Changing careers takes confidence and courage. We know this! It is often the reason we have not made the changes we want to make yet. We do not have the confidence or the courage to take those next steps, or that leap of faith.
If you do not feel confident about your career change now, where is the confidence you need going to come from?
Confidence is not fixed; it is something you can build and grow as you get better at the things you work on. Think about the first time you got behind the wheel of a car. You felt awkward, scared, uncoordinated and fearful. You had no confidence in your ability to drive or to navigate any of the roads in your neighborhood. You would not even contemplate going onto a main road or national road. The thought of doing so was just too overwhelming. Fast forward ten years later and you now navigate roads, highways even long-distance road trips with ease and confidence. You have no fear about travelling with family & friends in the vehicle because you know you have mastered the skill and have the confidence of a seasoned road user.
When we use the phrase "I'm not confident about this." or "I'm not a confident person." What are we saying?
For some reason we tend to take a very selective view on this thing called confidence. For some things we tend to think of confidence as a personality trait. Something we cannot navigate or change because it is hard wired into who we are. On other things like learning to drive we tend to think of confidence as an emotional response. Something we can navigate and overcome.
In my experience, confidence is not as passive or reactive as that. Real confidence is a capability, a skill if you will. Once you know how to develop that capability for yourself, you can have it in endless supply.In other words, being confident isn't something you are.Confidence is something you have. Which means if it is something you have, that means you have acquired it.
You can build your 'confidence' through four steps. These apply to any areas of your life you need; your career is therefore no different.
Commitment Everything starts with Commitment. This is where you decide whether you are ultimately successful or unsuccessful in any shift. The decision you make that "Whatever happens, I'm going to find and start doing work I love. It won't necessarily be easy, but I'm going to do it" is ultimately what shifts us form merely thinking about making a change and putting plans into action to actually make the change. Commitment is what will keep you going during the moments when the people around you tell you how crazy you are. It is what will keep you going when you don't even know what you really want to do and wonder if you ever will. It is what will keep you going when you come home from work with barely enough energy to do the things you need to do, let alone work on a plan to change your career change. Building your Commitment starts with knowing your WHY. Knowing WHY making a change is necessary or important. Knowing WHY you can no longer stay where you are? Accepting that there will be hurdles and obstacles that you will need to navigate along the way, and knowing that; you still choose to make the change.
Courage When you are committed, it gives you the resolve to be courageous. Einstein said you cannot solve a problem at the same level it was created. In other words, you must change your thinking if you want to solve a problem. The answers to what you really want to do don't lie in your current world. If they did, you would have found them by now. To find them, you need to venture out of your version of what is 'normal and comfortable' and this takes courage. It takes courage to consider leaving a 'good' job if you hate it. It takes courage to tell your parents or partner that you want to do something else, but you have no idea what that 'something else' is. It takes courage to approach inspiring people and organisations you don't know in order to explore other options. Building your Courage starts with knowing your primary Fear. What scares you most about making this change? Take a moment to really answer this question. Very often there is more than one single answer – for many of us answering this question requires more than a single sentence or even a single page. There are usually a range of dynamics that add to the complexity of this question. All of which are valid and legitimate for you. HOWEVER, not all of these are in your control to change. How your boss, or in-laws or best friend responds is out of your control. How the economy and markets fluctuate is out of your control. This simply means that you need to be making informed decisions based on research and data. Making decisions that allow you to mitigate fallout and manage fluctuations based on sound knowledge and reliable information is how you start offsetting fear with facts.
Capability When you are courageous, you develop new competencies and abilities. Remember what it was like to sit behind the wheel of a car for the very first time. Remember the fear and the anxiety of wanting to do it but being so scared to mess up. Remember the feeling of nervousness each time you got behind that wheel and yet each time you did. Eventually you stopped feeling the anxiety, and the fear dissipated, and you developed the skill and the competency. As you developed this skill with daily practice you eventually got to the point where you no longer felt the fear and the anxiety. After a while it became just another daily thing you did. Your ability and competence are like muscles. You can grow it, but you need to stretch yourself to do so. This doesn't mean you have to take huge gambles or make uninformed decisions. It does mean you need to be continually taking small steps that stretch you out of your comfort zone. We learn best when we are out of our comfort zone and sitting at the edge of discomfort.
Confidence Finally, as you develop your capabilities, you also build your confidence. Notice the order of these steps. It's not about "Needing to be confident to take action," but rather "Needing to take action to be confident." Self-confidence is simply the memory of success. It is a learned skill. This means that irrespective of how much you may feel you lack confidence right now; you can develop more of it by following the steps above. Once you have developed your confidence you can start working on your next steps in working on Changing your Career with Confidence and Courage. Next Steps Stop Telling Yourself These Lies When it comes to moving forward in your career, it is important to have a clear understanding of your where you currently are. Once you know where you are you can determine where you need to go to. Professionals sometimes have a warped sense of reality that keeps them hostage in a career they despise. The truth is, if you want to be successful in your career, you have got to stop telling yourself these lies: ⠀⠀⠀⠀
“I don’t know how to do anything else.” FACT: If you have been working for more than five years you have developed lots of transferable skills through your previous experiences. All jobs require certain core skills and certain people skills(aka soft skills). MAYBE: What you may not know is how to package these skills into a meaningful suite. You may also not know exactly how many transferable skills you actually have, because you have not done a skills inventory. ACTION: Completing a skills assessment (inventory) will allow you to analyze just how much you CAN do.⠀⠀⠀⠀
“My company needs me too much for me to leave.” FACT: If you were to leave tomorrow, the company would find a replacement by the next month. It’s nothing personal – just business. When you hold a key role on a team, and they value your contributions, it is going to sting when it is time to part ways. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ MAYBE: the real issue is not leaving the job but rather leaving behind the relationships you have spent so much time investing in. Good friends are tough to replace. ACTION: Do you really want to live a life of regret just to avoid a moment of hard goodbyes? Valuable relationships stand the test of time. If you want to maintain those relationships after you part ways WHAT is stopping, you?
“I have to do this because I went to college for this.” ⠀ FACT: You cannot allow a decision you made in your late teens/early twenties to determine the rest of your life. Would you marry your toxic college boyfriend/girlfriend just because you chose to date him/her then? I pray your answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! MAYBE: You just keep telling yourself this because it is easier to face the real truth. You are either too scared to make a change or more realistically you have no idea what the next is for you. ACTION: Circumstances change, markets change, and interests change. This is life. Give yourself permission to change your mind and adapt to your new circumstance or the new markets. This is how you stay relevant and sustain a lifestyle you want.
“I don’t have any other options.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ FACT: You have as many options as you believe you have. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your own mind. YES, it will take work. Nothing you have learnt will go to waste. You will always be able to extract skills from every learning opportunity you have had. MAYBE: You just have not given yourself permission to change your mind because you are worried about wasting all the time and money already spent on what you may already have. ACTION: Determine your transferable skills. Do a skills assessment and establish what else you may need to embark on any new career endeavours you may have. How much work are you willing to do to get to where you want to be?