One of my coaching clients, thinking of switching from acting to accounting (that’s right, acting to accounting, NOT the other way around!) recently asked me how to know for certain when a career change is right. For monumental life changes (as career changes often are) most clients are excited during the self-assessment process, pumped up for the research and planning phase, and then petrified to make the actual leap. To get past this, ask yourself one question:
Which will you regret more: trying a new career and failing miserably; or staying at the current career and never knowing what might have been?
The answer changes over time. When you first consider change, the prospect of failure is often scarier than the prospect of regret. You can improve your readiness with smaller changes – e.g., adding new skills, making contacts in your new field. Keep in mind, though, that being scared off by potential (but by no means guaranteed) failure might indicate this change is not really for you. You might not be willing to expend the effort to make this change a reality, and you might need to go back to the self-assessment stage.
However, as dreams of change keep calling you, the fear of failure wanes. You might be scared, but you consider the change anyway. You might be like my client, looking to others for certainty about something only you can know for sure. For this client, and others getting scared out of making a change, I propose you scare yourself INTO the change. Use the fear – but fear of regret, not failure. Move towards change because of fear – because your fear of regret outweighs your fear of failure.
Remember, you can regain your career, your reputation, and your money after almost any setback, but you cannot ever regain the time you let pass by. Yes, change is scary. But, if you think change is scary, try regret.