I recently read that there are 150 prepositions in the English language. I’m thinking of drawing up a list of them for my clients. You know, for a bit of variety. Because if there was such a thing as a favourite preposition, my clients would land firmly on BUT.
“I’d love to return to the Arts, but …”
“I sometimes wonder if I could start my own business, but …”
“I dream of becoming an accountant, but …” (OK, so no-one has ever said that to me yet.)
By the time people email me, they’ve normally spent months, or often years, in a demoralising tug of war with themselves. They say they desperately want change and harbour thoughts of a more fulfilling work life but are the experts in explaining to themselves why it won’t work.
Generally, they’ve long exhausted the patience of partners and friends with their contradictory desperation for change and utter inability to take action. Or as I like to describe it, they can’t get off their “but”.
Covid 19 walked up to our evolutionary predilection for the status quo and laughed in its face
So, what’s going on?
Predominantly our own biology. Neuroscientists will tell you we’re hardwired to resist uncertainty – so much so, that our brain prefers a predictable, negative outcome over an uncertain one. Business guru Tim Ferriss goes as far as to suggest that “most people choose to be unhappy rather than uncertain.” Our natural default is to stay put – where our brain reckons we’re safest.
Change is certainly challenging. It can seem scary and risky. A career change or redesign doubly so, tied up as it is with our identity and our status, not to mention our finances, our family life and our friendships. But suddenly, change is in the air. Covid 19 walked up to our evolutionary predilection for the status quo and laughed in its face. And while for many of us that meant a very difficult 18 months, it has simultaneously emboldened us in our quest for change.
Research by Aviva found three out of five workers plan to learn new skills, gain qualifications or change their career altogether as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Along with the vaccine, we seem to have been injected with a healthy shot of courage. After all, if life is going to blindside us with change, hell, we might as well seize this moment to overhaul our lives. Actually, of course, we’re not really scared of CHANGE at all – after all, it’s the outcome we dream of. We scared of TRANSITION – the unknown bit that has to come first.
The finding out what you’re good at, what you care about, what interests you. Then reaching out to new people and creating and sharing your new story. Embracing a few dead ends as you road-test your ideas. Risking the No’s that inevitably litter the road to Yes. Temporarily becoming a beginner at something where you were once an expert.
Need support? A great career coach will help get you clear on who you are and what you want, challenge you to fully explore your ideas and options, and get you into action.
Has Covid finally got you off your but? Great. Let’s go mutate!