I'm going to share a secret with you about career coaching. It's rarely just about a career shift. Much of the work that ends up being done is more about a shift in belief about what is possible for each person than about simple skills assessments. Some people have no idea what they want to do, and others have a clear idea of what but no idea how. But no matter how many people I work with, a common theme arises in many of them: the feeling that they are not enough.
After a few sessions of career coaching when people are starting to get really clear on what it is that they really want to devote each day to, fears and beliefs start popping up about why they shouldn't make the change. For some, it's an idea of a logistical limitation, such as being too old, or needing to go back to school when they have no money. For others though, it's a much deeper idea that they simply don't deserve to be happy. This is incredibly common, and none of these wonderful people would tell you that they don't deserve to be happy. On the contrary, they would tell you that the reason they hired a coach was because they were unhappy and were trying to get happy. Sounds reasonable... until you dig a little deeper.
Do you tell yourself you can't do what you love?
A person who tells themselves that they can't be/do/have something has usually decided one of the following things.... while secretly believing something else entirely. Is this you?
The Good News
Here's the good news: If you discover (or already knew) that some part of you believes you aren't worth it, whatever 'it' is for you, there is a lot you can do to change that belief. I'll break down what's going on with each of these beliefs next. What if you could believe something else about yourself?
1) “It's too hard” (Secret beliefs: I'm not worth it/I'm not good enough to bother trying/I'm destined to fail/ I'm lazy).
Reality check: Every transition is hard. Deciding to do something completely different than what you've been doing for years is daunting. But ask yourself which is worse- staying in the situation that isn't working, or doing the work it will take to finally be where you want to be? What is getting unstuck worth to you? What if you got some help and didn't have to pull it off alone?
2) “It's too expensive to get the degree that would land me the job I'd love” (Secret beliefs: I'm not worth it or life is meant to be just okay, not great)
Reality check: Degrees in America are expensive, yes. Have you done the math yet to see what your return on investment would be? Let's say you spend $50,000 to go back to school, but your new career pays $10,000 more per year than your current one. You'll have paid off the school debt in 5 years, and then make $10,000 extra each year after that which you couldn't have made before. Even if it took you a year to find a job in the new field, you'd still come out ahead as long as you plan to work another 7 years or more.
3) “I'm afraid to put myself out there” (Secret beliefs: I'm a fraud, others will find that out because clearly I'm not good enough to be considered an expert in ____).
Reality check: We are all frauds. We're all pretending to be something we're not, which is 'professional.' You are just you, a person born into this bizarre system of work, who really is just a person. You are playing a role, like everyone else. The key is play a role you love. When you love what you do, you do it believably. And you won't have to fake it.
4) “The time it would take me to make the transition isn't worth it” (Secret beliefs: I will fail/ Even though there are 20 years left of my working life, the 3 years it will take me to get certified to do X or to build a business I love doesn't make up for the 3 years it took to get there.)
Reality check: Those 3 years will go by fast, especially knowing you are headed toward a dream. You'll arrive at the new job/lifestyle and go, 'why didn't I let myself have this sooner?'
5) “If life isn't hard/an uphill battle, I'm doing something wrong.” This one almost always comes up with my more religious clients. But many people have a belief that “Nothing good comes easy,” “Suffering is noble,” and all manner of other beliefs that life should be some kind of test of our strength.
Reality check: If you truly believed that life was meant to be a test of strength, you'd never let yourself do anything you love. But you allowed yourself to join a softball league or marry someone you love, or buy a house to be comfortable. So do you really believe that you should punish yourself? Is that what God wants for you?
6) Final test: Make an appointment for a massage. Go ahead, do it. No? You don't want to spend the money on yourself? Your self-care and relaxation isn't worth it? There's your answer.
Reality check: Some people will allow themselves a large win, like going after a business idea that excites them. But then they won't do the little things that would make day to day life feel manageable, like book a massage or leave one weekend day free to recharge. Where do you find yourself not taking care of you? Aren't you worth caring about? If you're not sure, what would your doctor, best friend, spouse, or child say?
Ultimately most of us won't make a change until the pain of not changing becomes so unbearable that we are forced to act. Don't be that person. You're worth it now.
Career Clarity Now