Career Change Fear – What’s Happening in Your Brain When You Feel Fear and Anxiety

Career Change Fear – What’s Happening in Your Brain When You Feel Fear and Anxiety

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But it doesn’t mean that you need to
continue to stay in a career path that doesn’t make sense or that
doesn’t light you up inside. What is happening in your brain when you
feel fear and anxiety during a career change? My name is Grace and I’m host of the
Career Revisionist Podcast and founder of Mastery Insights where I help savvy professionals to create
careers of significance and to expand that into living a life of fulfillment. One of the questions that I always ask
my clients is one that explores their reasons why they believe that they haven’t been able
to move forward to achieve the things that they want in their career. And the most common response I get
is that they are fearful. You know, they’re scared and the most common things that people fear when
they are trying to move forward in their career path when they are trying to
accelerate and grow their career, one of the most common fears
is the fear of failure, right? And also the fear of a loss of income, the fear of taking risks and
the fear of the unknown, right? So unfamiliar territory. These
are the most common fears. And when you think
about it, our brains are very powerful, calculating
machines, right? But because of that we are able,
we are capable to think about what is the purpose that we want. What is the purpose of our life and what
is the purpose of why we do what we do? And as a result of having that capacity
of our brains to be able to question its own existence, it also gives
rise to certain biases. And it’s these biases that give rise
to fears and fears of the unknown and fears of the things that we’re
scared of when we move towards our career dreams. You see, your brain is an intelligent decision
making machine when it comes to deciding what the purpose of your life is and what you
want the purpose and the goal of your career path to be. But at the same time, before
we reach those logical centers, when we are making decisions, we are doing so from the logical
executive centers of the brain. But before that can happen, we first address the emotional
recesses of the brain. We act based on emotions and it’s these emotional parts of our brain that
give rise to cognitive biases. So I’m going to talk to you about three cognitive biases that result in
the fears and anxieties that we face when we’re trying to move
forward in our career path. The first cognitive bias
that is associated with your
fears to career change is something that I called
the sunken cost fallacy. And what that means is that you
fear that all the time, the money, the energy that you’ve invested into
your career path so far is going to go to waste. And it makes sense. I can understand how that could be
a fear because it seems like, okay, maybe you’ve worked 20 years to
get to where you are right now. You’ve invested in a college education and you have done
numerous projects. You have, you have negotiated, you have worked
really hard in your organization and now, if your heart is telling you
that you want a career change, that you need a career change and that
is what your soul is telling you that is what it desires. And then
you kind of feel like, well, all this time I spent in my education
and now I’m going a different direction. Well, it is all going to go to waste.
So that is understandable and it’s not, and it’s not your fault that you feel
that way because it may seem that way, right? But it is a cognitive bias. The sunken cost fallacy
is a cognitive bias. So if you find yourself continuing
down a career path that doesn’t feel right and you feel stuck there
only because you feel like it would be a waste of your time and energy and
your money to make a career change, then it’s time for reframe.
Instead of looking at costs that cannot be recovered look at
what can be recovered. Remember, all of the things that
you’ve invested in yourself, all the investments you made
in your personal development, in your professional development, in your career path so far can be
recovered and translated into a different industry, everything. And it’s, an acknowledgement of all the
achievements that you have achieved, the person that you’ve become and recognizing that none of those
things, the person that you are today, would not have been able to be possible
if you hadn’t have invested that time and that energy, right? So rather than thinking of it as
a cost that cannot be recovered, look at what is being recovered. Look at what is going to be
standing the test of time. The truth is your time,
money and your energy that you’ve invested so far in your career
path cannot be recovered cause you’ve already invested it. But it doesn’t mean that you need to
continue to stay in a career path that doesn’t make sense or that doesn’t
light you up inside, right? Knowing that you’ve invested this
time, money and energy in your career path so far, it doesn’t mean
that you need to be regretful of it. So find ways where you can reconcile and you can understand the
reasons why you made that investment and make it worthwhile in the
