What’s stopping you from making the leap in your career? Are you too comfortable at your current employer and the thought of taking a risk to go somewhere else or do something else is just plain scary? Perhaps you are in the job market because of a layoff and you feel stuck. Here’s a funny thing about both of those situations, lack of action can be a comfortable state.

No matter how difficult your current situation is – you have probably adapted to it. You may not like it. You may want to change it, but the fear of what you do not know or the fear of what you think you know may be stopping you from moving forward.

Think of a trapeze. Let’s suppose you are flying in the air and you have someone on the other end that is willing to catch you – but to do so you have to let go.  Becoming comfortable with a trapeze doesn’t happen quickly. First you practice with a safety net and when you master it you may advance to not using a net.

Letting go in your career means you will be airborne – without the support and comfort of what you do know (no matter how bad it is). You are banking that the risk you take will pay off with a new start, big promotion or change in career direction. It’s a big risk to take that career leap because it means you may have to try new things or approaches because what you are doing today keeps you grounded in the comfort zone.

How Can You Take a Career Leap?

There are a couple of things you can do to prepare yourself for making that career leap.

When you fly through the air without knowing where you are headed – that means you’ll be using the safety net a lot. It’s OK to gather some data and to do some exploration before you start trying to fly. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What is it you specifically want?
  • Who do you want to work for?
  • What role do you aspire to?
  • What will you get from it when you are there?
  • What are you willing to do to make it work?

Career changers might use an assessment such as the Strong Interest Inventory to rediscover where their passion lies. Career advancers and fast trackers may find interpersonal and/or hard skills training the avenue for upping their game. Job hunters may find that they fall flat when interviewing or networking. Whatever it is, do it before you start to fly.

When you trust that you can do what you set your mind to do and stay focused on the outcome, letting go becomes less scary if you are prepared. Lack of preparation makes letting go more difficult to do because you don’t have the confidence needed to move forward. Remember when you get to the other side, you will feel the sense of accomplishment.