No One Can Tell You Everything is Going to be Okay

by | May 15, 2012 | Building Courage | 26 comments

Y ou want to make a bold change in your life but your options feel risky.

What if you leave your job and can’t find another one?  What if you start your own business and get sick without health insurance?  What if your spouse gets tired of supporting your dream and leaves?

There will always be two choruses: those who think you’re crazy and those who advise “everything will be fine.”

Deep down, you want to listen to the voices of encouragement.  You want to give more room in your life to the positive instead of the negative.

But the negatives are pretty persuasive.

The truth is, neither group has any better idea what’s going to happen than you do.

They don’t know how committed you are or your level of grit.  They don’t know what skills you have, which you still need to develop, and how those compare to others in the field.  They don’t know your network or how much they love you.

Instead of asking whether bad things will happen if you make a change, ask how capable you are to deal with those events should they occur.

I recently wrote a post for Man vs Debt called How to Save Money Doing What You Love.  In the comments, one reader said

You’re right, I really shouldn’t use my finances as an excuse to stay in a soul-crushing career, but for now I have to put my head down so I can pay off some debt and accrue some extra savings before I take the leap. It’s hard not to be practical with a mortgage and a baby on the way.

He sounds a bit sheepish, at least to my ear, as if I was trying to convince him personally to leave his job and start his career anew tomorrow.  But in fact, he and I completely agree: practical is good.  Make a plan to pay off your debt … and do it.  Make a plan to sell or rent your house, or build up emergency savings, or provide stability for your spouse while they try something new.  Whatever your obstacle, make a plan to deal with it and do it.

But don’t mistake being practical for never changing.

Because there’s a hidden assumption here we have to address: no one can tell you everything is going to be okay even if you attempt to keep everything the same.

Several of my clients were unexpectedly laid off while going through my No Regrets Career Academy.  Career change went from feeling risky to essential.  They were glad they’d invested the time in developing a plan for change.

Being static is just as risky as changing.

So plan for the potential of an opportunity as much as you do its failure.

You want to make a bold change in your life but your options feel risky.

What if you leave your job and can’t find another one?  What if you start your own business and get sick without health insurance?  What if your spouse gets tired of supporting your dream and leaves?

There will always be two choruses: those who think you’re crazy and those who advise “everything will be fine.”

Deep down, you want to listen to the voices of encouragement.  You want to give more room in your life to the positive instead of the negative.

But the negatives are pretty persuasive.

The truth is, neither group has any better idea what’s going to happen than you do.

They don’t know how committed you are or your level of grit.  They don’t know what skills you have, which you still need to develop, and how those compare to others in the field.  They don’t know your network or how much they love you.

Instead of asking whether bad things will happen if you make a change, ask how capable you are to deal with those events should they occur.

I recently wrote a post for Man vs Debt called How to Save Money Doing What You Love.  In the comments, one reader said

You’re right, I really shouldn’t use my finances as an excuse to stay in a soul-crushing career, but for now I have to put my head down so I can pay off some debt and accrue some extra savings before I take the leap. It’s hard not to be practical with a mortgage and a baby on the way.

He sounds a bit sheepish, at least to my ear, as if I was trying to convince him personally to leave his job and start his career anew tomorrow.  But in fact, he and I completely agree: practical is good.  Make a plan to pay off your debt … and do it.  Make a plan to sell or rent your house, or build up emergency savings, or provide stability for your spouse while they try something new.  Whatever your obstacle, make a plan to deal with it and do it.

But don’t mistake being practical for never changing.

Because there’s a hidden assumption here we have to address: no one can tell you everything is going to be okay even if you attempt to keep everything the same.

Several of my clients were unexpectedly laid off while going through my No Regrets Career Academy.  Career change went from feeling risky to essential.  They were glad they’d invested the time in developing a plan for change.

Being static is just as risky as changing.

So plan for the potential of an opportunity as much as you do its failure.