Taking a big career leap is never easy, but the rewards are worth it – just ask these people. That said, this decision isn’t easy at all and one can be forgiven for falling prey to self-doubt and fear. Whether you’re quitting your job to start your own company, or leaving your field of expertise to pursue your passion project, there is no denying that the pitfalls and difficulties involved can overwhelm even the bravest of us, so much so that even the excitement of new challenges dims away.

How does one, then, overcome this crippling miasma? Short answer: It’s all in the mental fortitude. Read on for the long answer:

Self-Doubt is Natural – Accept it

Remember the aforementioned list of people who successfully transitioned to a new career? They all suffered from sleepless nights, worried over the consequences of failure and more. It’s natural, everyone experiences it, it’s not the end of your dreams.

Here’s a tried and tested way to power you through the doubt phase: Grab a checklist and break your ambition/goal/task down into smaller, incremental steps. Each small step that you accomplish will be one more mark on your checklist of success, slowly boosting your morale and pumping additional motivation into your bloodstream.

Reframe the Risks

Suppose you decide to quit a lucrative, well-settled position at a prestigious firm to pursue your passion project for a year to see if you can make it on your own. Standard narrative would qualify this as high risk – but what if you could reverse-psych yourself into looking at this positively? Assuming that you live up to be 70 (the average life expectancy in Pakistan’s actually lower) – that means that in the grand scheme of your life, your one year of high risk amounts to only 1.4% of your lifespan. Doesn’t look like much now, eh? Even if you end up giving on this pursuit, the risk appears to be much reduced.

By reframing your wacky career tangent this way, you can make it look much less daunting and a lot more achievable – a strong motivator!

Plan Risk Reduction and Mitigation

Not to dampen your newly acquired euphoria from the previous paragraphs, but a significant career shift does involve risk, chances of failure and other unforeseen roadblocks. You may also have family or other constraints to consider.

A great way to plan such an extreme life move is to chart out your plan in its entirety, then set limitations and boundaries on yourself. Could be a spending limit, could be a time limit – say, 2 years and some sum of money. In that framework, give it a 100%, nay give it your 500%. If, however, you are unable to reach the milestone you pictured for yourself by the end, that’s when you cut your losses and move on. You don’t want to be jeopardizing your time and finances any further!

Remember, careful planning before you take that first step can help keep unforeseeable circumstances (financial or otherwise) at bay – and that taking the ‘safe’ option in no way displays weakness. Overcoming your fear is the first, albeit one of the biggest, steps on your way to a successful career shift. These people did it, so can you!

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