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Finding the Courage to Commit to a Career

Career decisions can be hard to make. Here are some courage builders to keep the dream of productive and fulfilling employment alive.

1: Don't worry about all the ducks - Most successful people get their first jobs with only a general idea of their career goal, and with only some of the skills needed to succeed. They ask people in the field for directions on where to turn and when they can't get crystal clarity about career goal within a reasonable amount of time, they keep trying. Getting everything perfect is much less important than engaging in the job search process. Clarity comes with time.

2: The trapeze artist - Even if a proposed career goal makes sense, there is probably nervousness at the moment of decision because it's unclear whether things will work out. This is the moment every trapeze artist knows well. Letting go of the bar, though, is part of the act. Many career shoppers can also feel vulnerable but often shop for new careers because they cannot accept the status quo. Letting go, in this case, makes sense.

3: Keep tweaking career goals - Examining career goals periodically and altering goals to eliminate or minimize the negatives is a good strategy. For instance, business owners who are lousy salespeople may need a partner or other businesses to market products.

#4: Gather information - Information eliminates unknowns and that can help reduce the anxiety associated with career change. Pre-market research is crucial. Test ads online and in local newspapers, do cold calls, and pulse potential customers.

5: Less radical career options - Here are 5 ways to reduce stress about new career choices by taking interim steps:
  • Tweak current job. Many people who think they need a new career solve their problem by changing bosses and/or their attitude, renegotiating their responsibilities, or improving their skills.


  • Find a new job in current career. Maybe a different organization's culture can cure workplace woes.


  • Find a different niche in current career. Sick of being a biologist in a lab? Try field-based biology.


  • Stay in the same industry but change job titles. Or change industries but keep the same job title.


  • Find more meaning outside of work. Pursue a hobby that allows for self-expression or do volunteer work.

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