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The Most Common Fears That Prevent Corporate Leaders from Chasing Their Dream Job

There’s a small voice inside of you that has a dream to do something other than what you’re doing now.  Occasionally, you give yourself the time and space to imagine what it would be like to chase your dream.  But for the most part, you ignore your dream because along with that dream comes fear.

I’ve connected with hundreds of leaders over the years who reached out to take one step further in exploring their career dream.  There are many success stories from those clients who have decided to actively make a change in their career (just check out my testimonials to see for yourself).

But there are also numerous stories about those who have reached out, in a spark of optimism, but were pulled back into their day to day.  And some reached out again down the road because that dream never went away.

Rest assured, when someone chooses to work with me, those fears don’t magically disappear.  They come up again as fears and obstacles.  But once we’re able to find our way past these fears and remove the block, magic happens.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be diving into the most common fears that prevent corporate leaders from playing big and chasing their dream job.

If you have been thinking about a career transition, whether it be to make a shift in your job responsibilities or taking a closer look at your leadership style, my hope is that the insights from all of those who have swam these waters before will provide you the answer you need to decide if you’re ready for the next chapter.

Change can be uncomfortable.  But when you get to a point when you know you can’t stay where you are any longer, whether that be in a metaphorical place or physical place, the need to seek change no longer becomes an option, it becomes an imperative.

By looking closer at the fear that is driving your inclination to stay safe in the place where you are, dissatisfied or at the best, content but not inspired, you will find what you need to decide if you’re ready for the next chapter.

The reason I love working with corporate leaders is because they have a track record of success.  Which means that, when they are appropriately inspired, they can move mountains to reach the goals that they set.  And typically, the goals they reach have a ripple effect on the many, many people that they touch in their lives.

Let’s help you shift from focusing on the challenges on your beautiful dream and instead, on the potential positive impact.  The world is waiting for you.

Fear #1

Is it possible to find a job I like and maintain my lifestyle?  Does anyone who makes a lot of money actually like their job?

Money is an important variable to consider in any career move you make.  It’s a finite resource and it allows us to secure items that provide security and comfort in our lives.  However, if you’re asking this question, I’m guessing that money isn’t the top driver behind your desired change.  But it may be the one that keeps you where you are.

To directly answer the question- there are lots of people who make a lot of money and like their job!   I often find the best way to get past this fear it to suspend the concern while you focus on exploring your dream.  What typically happens is a pendulum swing.

You may start looking at radically different options to ease the pain you’re feeling now.  But as you get further into your conversations and search, you will eventually come back to a place a different from where you are now but not so drastically far away that you can’t still leverage your skills, education and experience to command pay similar to what you’re making now (if not more).

I’ll share my personal search as an example.  In my last corporate role, I was Director of Marketing for a rapidly growing healthcare nutrition company.  I liked the work I was doing… but I didn’t love it.  But the money was really good so I stayed.

This led to a significant amount of personal stress in my life: my job continually required time away from my family, I harbored a high amount of daily frustration as my top values were not honored in the career path I was on, and this excess stress overflowed to a point where I didn’t like the way I was showing up, at work or at home.  I was far from where I wanted to be from a career and personal perspective. 

My journey started as a need to ease the pain and led me to hire a coach because I didn’t feel like I could do it on my own.  By starting there, and with a goal focused exclusively on building a more fulfilling life, I found that my calling was to coach corporate leaders (but before this, I explored becoming a yoga instructor, a real estate agent, a chef, and a franchise owner). 

Every time I focused on the money aspect, the fear returned.  I had to trust myself, the process, and believe that a higher power would guide me in the right direction.  And it worked- I am happier in my career than I have ever been, all around.

Almost every single client that I have worked with who was at a senior level in their career has been able to pivot to a more fulfilling role or was able to see their current role in a new light, that led to greater fulfillment.  But the shackles of the fear must first be addressed and unhinged and the excitement of the potential next step elevated.

To do this, here are few questions to explore:

  1. What would your life look like five years down the road if you stayed where you are now?
  2. Twenty years from now, if you were to come back to have a conversation with your current self, what do you think you would advise?  (If you struggle with this, think about what your current self would have told your past self twenty years ago and use the same logic)
  3. If you knew your last day on earth was next week, what would you do differently?

All these questions are pushing you to isolate and understand what truly matters.  And spark some urgency.  The best time to plant a seed was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.  Don’t let life pass you by by letting fear guide your decisions.

A caveat to this: there are very good reasons for prioritizing money so please don’t misinterpret this as criticizing those who decide to do so.  The key is to make a conscious choice and find peace in your decision to do so.  Once you do, it is no longer fear making the decision, it is your own free will.  And that will shift things substantially for you.

Imagine if Steve Jobs had taken the safe route and finished his schooling at Stanford and gone on to take a stable tech job instead of dropping out and starting Apple in his garage.  Or if Oprah had stayed in her local Chicago news casting role instead of seeking out a role in The Color Purple and eventually, starting her own talk show.   You’ll never know what the possibilities are until you start to suspend fear and explore your dream.  There is a way to do it without losing your safety net.  Slowly and consistently, focused on the dream rather than the fear, can over time lead to career fulfillment. Or you can take the plunge in one foul swoop! It’s all about finding your level of comfort to spark your motivation.

Look for the next most common fear, “Am I qualified for the role I really want?” to be addressed soon.

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"After working with Amy, I feel confident that I know what I am meant to do, what my career goals are, and how I am going to achieve them. Read more."

Leslie, VP of Marketing at a Tech Company
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