Why Sharing Your Career Dreams Can Backfire
You’ve dreamed of starting a new career for a long time. You have agonized over the pros and cons of something new. Now you finally feel ready to get down to it. Congratulations!
You just made the difficult decision to change your career and life for your future happiness and perhaps your sanity. Maybe you’re tired and feeling undervalued in your current job. Not a fun place to be, I know. I've been there. Or worse, you’re constantly stressed, miserable and feel like your job is sucking your soul right out of your body! I've been there more times than I can count! This initial stage of your decision making may be bringing up all kinds of fears and doubts. That’s perfectly ok. Though, I really hope it is invigorating and motivating you to dive right into the next step!
So now that you’ve made your choice, what’s the first thing you want to do? Share your decision with someone close to you, right?!
Let me tell you why sharing, especially at first, is NOT always a good thing...
Your decision needs reflection time. As you begin to plan your new career, you need time to reflect on the life changing decision you just made. You need to sit down and take it all in, to break down what you really want, see how it fits into your current lifestyle or how it may create an entirely new life path for you. There are life factors affecting your new decision and many practical steps to that new career – research, self/skills assessment, goals, financial and human resources you will need, managing your family obligations etc.
There’s a tonne of stuff to think about and do girl! You need serious time and focus to get started on your new plan. If you drop the career change bomb too early, you may spend more time drowning out all the noise from family and friends that can come with a big career change announcement rather than working on your new career.
How does your career change affect me? I know you’re probably saying, my family always supports me and want to help. Of course, they do! They love you and want the best for you!
The thing is, though... as much as those closest to you support your choices, they also have a personal stake in the success of your plans. They may never say it because they are kind folk, but I guarantee you, this question will be in their minds as they listen to you talk all excitedly about your ideas for a brand new career. The natural first reaction is often fear. You have a good job. You’re too old to start a new career. Or there may be skepticism. You’ve talked about this before. Oh yeah, whatever, this is not new. They may feel anxiety over a decision they don’t understand or would not dare try themselves. All these emotions add up to stress, doubt, and indecision for you – the fastest way to create roadblocks that will slow you down and hinder your plans.
You will get a flood of opinions on what you ‘should’ do. In his best-selling book on achieving personal and financial success,Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill talked strongly about opinions and how they can negatively impact one’s ability to make decisions. He wrote 'Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them.’
You know it’s true! However well intentioned these opinions are, they can prevent you from sticking to your decision. At this point, it’s not about what’s right for your husband, wife or best friend. For you to succeed in any goal, you need to decide the right path for yourself. The rest will fall into place as you move through the process.
When To Share?
I’m not saying keep it all to yourself forever. You need the right people and resources around you to help you move toward second career success. For now, remember you are in the deciding and pre-planning phase. Spilling the beans on every little choice is not necessary at this point. Remember the noise it can create. You don’t need that now. You need focus and clarity to keep you on track for effective decision making that lasts.
Of course, when the time comes, you will include the people most important to you in the planning and implementation stage. But right now, it’s your time to reflect and consider what you really need for your next career. You will have many opportunities to share. As you formulate your plan, you will begin to set practical, realistic goals followed by concrete actions you will take. That’s when you will need help and can start reaching out to the right people.
This doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself from the world while you hammer out your next steps...
You may have that one trusted girlfriend. She is behind you in a heartbeat, will roll up her sleeves, help you do the research, set the right goals, make the right contacts to move ahead with your plan. She will also give you a kick you in the butt when you need it to make your plan a success. If you have this awesome person in your life who won’t judge and will keep your confidence, by all means, share!
What’s the Difference If You Wait?
If you wait to share, you will find you are ready to hear their opinions, take the good with the bad, decide if what they say will help or hinder your plan, use the advice you like, block out what you don’t and carry on with your planning as usual.
The first important thing to do is get clear on what you want, how you will go about getting it and how it will help you create the new career and life you want and deserve. Eventually, when you are super confident with the choice you have made, sharing with the rest of the amazing people in your life will be a breeze!
Not sure how to move from decision to planning? Check out my free Career Planning Model which helps you explore four crucial steps to planning a new career.