Courage to Move Your Career Forward

If you’re unsatisfied in your current job or career path but staying where you are seems preferable to moving forward into the unknown, it might be time for a dose of courage. That quality doesn’t come in a pill or liquid form, but it can be acquired or developed. Sometimes you might need help to nurture it until you can move ahead on your own. That’s okay.

Let's try it once without the parachute

What Are You Afraid Of?

Hesitating doesn’t necessarily mean you’re afraid–you might have good reasons to pause before making a leap, including taking precautions against going off a personal or professional cliff! Caution can be a wise approach to adopt, as long as you’re sure it’s not really fear in disguise that’s keeping you firmly rooted in your present job or career. If it is fear, either wholly or partly, that’s when courage needs to enter the picture.

If you think (or suspect) that fear of the unknown is what’s keeping you stuck, do a careful self-assessment. How strong is your reluctance to try something new–look for a new job, investigate variations on your curreA bowling ball marked Courage strikes pins with the word Fear to symbolize bravery and courageous action to overcome obstacles you're afraid ofnt career or explore entirely new possibilities? Is that reluctance being influenced by people or factors beyond your control? If it is, you might look at ways to improve your present situation before going all-out toward a new opportunity.

On the other hand, if you discover that you’re holding off because you’re seriously worried about things like making a wrong choice (big mistake) or having to give up something important to you in order to make a major job or career change, look at steps you might be able to take that will help you move your career forward in increments rather than a giant leap.

For example, I originally started my business as a secretarial service, which played off strengths developed during a long career as an executive assistant. Around two years later I discovered resume writing and found that I loved doing that, as well as providing other career services. After several more years, I focused entirely on my real love, which was the career services field–basically, serving as a career strategist for my clients.

Sometimes, you only need a little courage to start moving your career forward.

Construct a Career Safety Net

Although no one can predict the future with 100% certainty (at least, no one I’ve ever known could), you can hedge your bets by constructing a career safety net. What does that mean? For one thing, it means that you have one or more fall-back plans–a Plan B and, if needed, even a Plan C, D or E. That way, you’re not totally winging it and if something doesn’t work out according to Plan A, you can implement one of your fall-back plans instead of free-falling off the cliff.

For example, you might decide that you need more education to go after a particular goal or that you need more experience in a particular field or function in order to achieve the career advancement you’re aiming for. With a carefully built career safety net, you can minimize your risks and maximize your possibilities. You can, for instance, identify educational programs or experience opportunities that don’t involve an excessive amount of time, energy and/or money all at once. That limits your exposure to potential disasters and leaves open the possibility that one of your other plans can be put into practice with minimal risk.

You don’t need to be an intrepid adventurer to move your career forward. You just need that timely dose of courage.

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