The signs are there; whether you are the person with the unsettled feeling that it’s time for you to do something about your career situation, to the person who wakes up to their alarm clock ringing and a feeling of dread as you realise you've got to ‘get through’ work.
Many of my clients have a desire to find their ideal job but occasionally, statements they make can reveal beliefs that might be holding them back.
Here are five:
1- I’m worried I am too old as employers want young people
2- I wonder if it’s too late for me to re-train and enter a different career field
3- I would like to do the job but don’t have the relevant skills
4- I’m going to be made redundant. I have always worked in this field and I’m not sure what else I can do and how to go about it
5- I lack confidence in myself to think I am able to get a career I love
Let’s look at these statements individually.
1 – age is a very common worry for people when they’re looking for a new career pathway. The thing is, the more you live life, the older you will get and so it’s inevitable. Yet, people often worry about how age will work against them. Short of paying for plastic surgery to look at least 10 years younger it is worth challenging this belief by asking yourself:
How does having this belief serve me? Does it motivate or hinder my job change? If it causes more resistance than drive ask yourself what is a more empowering belief?
Whilst age discrimination does exist, research has shown that since age discrimination laws have passed different age groups are more representative in the workforce.
I know that some clients have stopped themselves from applying for work due to worries about not being selected because of age. I advised them to rather than self-select yourself out of the process, let the employer make the decision - you may be surprised. To paraphrase Thich Nhat Hanh, the Mindfulness Monk for inspiration: ‘You are alive. To be alive is a miracle, focus on the present moment and you live in the now.’
2 – re-training at a later age. For many jobs it is never too late to re-train and change careers. However, I do encourage clients to do some research before making a switch so that they know what the career change is likely to involve and what the level of commitment is. There are the few that simply know what they want and make the transition without the need to research, but for many who might have other commitments such as family, financial and social, they need to assess their current priorities against their long term career vision to decide whether it’s actionable at this present moment in time.
3 – If you don’t have the relevant skills look at how you can acquire the relevant skills. If you have been saying this comment for a while now and haven’t done anything to address this – what’s stopping you? Some statements mask deeper worries such as fear of being good enough, fear of failing. When you develop self-awareness and notice any tensions in your body, it can be a discovery process of getting to the truth of how you really feel. If your level of motivation is zilch and you have resigned yourself to where you are, I can’t help you. However, if you have some motivation then ask yourself what you can do to increase that motivation to get to where you want to be.
4 – It can be very scary when you’ve worked in the same type of job for over a decade only to find yourself out in the cold after the company decides to restructure and you are now having to decide what to do next and where to go. The career landscape has changed significantly with socio-economic and technological advances that peoples’ way of working has altered. At this stage, choosing your attitude to the situation is important. This often reminds me of when finishing school and the time to make the big decision on what to do next. At a young age many people think the world is their oyster with big ambitions. As adults, some people are living their passions, whilst others have become more accepting of where they are in their careers.
I am a great believer in peoples’ potential and to get this far in life you have acquired certain skills. Often taking time out of your schedule to identify your skills and talents can help you to build up a profile of what you have. Then start looking at the career industries that interest you and within those industries look at some of the job roles. There is plenty of resources on the internet to help you with this. If you don’t look, you won’t find. Play Sherlock Holmes and start investigating!
5 – I can empathise with the lack of confidence as quite a few times I had questioned my own self when pursuing my dreams, but what made me address my fear is I didn’t want to live a life wondering "what if" and knowing I didn’t give my all to make it happen. I'd rather be safe in the knowledge that I gave it my all. People on their deathbeds had said they regret not taking the courage to pursue their dreams. I meet many people who lose their confidence because of the circumstance they are in, whether it’s redundancy or getting a career you want after a relationship breakdown. Just as you shouldn’t attack a child’s personality for wrong behaviour but address the behaviour itself so as not to affect their self-esteem, many adults have experiences where they were criticised on their performance and they link this to a fault in who they are. Circumstance doesn’t define your personality, you do. You are unique.
My concluding words; I recently found out that a lady I know who is like a surrogate Grandmother to my family is in bad health and has cancer. I don’t like seeing people previously in great health look so fragile. Such times remind me that life’s precious gift is the time and choices we have to decide on how we want to live our lives and to be with the people we love and care about.
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