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Handling Doubt During a Career Transition, Part 2

Handling Doubt During a Career Transition

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

Now, let’s talk about quicksand.

If you ever find yourself thinking in desperate absolutes, you’re in quicksand.

Sounds like:

  • “I’ll never be able to…”
  • “I’ll always be stuck doing…”

These are lies and they are dangerous. For better or worse, there is no “never” or “always.”

If you ever find yourself spiraling into a catastrophic storyline, you’re in quicksand.

Looks like:

  • concocting detailed, horrible stories about your future based on little or no evidence
  • being convinced that every possible outcome will make you miserable. forever.
  • obsessing over hypothetical situations

These are irrational thoughts and they are dangerous.

We usually find ourselves in quicksand because we’re afraid or have a negative core belief that kicks us into catastrophe mode.

If you find yourself in quicksand, there are a couple things you can do to get back on solid ground.

1. Ask yourself, “Is this thought accurate?”

You need to engage your critical brain here. Emotionally, the fear you feel may be very real, even if it’s based on vapors and untruths. But looking at the evidence you have, is your thought objectively true? Do you have proof? Or is this the handiwork of brain cells gone bad?

2. Ask yourself, “Is this thought helpful?”

Maybe some part of it is. Maybe some part of your thought is protecting you. But another part is also limiting you. Separate what is helpful from what is harmful and limiting.

3. Ask yourself, “Has anyone else done something similar?”

Even though your situation may feel unique to you and your circumstances, chances are that someone, somewhere (if not many people, many wheres) have found a way to make it work. Can you find evidence that it’s possible to do the thing that worries you?

4. Ask yourself, “Am I capable of taking care or myself?”

The answer is yes. You will not pass out; you will reflexively breathe. You are safe.

Your turn. In the comments, let me know…

Ever find yourself in quicksand? How do you get out? 

  1. melissa@d2dbysenter.com

    September 13th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Yes I find myself in quicksand many times. I end up pulling myself out by talking out loud to my husband, daughters, or a friend. If I have none of them around I go to the dog or our horses. I am so glad you posted this cause I am just currently working myself out of the quicksand as 2013 has not been good so far.

  2. bemoni1@umbc.edu

    September 14th, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I really appreciate #3! When I went through turmoil with my parents recently I was very convinced that I was misunderstood and nobody would ever get it. That belief really took a toll on my relationships (professional and friendships) and it was sort of arrogant and definitely incorrect. On some level, people can get it even if their situations aren’t the exact same as yours. You have to give people a chance especially hen you need them most.
    Thanks Laura and I’m glad you’re havin a party locally. Have a blast!

  3. sage@sagegrayson.com

    September 16th, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I feel like I’m in quicksand when I start comparing myself to other business owners. I feel like I can’t grow my list or do the big launches I see other people doing. When I feel like I’m sinking, I try to remember that those other people started small too and have been at it for much longer than I have. Most of the time I’m able to snap out of it, but I still find myself feeling jealous of others.


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