I recently read some responses to an online question about “what people would do if they knew they would be successful”. Typically the question is: what would you do if you know you could not fail. So it’s an interesting take on it. I was a bit surprised at the answers – maybe you won’t be…

- Not certain how to change my direction
- Fear that it wouldn’t work out
- Fearful of transitions
- I face fear on a daily basis

So why, since I work with clients around change, transitions and opportunities for their lives and careers, would I be surprised? Because the question said they would be successful and the responses were still laced with fear. So while I was making a word play in the title of this article; perhaps it is a matter of “Lost in Translation” (2003 movie by the same name). Maybe they read “success” and still fear crept into their thoughts. We know that there are those who fear success, sometimes even more than they fear failure.

Ok, fear is a very natural, normal response to change and transitions. It’s what protects us from the external dangers – but it can also inhibit us from our internal opportunities for growth.

The management of a life, career or just our day-to-day, presents us with dangers and opportunities. As we’ve always been told, it is our perception of those dangers and opportunities that can make them so. I’ll give you a personal example.

Many years ago, I was offered the opportunity to leave the comfort of a home and city I’d grown comfortable in. I had established a life and while it wasn’t permanent for me, it held lots of growth and challenging opportunities – both personally and professionally. Making this move meant a significant change in my career, home and lifestyle. I would be isolated and alone – from my perspective. I was also moving away from the center of power and influence for my career by taking this offer. For me, this was a dangerous proposition.

A good friend helped me work through the pros and cons, the dangers vs. opportunity and I chose to move. It would provide me with both personal and professional development, which I wouldn’t have gotten where I was. As it turns out, I was far more supported, encouraged and successful in that move. More than I have been since, in my career. It was the best thing I could have done to move me forward.

But when presented with the opportunity, all I saw was “Danger, Will Robinson” (some of you will get that reference…hopefully all!). The true benefit or opportunity was lost in translation and therefore lost on me. That’s why not allowing the fear to inhibit my choice to move worked for me. By the way, I recall this one move whenever I’m facing a hard choice or danger vs. opportunity in my life. It’s a great motivator!

Certainly the solution to any danger vs. opportunity crossroads is made easier when you have a good friend, partner, mentor or coach to help you see both sides of the coin; or if you have evidence in your past of where it’s worked out – which it always does. But absent all of that, you do have an internal compass that helps you to navigate or “translate” your way to the best solution by how you feel – it is your “never-lost” in transition guidance system. You can strengthen it by using the tools below.

Next Steps:
Strengthening and conditioning come with increased usage. Increasing the repetitions or the weight builds the muscle stronger and bigger. Use as needed…

Journaling – about the danger vs. opportunity; return to read it 1 week later and see what it tells you You’ll pick up themes, ideas, etc. you didn’t see as you wrote it!

Meditation – visualize how you would like it to be and let it unfold in the stillness of your mind, every day, because when you can “see” it, you fear it less.

“My true desires” exercise – write out what your true desires are in one page so that you can read it 3-4 times a week, either at the start (ideal) or at the end (before sleep) of your day.

Used together, these 3 tools are a powerful way of strengthening your ability to look at dangers vs. opportunities with greater clarity and less fear. Taking just one on is a great step to building that muscle to knock out the fear and welcome the gift on the other side of it!

Author's Bio: 

Chris Makell is The Career Transitions Specialist if you’re a corporate layoff survivor, been laid off, recently promoted or ready to leave corporate. To learn what your next steps must be in this new economy, claim your free special report, “The Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid in This New Economy”, available at HighCaliberLeadership.com