The power of fear

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In my last article, I described separation anxiety relating to a common chore: decluttering. Now I’m relating that to something not as routine. Something that can change a life, in terms of career choices, or deciding to retire.

People get attached to their jobs; so comfortable that they’re afraid to consider other career options.

How many of us have jobs where we wake up and say, “HURRAY! I must go to work today! There’s nothing else I’d rather do!”?

It is rare to know, when applying for a job, what the culture and work conditions are like. You take the risk.

And once in a job, it’s rare to adore every aspect of it – boss, colleagues, work-life balance, culture. Many stay because they get complacent. The go-getters leave in search of greener pastures. It’s also about breaking emotional ties and dealing with separation anxiety.

People tell me they’re afraid to retire because they don’t know what they’ll do after. My answer – plan ahead! Find ways to fill your days with things you love to do, that keep your mind and body active and healthy. Start hobbies, learn new things, volunteer.

Others say they’re afraid to move because they’re comfortable. So they deprive themselves from personal growth, career moves that could take them to stellar heights, from meeting new leaders and colleagues who will bring out the best in them, from diversity in job content and environment. Sticking to one place for 3 years up is frowned upon. Employers look for people who don’t linger in one job, but constantly strive to grow and gain new skills. Yet, people stay.

Separation anxiety and complacency are limiting factors in career development and retirement. The longer you stay, the more reasons you find to stay, and not good ones.

Fear can be a big motivator. It has often fuelled me to accomplish new things. Conversely, fear can be a powerful force that screams against risk-taking. It stops many people from living the life they dream about.

Have you ever been excited about something new you wanted to try? You’re pumped about taking this step, when … bam! Fear shows up. Then you get people telling you all the reasons why it’s a bad idea, about how you can’t pull it off, don’t have the skills, how you’ll make a fool of yourself, “fail”, and so on.

Fear tries to break you down, but only if you let it. You can challenge it, put it in its place, use it for motivation, and go after your dream.

My recommendation: Push aside limiting thoughts. Be open to explore the possibilities and don’t hold on to “old comforts”. Take calculated risks and give yourself the chance to grow and thrive. The end goal should be becoming a better version of yourself – whether this is career growth, or finding new ways to contribute in retirement. Good luck, get going, make the change!

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