The Biggest Mistake People Make When Changing Careers (Or Anything Else)

Biggest_mistake_career_change_rat_cage_new

Almost anyone who has tried to make a significant change in their life has felt stuck at one point or another.

I talk to people all the time who:

  • Desperately want to make a career change but can’t get themselves to take any action.
  • Go over and over possible next steps but still have no idea how to move forward.
  • Apply to a bunch of jobs, don’t hear anything back, then lose all motivation and stop applying for anything else.

Stuck, stuck, and stuck.

Our Biggest Mistake

Feeling stuck is the worst.  It’s frustrating and humbling.  All sense of excitement dries up and it feels like all you’ll ever know is the same disheartening, unsatisfying, and miserable status quo.

And yet feeling stuck isn’t a sign that you’re making a mistake.  Running into obstacles is actually an important part of the process.

The mistake comes in how you respond to these obstacles.

Most of us grew up in a culture that encourages independence and a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality.

We don’t want to burden others.  We want to look like we know what we’re doing.  It feels like a personal failing to admit that we’re having problems and aren’t sure how to solve them.

So we do the only thing we reasonably can: we try to overcome the obstacles on our own.

Unfortunately, that’s where we err.  Because the biggest mistake that people make when making a career change is that they try to do it alone.

How One Woman Got Unstuck

I had a client once who knew she needed to find a different type of job but didn’t know what to look for.  The more she thought about it, the more anxious she became, and the less certain she felt about which direction to go in.

By learning to tune into her heartfelt desires and superb inner guidance, my client got clearer about what she wanted in a job.  But she still didn’t know what jobs might offer what she was looking for, and her anxiety that she would get it wrong consistently got in her way.

So we worked on reaching out to others.  As she shared openly and vulnerably with people she trusted, they helped her to see that everyone’s path is unique, and that despite her anxiety, she was exactly where she should be.

My client began to accept the notion that she was on the right path, even if it was longer or more crooked than the one she had imagined.   She also received new ideas about directions she could explore and valuable feedback about her unique strengths and gifts.

The Possibilities are Endless

Other people help us:

  • See things from a different perspective
  • Discover new options we hadn’t considered before
  • See how others have overcome the same obstacles we face
  • Realize we aren’t alone in our mistakes or limitations
  • Feel loved and supported enough to take risks
  • Feel more energized, inspired, and optimistic
  • See ourselves and our capabilities more clearly
  • Learn about particular jobs and whether they’re a good fit for us
  • Find out about openings and opportunities
  • Get recommendations and land jobs more easily

Your Solution

Take a moment to consider your biggest challenge right now.  What kind of help would be useful?  Who might provide that help?

If you find you’re still reluctant to reach out, ask yourself what you’re avoiding.  What would you lose if you ask for help?  What would you gain?

My biggest challenges at the moment are incorporating my business and planning a wedding.  Everyone from friends and family to lawyers and accountants could help me.

Part of me doesn’t want to reach out because I’ll have to admit that I’m intimidated.  I’ll have to let go of my identity as someone who can do it all.  And in the case of professionals, I’ll have to pay them, spending money on something part of me believes I should be able to do myself.

What will I get?  Peace of mind.  Ease.  Sanity.  An ability to stress less and have time for fun and joy.  Not to mention better results.

Seeing it in those terms, the choice gets a whole lot easier.

Over to You

What have others helped you accomplish in the past?  What help are you considering asking for now?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  By sharing your need for support, you can challenge the notion that we should be able to do it all on our own.

Get Unstuck

If you’re trying to make a meaningful career change and don’t want to do it by yourself, join us on April 18th for Pathfinders: A Group Hike and Discussion to Find Your Calling.

You’ll go on a beautiful walk through the woods.  You’ll have meaningful conversations with others who, like you, are trying to discover what they’re meant to do in this world.  You’ll receive lots of support for identifying and taking next steps towards work you love.

To find out more or to register, click here.


If you liked this post, you can share it with others using the buttons below, or sign up for my newsletter in the box to the right.  I’ll send you ideas, tips, and resources for meaningful career change every other week.


Photo credit: David Noah // CC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge