What is the biggest mistake you see people make in exploring new careers?

Generally, the biggest problem people encounter is their resistance to staying in a place of uncertainty.  They end their inquiry prematurely and try to come to a decision too fast.  I try to help people become more comfortable with being “uncomfortable” in the service of getting a deeper felt sense of their calling.  This often involves confronting conditioning, fears and being willing to stay with the anxiety that comes along with exploring unfamiliar territory.  Interestingly, many people who are married could remember spending much more time planning the wedding than their shared life.  A similar thing happens with careers.  We spend so much of our time at work, but do we give this area its due in terms of finding a niche that fits our natural disposition, values, rewards, etc.  Often the answer is no.  A career coach can be extremely helpful in this area in a variety of ways, but the biggest one is they help you to see your own blind spots.  If you have a blind spot you don’t know about, it can come back to haunt you in some very ugly ways.  For example, many of my clients are people in mid-life who just fell into something that wasn’t a good fit for them.  They invested a lot of money, time and effort in order to achieve success.  However, once they got it, they realized the ladder of success was leaning against the wrong wall.  In other words, they are unfulfilled and they feel overwhelmed and scared to change directions.  A good coach can help people in this situation become unstuck or if you are younger, to avoid ever being in this situation in the first place.

About Pat

I'm an organizational development specialist, career counselor and personal development coach. My other interests are diverse, but I'm primarily concerned with helping people to lead a productive and meaningful life. I currently maintain two blogs on WordPress. One is directed more toward a business audience and the other will most appeal to the general public. My Masters is in Integral Psychology and I also attended Coaches Training Institute. I like an work in Silicon Valley and work with people from all over the world.
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4 Responses to What is the biggest mistake you see people make in exploring new careers?

  1. patca63 says:

    If this was useful, please give me some feedback. Also, if you would like to ask me a specific question please include this in your reply. You can also subscribe to my blog. Thanks for visiting and subscribing.

  2. Scott says:

    I am currently in the process of making some tough career decisions. I seem to be conditioned to want to turn the career situation around by quickly getting things “back on track” or jump into another situation for the “sake of change itself.” I know and I am still tempted by this. However, it is important that I better understand myself more and, therefore, make better educated decisions about my next career move.

    If your career is important to you and is one of your high priorities, then “Go Slow to Go Fast.” And a good career coach can make the “slow” part a bit faster.

  3. Kimberly Bay says:

    So true, Pat!! I would go a step further, however, and say that this is most people’s problem in MOST areas of conflict in life–be it internal/external, work, romantic life, childhood issues, etc. Everyone today wants “a quick fix,” be it personal issues, romantic relationships, or career decisions. “Staying in a place of uncertainty” can be uncomfortable–mostly because it’s so unfamiliar to the majority of us–but if we can learn to do so, amazing shifts in awareness can happen in our personal and professional lives. I had the privilege of journeying to this truth with you as my life coach. My ability to “sit with the uncertainty and/or discomfort” that arises in life (whether internal or external) has improved a thousand-fold, Thank you for the gift! I am so much stronger and confident in my ability to discern what is needed in my life. I believe most people would highly benefit by working with you.

    • patca63 says:

      Thank you for your insights and kind words. I agree with you that the principle applies to all domains of life. Typically, people are willing to apply this approach when the stakes are high or obvious. When applied to choices in love, however, it is more difficult to slow down the train. If sex enters the equation, then everything accelerates even more. However, going slow… to go fast in all areas makes sense to me.

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