The fact is that fear can be the one thing that can make or break your career dreams.
Does that sound a bit dramatic?
If you’ve ever tried to do something new and challenging in your career, maybe a career change or a promotion, think back to how it felt?
Did you feel anxious? Stressed? Maybe your mind started focusing on the things that could go wrong? If it did it’s not surprising. Actually it’s completely natural as our brains are hard-wired to keep us safe and this can make stepping out of our comfort zone a really rough ride.
So what does this mean for your career?
The fact that there’s a part of our brain trying to keep us safe makes sense from a survival point of view but it can cause havoc if you’re trying to do something new and different like change career.
Logically, we know that a life or death situation like an encounter with a bear is very different to making a career change. The problem is that the part of our brain that controls fear can’t tell the difference. It can interpret both as a threat to our safety… so it kicks into action making us anxious and more likely to make the safe choice.
In doing this it stops us from taking risks. And sometimes it can stop us from doing anything at all!
How fear can show up in your career choices
As you look for a career that you really enjoy you may find fear showing up in some of the following ways. A couple of these are quite specific to ENFPS but there’s also one that seems to apply to most people.
1. Fear of making the wrong career choice…again
This can be a big one for us ENFP personality types. Some of us have changed career many times and are worried about being labeled as job hoppers. Others have so many ideas they don’t know where to start.
Either way procrastination can set in. You can end up making no decision and getting stuck in that analysis paralysis that’s so familiar to some of us ENFPs.
2. Fear of disappointing the people around you
This one can be an issue for ENFPs who’ve changed directions in their careers. The people around us can get fed up with our many ideas and what they see as our inconsistency.
It can also be a challenge for people who want to break the mold and do something different to their family and friends. For example if you come from a family who have a long tradition or expectation that family members will have a certain type of professional career, it can be very difficult to strike out do something completely different like become an artist or entrepreneur.
Think back to that time when you tried to do something new and challenging. Did you have the support of the people around you? If you did, did this make it easier for you? If you didn’t, do you think that made the whole thing harder?
We all like to fit in and who doesn’t want their family and friends to be proud of them, but at what cost?
There’s research which shows that the fear of not meeting the expectations of others is one of the key factors in people not going for what they want, not achieving their dreams. Sobering thought isn’t it!
3. Fear of failure
This is one of those fears that seems to be pretty much universal and it can stop us dead in our tracks. But here’s the thing – if you don’t try you’ve failed already.
What can you do about it?
To make sure that fear isn’t making your career decisions for you two of the most important things you can do are:
- Get some support and
- Start taking action
Getting the support you need
By support we don’t mean just anybody. You need to have people who believe in you and in your search to find the best career path. If you don’t feel you have a support system like that in your life yet you can find more info about it here.
A great way to combat fear is by taking action. This is particularly important if you find yourself procrastinating and endlessly thinking about or discussing possibilities without ever doing anything about any of them.
The real benefit of taking action is that you start to get feedback on the choices that you’re making. Without that feedback you’re not going to be able to make clearer decisions.
This is your career we’re talking about here so we’re not suggesting quick or drastic changes. But in our next post we’ll be outlining a tried and tested method for getting feedback on potential new job choices in a way that won’t negatively impact your career. And you’ll probably enjoy it enjoy it!