To know and not to do is not yet to know. – Zen proverb
Change is hard.
If you you disagree with someone else’s beliefs what do you do?
Do you try and persuade them to change?
And, if you have tried that, how did it turn out?
In my experience, people attach themselves to views and find it very hard to loosen themselves without feeling like they are losing face.
Without feeling embarrassed.
And that makes sense, because that’s how many of us feel in the same position.
Making changes at a larger scale is even more difficult. Getting people to act and do something in a different way.
It comes down to something very basic.
We’re afraid of what will happen if we do something different.
If we leave our job, will we ever find another one?
If we try and pursue what we think we love, will we find that we aren’t as good as we think?
What if no one comes to see what we do, or buy what we make?
So, what do you do with fear? That thing sitting in your way blocking your path, stopping you from moving forward?
And there is no right answer.
There is doing, and seeing, and learning, and doing again.
For example, many people are looking at developing portfolio careers.
This is when you do a number of jobs rather than one main one.
For many people, such portfolios of jobs are more flexible and rewarding and a better fit with their lifestyle and responsibilities.
So, if you want to move from where you are now to somewhere else, how do you start?
You can’t do anything other than start slowly.
You’re slow because you don’t know everything yet, you don’t have the relationships and connections to help you get things done and you might not be sure what the right way is anyway.
Slow is ok. Slow is good.
Slow is better than stuck.
For example, with that fear blocking the road, what could you do to try and edge past it?
You might start by volunteering – helping out at an organisation that does the kinds of things you want to do.
Once you’ve readied yourself to do something new then you’ll start to see opportunities when they come in front of you.
Maybe you can take some of them.
You might be an analyst in your day job. But that doesn’t stop you doing some search engine optimisation consulting for small businesses near you.
You might take pictures on weekends – and could submit them to magazines.
Or perhaps the flexibility of being an Uber driver might work for you.
The last few drivers I’ve met have all chosen to drive – perhaps while starting their businesses, or winding down to retirement, or because it fits their lifestyle.
The idea is to try things – have a go at different options and see what happens.
If something works then you have validation – you have proof that your idea might work and you should put more effort into it.
Then again, being slow might simply be an excuse to not do anything.
In that case, do you jump?
Do you quit what you’re doing now and try and make it in a new career?
The advice would normally be no – but it really depends on what happens if things don’t go as planned.
If you have enough savings for a month’s worth of expenses then taking a leap is probably not a good idea.
If you assume that it will take between two and ten years of trying to get back to what you’re making now, then you need to be clear on whether you’re in a position to do that.
Can you go a year without income?
If you can – then jumping may be an option. And sometimes that’s the way to really do it – commit and leap.
To change you must first get past the fear of what might happen if you change.
You can try and sneak past it, trying experiments and side hustles and second jobs.
You can try and push past it, reducing your hours at your job and taking on other projects.
Or you can run straight through it.
But to change anything, you have to do something.
In the end, what you’re defeating is yourself.