Career Break Terror

Your heart races, you start to sweat, and a state of intense fear overcomes you; this is terror. Chances are that on this journey to achieving your career break dreams you have experienced it. We all have. But the question is, will you let it stop you?

We recently had one of our participants in our Career Break Basic Training Community have this reaction to planning a career break:

Please someone tell me I am doing the right thing. I know I am but I am second-guessing everything right now. Why you ask?! I literally just booked my international flights ten minutes ago. Why this is freaking me out has me beside myself. It’s not like this was the first step of my planning process. I have gotten all of my vaccinations, I have bought my rucksack and have started to fill it, I have already put money down on a hotel (oh, a hotel!) to meet friends halfway through my trip and I booked an internal flight within Chile…yet booking my international flight scared the absolute crap out of me!? WHAT? WHY? HELP!

This is pretty typical Career Break terror that many feel when contemplating or planning.

I recently came across this video by one of my favorite actors, Edward Norton, who one would think should be more confident in his ability than ever. But he speaks instead about fear and terror in his profession that never goes away and how to deal with it.

I thought about his interview about fear in acting applies to fear in taking a career break and traveling. I agree with so much of what he says so it’s worth putting it in those career break terms.

It is 100% certain that your decision to take a break to travel will feel completely half-baked and you will think you will fail at it.

Everyone goes through this when contemplating a big change in his or her life; especially when you are taking a road less traveled. The fears might appear in the form of a constant state of irritation, it may be panic attacks (like our training class participant!) , or it may tears. But if you don’t push through those fears of failure, then you’ll never make change in your life. Change means fear. Change means potential failure. But always remember that change is good and necessary to grow.

People will tell you that your plan won’t work.

People will also tell you to work your butt off until you are 65 and then live your life. If you think that’s the answer, then fine, believe the people that tell you it won’t work. But seriously – when did you start listening to what others tell you to do? You are no longer a kid or a young adult. You can make your own decisions, take your own risks, and craft your own life. Make sure that you surround yourself with people who think it will work and thinks it’s a damn good idea!

As Edward Norton points out, “Getting used to that sensation of fear is a good thing. Get to a point where you realize you are in ‘that’ phase where you feel like you are sweating off three t-shirts a day because you are about to go off the side of a cliff. But you realize you can always buy more t-shirts.”

The key is to get used to the sensation of fear. Because this won’t be the first time on this career break journey that you will encounter it. In fact, know that this is only the beginning. There is inherent fear in traveling, fear in being alone, fear that you will get sick, fear that you will be robbed, fear that you are lost, fear that you are running out of money, and in a cruel twist – you will even have fear in returning to your home when the break is finished. Anticipate and embrace the inevitable sensation of fear. It’s not easy, but it must be done to get anywhere. You’ve been doing it your whole life from the first day you went to school, to the first time you dove off of the high dive at the swimming pool, why can’t you do it now? Don’t balk at the sensation of fear – push through it.

The good news is that as I type this – our career break training participant has started her career break! She pushed through and she’s having the time of her life now.

Will you let fear stop you?

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