A common pitfall to change is getting halted by the assumed timeline of the training required for the new role you are considering or by your own age or both. I’ve had several clients initially hesitate to change because they had this preconceived notion that it would take too long to complete or because of their age. After sessions of me gently challenging them with some thought provoking questions, they more often than not concluded that it was other fears causing them to hesitate and that it was, in fact, not too late!
I had the pleasure of being able to interview Bill Bernett, co-author of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, during the research for my book. He conveyed an interesting encounter he had at an event. I thought it was a perfect example of change hesitation so I shared it in my book. Here’s an excerpt from that section:
This woman came up to Bill at lunch after working unsuccessfully on her Odyssey plan. She said she was struggling to leave her high-power law position to pursue something else. She hated her job even though she was hugely successful and had made a big name for herself. She’d been thinking about making a change for a while now but just couldn’t seem to get past the timeline hurdle.
Bill encouraged her several times in the course of their conversation to take the leap. The woman kept emphasizing she was already middle aged, with a family, and very well established, so starting down a path that would potentially take years was just out of the question. “You just don’t understand,” she told Bill.
Bill did understand. The woman’s change, should she decide to try it, would be uncomfortable and long. It would not be a movie trailer; it would be a full-length feature film. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, just something that wasn’t law and wouldn’t take too long to switch to. There are some roles you need to get into before a certain age, the military for example, and some roles that do have an extensive training process, like becoming a neurosurgeon which takes about twelve years (Ng, 2019). Other than those examples though, most timelines regarding jobs are not insurmountable.
More often than not, at the core of the timeline conundrum that makes people hesitate is the uncomfortable lifestyle change that comes with it. This woman had “made it.” Her current lifestyle involved a large home and two Teslas. Deciding to start over in a new role would mean returning to school for potentially lengthy training and entry-level pay. She would be starting over at the bottom of her new career field.
She hesitated and ultimately decided not to change. She felt the discomfort that would have come from that change was too much. She’d rather live an unhappy professional life, daunted by the timeline, than be uncomfortable for a bit to get all-around life satisfaction.
In this article series, I share excerpts, insights and stories from my book, All About Change: How to Successfully Make Personal Life Changes. I hope you enjoyed this post — if you enjoyed it and want to connect you can reach me here via email email@example.com or connect with me on social: Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. Also, you can also find my book on Amazon — here is the link to buy it: Amazon.