When you feel stuck in your current career, it’s often your fears that are at fault. But shining a light on your fears can be difficult, because you might not even be able to identify what exactly you’re afraid of. In general, there are three types of fears that you can start to label.
3 Types of Fears Keeping You Stuck in Career Jail
How To Give Your Saboteur a Voice: I learned a very powerful exercise from my mentor Amy Van Court (who wrote the book Escaping Career Prison), where you have a conversation with your Saboteur. It’s this voice that fans your fears, keeping you in career jail. When you hear this Saboteur pipe up, using phrases similar to the 3 types above, you should write it down verbatim.
Get to know your Saboteur on a more intimate basis by answering these questions:
Now you can write a letter to this particular persona, using a pen and paper in order to identify and respond to each fear. You’ll see that actually there are fewer fears that you imagined. You may also find that the fears are a little silly, possibly even absurd. Poking holes in the story your Saboteur is telling you is key. You can now question these fears and the negative self talk instead of simply letting it stop you.
Next, you will explain to the Saboteur how you will handle each of the risks in front of you, and how important making this career transition is to you. Write to him/her about why you want to chase your dream job, and how you are going to prudently prepare, not allowing anyone, especially the Saboteur, to get in the way. Tell him/her explicitly that you know he/she means well and you’ve heard the criticism, but by no means is he/she in control of the situation.
You are now back in the driver’s seat. You’ve confronted your fears by giving them a voice, and you’ve logically explained how you are going to move forward. Try this exercise yourself a couple times, and as you get better identifying when your Saboteur is speaking, you’ll also get better at responding to and eventually taming this gremlin altogether. When you are free of this critic and his/her fears keeping you stuck, you will feel liberated to go out and find work that fulfills and nourishes you.