future. Find ways where, how it can be worthwhile for a
future investment that makes sense given the context of who you are
and the person that you have become. Comment below. I want to hear from you. What fears do you have when
you think about a career change or you think about the career
path that you have ahead of you. And if you’d like what I
have and you like my content, give me a thumbs up and remember to
subscribe to my channel. Ring that bell. So you receive notifications
each time I upload a new video. The second cognitive bias
that is associated with
your fears related to career change is something called
a confirmation bias. This is where you seek for, you interpret and you
recall information that just confirms your preexisting beliefs, right? And it means that you tend to reject
things that contradict your beliefs, right? And while this may be
perceived as having confidence, what’s really happening
is that it’s really an unconscious choice to see only what you
believe and therefore to stay within your comfort zone. So let me give you an example. Many of the clients that I’ve worked
with in the past, they have damaging beliefs about their career
progress. For example, they might believe that
it’s not possible to change careers once you are past the age of 50
and therefore this is their confirmation bias. And so therefore they would seek things
and interpret things that would confirm their preexisting beliefs that it’s harder to change careers
once you’re past 50 and when you seek something, you will find it. If that’s what you believe and you are
looking for affirmation whether you know it or not, you are going to find it. So the danger of this confirmation bias, the danger of this cognitive
bias is that the beliefs of this nature are so strong that your brain
is going to seek affirmation and then therefore you’re going to be
rewarded for being correct. And let me ask you something. Is it better to be correct or is it
better to make progress in your career? Right? So the way to get around this, the way to combat this cognitive
bias of affirmation bias, the way to do that is to go out there
and give yourself permission to prove yourself wrong. This
takes courage of course, because it’s courage to admit that you’re
wrong. It’s one thing to admit you’re wrong and another thing to actually
look out for evidence to prove yourself wrong. But this is what you need to do. If you want to overcome
this cognitive bias, you have to go out there and to
look at what’s true, what is true? Is that what you believe?
Is that really true? Look for evidence to prove that it’s not
true. And when you find that evidence, ask yourself what is true,
what else could be true, right? And when you begin this
exercise, you know, don’t forget to circle
back and consider a new perspective on career change, once you’ve examined the new information
you found to prove yourself wrong. The third and final cognitive bias that
is associated with your fears of having a career change is the belief that you are somebody with
a job identity and that that identity defines you as a person. The thing is conventional wisdom defines
career stability as being in a one job, one job path for a long period of time. And maybe this is what you have been told
by your parents or by your teachers or by institutions, is that is the definition
of career stability when you
blended a job and you can stay in it for as long as possible. And what happens is when you’ve
been told this over periods of time, when that is the measure of
career stability in your mind, even though that’s not what you truly
value, but that is the value that has been given to you and over time what
happens is that your yearning, your career yearnings to achieve that picture of career stability tends
to be associated with who you are as an individual. The problem with that conventional
wisdom is that career these days, modern day careers are not long tunnels. They’re not 20, 30 40 year long tunnels. There more like micro careers where
they’re constantly changing. You know, it’s very hard to find someone these
days in modern day career who has been staying with the same company for 10
years. It’s not very common anymore. So when you associate career stability with that image that conventional
wisdom has painted for you, what ends up happening
is that your yearnings for career change ends up
being an existential disaster
because it’s associated with an identity of who you are. The truth is that who you are as a
person is not related to what you do. So in other words, what you do is
your job, it’s not your identity. You are not what you do. You are
who you are, not what you do. The way to conquer this cognitive bias
is to recognize that your career is not made up of these long, daunting, linear career paths, and that you are who you are and that
your identity is not tied to the job that you own and the job that
you want to have, right? And the way to do that is to
recognize and to acknowledge that you can design your career
path, any way that you want, just by following your curiosity and
by knowing the things that you value. And by knowing what is important,
what’s truly important to you.

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