Is it time for a change? I think 2021 might just be the year for that
11 minute read
It’s no surprise that January is cited as the month when people most often consider a change in jobs or careers. But hey! Let’s also go easy on ourselves. We’ve had a few other things happening lately – absorbing all of 2020, witnessing all that is going on in our country, maybe hoping that kids will soon get back to school full time. And if you are like me, you can’t actually believe that we finally made it to 2021!
Along with all those resolutions and new goals you might be thinking about, many of you might also be taking stock of your professional lives and assessing where you’re at. And that’s why I am inviting you to take a few minutes to spend on this topic and on yourself.
A Fresh Perspective
I was reflecting back on a big career move I made when I spoke to Bustle recently for an interview. They asked me about my shift from the tech industry to launching a beverage company and “what was going through your mind when you made that career switch?”
You know, a lot of people ask me that question! And I understand why. There were so many reasons NOT to start a company – especially one in a space that I knew practically nothing about. I had plenty of doubts about should I or shouldn’t I? And I could always find doubters that made sure I knew how they felt too. What usually holds people back when they’re considering a big career change is a feeling that they lack the expertise to jump to a new industry. That they’ll never be able to keep up with people who have decades of experience in the field.
Here’s the thing though: your fresh perspective IS AN ASSET. People might label you as naive, but that unjaded outlook you have is going to open you up to possibilities and new ideas that the veterans and the experts have closed themselves off to long ago. My answer to Bustle was this:
“Something I’ve learned really by just working hard and doing what I do everyday is that innovation — including what we’ve done at Hint — typically doesn’t come from people inside the industry. The fact that I didn’t have experience was actually a benefit.”
The key is focusing on what you want to do, what gets you excited to get up and work on each day. And you begin. Baby steps. Start making a little progress. You certainly will run into doubters, skeptics whose opinions about your chances at success are beyond your control. But you just have to keep going, build on your progress, and one day, you’ll look back and realize you proved some folks wrong. That moment and that feeling might be fleeting – because fighting back doubts and doubters is a life-long journey – but it will be very sweet.
One thing is for sure: you will learn a lot. You might have second thoughts about making that leap, but down the road, you’ll definitely regret not having done it if you don’t muster up the courage today.
What’s that passion you have bubbling under the surface? How can you make that passion or curiosity something you are working on each day, creating a solution and just making better? Can you launch a company based on that passion? Can you join a company that shares your mission? Once you start to figure that out, you’ll be well on your way to making good on that new role or career resolution you’ve been noodling over.
The Future Isn’t Fated. It’s Created.
Frank Stephenson, a true legend in the field of automotive design, was my guest on The Kara Goldin Show last week. He’s designed some jaw-droppingly gorgeous cars at BMW, Ferrari, Maserati and McLaren over the course of his career. Not surprising to hear was that he works on plans for cars that won’t roll off the assembly line for several years to come.
That’s why he says: “The future isn’t fated; it’s created.” He’s figuring out today what flying cars will look and feel like a decade from now. (Yes, flying cars.) And that motto resonated so strongly with me. The actions we take now and plans we make now are going to determine what our lives and our livelihoods will look like several years from now. We hold the keys to the car!
So don’t wait. Start now. You won’t succeed if you never begin.
Fear is not the enemy – comfort is.
Maybe you aren’t considering some big change in your life. Maybe things seem just fine as they are. That may be the case, but make sure you aren’t falling into complacency.
I sat down with comedian, coach and motivational speaker Judi Holler this past week, and she put that idea in plain terms. Fear isn’t your enemy, comfort is. Meaning: the second you find yourself cruising along and feeling at ease, it’s time to wake up and challenge yourself, because otherwise, you might be heading straight into a rut.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve made that idea a cornerstone of our employee development process at Hint. Whenever I see someone on my team start to master their job and shift into auto-pilot mode, I pull out my little red flag. I ask them to start looking for their replacement, and figure out their next move within the company. Because comfort can quickly devolve into stagnation. And stagnation is a job satisfaction killer.
Yes, challenging yourself means opening yourself up to fear. Getting a bit uncomfortable. And that can be scary. But overcoming that fear and succeeding at something you doubted you could accomplish is the spark and the soul of a fulfilling career.
My interview with Judi Holler is available here.
Speaking of fear. What about Fear of Missing Out?
Patrick MacGinnis is the guy who invented the term “FOMO” (aka “Fear Of Missing Out”) back in the mid ‘00s as a go-getting graduate student at Harvard Business School, and he was a guest on my show recently.
In my conversation with Patrick, I related to him a brief bolt of FOMO I’d had just days earlier. I came across a picture that my friend had posted of a beach in Mexico. I immediately messaged her, a little envious that she had made a getaway to sunnier surroundings. But it turned out that she was home, same as I was, and just reminiscing about the simple pleasures of a care-free vacation.
I realized afterwards that we have been living largely without FOMO for the last ten months. Without big family gatherings, concerts, travel, crowded nights out at restaurants, there hasn’t been much to “miss out” on.
And it made me think. Is that, in fact, a silver lining to our time in quarantine? I feel like without that creeping sense of “missing out,” I’ve been able to focus more on things that are truly important to me – my family, my health, reading, helping others in need.
My hope is that I’ll be able to take some of that emphasis on “important things” forward into 2021 as we gain control of this pandemic, and we start reemerging from our COVID cocoons. We will return to a sense of normalcy, hopefully soon, and my wish is that we continue to put a little more focus on things that are truly nourishing and worthwhile.
My conversation with Patrick – covering FOMO, FOBO, and his process of pulling off a major career shift himself – is available here.
Let me know what you think. What are your feelings about making big career changes, seizing the future, overcoming fear, and living more mindfully in 2021? I love hearing all your thoughts and ideas – keep them coming! Comment below…
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