Several months ago, my aunt asked me a question that I still consider to be interesting today. That question was, “What made you decide to move from Chicago? I never considered moving away from home.”
To provide you with a quick summary of my background, I am currently in my third (and final) career….Glad I love what I do. My first career was an engineer with Honeywell in Phoenix, AZ. With a newly minted Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, I found that there were better job opportunities away from home, Chicago, than were offered in the Chicagoland area. Although afraid and uncertain, I decided to relocate to Phoenix and embark upon a new journey. Since that initial move, I have relocated several more times to pursue better educational and job opportunities. Each transition brought a certain level of fear, self-doubt, and uncertainty about my success and the ability to take care of myself. With each transition, I challenged myself to have courage to implement these career moves without knowing the potential outcomes. My courage was developed by considering three key factors that I also challenge you to consider when faced with a scenario of uncertainty:
1. Why not?: Returning to my aunt’s question….I responded, “I didn’t have a reason not to relocate”. I was a single professional without any familial obligations or considerations. Thus, I did not have a clear reason to not accept the job offer. I realized that if my professional growth and development were important to me, I had to change my perspective on life and be willing to take risks. Furthermore, relocating afforded me the opportunity to learn about a different area of the U.S. that I was not familiar with. My aunt, too, is single without any family obligations and considerations and has been for the duration of her life to date. Although educated, the thought of experiencing life beyond Chicago had not previously been a consideration. While discussing this topic, we both realized how important it is for an individual to “step out of their own way” and the courage it takes to do so. So when faced with something new..ask yourself, “why not?” and truly examine the pros and cons.
2. Dreams and Desires: Next, facilitate introspection and evaluate your dreams and desires. Are your dreams and desires bigger than your fears? When afraid or uncertain regarding a new opportunity, I have to assess if I would be more disappointed in myself if I didn’t attempt the new opportunity. I would never know my full potential for success if I wasn’t willing to take risks. Therefore I ask you, would you be more disappointed in yourself if you didn’t have the courage to move?
3. Do You Have A Plan?: Last, develop an action plan. The best way to have the courage to move is to have a plan outlined. With every step I decided to take, I had an action plan created. For example, when leaving a full-time job to pursue better educational opportunities, I realized that I needed to create a savings account, reduce debt, determine my last day of work, determine when I would communicate my last date of employment to my immediate superior, research movers, etc. What are your steps for your action plan? And…as an old cliché states “anything that can go wrong will” With that said: What is your contingency plan if your initial action plan cannot be implemented? For instance, will you give yourself a timeline to achieve your goals and if it doesn’t come to fruition implement another strategic move? Always develop a Plan A and a Plan B. When a contingency plan is created, you will also have more courage to make a move towards your goals, dreams and desires.
Do not let your fears guide you….Have the courage to move towards the dreams you have for your life.
Erica L. Anthony, Ph.D., is the CEO/Founder of Lyceum for Innovative Leadership LLC, a full service coaching, training, and consulting business seeking to assist high potential professionals with achieving their personal and professional goals. For additional information regarding Lyceum for Innovative Leadership LLC and the services offered, please visit www.innovative-leader.com.