How to Conquer Fear to do Work You Love

Many of us, if we allow ourselves to dream, have got a pretty good idea of what we’d like to do for a living if it felt within the realms of possibility and we knew we couldn’t fail.

Think about it now and ask yourself this question: If you were confident you’d succeed, weren’t worried about what’s realistic and couldn’t be affected by what other people thought, what job would you be pursuing or creating to best fit your values, strengths and passions?

At the very least, you might have a sense of it – particularly in terms of how it would feel.

But if you’re like the majority of the population your dream of an alternative career is probably halted by limiting beliefs and a fear of failure – both often disguised as pragmatism.

Limiting beliefs around duties, abilities, permissions and possibilities do a fabulous job of standing in our way and denying us a new path. And if we have tried to branch out and test the water with a new idea, it’s likely something hasn’t work the way we’d hoped and it has stopped us in our tracks.

Until now.

My clients and I have recently been testing out a new experiment called The 100 Rejections Project. It’s a brilliant tool for challenging limiting beliefs and fear of failure to move you into action, which helps you build momentum towards your ideal job role or career.

The premise is simple. Take some time to identify a roadblock that is preventing you from moving towards a more fulfilling career. Is it about skills, what friends and family will think, not knowing enough about the area you are interested in, asking people for help, etc?

Make that roadblock your goal for the 100 rejections project. The aim is to take small actions in relation to this goal, where you are actively trying to get 100 knock-backs.

Yes, that’s right, you are aiming to chalk up failures, because each failure is a step towards the full 100.

This might sound ridiculous, but the psychology behind it is clever. By aiming to get 100 rejections we are moved into action and when we get some knock backs, which we will, it doesn’t wield the same negative power that stops us having another go. In effect, our tendency to fuse with limiting beliefs and our resistance to failure are both reduced.

The reality is, in having lots of go’s at it, some things will work – which propels us forward and builds all-important momentum towards our career end goal.

So, whether it sees you filling out applications to different schools to learn new skills; testing out your career idea on 100 different people to see what feedback and ideas you get; or asking industry gurus to give up 15 minutes of their time on the phone to share their own experience – you’ve got nothing to lose, because losing is the point.

Except that in trying to lose, I have a strong hunch you’ll experience some important wins along the way – moving you towards the career change you really want.

Give it a go and see what happens!

November 21, 2015
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