Overcoming doubts when embarking on a career transition

By October 16, 2016Career Change
Overcoming doubts when embarking on a career transition

Stressed, frustrated, unhappy. Words that are typically used to describe the emotional state of a significant proportion of those employed in jobs they don’t like. Freedom, flexibility, abundance. Words that are typically used to describe the reasons for ditching a day job to become self-employed, a business owner or entrepreneur.
Sometimes it’s our own doubts that prevent the transition from a dissatisfying job to doing something where we can create our own path in business and life. Here are some thoughts to consider:

I won’t succeed

Similar to any goal that requires substantial change and a healthy dose of commitment, there are several elements that contribute to achieving that goal. Solid planning, a disciplined mindset and having adequate support are some of those key contributors. Things like articulating your business vision, doing your research and formalising a business plan are important. Being disciplined isn’t just about how you manage your time and your dedication, it’s also about focusing your attention so you are spending your time on the right things. Having adequate support involves surrounding yourself with good people who can help by providing feedback, clarity and motivation.

In some instances, the uncertainty of whether success will be achieved is driven by a fear of failure. Sure, the prospect of some form of failure is a possibility. Failure is merely an instigator for change. It’s just a sign to do something differently next time. You don’t change the destination, you change the course to get there. Bumps in the road on the way to establishing success are more often than not challenges to test you, your resolve and your determination. As Henry Ford famously said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

I lack expertise

A new career challenge typically triggers the requirement for new or different skillsets and ways of working. Though we can’t know and be good at everything and hence can’t have expertise across every area. A good first step is to understand your strengths. When you know the skills you excel at and the behaviours that come naturally, it is easy to identify the gaps. Covering the gaps can be as simple as educating yourself though completing a short course, or finding experts who can take on specific tasks that aren’t typically your forte.

Not having experience in the entrepreneur space shouldn’t be a reason to not make the leap of faith. While having some of the typical entrepreneur qualities, such as being a visionary, a risk taker and having a creative mind are all great, it is also valuable to have some of the qualities that you bring with you from your corporate career. Just as important are skillsets around leading others, managing risk and being results focused. The ability to get things done in a timely manner, and not regularly jump to new ideas, is critical. Having the ability to delve into the detail when required is also necessary. In terms of experience and expertise, these attributes never go astray and should never be underestimated.

I need job security

Having a role title, job description and a regular income provide a perceived level of stability. However there is no such thing as job security anymore. Even profitable, well performing companies roll out redundancy programs due to strategy, leadership or technology change for example. With so much change, automation and disruption happening across businesses, companies and industries you need to be on the front foot. You need to be proactive and flexible and open to learning new things. There are trends, especially in the digital, IT and social media space where opportunities are opening up and expanding in the business ownership space. Ultimately, you can’t expect a company to look after you. You need to look after you. Having a dependency on someone or something else comes with its own risks. As Erica Jong said, “If you don’t risk anything, you risk more.”

There’s a significant amount of self-development and personal growth that comes with being bold and courageous. Those components themselves should be at the forefront of your mind if you are currently considering whether to quit your job.

According to John Dewey, “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” Is it time for you to reflect and contemplate a new beginning? Is it also time for you to tackle those doubts once and for all?

 

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