Now’s the time to push through the fear and chase your professional goals.
If the last 12 months have proven anything, it’s that finding joy in what we do suddenly feels more important than ever before. While many have used the pandemic as an opportunity to re-evaluate their professional lives, others have been too nervous to put thought into action (and for good reason). Here’s how to focus forward and banish those distracting career myths for good.
1. Measuring happiness or success based on a set income figure
If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking “I’ll be happy when I finally earn…” – don’t worry, you’re not the only one. It’s totally normal for us to think of money as the ultimate problem solver. But while extra or additional funds might bring more peace of mind or opportunities in the future, it’s important to remember your value as a person, and as an employee, is entirely separate from what your pay check says each month. Our minds can trick us into thinking that next pay rise might bring happiness, but this leads to a never-ending cycle of production, stress and expectation. While it may bring momentary relief, that potential pay rise doesn’t (or shouldn’t) give your job meaning. Instead try to find satisfaction and joy in the smaller everyday tasks at work. What matters at the end of each day is that you leave work feeling fulfilled and accomplished. This will serve you far-better in the long run than setting potentially unstainable goals that are predicated on denying yourself happiness. You and your potential deserve more.
2. It’s too late to change careers
It might sound clichéd but trust us when we say: it’s never too late! Unless of course you’re looking to take on a role that’s super physical like that of a professional athlete or labourer. As Australians find themselves remaining in the workforce longer than ever before (retirement age now sits at a national average of 65.5), there are more and more opportunities to reinvent our professional selves, chase new careers and explore new industries. In fact – career pivots are quickly becoming the new norm. There’s no hard or fast rule that says you can’t evolve your professional life – it’s only our fear that has the potential to hold us back. It’s also entirely reasonable to wake up one day and realise the life you wanted in your early 20s might be different to the one you now want in your mid 40s. If you’re considering changing jobs or careers but you’re not entirely sure about taking the leap, simply take your time, do your research, speak to those within the field you’re interested in joining and consider discussing these decisions with a career professional who can give you sound advice before making the leap. Ask yourself – what do I see myself happily doing for the rest of my life? The answer may surprise you.
3. My family and friends will think I’m crazy for pursuing a new career path
When it comes to opinions, it’s no surprise that we value those of our family and friends above all else. But it’s important to remember that they’re just that – opinions. Everyone will have something to say about a situation or topic if you ask them but, in this instance, the only opinion that truly matters is your own. If the idea of a new career path excites you, engages you and inspires you to work differently – it’s a good indication that you’re probably ready for a change. While you may have a few negative Nelly’s waiting in the wings, it’s worth remembering that deep down these individuals just want to make sure you’re making the right decision. Take their thoughts on board but don’t let them be the deciding factor when making a career-change or vying for a big new promotion or transfer to a new office. Yours is the only opinion that matters.
4. It’s selfish to pursue your passion
There’s nothing more important than ensuring the work you plan to do every single day of for the rest of your professional life is something that evokes meaning and happiness. Not only is this vital for your mental and physical health, but it has the potential to positively impact all aspects of your life including your relationships, your out-of-office activities and your long-term life goals. Pursuing happiness isn’t a selfish act. Even if those around you don’t quite understand your decision, or want to judge you for following your passion, try not to let yourself feel guilty about wanting to be happy.
While change can feel overwhelming at times, it’s important to allow yourself the opportunity to progress in your career. Whether you’re aiming for a promotion, looking for a transfer or you’re entering an entirely new industry – taking that leap with confidence is an essential first step in the right direction.