Don’t wait for an epiphany before making a change
“How can I be sure that this time I’ve got it right?” One of the fears that keeps would-be career changers paralysed is that the new direction will prove no better than the last. Having got it wrong before, we don’t trust ourselves to be wiser the second (or third) time around.
That’s why I see so many people holding out for an epiphany. That magical moment when all doubt dissolves in the face of absolute clarity.
I like believing in things and, like White Christmases and forgotten fivers stuffed down the back of the sofa, epiphanies do come along from time to time. In fact my brother Chris’s huge life change came about from watching an epiphanetic (what is the adjective?!) TV programme about helicopters.
However, I never got one myself. So I have always found Anais Nin’s words very comforting:
There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.
When I first considered becoming a career coach I was beset with uncertainty. I asked my own coach at the time if she had had doubts about embarking on coaching as profession. “I never doubted my ability to coach” she replied, “though I did have serious doubts about whether I could build a financially successful practice.”
I found this only partially reassuring. Like her, I had doubts about whether I could build a sustainable practice. However I ALSO I had doubts about my abilities as a coach. AND I had doubts about my motivation. Was I drawn to career coaching simply because I myself was at a career crossroads? Would other people’s stories, fears, hopes and dreams prove far less fascinating than my own?
Despite incessant rumination, I couldn’t find a way to answer these questions satisfactorily without actually starting as a coach. So in the end, I just went with it as my best guess, in the absence of any other clues about what I should be doing with my life.
Happily everything turned out well:
- I was less self-absorbed than I had feared (!): indeed other people’s stories were equally compelling.
- Although my first “go” at coaching was toe-curlingly inept, thankfully it was on a training teleclass with only my fellow learners as witnesses. And like everything in life, I got much better with practice.
- The marketing/income generation side has been a learning curve too, but always curving in the right direction.
And if things hadn’t turned out so well, at least that would have been informative. I’d have picked up some extra valuable fragments of the mosaic.
Are you waiting for your career epiphany? Can you start building a mosaic instead?
Sarah Cooper helps mid-career professionals transition from traditional careers to work and a lifestyle that is more “off the beaten path”. You can read her blog here and her contact details are:
firstname.lastname@example.org / + 44 (0)117 973 1903 / +44 (0)7594 433530 /