Your comfort zone is……… well a comfortable, safe place.But what if you are a teacher and that comfortable place isn’t really comfortable, it is making you sick or miserable?Is it time to think about doing something differently especially if you are considering a career change?
We all know that in order to make changes and grow as person we have to move out of our comfort zones sometimes. Because comfort zones are safe, predictable places, it can be challenging, scary even to move away from that place and do something differently.
So, what is it that’s keeping you in your comfort zone when it isn’t really where you want to be? The chances are it’s fear.
Fear is a very powerful and complex emotion which can be both good and bad! Some types of fear are useful and help us to avoid dangerous situations. But fear we feel when we are facing non life-threatening events can be paralysing and keep us stuck in situations we no longer want to be in.
The 3 most common types of fear experienced by teachers are likely to be
Fear of change
There is no doubt that change is stressful, even when the change results in a better situation.
Fear of change is a very real fear based on the unknown. You don’t know what the outcome of the change will be, so you feel afraid.
The change could improve your current situation, or it could make it worse.
Perhaps you don’t have enough information about the expected outcome, or the change is being forced on you and you feel powerless.
What we think we are afraid of may not always be the real fear, so dig a little deeper and ask yourself ‘what is underneath this?’ You may find an answer you didn’t expect.
Fear of failure – not finding a job, not finding anything better
In everything we do, there is always a chance of failure but there are also strategies we can use to assess the risk of failure and reduce it.
When contemplating a career change these things could help to minimise the risk.
You could (and in most cases should) research and analyse all options,
Have a Plan B in case things don’t go as planned
And most importantly consider the worst-case scenario. If that really would be disastrous then it would be unwise to proceed.
Fear of not being good enough
Similar to fear of failure, this happens when you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities.
Many teachers say that no matter how hard they work, it is never enough. And it’s not just the unsustainable workload and the need to meet the demands of students, parents, colleagues, management, and the wider community.
Feelings of not being good enough can easily occur if you have been in (or are in) a work situation where you are a victim of bullying. Or you might be in an environment where your opinions and professional judgement are neither valued nor desired.
It is not surprising therefore that teachers lose their self confidence and develop a fear of not being good enough for ANY career.
How do you ‘get over’ your fear
In her book *‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ Susan Jeffers urges you to do just that – face the fear! She says that facing your fears will result in improved self-esteem as you realise you can do whatever you were fearful of. This will diminish the power of the fear.
She also suggests that if you are stuck you make a list of the pay offs of remaining stuck. What don’t you have to face or do by remaining stuck in your comfort zone?
In my upcoming course Career Change for Teachers, I have a lesson devoted to working out your “WHY” . Your WHY is the reason why you want to change careers. If it is compelling enough, it will be the motivation for facing your fears and doing it anyway.
In this quote Tony Robbins suggests if you want something enough you will make it happen.
“Change is never a matter of ability, it's always a matter of motivation or drive. If you have a strong enough reason, you could work out how to make it happen"
But I am not suggesting that you just quit your job and then start looking for a new one. There’s a lot of preparation you can do you can do whilst still teaching to make the transition easier.
Be prepared, do your research and have confidence in yourself
Everyone’s circumstances are different – if you have a permanent teaching position and have been teaching for a long time you may be reluctant to give up the security of a regular pay check (and other benefits) . I understand that that’s what kept me in the classroom longer than I really wanted to be. That’s why it’s important to get really clear about what’s important to you and what the options are BEFORE you make a decision.
Some of the actions you could take are:
1. Start a side hustle.
If you’d like to work for yourself and you know what you’d like to do. Start doing it on a small scale while you are still teaching. You will be learning new skills as well as finding out if this is a viable business and what you want to do full time.
2. Get a volunteer role in a company/business you’d like to work in.
This will help you acquire skills but also give you an advantage if paid jobs become available. This might not be feasible or practical if you teach full time, unless you can find something you can do during holidays.
3.Update your qualifications or re qualify
If you know what career you want to transition into and it requires a qualification you don’t have, then it might be possible to do it part time while still working.
At this point I can hear many teachers saying to me “ Really, I’m so exhausted after all the after-hours schoolwork I have to do, I couldn’t possibly fit in anything else”. I get that, I really do from my own experience. The only way I was able to complete a Life Coach training course and start my business was to reduce to 4 days a week teaching. If that works for you, I highly recommend it.
But wait! I have another option for you. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get started, I have created an online course Getting Started with Career Change for Teachers. It will help you:
Identify and overcome your fears and believe in yourself.
Understand what you have to offer to a new employer.
Understand what you need from your new career.
Give you confidence and direction to move forward.
Have a look here to find out more and enrol – it is super cheap at the moment and could be just what you need to get you out of your comfort zone.