Change is uncomfortable, even when it’s a change you are choosing to make in your life, such as applying for a new job or changing career. Sometimes change can be accompanied by fear and doubt. How do you know if you’re making the right choice? What if it doesn’t work out?
Sometimes deciding whether to make a change can be the hardest part. The good news is that there are practical ways of managing change. While they may not eliminate fear or doubt, they can make it slightly easier.
Accept that change is hard
First of all, acknowledge that change is hard and feel the discomfort that goes with it. It’s natural to find any kind of change hard, even if you think it will be worth it in the long run. Recognise what you’re feeling, especially if you have little or no control over the change, and accept that your feelings are valid. This will help you progress, particularly if you’re feeling stuck.
Planning for change can help to make it easier. There are always occasions that you can’t plan for, but preparing as much as you can will make any change easier. If things happen that you don’t expect, you might have to deviate from your plan, but that’s ok. Accept that this might happen and don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go according to plan. You’re trying something new, so instead of being critical of yourself, congratulate yourself for trying something new and learn from any mistakes you might make.
If the change you want to make seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller chunks. Taking small steps, and doing this consistently, will get you closer to your goals. Keep looking forward and remember why you’re making the change.
If it still seems overwhelming, remember you don’t necessarily need to make a drastic change. A slight change of direction might bring you the difference you’re looking for. If you’re unhappy at work and want to do something else, you don’t need to go for a full career change. Perhaps a different job in the same sector might bring you the satisfaction you want. Even if you’ve spent years working in one area, this doesn’t mean you can’t do something else.
Finding someone who can be impartial, such as a coach, for accountability can also help. It’s often easier to follow a plan when you know someone will hold you to account. A coach can also help you consider different options and will have no agenda of their own.
Fear often prevents people from taking action to make changes in their lives. If the change you want to make is to look for a new job, you might be scared that no one else will employ you or you might think you’re not good enough or that you’ll be making a mistake by moving to another employer.
If fear is preventing you from taking action, the only way to get past this is to step outside your comfort zone. It’s not easy to do, but every time you do something that scares you, you’ll increase your confidence which will help you grow and find the courage to face your fears in the future. If you don’t step outside your comfort zone, nothing will change. You might even find that taking action is not as hard as you thought it might be.
There’s always a risk when you make any change in your life, but staying where you are means you’ll never find out if there are better options elsewhere. If you’re worried the changes you want to make might not be successful, try replacing ‘what if it doesn’t work out?’ with ‘what if it does work out?’.
This article was written by Aileen Carson, professional coach. Aileen helps women gain clarity on the next steps of their career, reduce stress and avoid burnout. You can get in touch with Aileen at email@example.com.