I talk to a lot of people who share with me that they want to change careers but they don't know what they want to do next.
They might have some ideas but for the most part, they feel stuck.
If you are feeling stuck, I want to share with you the story of my old law school friend named Ted. Ted was a corporate lawyer at a Big Law firm in NYC. Things were fine for a few years, the work was interesting and he got paid well. But at a certain point, he began to get bored with the work. He started losing interest and started thinking about what he could do next. His options ranged from the safe to the risky. He thought of exploring another area of law, going in-house, or moving to another law firm. As well as leaving the law completely and pursuing something he was more passionate about, like soccer.
Ted was a soccer fanatic. He grew up playing soccer, played in college, and played on a local men's club team in the city. He watched every game he could and knew who all the teams and players were in the US and Europe.
His dream was to work in soccer as a commentator or sportscaster. He wanted to tell the behind the scenes stories of his favorite clubs and players. But he knew it was next to impossible to land that kind of job. So he never did anything about it.
The Cycle Of Stuck
When people first consider a career change I see them go through the Cycle of Stuck, this is a pattern where first, they feel dissatisfied in their current job, second, they daydream about doing something else they might enjoy more, third, they come up with all kinds of reasons why they can't leave their current job for the more enjoyable one, and fourth, they end up staying right where they are.
The Cycle of Stuck represents our natural bias towards wanting to stay in our comfort zone. Changing careers is a process that requires us to step out of our comfort zone and enter unknown territory. And our brains would rather have us stay put in our familiar yet unsatisfying jobs rather than risk failure at a new career by focusing on how hard the change would be.
Drop Your Assumptions
If you are in the Cycle of Stuck, consider that you are operating under a limiting set of assumptions. The most common assumptions I hear from accomplished professionals are that they don't know what they want, they can't start over or they can't make less money. And because of these assumptions, they limit their choices to ones that feel safe but are not necessarily what they really want to do.
Like a windshield covered in rain, your limiting assumptions are blocking your ability to see your next move clearly and objectively. You assumptions need to be wiped away in order for you to clearly see the road ahead. To do this, you must first become aware of your limiting assumptions. Recognize that they are more theory than truth. And start testing their validity rather than letting them stop you from even getting started.
See The Road Ahead More Clearly
Believe it or not, Ted is now a sports content producer for a major TV network. How did he do it? He finally got tired of being too scared to pursue his dream of working in sports. Rather than be held back by his assumptions that it would be too hard he started to take small actions towards his goal. While he continued to work as a lawyer he began to dabble in online media production and created a one-man show geared towards soccer fans. He leveraged this experience to network his way into opportunities to be a freelance content producer and sports commentator. As he built his resume in this new profession he proved to himself that this could be a viable career option rather than a risky dream. Because he dropped his assumptions he was able to eventually quit his job as a lawyer and pursue a full-time career doing something he loves in the world of sports media production.
I love sharing Ted's story because it shows that despite our initial pessimistic outlook towards pursuing a more fulfilling career we can take practical steps towards our goal that mitigate risk and give us proof that we are on the right path.
Download the Negative Assumption Killer exercise to identify all the reasons you have that are stopping you and destroy their power over you one by one.
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