I did not realize how many situations I would find myself in that would ultimately test my self confidence and drive throughout the career change process.
There was a period of time, while I was doing my pre-requisites, working part time, and planning my wedding, that I craved for some aspect of my life to be old and familiar.
I wasn’t doing anything that I had a template for–it was all new and it was all hard.
Taking science classes was completely new territory, and while I learned to love chemistry, I don’t think I ever went into an exam period without feeling doubtful about my performance and anxious for at least a week before. I also consistently challenged myself to take on new jobs and advance myself at the places I enjoyed working. The upside was that I was learning a ton and gaining relevant work experience–the downside was the nervous energy that I developed from constantly auditioning for a promotion and hustling to prove myself. Outside of my professional life, I was lucky to have a social network of people that were eager to hear about how I was doing. And of course, at home, I had Mike. But even still, I was engaged and about to embark on the next phase of my most important relationship–I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess it up.
Essentially, I was growing; and with growth comes discomfort.
In this period of discovery, I realized that most of my moments of discomfort came from self doubt–and I’ve learned to recognize the many forms that self-doubt comes in for me. It is the autopsy I do after each class I teach that isn’t filled with smiling faces. It is the nervousness before a test that I studied for for weeks. It is trying to control things that are inherently uncontrollable.
Utimately, self doubt interferes with my ability to enjoy the journey and trust the process.
Once I realized that, I made a commitment to face self doubt head on. Afterall, I didn’t leave a $60,000 salary and 23 days of paid vacation behind to not enjoy myself! My strategies for coping with self doubt are ever evolving. Things like daily exercise, meditation, taking time out to see friends, spending romantic time with Mike, and just plain relaxing are all good combatants against the self doubt scurge because they take my mind off work. The hard part is getting myself to relax because I have so many exciting projects and opportunities in front of me!