Kelly (not her real name) contacted me because she thought she’d made a mistake by taking her current job. She was an intelligent and curious woman, but she’d had trouble finding work in her chosen creative field. Instead, she settled for a job in a small town with okay pay and benefits.
She was bored stiff, but she was having trouble seeing what else she was qualified to do. She also wasn’t sure about leaving a workplace so soon after her hiring date.
Kelly was so afraid of making the wrong move that she wasn’t doing anything.
The thought of job-searching filled her with anxiety, but so did staying where she was.
Because she thought she had to get everything right on the first try, she ended up trapped by her own expectations. Like many smart people, she spent a lot of time in her head and easily worked herself into a spiral of self-judgments that kept her even more paralyzed.
She needed a way to calm her fears and conquer her perfectionism.
Over time, we worked together to tease out the judgments and assumptions that made it hard to move forward. She also learned some techniques for quieting her anxious thoughts and taking them less seriously.
“I’m starting to realize my anxiety isn’t my fault,” she told me once. “It’s not because I’m doing something wrong, it’s just something that’s happening in my brain. I just have to wait for it to pass.”
With each session, she recovered more of her self-confidence.
Soon, with my encouragement, she started sending out job applications. Eventually she got an offer for an administrative position at a university in a large city.
The pay and benefits were better than she’d ever had before, and moving to the city gave her more opportunities to share her creative work and build a community of like-minded people. There were also more job opportunities for her husband, who was able to find a similar position soon after she did.
Since we worked together, Kelly’s professional and personal life has flourished. She’s gained recognition for her creative work and recently negotiated a promotion at her day job. She and her husband are enjoying more financial stability and life satisfaction than ever before.
Where is your perfectionism keeping you stuck?
Are the “shoulds” and “have tos” keeping you from taking action towards a more fulfilling career? I promise that if you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll be waiting a very long time. Learn to dance with your discomfort and know that very few actions are unfixable.
I’d love to chat with you if you’d like some help untangling your own web of confusion and self-judgment. Sometimes all you need is someone to help sort out your thoughts and point out that you’re not nearly as lost as you think. Check out my options for support or sign up for your free career strategy call.