Do you have a tendency to think in absolutes?
Is everything good or bad, black or white?
This type of thinking can severely limit your options. Or worse, prevent you from getting an accurate picture of what's possible.
Most people are uncomfortable hanging out in the “I don't know” space. The anxiety of not knowing triggers a rush to decision making. However, learning how to deal with periods of uncertainty while weighing your options will afford you the time to make a superior choice.
So how do you do this? Try a new approach and get support.
Broaden Your Reach
Suppose you wanted to explore career options. If you usually get advice from one or two people, instead make a list of every possible person who might provide information. If you get a knot in your stomach at the thought of contacting these people, you’re on the right track! You’re out of your comfort zone, and that’s good. To build up your courage before tackling this list, ask a trusted friend for encouragement and moral support.
As a further challenge, attempt to connect with a person who has achieved prominence in their field. While getting an appointment with a successful individual or receiving a return e-mail may take time, the effort could result in valuable insight and net you a future mentor.
Ideally, speak with one person working in each of the ranks (upper, middle and/or lower) of the career area you are exploring. Keep the information flowing by asking your contact for another name.
Besides getting a more detailed picture of what you can expect from this career choice, you'll begin to get a view of all the permutations that are possible. Each person's opinion will broaden your view and knowledge.
Explore The Gray Area
It is in this huge “gray area" where a wonderful new career might be waiting for you. You could even discover that you already possess many of the requisite skills, making a career transition easier than you thought.
In the end, the choices you make will improve if you do the research and take the time for reflection. Don't panic or rush the process. In this case, faster is not better, slower is. And a wonderful by-product of this process is a newfound sense of self-confidence and fresh possibilities!
Dale Kurow, M. S. , is an author and a career and executive coach in NYC. Dale works with clients across the U. S. and internationally, helping them to survive office politics, become better managers, and figure out their next career move. Visit Dale’s web site at http://www.dalekurow.com/phone_ebook for information about her latest E-Book, Phone Interview Skills Sharpened Right Here!