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Why We Don't Just Let Some Things Be Easy

I hope you got a little shot of love this Valentine’s Day! Whether you are in love with the day or see it more as a “Hallmark” holiday, I’ll just remind you, in case you haven’t heard it or heard it enough that you’re a super lovable person and there’s nothing you can do about it!

What’s more important on Valentine’s Day than a little bit of self-love talk, right? The self-love I’m chatting about tonight is in the form of self-confidence. Let's go!

Why We Make Career Decision-Making Hard

You've heard by now that as humans we're notoriously good at getting in our own way and making simple things hard. It's like my favourite part trick.

We'll get to the part we make hard in a second but in the meantime we've got to talk about something else first...confidence.

Did you know that confidence is different than self-confidence?

Confidence is defined as “the state of feeling certain about the truth of something”.

Looking at it this way, we can see why some of the changes we dream about when it comes to our career seem completely out of reach. If we don’t feel confident or certain in our ability to do the new thing or get the new thing, how does that even work?

If we’ve never done the thing and certainly if we tried the thing and face-planted, we’d use these results or lack thereof as evidence that we shouldn’t try anything new or different ever because we absolutely DO NOT feel confident about it. It appears as if there’s no “truth” here.

This is what we do. We hold off doing something waiting for confidence to strike first. We do this because this is WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT!!!

It doesn’t work. It’s also not a problem.

It just means that we cross out the goal of “feeling confident” at the top of the page and write this instead:

Self-confidence first.

I see self-confidence as a security within yourself and your abilities. This is different than being confident, which draws on evidence of things you've been able to do or achieve in the past. As we can see, only relying on confidence is an issue because what do you do when you have no evidence to draw upon?

Let’s be clear, we don’t have to be confident in the thing to be able to do the thing. To be confident in doing the thing tends to require that we’ve already done it and done it with some degree of success. We then use our success as evidence that we can expect at least the same degree of (probably more) success again.

This is why the goal or the “thing” is never the most important part. Achieving certain goals can be fun and awesome and of course it’s pretty cool to become confident at something BUT what’s even more fun and awesome, is feeling self-confident about yourself even before you’re confident at the thing. Right? Knowing that if and when you fall on your face in pursuit of “the thing”, you don’t make it mean you’re an absolute lost cause as a human and just give up. Right? Right? RIGHT? Isn’t this everything?

If you feel like career confidence is out of reach a lot of the time or even if you identify as a generally confident person who is feeling particularly stumped by a career problem, it may be because your brain is looking for past evidence to draw upon as proof that you’ve done this thing before and isn’t coming up with any. So, you’re left with doubts in areas like:

1. Your ability to make a career decision

2. Your ability to act on a decision you’ve made about your career

3. Your ability to get the result you want from your decision and the actions you take in your career

It’s likely you believe it’s difficult to make a career decision (decisions are hard and important). It’s likely you don’t feel confident that you’ll be able to take the action needed to get the result you want (possibly due to something like time, money, your own ability). It’s likely that you fear you’ll make a decision, take the action and STILL not get the result you want (you’re unlucky, this is just how things go for you, you aren’t deserving).

So, you think all of these things, and then are pretty sure if you try anything you’ll live the rest of your life in fear and failure but also that if you don’t, you’ll live your life in disappointment and regret.

This might be reading as a little bit dramatic but only a little, right?

Things just seem very complicated and difficult. Gosh, I love you and your brain. Mine’s the same darn way. Also, everything is going as it should. It’s not a problem.

The Upside

What is the upside to believing that career change in general and career decision-making in particular is complicated and difficult?

What is the upside to not letting it be simple?

It’s not a trick question, I promise.

There is an upside to believing that decisions are difficult to make. This is the reason I overcomplicate things, it’s the reason you overcomplicate things. It’s the reason ALL humans overcomplicate things.

These are probably some of the reasons you believe making a decision about what to do next in your career, business, or life:

  • Decisions are important – it’s critical to not make the wrong one

  • A good decision comes from spending a lot of time analyzing, and researching, and thinking about it carefully from all angles so as not to miss something

  • The more time you spend analyzing, and researching, and thinking the more confused and unsure you become

  • Making a decision slowly and carefully means I’ll be making a better decision and get better results

  • Getting advice from others—friends, family, professionals is the way to make a good decision and will lead to better results

  • Making a decision quickly is irresponsible and reckless

  • I’ll get bad results if I make a decision quickly

  • I require certainty before making a decision and that takes a lot of work

  • It’s possible to be certain about my decision

  • If I’m certain about my decision it will guarantee my results

  • If I’m not confident in my decision it means something is wrong

  • If I’m not confident in my decision it means my intuition is telling me something

  • There is a right and wrong decision to be made

  • Making the wrong decision will lead to terrible consequences and many worse case scenarios

  • I won’t recover from a bad decision

  • I can control my outcomes through my decisions

I’m going to take a wild guess and say there is at least part of you that believes these things are the reasons or the “upsides” to not letting a career decision be simple. You have learned to believe these upsides. They feel true.

Ready to hear some more upsides?

Here are more upsides to believing making a decision about your career is complicated and difficult:

  • We get to do fun things like research (and research and research) rather than do the thing itself

  • We get to think rather than act

  • We get to stay the same rather than change

  • We get to ask other people for their advice and opinion rather than trust our own, this gives us someone else to blame if something goes wrong, which is a sneaking way our brain tries to keep us safe

  • We get to stay comfortably uncomfortable rather than uncomfortably uncomfortable (say that 3 times fast!)

