Yes, You CAN Transform Your Career! Here’s How.
When we stop and think about it, it’s an amazing thing to realize that we’re all capable of completely transforming our lives (and, by extension, our careers) into ones we love. But, when you’re sitting in a job you’re deeply dissatisfied with yet highly invested in, it may feel impossible to transform your career. You may be telling yourself there’s no way out of the life you’ve committed so much to creating, and you believe it as truth in the same way you know the sun will set tonight.
That’s the funny thing about us humans. We don’t know our own power to create the lives we truly want. This power isn’t a trait unique to only a handful of special individuals. It’s actually a unifying aspect of the amazing and complicated species homo sapiens. (Spoiler alert: I’ll be leveraging my anthropological training for this post.)
So, before you write off the idea that you’re not one of those lucky people, read on to find out how you, too, can transform your career to be in alignment with the life you truly want.
It All Starts with the Belief That It’s Possible
You actually already know that transformation is possible because you’ve seen many other people do it. But, when you witness individuals achieving seemingly impossible things, you may chalk it up to something unique about them. You may think they have some special gift that allows them to accomplish the thing you believe is out of reach for you. This line of thinking signals that you’re identified with your fears and limiting beliefs. Beliefs that tell you you lack the capacity to build your most desired life.
But the truth is, what makes these people different from you is that they’ve learned to harness the human characteristics we all have that enable transformation. Characteristics that allow us to transcend our fears and limiting beliefs. Traits like creativity, resourcefulness, resilience, our ability to withstand discomfort, and the belief in possibility.
We all have these transcendent traits. But most of us buy into the false notion that it’s our fears and limiting beliefs that are more real. And this is what keeps your dreams out of reach. We falsely believe that until we get over our doubts and transcend our fears, we’ll be unable to create the life we want. So we spend a ton of time trying to develop the confidence and certainty we think we need before we chart a new course.
But that’s unfortunately not how it works. In fact, building the life of your dreams requires a very different approach. And it all starts with the belief that it’s possible for you to take a new path. After all, if you don’t think it’s possible, you have no other option but to accept something less. So it’s actually in acknowledging the possibility that space opens up for a new way.
The Power to Transform Your Career Lies in Each and Every One of Us
Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of being human is that we’re capable of designing almost any life we can imagine. But equally human is our biological wiring that attunes us to negative beliefs instead of positive ones (the negativity bias). We’re wired to stay safe by avoiding risk. We’re wired to behave in socially acceptable ways that enhance belonging in our communities. We’re wired to avoid pain and emotional discomfort. And our early childhood experiences additionally wire us to see threats based on circumstances we once encountered but no longer exist, yet still govern our behavior.
We all have this survival mind, including those who are able to transcend it to manifest the lives they want. Here’s the important point. It’s actually in how we work with the survival mind that those who successfully transform their careers into ones they love differentiate themselves from those who don’t.
It’s also our survival mind that manifests the fears and limiting beliefs we think make us deficient and somehow unable to build the lives we want.
But our survival minds don’t serve us well as adults when we first aspire to create lives centered on meaning and fulfillment. And to build such lives, we need first to accept and work with the survival mind in order to transcend it.
The Big Thing That’s Keeping You Stuck
A big challenge with heeding the internal call to transform your career is that your brain interprets this aspiration as a high-risk venture. So your survival mind kicks in and becomes in conflict with your desire to take the leap. That’s what’s keeping you stuck.
But here’s the good news: What also characterizes homo sapiens is our ability to work with and transcend our fears and limiting beliefs. We transcend them by accepting the discomfort of our fears and limiting stories and tapping into other innate human traits that support transformation. And yes, neuroscience now shows that with diligence and intentional work, we can rewire our brains to deemphasize our innate fear responses and negativity biases. And over time, the initial discomfort we feel when we chart a new course begins to dissipate.
Working with Your Doubts, Fears, and Limiting Beliefs to Transform Your Career
At this point, you may be wondering how to work with your survival mind so it no longer limits you from creating the career of your dreams.
As we just noted, the first and most important step is to accept that it’s possible. To know that as a member of the human species, you’re innately embodied with capabilities to create and transform. This first step thus involves making a commitment to the understanding that being part of this species means that you are already fully equipped to build the life you want and to handle every challenge that comes up along the way.
The second critical step is to recognize that to transform your career, you must be willing to take action alongside your fears and limiting stories while creating more supportive beliefs that encourage the transformation process. This includes a willingness to embrace all that it means to be on a transformational path: The discomfort, the creativity, the growth, the learnings, and the trust in the process. It means tolerating the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that emerge as you move into uncharted territory. It also means challenging the idea that possessing uncomfortable emotions is a sign that you should stay put.
In fact, most people who’ve successfully remade their careers know that uncomfortable thoughts and feelings are not a sign to stop, but instead a sign to proceed. They view them as an indication that they’re on the right path. They know these emotions signal that they’re embarking on meaningful work, which, by definition triggers our biological responses to stay safe. And contrary to what their survival mind is telling them, they know that it’s okay to proceed.
But is Career Transformation Really Possible for You?
Right now you might be asking, so how is it that I know that you, specifically, can transform your career? How do I know you’re not actually truly flawed and therefore incapable of creating the life you want?
I in fact know transforming your career is possible for you because it was possible for me. I, too, once believed the fear stories of the survival mind that you do. I believed that career transformation was possible for others, but just not for me. That I was not one of the lucky ones.
I believed these fear stories to the point that, had it not been for a series of personal tragedies I encountered in rapid succession a few years back, I undoubtedly would still be caught up in all my fears and limiting beliefs. In fact, it was my personal tragedies that compelled me to step away from the career I’d invested so much in but was making me unhappy.
Once I left that job, it took a bit longer for me to open to the possibility that I could do something different with my life, something that I truly wanted for myself. And once that possibility materialized, I then had to learn to work with my survival mind. And through this difficult work, I now have the life I once only dreamed of, a version of the life you are also dreaming of but believe is impossible.
What Being Human Means for Transformation
Our membership to the amazing species homo sapiens is both at the heart of what keeps you stuck and of what will allow you to transcend your stuckness. Our survival tendencies predispose you to accept the negative stories you’ve been conditioned to believe over the truth of what you’re actually capable of. So you stay in a smaller life than you’re actually able to create, convinced by your survival mind that this is all you get.
The bottom line: Don’t wait like I did for a tragedy to wake you up. Instead, begin opening up to the idea that you’re innately equipped with everything you need to build a life you love.
So when I say that you, too, can transform your career, I’m not talking to your survival brain. Committing to a life of transformation requires breaking with our cultural norms and challenging our survival brain, which will always encourage you to play small as the right way to live your life.
It’s a big ask. And if your survival brain is what you’re listening to in making your decisions, you’ll continue to be held back.
Instead, try trusting the deeper voice, the one that comes from your intuition. It will lead you to a qualitatively different life, one filled with purpose and meaning. All you really need to do is open to the idea that it’s possible for you too, and to learn to work with the biological wiring that’s keeping you stuck so you can take actions toward your desired life.
If you want support with doing this, let’s chat!
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Hi, I’m Kim!
I’m a Certified Life & Career Coach, and business entrepreneur.
My passion is empowering women to build thriving careers centered on freedom and empowerment.