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3 Ways to Move Past the Fear of a Career Transition

Most people enjoy the feeling of comfort that comes from understanding their environment. Making a career transition is undeniably scary, disruptive, and difficult. Research on stress shows that the brain biologically perceives changing jobs as one of a category of life changes that pose a threat to survival.

Some anxious thoughts that might pop up for you when considering a transition like this include: 

Fear of what other people think and upsetting those you love and respect Fear of not making enough money to maintain your lifestyleFear of starting over, losing progress, and being a beginner in a new environmentFear of the unknownFear of wasting the education that you have already invested in Fear of failureFear of making the wrong choice

The only way for me to conquer my fear of changing paths was to acknowledge the protective voice in my head and also decide I was not going to let it control my actions. The good news is fear and action can’t coexist. When I moved to the actions of applying for jobs, networking, and interviewing, my fears began to fade away. 

Making the move

After 10 years of selling SaaS products and living and working in San Francisco, I made two major shifts in my life: I moved from selling into enablement leadership, and I relocated to San Diego, CA. 

I had a successful career in sales and sales leadership at Twitter, RentPath, and Salesforce, but I was stuck on a hamster wheel that no longer served me. I was fearful to leave my comfort zone and enter the unknown. Thankfully, inspired by motivational writing, I realized: 

I researched and found that in the last five years, sales enablement positions have gained significant traction, and large and small companies around the globe have started to integrate this function into their businesses.

Sales cycles have become longer, more stakeholders are involved in purchasing decisions, and new agile competition has driven prices down. Companies need enablement and training functions to stay competitive. Sales management has suddenly found itself on the back foot, and many sales teams have been using out-of-date methods and tools to respond to new challenges. I focused on what I had learned from the past 10+ years of selling complicated technology in San Francisco, and I realized that “solution selling” is what was missing from Quantcast. I now help the sales and customer success teams understand the unique problems their customers face and match their pain points with Quantcast’s product solutions

The birth of sales enablement has been integrated to assist sales people throughout the sales process and optimize collaboration between revenue-driven departments. Analytics, technology, training, coaching, and sales collateral all come together to even out the playing field and to create the competitive advantage sales reps need to be successful. Quantcast is undergoing a major transformation from a programmatic advertising company to a SaaS company with a robust platform. We have seen tremendous growth and opportunities as we have shifted to accommodate individual problems and concerns. 

I have been working in global training and enablement at Quantcast for over two years and I love it. I am able to influence and lead multiple departments and make connections with wonderful colleagues all over the world. I am able to shape and lead the direction of revenue impacting training and programs, and I get to teach others what I have learned. My mantra summed up in one line is “sell solutions, not products.”

I’ve learned, for a start, that it’s absolutely worth it to take a chance and try a new position. Based on my own experience, here are three ways to make a successful career transition:

1. Squash fear….OR…. shrink fear until it’s manageable 

Fear will always come up. Anxiety is a normal and common part of being a breathing human being. Fear of failure can be debilitating and leave you feeling chronically ill. Take it in small bites and face your fears in small doses. Work on a career change while you have a current job. Hire a professional resume writer and LinkedIn expert to help you apply and network. Seek a professional career counselor. 

2. Take bold action 

Know that fear is normal. Do what scares you anyway. It’s natural to have reservations and anxiety about the unknown, but can you hold those feelings and still make a big, bold move? In the end, only you can decide what makes you happy. People will have opinions about your life and your choices anytime you do something different. When you look back on your life, you will regret the things you didn’t do far more than the things you did. 

3. Believe in yourself

You set the tone for how people will respect and treat you. If you want to overcome your self-doubts and successfully manage a career change, you need to surround yourself with positive people and strong internal affirmations. Beliefs are choices; we have the power to choose our beliefs. On the other hand, if you absorb the fears and doubts of others, you have chosen to succumb to your own fears and self-doubt. Identify new possibilities, leave your comfort zone, and get ready to soar to new heights. 

You can do this! Get your mindset right, network, and take a risk to transition into a new career. Take small steps and don’t fear the unknown. Instead, relax and let it unfold the way it’s supposed to. The number one thing to remember is it’s okay to be afraid, just don’t let it get in the way of your vision. I’m so glad I changed the conversation in my mind and found happiness and success in my career transition. 

Learn more

For more advice on challenging yourself to grow professionally within your organization, read 6 Tips for Career Development. If you’re interested in finding out more about Quantcast’s solutions, check out what we offer for brands, agencies, publishers, and industries.

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