As a financial analyst, Sean Ogle used to joke that he was the only person in Portland with a suit and tie. He always knew it wasn't the right fit. The work, while interesting at times, wasn't as interesting to him as traveling or doing something that really made use of his natural talents—which didn’t include finance.
After a yearlong process of self-discovery, he quit his job in favor of entrepreneurship and embraced a life where he couldn't predict what would happen five, three, or even one year into the future. How did he get there? He went through the three phases of uncertainty—from fearing it to embracing it—a valuable tool for anyone who’s thinking about making a major leap.
And it’s not as hard as it might seem. If you've realized that you're stuck in a job that isn't using your natural talents, or you’re thinking about switching fields to pursue your passion, here’s a closer look at the three phases of making a major career change and how you, too, can tackle them.
Phase 1: Fear of Uncertainty
It's natural and human to be terrified of a big change. More often that not, it's debilitating. Awareness is the first step, and once you recognize this fear, it's a sign that you're heading in the right direction.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, here's how you can break down your fears and understand the root of your uncertainty:
Phase 2: Overcoming Uncertainty
Posing what you are afraid of in question form, as you did in the third step above, allows you to see the opportunity in your fears. Now, start answering them! It will help you gain confidence that things will be OK when you do make the leap.
For example, if you posed the question "how will I make enough money if I quit my job?", some possible answers are:
If you posed the question "how will I accomplish all of the things I want to do?", some possible answers are:
Phase 3: Embracing Fear and Turning it into an Asset
Now that you know what you're afraid of and you have concrete steps toward overcoming your uncertainty, all that's left is action. There are two things that will help you embrace your fear and make taking action easier:
Uncertainty is one of the most powerful things in the world. While it can be unbearably powerful in a negative way at the start, it can ultimately empower you. After all, opportunity and uncertainty often go hand-in-hand—so get out there and embrace it.
Photo courtesy of Kashirin Nickolai.