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Hi. I'm Laura.

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Handling Doubt During a Career Transition, Part 1

Handling Doubt During a Career Transition

Your Career Homecoming clients often ask me if what to do when they’re feeling doubtful. They may question that the process will work for them, or that they will be up for whatever challenges they’ll need to face in order to segue into a new, meaningful career.

During a major shift, it’s normal to feel doubtful. Doubt can be healthy. It can also turn the corner and become toxic quicksand.

Let’s start with doubt.

Maybe you doubt that you’ll be able to earn enough doing something you enjoy, or that you’ll be able to manage transitioning in to a new career while you’re also thinking about starting a family.

And that’s just fine.

Doubts or questions or “what ifs” are your brain’s way of looking out for you. They’re little red flags meant to help problem solve and steer you in the right direction.

So when doubts come up, acknowledge them by writing them down so your brain doesn’t have to carry them. All my clients keep a running list of “questions that need answers” so they have a helpful place to store their doubts. This way, an uncomfortable doubt can become a helpful question. “Will I be able to make enough money as an artist?” becomes “How much money do I need to make as an artist?”

Doubts leave you hanging; questions lead you somewhere. A simple but powerful shift.


Try something for me: take a big breath, and then hold your breath for as long as you can. Go.

Did you pass out? Didn’t think so. That’s because your body has an autonomic mechanism that won’t let your ruin yourself. Your body takes over and breathes you (thank you graduate school voice classes, for teaching me this) before something harmful happens.

You have a similar mechanism for your life.

Your body and your mind will take over and “breathe you” to protect you.

Trust that. Trust yourself. You only have to take as much risk as you want. And all the big “how will this work out” questions tend to answer themselves as you move forward.

So, doubt is ok, and you will be safe.

In Part 2, we’ll look at what happens when doubt goes sour and becomes dangerous quicksand.

Your turn. In the comments, let me know…

How do you handle doubt during transitions?

  1. This was a timely post for me. I am going through a pretty huge change at the moment and some days I honestly have mini panic attacks! I can only try springing into action. It’s all the thinking and worrying that create the doubt, so I distract myself with doing when I can. Great post, Laura!

  2. Love the subtle shift between doubt and questions. I don’t have this list of questions and plan to start one stat! Will help change things from scary and nebulous to something I can plan for and answer through mindfulness.

  3. Mmmmm….Love this concept of life breathing us, Laura. Beautiful. I needed that. Thank you!

  4. Anonymous says:

    […] Two weeks ago, in Part 1 of this series, we talked about doubt and how to make it productive during a career transition. […]

  5. lifesjourney71@gmail.com says:

    Thank you for this post. I recently found your website and I’m loving it all! I am leaving a 15 year teaching position and deciding what I want to do in my next phase of life for a job. This post helped me to be honest with myself about my doubts and insecurities. I already started my list of questions. I like how you phrase them as questions that make me think of the answers. Thank you for all your great ideas. I’m looking forward to your next video in my inbox!

  6. Like a breath of fresh air! Needed to read this today. Thank you!


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