Big career changes are traditionally served with a side of FEAR. A big, whopping, overflowing dish of terror might be accurate too. Can you do your best thinking and make clear choices while feasting on fear? NO!
In a flight or fight state, pumped up on adrenaline, our actions can be super powered in bursts, but a long inhabiting of the adrenalized state will interfere with memory and learning powers.1
One condition I have for working with a client who is figuring out next career steps is that they cannot be in a rush or panicked about their situation. Years of experience have taught me that although fear is an appropriate response when life hands you a curveball or you’re going through a difficult time, the exploration that will yield the most satisfying choice of work, does not come from extreme emotional conditions.
Effective career and self-exploration just isn’t possible in a flight or fight state.
Sidney worked in the food and beverage industry and was growing increasingly stressed and unhappy with her work. She liked her industry but not the demands of her particular job. She was being proactive by beginning to explore a career change, but her stress was so high that she had no bandwidth to make much progress. As panic grew, the process stopped being effective. It was like asking a person who can’t swim to calm down while she’s drowning.
What do you do if this sounds like you?
Change your order — If instant answers are the only thing that will satisfy your hunger for results, know that they are not likely to be long-lasting or fulfilling. Choose to make a healthy decision instead of jumping into instant satiation.
Dine instead of feast — With the intention of enjoying every course and savoring the experience, you’ll have a very different experience than a feast where the emphasis is on quantity and variety. Take your time. Chew carefully and slowly. If circumstances make it hard to do this, then create two plans: one that will hold you over and one that offers a longer term solution.
Keep temptation at bay — It’s so easy to weaken and let fear tempt you into letting yourself down. Keep fighting to uncover the truest answers that lie deep within you. If logic brings up fear and ceases all action, beware. Pause and decide again if what’s coming from this fearful place is the best choice.
This is a tall order, but it’s do-able. If you need support keeping fear off the menu, let us know. We can help get you ready to make a big change that will be healthy and fulfilling long-term.
1 Matthew Joseph Sharps, Processing Under Pressure: Stress, Memory, and Decision-making in Law