How to Overcome the 4 Mental Blocks That Stop You From Changing Careers - Legally Bold

How to Overcome the 4 Mental Blocks That Stop You From Changing Careers

career change

When I initially started down the path of entrepreneurship, I didn’t set out to change my career. 

Well… that’s not entirely true. 

When I left my job, I assumed that eventually, I would start a business outside of the legal field. I just didn’t know what that business would be. So I started my law practice as my next best option. 

Turns out, that was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. Even though I didn’t have all the answers, taking a chance and starting my practice lead me to Legally Bold and a new career. 

Many of my clients face a similar problem when they think about leaving their job. They believe that a change in careers isn’t a viable option because they don’t know what to do next, much less how to get there. However, not knowing exactly what to do next isn’t really the issue.  What is truly keeping them from taking a chance on themselves is their thoughts.   

Mental chatter can stop forward progress on anything you really want. When it comes to your career, these mental blocks will tell you that you won’t succeed unless the circumstances align perfectly. And you handle the career change process in a particular way.   

Now that I’m on the other side of changing my career, I know firsthand how this mental chatter can keep you stuck even if you are actively seeking a change. The circumstances will never be perfect. The process won’t be laid out in a step-by-step guide. If you want to change your career, you will have to move forward without knowing where you’ll to end up. Because action leads to career clarity, not more thinking. 

If you find yourself struggling with mental chatter, here are some actions that you can take to overcome the 4 most common blocks. 

Block #1 – I Don’t Know What I Want To Do

Solution – Acknowledge Your Fear And Let Go

In working with myself, clients, and colleagues, I’ve realized that most people really know what they want to try next in their careers. They’re just afraid to admit it. 

Often it’s because they judge their career desires as too immature, too impractical, or something that will require a lot of effort with no guarantees. Here’s the problem. When people make these judgments about their career desires, often they haven’t taken the time to investigate the career beyond a mere notion in their head. So the way to address this block is just to admit to yourself that you want to be an actor, a chef, or a yoga instructor. That will give you the freedom to investigate the career in a real way and get concrete information on the validity of your career instead of conjecture. By doing this, you will likely see that your dream job for grown-up pay isn’t as impossible as you think. 

Block #2 I Don’t Have Any Other Skills

Solution – Uncover Your Transferable Skills

Somehow after leaving law school, getting our CPA licenses, or exiting medical school, we believe that the only skills we have are the ones suited to that particular profession. We never make the connection that most people are gainfully employed anyway without that specialized knowledge. 

So to address this block, it’s time to uncover your transferable skills. A transferable skill is expertise you’ve developed over time in an area that applies to any industry. Public speaking, persuasive or technical writing, and creating business systems are just a few examples. You have more transferable skills than you know, and by uncovering them, you’ll be better able to see yourself in other professions and industries. 

Block #3 – I Am This Profession. And This Profession Is All I Am.

Solution – Peel Back The Label

Whether we care to admit it or not, our profession is not just our job, it’s part of our identity. It’s how we present ourselves to the world. 

That identity makes us feel a sense of esteem, prestige, and worth. And keeping your job as a professional lets people know that you worked hard to get where you are and that you deserve the spoils that might flow because of it. So it can be particularly challenging to let go of this identity when you discover that you no longer like the work. I mean, what will you say when people ask what you do? 

The key to dealing with this block is consciously separately who you are from what you do. This means peeling back your professional label and realizing that you are more than what you do for a living. You are a whole person with a purpose and desires beyond that label.

Block #4 – I want Success, and I Want It Right Now

Solution – Design Your Life Incrementally

To calm my fears about not having a job when I started my practice, I told myself that I was only going to give myself 5 years for this dream. Meaning that I was willing to try new things, to fail, and fail again, but only for up to 5 years. If my business continued to fail after that 5 years timeframe, I was free to quit the business, get a job, ad start planning for retirement savings. 

The decision to give myself 5 years really opened me up to try new things in business. Because I knew any decision would only last 5 years, I was willing to try more. I was also willing to give myself permission to go for it. If I failed, I knew the pain would only last so long because after 5 years, I’d course correct.  So if the idea that you may not be immediately successful is stopping your dreams, try putting a time container around the concept. It will help to quiet your fears and make you more willing to play full out in your next career choice.

And there you have it —4 common career-change mental blocks and how to move past them. Now I want to hear from you.  Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts on career change and this post.