Any change in your career - be that a promotion, a lateral move, moving company, quitting and retraining or reducing your working hours to spend more time with family - can be really challenging. Change is hard. That initial shift out of a comfortable routine and into (temporary) uncertainty is something we’ve all faced or if you haven’t, be prepared, it’s coming. It’s part of life’s journey: sometimes it’s forced upon us but other times we may purposely and intentionally take that leap, although you may find yourself in mid-air, suddenly looking down like Wiley Coyote when he’s run off the cliff, questioning the leap you just took and wondering if you were better off where you were!
As we come towards the end of 2019, we’re reflecting back at The Hustle House having taken that leap into the unknown earlier in the year. Setting up a business throws up a huge amount of uncertainty, stress and change with a daily flutter of fear. Going from the comfort of a large organisation, surrounded by teams of people every day, set goals, clear schedules, guaranteed salary, a boss and all those glorious benefits – ‘hello contributory pension’ - to absolutely NONE OF IT, is bloody scary.
You are suddenly thrust into a strong sense of vulnerability because once you start telling people (apparently you must do that to make it a success), marketing, sharing on LinkedIn, Instagram and all the platforms possible, you suddenly realise, if this doesn’t work, EVERYONE will see us fail! Watching, waiting and anticipating – how long will they last?
Putting yourself out there, exposing yourself in a new and unfounded way is as scary as it is exhilarating. Being so exposed with no cushy corporate blanket to cover ourselves, we battled with so many questions. Are we good enough? Can we make this work? Will we ever get paid again? Are we even the kind of people to set up a business? We read about them in The Times and on the back pages of the Stylist magazine; we followed successful women online, women in business, creating very prosperous lives for themselves and we wondered – could we do this and is there enough room for all of us?
Those closest to us are masters of reassurance but in all those fleeting moments of doubt there are thankfully bigger moments of belief. You secure your first client. You get asked to guest lecture at a university and slowly but surely the little wins get bigger and the belief grows. What if everyone does see us and sees us succeed? What if making this change will work out? As Brené Brown beautiful puts it, “you have to lean into the discomfort and fully embrace vulnerability because it’s necessary to experience success, joy and happiness. You’ve got to let yourself be seen, with no guarantees, in order to find purpose and meaning”.
So, we did it. We whipped off that corporate blanket, leaned so far into the discomfort we’re practically horizontal with just tippy toes to balance and we’re doing it. And guess what we discovered? There is enough room for all of us and the community of businesswomen is one of the most supportive and engaging networks that exist, and one that continues to grow. Even if you’re not a businesswoman, embracing your network (online or otherwise) can be one of the best ways to get guidance and encouragement for making that change.
If you’re making a career change or even just thinking about it, no matter how small, have belief. Embrace all the feels and focus as much on the wonderful possibilities as the uncertainty or fear. It’s bloody scary making a change but leaping into the air is always much more fun than standing still and you never know what you might discover.