When you take a step in your career that stretches you professionally it can often bring up a mix of emotions.
For example, if you get a new job, you will probably feel ecstatic in the beginning and so proud of your newfound career, but that first three to six months can turn out to be overwhelming, exhausting and uncomfortable at times. In fact, you might begin to wonder if you made the right decision afterall.
Sometimes the discomfort that comes with new responsibilities and new paradigms in your life can be just a symptom of change; other times it’s a sign something isn’t quite in alignment (or what you thought it would be).
Here’s how to tell the difference:
Stretching hurts. Pause and reflect.
When you’re stretching yourself outside of your comfort zone and growing professionally, it’s likely going to feel uncomfortable and at times, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and even like a fraud. You might think, “Why did they give me this job? I don’t deserve it.” or “I’m never going to get the hang of all these processes, systems and the office politics.” You might start planning your exit route and thinking you’ve made a wrong choice ― and that’s totally normal.
Take a moment to pause and reflect. How significant are the changes in your life right now? Did you have to move for this new job? Did your commute change? How about the hours? Are you being asked to learn new roles and responsibilities? What other changes are also occurring in your life right now that could be affecting your comfort level? Have you also gone through a breakup, a divorce or a death in the family?
All of these changes can combine to make you feel like you’ve made a wrong choice, but I invite you to not make any rushed decisions. Decisions made from that place are not coming from your higher self.
Instead, sit with the discomfort. Literally sit your butt down in a chair and close your eyes and find where the anxiety is in your body. Rest your attention there. Ask it what message it has for you. Listen to what you hear with an open mind, no judgement, just curiosity. What do you hear?
Get back into your center.
You are not your circumstances. You are whole and complete just as you are. When you’re in a panic mode over something that feels overwhelming or scary, it’s best to sloooooow way down. Get back into your body. Get back into your center. Your center is a calm, neutral place that feels grounded. It is not bliss, nor is it pain. It is the place in between, where you feel at ease and free.
Once you are back to that place (and it might take a day or a week), rest your attention on your situation. Quit the doing and just be with yourself. What arises for you? What insight do you get? What are you inspired to do that feels like ease, freedom and groundedness? Do that. Use your attention like a flash light. Let it illuminate the steps you can see right in front of you and don’t worry about where you’re going, just follow what lights up on your path ― what you can see right before you. Let the rest unfold as you’re guided.
Reflect back on the change.
Often when we’re on the hunt for a new job, career or taking a leap to start our business, we’re so excited about our prospects that we fail to notice red flags along the way. If you reflect back on your transition, what piqued your curiosity? Was it the look in someone’s eye? The way the energy in the room felt? Did the interviewer keep you waiting forever? Perhaps you heard something about the company that you chose to ignore? What signs did you potentially overlook during this process because you were excited, afraid or overwhelmed?
Also, in what ways are you repeating old patterns? Hold up a mirror and look at yourself. Are you running away from something? What is begging for your time, attention and love? Where can you stay with yourself and allow this experience to grow and stretch you to becoming a better version of yourself?
Remember, there are no right or wrong decisions ― only the consequences to the choices we make. If you decide the consequences are more than you can bear, then pick yourself up, summon your resilience and choose how you want to respond. You always have a choice. Always.