I have a good friend who thought about quitting his job, but was paralyzed by fear.
- What if he couldn’t find a better job?
- What if he regretted the choice?
- What if he made the switch, and the new job wasn’t any better?
- What if he took a risk, and it didn’t pay off?
For years, he did nothing.
After reaching a breaking point, he finally made a big change.
He left a stable job and solid paycheck to join a riskier, early-stage business for less money.
Now, he’s more enthusiastic and intellectually challenged at his new job than he’s been in years.
He didn’t realize how stagnant his old job felt until he made the switch. Overall, he’s very happy with his choice.
But here’s the really interesting part…
Almost everything that could go wrong in the new job has gone wrong.
- Within a month of joining, my friend’s new boss quit
- Two months later, the key junior person on the team quit
- The company is missing budget and in the midst of major cost cutting
- The CEO isn’t as good as my friend hoped
Despite all this, my friend is fine.
He’s more than fine, he’s thriving.
And that’s when it hit me. He’d been mulling over these worst-case scenarios for years.
These exact fears had prevented him from taking action.
And yet, when those fears became a reality….he dealt with it.
It wasn’t as big a deal as he imagined.
Isn’t this often the case in life?
We imagine something could be awful, so we don’t take a chance. And yet, if we’d taken a chance, and things didn’t work out…we’d figure it out. We would deal with it. We’d move on if necessary.
So why do we get so tripped up with these worst-case scenarios?
Psychologically and emotionally, it seems we ascribe greater meaning and feeling to worst-case scenarios then we actually experience should said scenarios take place.
You know how when someone is really ill, it’s often harder on the caregivers than on the person who’s sick?
Maybe it’s the same with our fears.
Maybe our fears and imagined worst-case scenarios are worse than the actual worst case scenarios.
I’d love to know:
Have you ever wrestled with a big life choice and been paralyzed by fear? Has you experienced a worst-case scenario, only to discover it wasn’t as bad as you imagined?! Tell us in the comments below.