THE BLOG
05/27/2016 05:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The #1 Thing to Avoid When Figuring Out A New Career

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If you're anything like me, trying to figure out your ideal career can be a mixture of pain and confusion. It's like a long dark rabbit hole. Such an overwhelming question to try and answer.

Having gone through the process myself (and assisting a tonne of other people to do it too), I've learned a lot over the past few years, and I'd love to share one of the things that I've seen helps the most. Because hopefully, this will make your quest just a little easier.

What I have noticed is this; when we try to think about such an overwhelming question on our own, we tend to get in our own way. We put too much pressure on ourselves and wind up blocking a lot of our own inner knowledge. Things get confusing and don't make much sense anymore.

So, naturally, we tend to stop trying to do it all ourselves and look for support. But when it comes to choosing who to ask for support -- I've seen a pattern that will literally result in either success or failure. Because if you choose the wrong person, instead of feeling clearer, you can end up taking a few steps backward.

When people come to me for career change advice, often the first thing they will tell me is that they have asked a friend or family member for advice, and it didn't go down well. More often than not, they were discouraged by someone close to them and pressured into staying in their existing job. Instead of encouragement, this person high-lighted all the reasons why they should not go for it and follow their dreams.

What this does is create a whole load of fear, doubt, and confusion. Maybe you had a few ideas about what you wanted to do with your life, but now your not so sure. You've been put off. Seriously - asking those around us is not always a good idea when trying to figure out what we really want to do with our lives. And here's why:

While our friends and family love us dearly and want the best for us they:

  1. usually haven't figured out their own dream career
  2. naturally like to protect us and keep us safe

It's like this: Would you ask a butcher for advice on selling IT products? Probably not. Then why ask your friends and family for advice on finding your dream vocation in life? They probably haven't been through it. They don't have the knowledge or experience that you need. And they can often poo poo new ideas which will only put you off and keep you stuck. They can project their own fears onto us (everything that keeps them stuck in their jobs), and on an unconscious level, they want us to stay in our safe, comfortable jobs (that are slowly killing us) because then they don't have to worry about us.

So in my experience, this is a bad idea, especially if you have friends or family who are 'traditional' or naturally 'play it safe'. If you want advice on changing careers, then the only way to go is to get support from someone who has gone through the process themselves and has tips that will actually help you. You don't want an opinion; you want some intelligent input! So be sure to find someone that you connect with and trust to give you sound advice in this space, and leave your friends and family out of it!

This article first appeared on SimpleLifeStrategies.com. Zoe B is an acclaimed Career Strategist who helps thousands of people all over the world change careers to do work they LOVE. To get started with your own career change, register for Zoe's free online MASTERCLASS: Find a New Career in 30 Days.