“This is not a good time to take a career risk.”
That’s what I keep hearing, over and over, from smart, successful people who know there’s something they need to do to change their lives at work, but can’t seem to get into action.
Instead of acting like the smart, successful people they are, they choose instead to keep believing this false and ultimately dangerous story that’s being passed around each day.
That story—that it’s not a good time to take a career risk—is ultimately not true.
In fact, avoiding risk right now may be one of the most dangerous things you do for your career long-term. After all, if you’re not being proactive about creating success on your terms–whatever and however that looks to you–no one is going to do it for you.
But yet, we avoid taking career risks.
I know how it feels. I’ve been there.
My fear (a loaded four-letter word if there ever was one) was getting in the way of me really paying attention to what kind of work I wanted to do in the world, what kind of contributions I knew I could make, and how I could move forward in smart, reasonable ways.
But with the help of great professional coaches who showed me how to gain clarity and build confidence, I learned to negotiate through the fear to get to the good stuff.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I shudder to think what would have been if I hadn’t stepped toward the fear by taking a few small—and then bigger—risks years ago, and every day since.
So, if you’re tempted–even in a small way–to take a career risk now, here are 16 reasons to help quelch the fear and support your decision. Use one of these thought-starters to get you in motion now–because now is the time.
16 Reasons to Take a Career Risk Now
1. The world has changed, but our brains have not. In fact, our brain is built to be biased toward decisions that keep us safe. A key aspect of this is called a “negativity bias.” Oversimplistically, we focus on the potential pain more than the potential good. But in our knowledge-based world, the potential pain we anticipate (such as having a tough talk with the boss) won’t kill us–but we feel the same fear and pain as our primal ancestors did when they heard TRex roar. And so we run the other way. We miss more potential good because we’re hard wired to avoid potential bad. Taking specific, intentional career risks helps us overcome our antique hard wiring.
2. When everything is simple and easy, we don’t learn much. Discomfort is the only path to growth.
3. Your current job/role/company/industry is not going to stay the same forever. If you think it’s not changing already, look closer. (Hello–or maybe it’s buh-bye—Sears.)
4. Your new job/role/company/industry is ready for you, yesterday. Waiting, not so patiently.
5. Boredom doesn’t become you.
6. Undue stress isn’t sexy, either.
7. You’re already hearing the whispers, the quiet sense of something emerging for you. Maybe it’s too soft right now to hear well–but it’s there. Listen.
8. Look at the clock. That’s another second of your life gone, to never return. Flying by, isn’t it? But there’s more ahead, and it’s not too late.
9. Risk can be fun, freeing, energizing, and enlightening. Why not get more of that?
10. Risk can be nerve-wracking, intense, and force you to ask big questions and make tough decisions. You’re capable of handling it.
11. No one needs to know about your risk. It might be something teeny-tiny that you experiment with, test out, and see what happens next.
12. Taking a risk—even a small one—gives you something interesting to talk about at the dinner table, at networking events and neighborhood picnics.
13. Everything around you is changing. Why not your career?
14. You don’t have to do it alone. Professionals from all industries invest in themselves regularly by hiring experienced, trained coaches like me. Being your partner along the journey is a big part of our job.
15. You’re the proud owner of a set of superpowers that you can bring to work. So bring it.
16. The world needs you. Don’t let us down.
YOUR TURN: What’s your reason to take a career risk? What’s getting in your way? Send me a confidential email here, or share your story on our Facebook page and get help and encouragement from our growing community there.