Yay! It’s another article where I get to dwell on all the ways I’ve screwed up in my life! 😉
Okay, so it may be a little painful for me to reminisce about my foibles sometimes, but I like to do it anyway, because telling you about it makes me feel like at least something good can come out of my struggles.
And today I want to focus on something having to do with choosing a career path when you’re a highly sensitive person.
I’ve written before about what characteristics to look for in a career and what to avoid. I’ve also shared some examples of careers that potentially provide a good fit for highly sensitive people.
But here’s the quandary I used to find myself in. Even when I was able to identify careers or professional projects that really sparked my interest and might have been a good fit in theory, there was always something holding me back.
And that something was the intense discomfort I would feel when thinking about actually taking action and “putting myself out there” in a new way.
This anticipation of discomfort would lead me to think:
- I can’t be a writer, because having people read what I have to say is uncomfortable.
- I can’t create online courses, because being on video is uncomfortable.
- I can’t be a life coach, because talking to strangers is uncomfortable.
- I’d better just stick with the status quo even though I’m miserable and dissatisfied and can’t stand what I’m doing currently.
Fast forward to today, I can now see how this line of thinking was deeply flawed.
The deep flaw was that I was confusing beginner jitters with lasting discomfort.
Starting something new and putting yourself out there can be nerve-wracking for anyone.
But because highly sensitive people have a more reactive stress response system and because we feel everything more intensely, beginner jitters can easily seem like an insurmountable mountain to climb.
And if you’ve never had the experience of actually getting past the beginner jitters, you might assume that the jitters are permanent.
What I want you to know though is that they truly are BEGINNER jitters. I want you to know that with persistence and repetition, the discomfort will subside. Eventually, it DOES get better.
So nowadays, when presented with a new opportunity to expand, I literally visualize a mountain. The beginner jitters and the intense discomfort they entail are a mountain I need to climb. It’s hard work and it’s uncomfortable to climb that mountain. But when I get to the other side, I know that there are beautiful new experiences and adventures waiting for me. I know – because I’ve done it before – that it will have been worth it.
And if YOU are considering putting yourself out there in a new way, but you are blocked by anticipated discomfort, I’d like to leave you with a couple of questions to mull over:
- What opportunity sounds so enticing and would ultimately be so well aligned with what you need and want that it would make enduring the beginner jitters worth it?
- What could you do during those beginning stages to stay balanced, take care of yourself, and ensure the discomfort stays within manageable bounds?