Gosh darn it, I love you so much. So much so that I’d let you stay the same-- indulging in indecision, or overwhelm, or overthinking, or research, if I thought that would lead you some place good. But it won’t. It feels productive but it isn’t.

It’s the seductive upside that many of us choose, over and over. Sometimes for years and it takes so much energy to indulge in overwhelm and confusion and indecision that you will actually think that you’re doing a lot. You will think that all that energy that you’re putting towards that is action, but it’s not. Always thinking about what you could or should be doing might feel like action. I mean, surely you’re doing something, you’re exhausted all the time, right?

Let’s look at decision-making. When you’re not feeling self-confident it shows up here. I’ve already written about how if I’m not on to myself, I can get paralyzed by even the simplest of decisions sometimes. What I’ve learned is that decisions don’t need to feel easy in order to be made. I also know that I probably won’t feel confident in all of my decisions while making them or after they’ve been made, all of the time. I don’t need to feel confident about my decisions and it’s probably not possible any way. What’s possible is my ability to make one, take action on it and support myself through it. I don’t make a decision and then let the decision itself determine my results. I don’t decide and throw up my hands and let the wind blow me wherever it wants. I commit to continuing to make MORE decisions based on the results I’m getting. The more decisions I make, the easier they become and the more self-confident I feel.

The space between where you are now and where you want to be is a series of decisions. Decide, decide, implement, implement, evaluate, evaluate. Keep going. Over and over again. For EVER.

Career confidence comes with making decisions powerfully.

If you have self- confidence (meaning you can have your own back, no matter what), you don’t have to obsess over whether or not every decision leads to the perfect out come all the time. You learn by doing that sometimes the opposite of what you want or think will happen is what happens. Sometimes you will be happy with that and sometimes you won’t but it’s the way things work. It’s how the universe works and it doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong.

Career confidence means you pay attention to the areas that are working, you get real about what isn’t, and then you commit to making small changes, experimenting along the way. You believe in your hypothesis, you test it out and you adapt as needed. Not simply by throwing spaghetti at the wall but in a measured way. This is part of what I help my clients with. I don’t spend a lot of time coaching you on how to make a decision. This is not the most valuable use of our time together. There is no need to spend all of our time searching for and making the “right” decision. This is where we all get tripped up a lot.

A decision made is the right decision. That’s all.

Then you try it, test it, evaluate it, adapt it. You go all in on it until you have a reason not to. You just make the decision. The coaching begins after the decision is made. This is the part that matters. This is how you create the result you want. You make the decision a good one after it’s been made. Don’t give this power to the decision and throw your hands in the air anticipating failure. Because then that will be what happens. A high quality decision can lead to a low quality result. A low quality decision can lead to a high quality result, a high quality decision can lead to a high quality result but if it you make no decision you get no result or the same result every single time.

The greatest decisions you make aren’t the ones that get you the results you want, they are simply the ones you make. See? Simple. Decide, act, learn, keep moving forward.

Believe, make decisions, implement, evaluate, learn, grow, move forward. Simple.

Easy? Well, not always but that’s why you have me!

We don’t wait until we feel more confident because we won’t. We don’t wait until we have more time or more money because there will never be enough time or money to convince you to do something you haven’t decided to do already or that you’ve convinced yourself you’re confused about.

We get what’s hard and what’s easy backwards all the time. We’re hard wired to do this. It’s okay but remember you can take a small step. You can’t do it wrong because no matter what, it’s going to move you forward. If you never move forward, you never get anywhere. Not deciding means not getting anywhere. You might go up and then realize you should have gone down. Perfect. Now you can go down rather than stay confused in the middle. What’s also true is there was some beauty in the up direction too. You saw something, you learned something, you grew. Elevators don’t go in only one direction. Neither do you. Stop believing the fallacy that’s been conditioned into you that there’s a right or perfect way to do anything. My way isn’t your way. You have to find your own. This is how.

So, if you’re trying to figure out your next career move, what do you know? What do you already know works? What are the things you already know you want? How can you move towards them?

In my Career Confidence program we make high quality decisions quickly and then go all in all getting the high quality results you want. We take a good look at what you already know. We look at what you want but think you can’t have—usually because you are holding off on making decisions for fear of making bad ones.

Of course, you don’t feel confident now but what would you be doing if you did? What would you commit to trying if you could believe your emotional and financial well-being were assured no matter what? This is what I teach. This is one of the ways you learn self-confidence. You don’t have to feel confident to tap into this. You won’t feel confident in something you haven’t done. You have no proof yet. Confidence comes by doing so you have to tap into something else. You can’t tap into confidence in your ability to do the thing because you haven’t done it. What you tap into is confidence in yourself. In the trust that you won’t be horrible to yourself if you get it wrong. This is what you fear most.

We work on your belief together and use a process I teach to make a quick, high quality decision, we implement it, and we evaluate it. Then we make more decisions. I teach you to have your own back no matter what so you can keep moving forward even when you think you’re confused or things feel hard.

It’s okay if your mind still wants to worry. Let it. We will work together to turn the worry into wonder and from there you can start taking small steps. You'll use some courage and commitment until you tap into your self-confidence, and then confidence. It's amazing and it's the only way it works.

This is all for now. When you're ready for your free Career Confidence Consultation with me, a professionally training Career Counsellor + Coach you can click here to sign up.

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