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Is fear of failure holding back your career?

By September 4, 2014November 30th, 2020Blog

Is fear of failure holding back your career?

Many clients that book an appointment for career counselling already have an idea of what they want to do. So why do they think they need our help?  Fear is holding them back. It may be fear of making a change and failing. Often it is a fear that the grass will not be greener. Ultimately it comes back to fear of failure.

Change can be terrifying

Hiding from work

Change can be terrifying. Stomach churning scary. I often thought of leaving the corporate world and working for myself. Each time I dismissed it. Sometimes out of practicality. Mostly out of fear of the unknown. I recognise now that I was suffering from impostor syndrome. What made me an expert? Why should people listen to me? One of these days’ people will find out I don’t know as much as they think.

Making the leap

What changed for me? I was in a job I no longer enjoyed and completely disengaged. Getting out of bed for work was a chore.  Waking up on my 39th birthday I decided that I didn’t want to be doing something that made me feel like that when I turned 40. It was time to put aside my fear of failure.

This led me down a path to where I am today.  With very little preparation (and a whole heap of support) I left my job and started my own business.  Was I scared? Absolutely. Have I made mistakes along the way? Definitely. But I learnt from all of them.

Risk provides rewards

Jumping off a career cliff

Over the journey, I have learnt a lot about myself. I engaged a Personal Coach to help me work through my fears as I knew they were holding me back. Now when I feel sick to the stomach because of my fear of failure, I face it and step off the cliff anyway. Without the risk, there is no reward. While I was surrounded by people that believed in me, I had to learn to believe in myself.

This is what I share with my clients. Helping them to overcome their fear of failure, asking “what is the worst thing that can happen?’. While I write them a career plan with strategies to help them make informed decisions, I am also telling them it is OK to take a risk.

Nothing makes me happier than a call from a client telling me they are ready to make a change and they now need to update their CV. Hearing the excitement in their voice reminds me that overcoming my fears has enabled me to help others.

If fear of failure is holding you back, now is the right time to face your fears and make a career change you know you need.

Updated: January 2017

Carli Saw

Author Carli Saw

Carli is a Human Resources professional with more than 20 years of experience across a range of industries and a passion for supporting small business.

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