Author: Pin Cher, Career Coach
When you’re considering taking an enormous career leap, it’s easy to be controlled by fear, anxieties, and self-doubt and I wasn’t an exception from it.
Whether you’re thinking of launching your own start-up, making a serious career change, or taking a leap of faith to pursue your passion, it’s totally normal to feel all hesitations and uncertainty.
I had a stable job with a steady income, but I took some risks in my career, too.
Taking risks in your career is not always a piece of cake and can feel uncomfortable when your livelihood is at stake.
Making career moves out of your comfort zone without the 100% guarantee of a better outcome is often enough to make most people stay in their roles indefinitely, and unhappily.
Here is a thought exercise for evaluating how effective it would be to take a certain risk, in order to grow your career:
When was the last time you really thought about how risky the risk you’re taking is?
While all of your concerns seem legitimate and real, sometimes the magnitude of these hesitations is often blown out of proportion.
Let’s say that the average person lives to be about 80 years old.
Then, let’s assume it might take you about one year to figure out if this big brave idea of yours might have potential.
Now put the two together: One year out of 80 is 1/80, or 1.25% of your life…
That seems surprisingly small, right? In fact, when you think of it like this, nothing seems that risky anymore, even if you might not succeed in the end.
We can even take a step further: Let’s say you did work night and day on your new start-up idea or moved to a new city.
One of two things could happen: either it would be highly successful and transform your life completely, or it would fail but you would still be rewarded with a life lesson or two.
By its very nature, you taking risks implies that you can gain something—or lose something.
And the thought of losing your hard-earned job, salary, or reputation can be frightening.
Yet the truth is that if you don’t take risks, you might be missing out on great opportunities that might either help boost your career to the next level or make a career change that will increase your well-being, enjoyment, and happiness.
When your work becomes boring, your performance can suffer because you might not be motivated to work as hard as usual. This means it’s time to look for a new direction.
When your life is in flux, it can create a natural inclination to make a change in your career. Sometimes this is an emotional reaction—but it can also be the final push you need to move on.
Yes, you can pursue a calling and make money at the same time. If a specific occupation or objective is calling you, you’ll feel dissatisfied in your career until you pivot towards it.
It’s important to know that taking a risk doesn’t mean that you simply need to be reckless. Instead, do some research to get to know the lay of the land before making any career moves.
For example, if you want to reach the next level in your career, it’s wise to seek a conversation with your supervisor to see what your options are before looking outside of your organisation.
Or if you’re in engineering but you’d love to work as a designer, take some upskilling classes, or take on a couple of freelance gigs in the evenings and on weekends.
Then, when you know what you’re getting yourself into, you can start taking some practical steps towards actually making that career change.
Taking risks can be just what you need to boost your career to the next level or to find the calling you love —but make sure you take calculated risks.
Pin Cher is a millennial career clarity & personal development coach, and founder of Pin Coach.
Her passion lies in working with corporate professionals and high performers to achieve even greater success. She helps them unlock their potential and create an intentional, meaningful way of life.
Having felt lost and stuck in her own career direction in the past, she now shares her experiences & knowledge to help others.
Pin Cher holds a B.S in International Management & Business Chinese, an MBA from the University of Taiwan and is Jay Shetty Certified Personal Development & Career Coach.
She has over 10 years of international work experience in Sales and Project Manager, for companies in Germany , Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where she is currently based.
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Note: This article has been edited for length and clarity
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