A career transition can be frustrating. After more than 15 years of working with career clients, I have yet to meet someone who has told me they enjoy a job search. Even when making a voluntarily move, most want to move through the process as quickly as possible and nail down a great job.
A common psychological strategy for calming anxiety is creating a Plan B, or having a back-up strategy if Plan A doesn’t work out as expected. While this can be a helpful approach in some situations, in a job search, it can mean a longer transition time and possibly settling for a role that’s less than ideal.
You have a finite amount of energy, so you have two choices: 1) Focus 100% on attaining the job of your dreams, or 2) Focus 75% on attaining the job of your dreams and 25% on attaining a job that is merely acceptable. Why would you focus only 75% on your dreams instead of 100%?
While there may be financial, healthcare, or other practical reasons to have a Plan B, if you go this route, you’ll likely find yourself in another job search within a few years. So, why not focus 100% of your energy NOW on what you really want (even if it takes a little longer to get there) to avoid finding yourself back in the same place?
But what if you’ve identified TWO ideal job paths? My recommendation is still to pursue one with 100% of your energy. As Confucius teaches us, “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
If you must create some kind of Plan B due to financial reasons, have a timeframe set in your mind to switch paths. For example, commit to focusing 100% on Plan A for 6 months and try everything possible to attain your goal. In the unlikely situation where you come to a dead end, have a specific date in mind to shift the focus to Plan B.
One of the sayings I live by is that, “99% is a bitch, but 100% is a breeze.” When there is even 1% of space for doubt or second-guessing, the energy drain on the other 99% can be devastating. Think of it as adding one drop of putrid sewer water to your glass of iced tea. Still want to drink it?
So have faith in your abilities and go all in. You will get much further, much faster if you give something 100%!