We are all afraid of many things in life and one of the biggest human fears is change. When things change, we are forced to step out of our comfort zone and grow. This is scary for most of us and we don’t like to feel uncomfortable.

Fear is one of the major reasons people never find the right career or one they truly love. They are afraid of quitting their current job, starting a new job search, going back to school or taking one of many other steps in a different direction. It seems easier to stay put and fear may cripple you to the point where you don’t even know how you’d put one foot in front of the other to walk out of your current job.

If you hate your current job/career situation or you simply don’t love it, you need to understand how fear is keeping you where you are. Below you will find three of the most common fears that keep people from reaching their potential.

Fear of Failing

Failing is scary for most people, but for those willing to take a risk, failing is more of a learning experience. Fear of failing keeps more people in careers they don’t enjoy compared to any other fear on this list. Stepping away from the comfort zone may lead to failing and that’s enough to keep you right where you are today.

Courage doesn’t come from those claiming to be without fear, but from those afraid and still willing to take action. Giving in to a fear of failing means you’re also afraid of success. Most successful people have failed more times than they have succeeded, but they learned something from each failure.

Once you define your dream career, you need to go for it. If you fail, you’ll pick yourself up, figure out what you did wrong, correct it and move forward. Failure along the journey to a dream career will only make you stronger and help you gain a true appreciation for the career.

Fear of Change

Maybe you’re stuck in a career you don’t like because it seems comfortable. You’ve gotten into a habit (better defined as a rut) of going into the office every day, doing some work, gossiping with so-and-so, doing a little more work and heading home. Changing this routine seems like it would cause total chaos in your life.

The fear of change is very common, but it’s also a bit irrational. We think if we stay right where we are nothing will change, life will be easier and we won’t have to put forth so much effort. However, this is often not the case.

Do you have full control over your current career? Could your boss decide to move you to a different office/cubicle? Could the executives decide to overhaul the entire computer system? Is there a possibility you could be laid off or fired?

You don’t have much control over your career, especially if you don’t enjoy it. Change is inevitable and you will have to deal with it in one way or another. Why not choose the change by finding your dream career and moving towards it?

Fear of Disappointing Others

Maybe you chose your current career path due to pressure from parents. Your mom and dad wanted you to be a doctor because they are both doctors and it seems like a stable, safe, good paying career. However, you don’t enjoy being a doctor and you really hate it when you get called in, even if someone needs your help. It’s simply not the career meant for you.

Leaving your current career may bring up fears of disappointing your parents, spouse or other people in your life. This fear can be very difficult for some, but it’s time to becomes your own person and grow up a bit. You don’t have to wait until your parents pass away to do what you’ve always wanted to do.

Change can be very positive and moving from a career you don’t enjoy to one you love may be exactly what some of your relationships need. Maybe you haven’t given as much to your most important relationships because of your career or your unhappiness with your career. Making a positive change could lead to better relationships and could even eliminate people from your life that have been pushing you in the wrong direction for years.

Fear often cripples us and makes it very difficult to even take one small step in the right direction. While we don’t need to become fearless to change careers, we do need to face the real fears keeping us from finding a career we can love and enjoy. Freeing yourself from a career/job you hate might be scary, but isn’t it scarier to think about waking up one day wondering why you wasted the last 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years doing something you don’t even like?

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