Are you sitting at your desk hating life right now?
Are your eyes glazing over from staring at work you do not want to do?
How’s your energy level? Are you slumped over so you are more “sad droopy plant” versus “upright and eager business professional!”?
Sadly, this may be your long-term future.
Yup – more than anything else, fear keeps us stuck.
Any of these sound familiar?
Reason #1: You want to leave your work, but you are afraid of change (and the unknown).
This fear is kind of sneaky. Have you ever been around a small child that has had its routine disrupted? Maybe they stayed up late, maybe they were surrounded by new people, maybe there was just a few new activities.
TEARS AND MELTDOWNS AND DID THAT CHILD JUST SPIN ITS HEAD IN A CIRCLE?
Things change terrifyingly fast (what happened to the smiley baby?), and all you know is that there is A LOT of screaming.
It happens to adults too.
We are just better at hiding it :).
But truly, most of us are creatures of routine. We feel comfortable with what we know and what is known.
And we don’t like disrupting that. It’s uncomfortable, awkward, tiring and downright scary at times to make a change.
So we justify staying a job we don’t like because it seems less terrifying than trying something new and we NEED OUR ROUTINE gosh darn it!
And you wonder how you became so miserable.
But it’s not just fear of change or the unknown that’s the problem. There’s also:
Reason #2: Money.
Call it what you will: “Golden handcuffs” “good salary” “paying the bills” “staying off the streets.”
Money keeps us stuck. Why? Because it provides the things that our biology knows we need: shelter, food, clothes (and chocolate :)).
So when you find yourself in a job that does pay the bills, it’s hard to let go…no matter HOW miserable you are.
You justify coming home tired and cranky to your family because you are paying the rent. You justify spending money on things (makeup, travel, shoes, cars), because they “make you happy.”
You get so miserable at work, you decide you need these things to balance your misery, so you keep spending.
Which keeps you in your job.
And the vicious cycle keeps turning.
Some folks in this economy don’t have alternatives because there just aren’t that many jobs that they can find.
BUT – more of us have options than we think.
However, fear of losing our lifestyle prevents us from ever exploring ANY options beyond the ones we are currently in. Resulting in…staying stuck.
But the worst offender is Reason #3.
Reason #3: You might fail if you make a change.
This one is so hard to get over. What if you try something new and you fail?
What if you take a new job and it doesn’t work out?
What if you aren’t good enough to succeed?
Most of us experience these thoughts a LOT. More than we even consciously realize. Which, let’s be honest, is absolutely no fun: Who wants to think about failing?
Isn’t it easier to just dismiss any new opportunities instead of putting yourself out there and going for what you think you might want?
For most of us, the answer is yes. Why? Because failure seems worse than misery…even though we know there is no hope for happiness if we don’t make a change.
Ugh. Have I depressed you yet?
There is some good news:
All hope is not lost!
This article is not all gloom and doom. There is hope!
The first way to actually get yourself unstuck is to know what is really keeping you stuck in the first place.
Multiple fears can keep you down, but usually one is more prevalent than others.
So, which of these fears is causing you the most worry right now?
Take a second and own it, without any shame. You are human, it’s normal to be afraid, it’s just part of the human experience. (It’s also how we used to stay alive back in the caveman days). However, being really clear about what makes you afraid is the first step to actually doing something about it.
Then, take a deep breath. Breathing helps oxygenate your brain, and actually makes you smarter. Ironically, when we are afraid we often take shallow breaths which has the opposite effect.
Finally, distance yourself from your fear for a second. Pretend that it belongs to someone else, and they said: “I want to change jobs but I’m afraid I’ll fail.” Or “I want to change jobs but I’m worried about paying the rent.”
What advice would you give them? Why?
Maybe it’s time you take it yourself :).