Ask the Expert: Life coach says stop fearing your career change – embrace it instead

by Joe Szynkowski | Apr 14, 2016 | Workhappy Blog

More than 70 percent of Americans dislike their jobs. Many of them are too scared to make a move.

HAVE NO FEAR, says Dr. Janice Staab.

“The most common roadblocks to career happiness center on fear: Fear of failure, fear of risk, fear of the unknown,” she says. “Fear takes over the heart when we lack faith in ourselves, our abilities, our calling and our reason for doing the work we do.”

Staab – the owner of Life Signs Coaching in Carbondale, Ill. – doesn’t just preach. She practices her advice. She successfully transitioned out of academia after 15 years as a university professor. And even though she technically left the teaching field, she has never stopped being a teacher.

“Working in academia entailed a ton of administrative and political soul-sucking nonsense,” said Staab, who has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Pennsylvania State University. “I was spending too much of my career life doing things that no longer fulfilled me. I needed to create a career that would let me honor the things I loved about teaching without wasting precious time and energy on things that gave me no joy.”

How did Staab shake things up?

“I changed my career path in an intentional and systematic way instead of simply reacting to work stress and making foolish choices out of emotional overload,” she recalls. “I also realized that my future was in my hands and that I was responsible for my own career happiness.”

Here is the five-step methodology Staab followed to turn it all around.

Truth: “Being honest with myself about what I needed and wanted in my career.”

Trust: “Talking with mentors and seeking honest advice. The quickest way to value your career more is to mentor someone else in it.”

Purpose: “Rediscovering my calling to teach, and then intentionally crafting a new career path with goals that better honored what I loved most about it.”

Ownership: “Choosing to be guided by my own values and needs instead of the expectations of others – or expectations I once had of myself.”

Commitment: “Knowing that attaining a truly fulfilling and rewarding career was worth the risk of failure and temporary discomfort; then acting on that knowledge!”

In short, Staab stopped fearing the process of finding career happiness.

“Fear is constantly telling us, ‘I’m not good enough.’ ‘I can’t do that.’ ‘They won’t hire me without experience.’ ‘I’d need education to work in that field.’

“Faith meanwhile answers: ‘I am more than a match for this job.’ ‘I can do anything I commit my mind and energy to.’ ‘I have a wealth of life experience any company would be lucky to get.’ ‘If I need education, I’ll get it.’ The only question becomes which voice will you believe…Fear or Faith?”

Back to the 70 percent of us who dreaded clocking in this morning. Are we too hung up on the prospect of finding our dream jobs? Will we never be truly satisfied until we are astronauts, professional baseball players or the President of the United States? Or do we have some psychological control over our situations? Can we make ourselves happy in a position that may not check all of the boxes of ‘dream job?’

“All people have the power to create happier, more fulfilling lives from raw materials they have inside: their own experiences, values and proven strengths” Staab says. But too many of us get bogged down in destructive and limiting habits of acting, thinking and feeling.”

Where do you fall on the career happiness scale? More importantly, what are you doing to make sure you in the 30 percent?

Joe Szynkowski is the Owner & Chief Writer at The UpWrite Group. Email services@theupwritegroup to share your story or advice. We’re out to change the world, one success story at a time.

Bonus Tips from Staab:

• Try to remember why you went into your current job or career in the first place. Focus on the things you enjoy most about your work. Whether it’s the people, the purpose, the products or just the paycheck, remind yourself daily of why the work you do has value for you and for others.

• Take 5 minutes at the end of every day and list for yourself all the people whose lives are a little better because you were there doing your work. Your clients’ problems were solved. Your family is financially secure. Your co-workers laughed at your jokes. You ran a successful meeting or program. Don’t ever lose sight of the value of your work even if others have trouble seeing it!

• Remember that you are not your job! Leave the work stress at the office. If the stress is too much for too long, there’s no shame in leaving a situation that no longer serves you…or where your gifts are no longer valued.

• Email Jan Staab, Life Signs Coaching, 618-303-6351

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