Even if you’re unhappy or unaligned with the current state of your life or career, it can still feel overwhelming to begin thinking about how to make a change.
In this week’s episode of the In the Details podcast, host Karen Allen’s conversation with career coach Amina AITai shows us how we can manage the fear of moving from point A to point B by breaking it down into small habits, shifting by a millimeter and choosing growth, among other ideas. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom she shared:
We’re always becoming
People will look at those a few years ahead of them and simply believe “they’ve arrived.” They’re chasing after a linear and direct path, but in fact we’re always in the process of learning and searching. There will often be stops and shifts, and many times it requires getting to a certain point to find that shift.
Making the becoming journey more palatable
The journey comes with different tensions and stressors, and it’s important to make peace with the resistance. If we stop fighting the fact that there will be challenges, and just accept that human experience, we’re able to protect our energy from dwelling in suffering. Therefore, we can devote more energy to things that give us life.
Listen to your body
AlTai shared her own story of the issues she faced earlier in her career of exhibiting no boundaries, taking care of everyone but herself and putting herself at the bottom of her to-do list. She burned out and developed two autoimmune diseases, which she refers to as her “stop moment.” Days away from multiorgan failure, AlTai had to go to the hospital instead of going to work. While difficult at the time, she now considers this a gift because she knew she had to reorganize and redesign her business, and this was a huge invitation to do so.
Morning routines are key
What time can you take to nurture and take care of yourself so that you can then show up fully for your life? How can you pour into yourself before pouring into others? While AlTai starts her morning with movement or meditation, you have to design inside the parameters that work for you. Otherwise you won’t do it, and you’ll beat yourself up for it. It’s about spending some time to set your intention and tone, and making small swaps or adjustments that can really make an impact on the direction of your day.
Shift by a millimeter
The journey to fulfillment is accomplished by the shift of a millimeter. You can make tweaks across the value you provide, the gifts you have, what you want to impact and what you need to show up fully for that work, and doing so can help make you feel more fulfilled and aligned. Even just engaging in conversations about what you can possibly do can be activating.
Choosing growth over fear
What enables AlTai to make this choice is the deep faith she has that she will achieve her desired outcomes. That faith has been responsible for her ability to move forward and consider challenging experiences as teachable moments. She can ultimately appreciate those difficult times as they helped her to realign and set her up for more success.
The pandemic made many of us face this in a collective way, in that it shifted how we do work. It’s important to recognize that things can be difficult and uncomfortable but also the most generous gift, as it can support our evolution. It’s not one or the other—it’s both. Challenge, or contrast, allows us to refine our visions.
Meditation is one way, if you actively practice it, to learn how much space you have within to feel completely contradictory emotions and then make the next best decision. It can give you the tools you need when your back is against the wall.
It’s also important to understand that you can feel fear, but when you take a calculated risk, you’re showing the world you believe in yourself. And it doesn’t have to be a risk that abandons who you were or what you’ve built, but rather small steps you make toward your dreams every day. Living on the growth edge versus the panic zone.
For example, you might not be ready to start your own business, but you could begin by sharing your story on social media and testing it. Then getting feedback, iterating and repeating.
It’s not win or lose, rather it’s win or learn.
The first step
AlTai believes you are a magnet for opportunities when you align with your truth.
For someone who’s completely lost about what their truth is, or feeling overwhelmed, it’s often because they don’t have enough support surrounding them, they are tolerating too much or they don’t have the right structures in place. So the place to begin is looking at the tolerations—what do you not need to be tolerating? Start by taking inventory—are you underearning? What is your support structure like? What could you shift?
Jill McDonnell is a Chicago-based content writer and communications professional. She has a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University. She is currently at work on a psychological thriller novel.