The closer you come to leaving the security of your 9-to-5 job (no matter how much you want out) the greater your level of excitement… and trepidation. Or maybe you start off with an abundance of confidence only to hit a speed bump that sets you reeling.
I recently asked Changing Course readers to name the biggest thing that was holding them back. A few mentioned a lack of money or time. But a whopping 82 percent cited the biggest obstacle as lack of confidence.
Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. In fact, when making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear perfectly normal, it’s actually helpful!
One good thing about fear is it will keep you from quitting your job in a huff before you’ve put some other things in place. There’s a reason the web site is called ChangingCourse.com and not Jump-Off-a-Cliff.com. In addition, fear is an indicator that you think your dream is possible. If you didn’t, you’d have nothing to fear.
Best of all, fear is manageable. Here are three strategies to get you started:
3 Ways to Manage Fear
1. Focus on the Now
When you’re focused on the present it’s harder to feel fear. Ask Garrett McNamara, the 45-year-old surfer who took on what’s believed to be a 100 foot wave off the coast of Portugal. Incredibly he failed to achieve the one thing he lives for – the rush. What could possibly halt the exhilaration that adrenaline junkies live for? Unfortunately for him, Garrett says he too “in the moment” explaining in a CBS This Morning interview,
“When you’re focusing on what you’re doing that moment you’re not going to the future and what could happen and fear cannot enter your mind… When you start thinking about what could happen that’s when fear can set in.”
2. Start super small
Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff. For example, if you think you want to start a bed and breakfast don’t run out and buy real estate. Instead try it out first by being a Grow Taller 4 Idiots
B & B sitter or renting a room in your home on AirBnB.com.
If you want to start a crafts-related business slowly build up inventory. If you want to sell your homemade cheesecake, experiment with different recipes. In both cases do some free market research by asking friends and strangers alike for feedback on taste, design, potential price points, business names, and so on.
Whenever you make a major work/life change there are literally thousands of steps. But you don’t need to do them all at once. Commit to taking one small action a day and watch your confidence – and your dream – grow!
3. Find your tribe
A sense of belonging fosters confidence. Even if you’re the picture of confidence, we all need help changing course. The type of help you need varies depending on where you are in the changing course process.
For example, if you still don’t know what you want to do then you’re in the Idea Seeker stage. Your tribe is an individual or a group who can help you to connect the dots between what you love to do and how you can make money doing it.
Or maybe you know exactly what you want to do however, you don’t know where to start or you’ve already taken steps to start a business. In either case, you’re in the Idea Launcher phase. At this point you need a different kind of tribe.
Things like sales and marketing, business planning, finding financing or partners, identifying additional income streams, and/or help setting up an online business.
Whether you’re an Idea Seeker and an Idea Launcher, sooner or later you’re going to hit a bump in the road. You start to procrastinate because you’re afraid, or you lack the confidence to take the next step, or you’re certain you’re not “expert” enough to really put you and your business out there. Or you’re just not sure what the next step should be.
This is where things like mentoring and coaching come in. If money is an issue, find a friend who can hold you accountable. If you can’t afford $500 or more a month for formal coaching, find a person or group that’s more in line with your budget.
The key is to have people on your side who believe in you even when don’t believe in yourself. Who can help you trouble shoot and brainstorm and serve as a sounding board.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Wait Until You Feel Confident
You can’t wait until you feel more confident before you make a change. To the contrary: Courage is not a matter of losing your fear so you can take action; courage comes from taking action. And that, in turn, helps you overcome your fear. When you can act despite your fears, you will be rewarded many times over.
The Bottom Line
I know that finding the courage, money, time, and support are all essential to changing course. The good news is that they are also manageable. I know because I’ve been both living and studying these steps for nearly two decades. And I’m only too happy to share what I’ve learned with you!