What scares you more: a broken leg or a mid-life career change?
If you stalled at the question, you're hardly alone.
The dilemma is compelling. In fact, you can bet that a fascinating number of people would rather be temporarily handicapped, than consider the latter option. An injury likely won't cause you a whirlwind of anxiety, panic attacks, doubt, regret or joy. A career switch? Maybe.
Mind you, it's just human nature. Avoid the unknown, stay safe, don't eat suspicious coloured mushrooms in the forest or you'll end up like Alice. Although, she did have a great adventure.
Going a little loony happens to all of us during our teens (hormones and all that jazz), but what happens if one day in your thirties, your brain decides to pop you existential questions like, what if I can do more? What if I can do something other than this? What if hospitality isn't actually my only thing? Is it too late to be a kick-ass writer? Uh oh. If only some of us could have less annoying brains.
Some would say that sounds like a mid-life crisis. Or, you might also hear stuff like:
Have you gone mad?
Don't risk it.
You aren't so young.
Who's gonna take you seriously.
You don't have the experience.
You don't have the qualifications!
What if you fail?
It's too late.
To some of you (or myself), the above may sound familiar.
Interestingly, you'll find that the worst advice may come from the people who love, or care about us the most. Because, they also fear the worst for you practically all the time(which tends to make them terrible counsel). No blame here. Again, just human nature. But for those of you who ever need some armour against these fears, look them straight in the eye and read them this: 5 Crazy Career Changes That Will Inspire You Not To Settle. The biggest fears in life deserve the best shields.
In fact, one of the best pieces of career advice I've received, was from a person I truly despised(the feeling was mutual). It went something like: "Remember there are a million things you'll have no control over in your life. But your work, job, professional attitude? That's all in your hands." There is no room for personal feelings when the word is true.
Lastly, you'd be kidding yourself not to consider that little whispering voice in your head. It's annoying you for a reason. The best advice you'll ever get goes by an ancient name–instinct.
Guts over fear.
For many people, there is value in routine and stability. There is beauty in mastering just one thing. Not everyone has to feel the same way about everything. No one size fits all as they say.
But for others who suffer that brain itch, and those awkward scary questions that pop up obtrusively, know this: sometimes it pays off to take a really big leap.
Though admittedly, you may want to calculate, consider, and prepare yourself for it first. Assess what your true motivations are and most importantly–know thyself. You'll want to reach in for your guts here. Courage to try aside, be sure you're armed with the courage to fail too.
Once you've done all of that, see if you can respond to the naysayers with:
I've had a moment of clarity.
No risk, no reward.
Better old than never.
I'll make them.
Starting is a good way to gain it.
I can learn!
What if I succeed?
Here's the thing, the broken leg will heal but you might never recover from a lifetime of ifs.
Switch yourself on.
Swerving from the asphalt to the ditch road can be a hell of a ride. You don't always know if you have a airbag if things go wrong. At least with a broken leg, crutches make a great aid.
Begin with never underestimating yourself, your talent, skills or your ability to learn any damn thing at any damn time. In our world and era, resources are plenty. Explore freely, be curious, recall your inner child self when possibilities and imagination seemed endless. Take these old-timers for instance. There is always room for awe. There is always time for change, until there isn't.
It is really important to have a good support system; friends, family, mentors, therapists and most crucially, yourself. If you want a career change to be the best decision you ever made, you need to set yourself up for it. There will be a myriad of people out there who will doubt you, it's a great idea not to add yourself to that list. There will be other bigger battles with yourself to face e.g. the urge to run straight back to your comfort zones.
Who knows down the road, you'd be surprised to learn how many secretly envied your courage. The odds are, many are still hanging around that career switch cliff.
The fact remains, life has a funny way of rewarding you when you get out of your own way. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to prove to yourself and the universe that you're ready. Give yourself a chance and life might just give you one in return.
So, you think you can dance? That you'd be great at it?
What's stopping you? Put on your shoes. Get to it.