I’ve been thinking the last couple of days about fear. I wonder if you have explored this topic for yourself or have any insight into this that might be useful for posting to your blog. I don’t think I can be the only person paralyzed by fear.
I have been considering a career change both to place myself on a career path more in line with my natural inclinations and gifts, but also that might provide a bit more income, as I am currently the sole wage-earner for my family and keeping my financial head above water is challenging. I feel unable to move when I play with all the unknowns in front of me. As far as I can sort out, any career change that would meet my two mentioned goals would require additional schooling and that would require taking on debt. I do not feel confident my skills would allow me to succeed if I did choose to try a different path and I fear I might be equally unhappy in another career, but with additional mountains of debt I would have insufficient resources to pay. If I don’t do anything, I will remain in a career and life that leaves me feeling as if I am just getting through each day. While I have succeeded in this current career in the past, it was through effort, not natural gift. I took a long break from that career to raise children and feel that my skill level has sharply decreased with disuse. So in addition to not really feeling fulfilled by my current career, I also fear not meeting current expectations and losing what I do have. I also fear changing positions within my field. My limited skills seem to only be sufficient now for entry level jobs that would provide very low income (within $10,000 of the federal poverty level). In addition I work in a financial position and I declared personal bankruptcy this year. I fear this choice will prevent me from being able to obtain any other position (low-paying or not) within this field.
I have considered that perhaps some level of fear is healthy because I do have realistic limitations on my possibilities. The fear may be healthy in keeping my aspirations to attainable levels. Perhaps what I actually need is advice on finding peace and happiness in the place I currently stand. Perhaps the overwhelming negative fear emotions are a counterbalance to out of control hope pinned to unattainable goals. If I could find peace with lower goals, maybe the fear would naturally balance itself to manageable levels.
Do you have any insight that might help me manage this fear?
You really brought up some good questions. Following your passions, or letting fear get the best of you? Doing what you want to do, or doing what you have to do because it’s a necessity?
I learned somewhere that fear is a necessity in that it forces us to pay attention, and that it will go away when we make a decision either way. So, in a way, the advice I have for your fear, is simply to make a decision. Once the decision is made, your fear will lessen.
But… what decision to make? To continue in something that leaves you feeling unfulfilled, or unhappy, or to branch out to something that may not allow you to live the life that you need to live as the sole breadwinner?
I know that most people would say to follow your dreams, no matter what, but I truly understand what it means to have to pay the bills – to have to do things you don’t want to do, but are a necessity. Unfortunately, even when following our dreams, we need to be practical.
But what a rotten choice! There has got to be a better answer than just doing work that doesn’t fulfill you but still allows you to take care of your family!
My gut is saying that there is a better choice. Maybe the decision is not so simple as this or that. Is the second choice really something that fulfills you and makes you happy? Or is it something that just fulfills you more than the other one?
To be honest, I don’t think that staying in this same position is going to do anything good for you, or your family in the long run. Staying in a position you’re unhappy with will just leak out into other areas of your life. I think you have no choice emotionally but to take a jump, but maybe for that first step, take a middle or sideways jump instead of all the way?
Again, we all need to strive to reach our dreams and what will make us the happiest people we can be, because being happy ourselves will affect all of our loved ones as well. So, to me, staying in this position isn’t an option, but the second one isn’t an option right now either. I say, there’s a third option, that may end up being better than the two presented.
Is it possible to talk to your supervisor about your desire to learn more about a certain field? If it is, maybe he or she can help you. But if it’s not possible, then I think it’s time to move on. Maybe just by moving to a different company in the same position you’re in, will allow you more opportunity to practice the skills you want to develop while still giving you the income that you need. I really feel strongly that it is time for you to make a change – it seems to me like your soul is crying for it, and that listening to it is the best thing that you can do.
Being the breadwinner is hard, and because you have to put everyone else’s needs first, your own needs seem like they need to take second place.
I am not sure they do…. Your path is a little more complicated than someone who is not the breadwinner, but it’s still possible. Your dreams are worthy, and your hopes for happiness and satisfaction for yourself in your job are just as important as taking care of others.
When you are paralyzed by fear for making the wrong decision, try to remember that you can’t make the wrong decision. Here is why I say that.
We both know that you will always do the best you can for your loved ones. We both know that because you put their happiness and well-being first by even thinking about staying somewhere you’re unhappy. So, no matter what decision you make, it will be the right one.
But we cannot live entirely for others. You also deserve to grow and be happy. It’s time to brainstorm and be creative. Instead of making the big move, try to come up with some sideways moves that will move you gradually to the place you want until you can get to the place you want to be. You deserve to be happy too.
And if you are someone who believes in prayer – pray. I believe prayers can make a big difference in the outcome of things.
I hope this helped. If I can help anymore, or if you want help brainstorming, I would love to chat more.