.
Some come to me filled up with hope and eager anticipation of taking the reins of a new and more bountiful career; others approach me in a more beleaguered state, having felt the monsoon crush of a corporate merger, and still others make their way to me out of desperateness – they feel they have nowhere else to go for help, as they stay stuck in a bland, stressful and/or soul-crushing job.
If any of this resonates with you, read on as I share 4 things you can start working on, today, to help you take the reins of your career, navigate fear and start achieving your transition goals:
1. Stop doing nothing. Action begets traction, plain and simple. While this doesn’t mean that every action you take will lead you to nirvana, it does mean that by starting, you will feel and experience the motion of activity and energy that refuels and perpetuates your next step, even if that next step is simply to regroup and attack the challenge in a different way.
Examples of first steps:
- Research 3-5 companies that appeal to you, and identify common characteristics between those companies–their product/service; how they operate; corporate culture; mission and vision. Write them down. This is the starting point of where you should aim your career message.
- Write out 3-5 Situation, Challenge, Action, Results stories from your career that best speak to the needs of those companies. This is the tip of your career messaging arrow.
- Start a Pinterest board devoted to your career dreams. Post abundantly with any and all inspiring articles, pictures, etc. that illustrate your career hopes and desires. Look at this board often, especially when you feel stuck.
2. Stop distrusting yourself. Gut checks are important. While not all gut checks are on point (especially if your gut check is coming from a place of misplaced fear and misinformation), generally speaking, your gut knows you. Even if the next step is the right step, if your gut signals fire alarms, maybe it’s not the right step, right now. Maybe you need to take some in-between steps to get you there, circuitously and/or over time.
Examples of in-between steps:
- You know you need to talk with someone in your target industry or company, but you are not ready to make the ask. Instead, join an association (on- or offline) that engages those types of people, and become a meaningful contributor, giving before you get.
- You know you need to get on the radar of influencers in your industry, but you don’t want to be an online stalker. Up your game, instead, and become more prudent in how you engage on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Again, give before you get. See an interesting article? Share it along with a pithy introduction that touts the valuable takeaways, empowering your network.
- Launch a meaningful blog that not only showcases your expertise but also shares the spotlight with influencers you admire, the thinkers and doers with substance. Include properly attributed quotes of those individuals and then tag them when sharing the published piece.
3. Stop listening to every opinion. If I had a dollar for every resume client whose friend, HR network, recruiter confidante, mother, father, sister, brother gave an opposing view to the resume I wrote, I would be rich, and that’s no joke. I’d probably be retired right now writing about tropical beaches from Tahiti.
Well, maybe not – I really do like the careers field. But I digress. There is no one right way to market your value. You are unique, your goals are unique, your target audience is unique. If you choose to write your own resume story, do some research and launch the writing from a place of the intuitive right way. If you choose to hire someone to author your story, make sure you feel a connection to that writer, and then let go and trust.
Move through the fear, with confidence and optimism.
Example of how to deflect opinions by shoring up empowerment:
- Seek out your most supportive persons, tell them you are ready to move forward with your plan, and request their positive encouragement.
- Move ahead, with determination, and watch the fear fade away in the dust of your motion.
4. Get outside perspective. Example: I recently was concerned my office ceiling (black) didn’t mix well with my new, beach-y design scheme. As I shared photos with my sisters–and without mentioning my feelings about my ceiling–all three offered how stylish my black ceiling was juxtaposed against my seashore blue walls.
Suddenly, my perspective changed, and since that moment, I have not only embraced, but also love my black ceiling.
As you can see, the outside perspective wasn’t about seeking an opinion, it was more about sharing my forward movement and office transition, to celebrate with people outside my viewpoint.
As a bonus, they volunteered an outside perspective on an area of concern that suddenly repositioned my thought processes in a positive way. Similarly, if you are uncomfortable about a new career or resume design trend, you may find outside perspective, from those whom you trust to be supportive (versus pushing their agenda on you), and achieve just the right bolstering that you need to confidently steam ahead.
Because you feel afraid amid change, doesn’t mean the choices you are making are wrong. Because you are afraid may simply mean you are unfamiliar and in new territory. Because you are afraid may actually be a good thing. You are getting outside your comfort zone and the way you ‘always have done things.’ Patience, positivity and continual traction will beget the results that lead to your ultimate desired goals.
Dip your toes in the water with my low-cost starter kit. Email me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Credit: Ivan via flickr