In January 2016, I quit a “great” job in fashion.
I had been living in New York for almost four years, was burnt-out and knew that I wanted to somehow work in the field of Personal Development. It was time for change. But I couldn’t really tell what that looked like yet.
I went to Costa Rica because the health and wellness industry was booming, and so it felt like the place to be. I was going to solve all my career problems and figure out exactly what I was going to do over the next few months. Easy!
Fear and doubt had come along for the ride.
Doing something new is scary. It takes courage to branch out from the norm. No matter how big or small, taking that leap of faith is likely to land you in a whole heap of doubt, fear and what-the-hell-am-I-doings.
It can be very hard to keep the clarity and purpose of why you’re doing what you’re doing at the forefront of your mind. Each new challenge requires presence and patience, which can be testing in itself. It requires us to stop thinking about the goal and focus on the process. In other words, be here now. Be OK with where you’re at in this moment.
Easier said than done!
It took me the first three weeks to finally relax and chill-the-eff-out. My mind and body were still on overdrive and I didn’t have the city sounds to drown it out. When I started to finally change gears and slow down, I began to realise that I was approaching things from a disempowered space.
I had forgotten my Why.
So as I began to approach new tasks and experiences, I began to ask myself the following questions whenever indecisiveness, frustration or uncertainty arose:
Am I doing this because I think I ‘should’?
Am I doing this because of someone else?
Am I following my joy?
These questions helped me to engage with things that felt true to who I was/wanted to be. I still use them now when I’m finding it hard to tune into my intuition, and am getting swept away in expectations and pressure…that are usually applied by myself!
So, what about the answers?
1) ‘Should’ infers an obligation.
It is a choice to follow a certain path, so do so because you really want to. Not because you feel you have to or you feel it’s expected of you. If you’re not really fired up to do something then inquire into why you’re doing it in the first place.
Let’s say you’re thinking, ‘I should apply for that job’. Instead, rephrase it as, ‘I could apply for that job…’. This instantly releases the pressure and gives more of an air of curiosity. It becomes less of a demand and more of a possibility, which means that if you do really want to apply for that job, then you will. And if you don’t, then probably it wasn’t right for you anyway.
2) You have external influences blindsiding you.
By doing (or not doing) something because you’re worried about what other people think, takes your energy and focus away from your path. The truth is, we never really know what anyone else is thinking, and so these judgements are generally coming from ourselves.
By conforming to what you believe is expected of you means you are not functioning from an inspired or authentic place. It is human nature to be swayed by other people’s opinions and perceived judgments. But this is your journey. Your personal challenge and opportunity for change. Refocus, and come back to what you are doing.
3) Don’t force it.
If what you’re doing is not bringing you any joy or satisfaction – again, take a timeout. You can return to it later. Do what feels good and is more productive right now.
But, do something that is constructive and beneficial to you, rather than slipping into avoidance tactics due to fear.
Fear and doubt are always going to appear at some point.
It’s just part of being human. If you find yourself in a conundrum of to-do-or-not-to-do, then ask yourself these questions to find clarity and help you move from a space that feels more aligned with your true self.
Hello! I’m Gemma!
I’m a Holistic Career Coach and I’m here to help you get unstuck, find clarity in your working life and take brave, actionable steps towards fulfilment and purpose.
Find out more