Dr Nick Maguire on dealing with fear of career change part 1.

I have come across a lot of people who completely make the wrong career decision purely because they allow so much fear to build up inside them at the time of transition that they choose the easy way out.

I had the same fear, doubt and concern when I decided to change career in the British Armed Forces and nearly became a victim of fear when I took my first job as an HGV driver. The pay matched my military pay and even allowed me some saving on the side. Working Hours were fixed. It was comfortable.

We all have fear, fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of height, fear of public speaking but when fear stops you from trying anything else then you have a problem.

The problem becomes more apparent in time of a career change specially when you have dependant or peer pressure. I looked for a replacement money when i took my lorry driving job and if you let fear control you, you end up in a cage.

During my LOS podcast I get to interview leaders from the largest generation-the baby boomers and one of the common question I ask them since most have successfully retired is:

‘What would you have done differently in your leadership career if you could go back?

and the answer I get everytime is:

‘take more risks and ignore fear’.

As an entrepreneur, fear is also present every time you make a business decision and its impact on the business and other people.

One of the greatest man who had to face fear is Abraham Lincoln, who was born into poverty and faced adversity throughout his life. Lost eight elections, failed twice in business and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times due to fear-but he didn’t and because he faced his fear, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States of America.

Let’s face it, 10 years on since the 2008 recession many people lives changed but for most life has either remained the same or got worse. Living cost has gone up while wages have been stagnating and having had a close look at the last 10 years earnings have lagged behind prices for most of the decade since the start of the recession. In the public sector, a pay freeze (from 2011) and pay cap (from 2013) kept wage rises below inflation, while in the private sector wage growth was also slow.*

For some businesses they are still suffering the impact of the recession. Just last week the company I used to drive for closed down with 125 vehicles and many staff made redundant. I am now wondering how those people will reinvent themselves. The transport industry has already been disrupted, we have seen Uber & Tesla cars ready to take over. Anything that is low skill is easily disrupted, it is a matter of time where trucks will be disrupted even more.

The long and short of it is that the Great Recession was as big of an event to today’s youngest adults as 9/11 was to Millennials and the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King were to Baby Boomers. It didn’t just change our lives for a few years, it affected our outlook. Consumers had to develop new shopping disciplines, and make fewer discretionary pounds go much farther than ever before.

Here are 4 simple steps to combat fear during transition:

  1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

I recently stepped out of my comfort zone by joining a new yoga class. My biggest fear was that I would struggle to keep up with the other athletes who have been doing yoga at this level for a long time, and that’s exactly what happened. Even after years of consistent, hard-core training, I’ve found myself at the bottom of the group. It made me realise how stuck I’ve been in my old patterns of body building and that new challenges are good for the mind and body.

So shake things up. Be uncomfortable. Seek out something new where you are out of your comfort zone and then you question your ability to succeed.

2.Change network

Ask yourself who do you need in your inner circle as you lean into your career change? What knowledge, expertise, guidance, or emotional support is missing? Go find it.

Reach out to ONE new advisor/advocate with a specific ask, so that you are informed about your next move and what awaits you.

At certain points in life, everyone experiences fear. But as a businessperson, you must learn how to understand and cope with your fear. Better yet, you must use fear to your advantage.

3.Use fear to your advantage

Learning to overcome fear is an essential skill. You must conquer fear to push through hesitations, join new companies, develop innovative products and disrupt industries.

4.Change environment

Environment dictates performance. One of best books I have come across and I wish it was given to me when I left the military as part of my resettlement-

Who moved My cheese.

It is only about one hour read about a mouse who refused to accept change and his friends who faced their fears to go find new cheese. The further one of them got away from his home, the more comfortable he became dealing with fear. If you are about to change career or leave the military I strongly recommend this book.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“He knew he had learned something useful about moving on from his mice friends, Sniff and Scurry. They kept life simple. They didn’t overanalyze or overcomplicate things. When the situation changed and the cheese had been moved, they changed and moved with the cheese. He would remember that.”

Here are some notes from the book:

  • Change happens
  • Anticipate change
  • Monitor change
  • Adapt to change quickly
  • Change
  • Enjoy change!
  • Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again & again!

You can get it on amazon here:


You can also download the pdf freely here:

Click to access WhoMovedMyCheese_DrSpencerJohnson.pdf

Or get the video of it here:

  • How do you face your fear during a career change? I would like to hear your thoughts on it. Leave me a message below or connect with me @SamuelTReddy on facebook & Twitter.

Samuel T. Reddy Entrepreneur/Author/Speaker /Advisor.



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