Former pro hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
It makes perfect sense, yet every day, we pass up opportunities to take proactive steps to changing our lives and careers for the better. Mostly, we’re afraid. More specifically, we get stuck in the frame of thinking about what’s the worst that can happen? Often after answering this question, we realize that we really don’t have anything to be afraid of at all. But sometimes, it can actually take us even deeper into that place of fear. We might get further with our career goals if instead, we focused on the positive and then took actions based on the expectation of success. What if, instead, we asked ourselves, what’s the best that could happen?
Envision Your Ideal Future
Instead of focusing in on all the risks and failures that could occur as a result of you pursuing your goals, focus on a vision for the future that shows you enjoying your success and the fruits of your labor. In August, I announced my new consulting team, new logo and all the services my company is ready to offer. Scary? Hell yes. Even though the worst that can happen is that no one ever hires us. Which is highly unlikely. And the best that can happen? We will get to use our talents to help others in a huge, transformative way. That’s what I’m thinking about. That’s what I’m banking on. And positive energy only attracts more of itself from the universe. Try it. You’ll see. Make a firm commitment to moving forward on that one thing you really want to do in your career but keep putting off out of fear. Write an inspiring letter to your future self about how you want your life to be six months or a year from now.
Name the Fear
If you must, go ahead and give the fear a little attention. Name it. Acknowledge it. Let it know that you know it’s there. If you’re afraid of losing your job (or your mind), go ahead and say it out loud. If you’re afraid of failing, write it down in your journal somewhere. This is good to do. Because once you name the fear, it loses a bit of its power. And then, you get to plow right through, just like a buffalo.
Borrow Someone Else’s Swagger
Right before you go into that important meeting or launch that big project, channel the attitude of someone with an ego and bank account much bigger than yours. Sometimes before my speaking engagements, I’ll pretend like I’m Kanye West walking into the room with all that power. Pick your own alter ego. Everybody needs their own theme music. Mine is just always a little bit gangsta.
Jump the Fence
OK. At some point, you just have to make the leap and do the damn thing. There is no way you’ll ever find out if you’ve got what it takes to change your career until you try. Until you do. Not before. If you hate your job, take the first step today to find a new one. Update your resume. Join an online career network like Doostang or Beyond.com or Brazen Careerist. Ask for help. Just don’t complain about it. Not today.
And on the off chance that you do fail? Well, at least you’ll be closer to the finish line than you were when you weren’t even in the race.