Q: If I have not been working for some time, how do I get over the fear of committing to something again?
First of all, this is an excellent question and one that I get asked frequently. I have to say that if you did not have any fear about committing to something new, I might think that you are not human!! Really, fear, resistance or what I like to call the LIZARD BRAIN’s main role in your life is to keep you safe and far away from experiences that might cause uncertainty. Back in the day your fear kept you from being eaten by a Sabertooth tiger and today it can still play a big role in helping you to decide if something feels right to follow. The only problem with fear is that it cannot tell the difference between a true threat or a beneficial experiences that will give you a new learning, joy and fulfillment. To the lizard brain, any change is uncertain and therefore not good.
So once you realize that having fear is totally normal, there are several things that you can do to investigate if committing to something new is right for you at this time. Here are some things to think about:
1. Do you honestly connect to the new opportunity that you are committing to?
When I coach women going back into work I spend a significant amount of time helping them to get clear on the contributions they could make that would feel natural, exciting and aligned with their vision. Have you spent some time thinking about what you naturally like to do and how that could be a part of a new job? Have you redone your resume to reflect this new path for yourself? Is the new opportunity a chance to stretch your comfort zone and make impact? There will always be fear in starting something new, but when it is aligned with your purpose those roadblocks become easier to navigate. If your excitement feels even slightly greater than your fear, I say go for it!
2. Do a life review
Going back to work will mean less time for some of the activities you have gotten used to doing while not working. This does not mean that you will NEVER do those things again, but it will take more discipline and choice making with your time to make them happen. I would recommend looking at the activities in your life that FEEL GOOD. What are the things you like the best? Is it going to a class with your child? Exercising? Seeing friends for lunch? Once you have made a list of the things you love to do, make a commitment to sprinkle at least one of those activities into your week. When you realize that you can still enjoy your life outside of work, it may lessen your fear around committing to something new.
You only know what you are leaving behind BUT you have NO idea what is about to unfold for you with this new decision. I believe that the only way to grow in this lifetime is to follow what you love and then JUMP! As Henry David Thoreau so beautifully said, “We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” What new leap will you take today?
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Johanna Beyer is the Maybrooks Lead Ambassador Coach. Johanna is the founder and principal of On Your Path Consulting and specializes in working with individuals who feel unfulfilled with their current careers and are ready to create their next stage of work that is fulfilling, challenging and purposeful. Prior to starting On Your Path Consulting, Johanna received her Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA and her Masters Degree in Organizational Development from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Learn more about working with Johanna.