As we approach the new year, it’s a sure bet that many of you are thinking about what goals and ambitions you plan to pursue in 2018. With the coming of each new year, almost everyone takes the time to think about and make some resolutions about how they will be different, better people in the next twelve months. Some of us choose to embark on a weight-loss journey, while others venture to go back to school, spend more time with family, etc. One thing that we see often as career coaches is many people who are interested in making a change to benefit their careers. Clients come in with the intention of pursuing a promotion, position within a new company, or starting their own business, yet many have talked themselves out of whatever their goal was before spring comes.
When asked about how we can help them get back on track, many clients reveal that they have been affected by the Lizard Brain. The Lizard Brain is that little voice in the back of your head that tells you that you can’t do something. It is the thing that says, “But you don’t have the qualifications for that” when you’re thinking of applying for a new job, or “Do you really think taking on that big of a risk is a good idea?” when you’re considering starting your own business. The Lizard Brain is the voice of self-doubt, the voice of fear, the voice inside your head that warns you to stay “safe” – regardless of what it costs you.
Scientifically speaking, your Lizard Brain is the amygdala – the oldest part of your brain, where your survival instincts are housed. This is the part that is charged with keeping you alive, no matter the cost. Unfortunately, it often cannot tell the difference between fear that means danger is imminent and anxiety from doing something that scares you or pushes you out of your comfort zone.
So, then, how do you beat the Lizard Brain?
You learn to embrace it.
John Wayne is credited with having once said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” He, and many others who have been successful in their lives, understood one important thing about life – that you can be afraid of something, and still find a way to push forward toward what you want out of life.
That job you’re thinking about? Apply.
That new skill you’re afraid to learn? Pick up a book and get started reading about it.
The key is to simply get started – as you make more and more moves in the direction of your goals, you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier for you to work around your fear and seize opportunities.
And if pursuing a better career for yourself is on your “to-do” list for 2018, one of the easiest ways to get started is to schedule an appointment with one of ACM’s career counselors. Each alumnus is entitled to a free, one hour one on one consultation with a member of the career services team – reach out to us via our customer service team at 800-635-8944 to make your appointment today!