“I Know What I Want To Do, But I’m Terrified. How Do I Find The Courage To Make The Leap?”

Megha has no doubts about her skills, her ambition or the field she wants to move into. But she remains a captive to fear. How do you build your resilience so that you're strong enough to face the unknown?

What's your career history and current job?

I'm the general manager of a large retail store.

I got into it by accident. It's been something that's served its purpose in terms of helping me to meet my financial obligations, but it's not what I really want to do.

I've climbed the career ladder and progressed over the years. The experience has been great but I feel like I need a change.

How do you feel about your work?

I feel there's untapped potential in me.

I've become preoccupied with meeting my personal obligations and climbing the professional ladder.

I like working with people, understanding what motivates them, helping them find solutions to their problems through organising and planning. I like to see ideas come to life.

What disappoints me is the state of the retail industry today, the corporate politics, the rigid structures, and the demands on almost all of my time.

The irregular hours and inconsistent routine are taking a toll on my physical and emotional health.

About a year ago I took a transfer to a slower-volume store thinking I'd be able to concentrate more on the customers and focus on the interpersonal element of the job that I enjoy.

But it didn't really change anything – other than the four walls I was working in!

What would you like to be doing instead?

I've been exploring the finance industry.

As a financial advisor I feel there would be so much opportunity to help people navigate their own struggles.

I'd like to incorporate that with some form of life coaching to help women like myself.

I've had some interesting challenges in life – divorce, raising a child single-handed while taking care of elderly parents in another country – and I used my interest in finance as a lay person to not only clear all my debts from the divorce, but to stay afloat and put aside a little for my retirement.

I know what it feels like having all these choices thrust at you and not knowing how to go about making a decision, and then finding a way through with the tools you can develop.

I want to take my own personal experience and help women like me – single mothers and divorcees – deal with their practical issues in life, both emotionally and financially.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

Fear. It's what keeps me captive.

I'm determined, I know I can do this, I have the people skills, and I've done my research.

But I don't know how to emotionally and psychologically cope with the pressure.

Financial advice is a commission-based career; there's no guarantee of financial success. I accept that's the way it will be.

But everything starts and ends with me financially. I don't have a partner, my parents are dependent on me, and I have to support my daughter. It's not easy to be adventurous when you have so many responsibilities.

My struggle is not letting that stop me from pursuing a dream that I'm certain I could succeed at if I gave myself a fighting chance.

My boss knows my intentions; I have kind of an open-ended resignation that gives me time to save, and allows them to plan for the future.

I've done a lot of maths to ensure I can provide for my family. It's going to take time to get to a place of being financially stable.

So my plan is to stick with my job for now, allowing me to save money, and to speak to other people in the financial industry and find out how they've done it.

Then, I want to leave my job and give myself a year to make my business work. I feel like I have the determination to do it. As a back-up plan, I know I could find work as a general manager again in a year's time if things don't work out.

But even after all this groundwork, taking that leap still terrifies me.

I don't know how to develop faith in myself that I can survive the difficult times.

I know if I don't do this now I'll regret it. It may not even be possible a few years down the line.

How do I find the confidence and the courage to make the leap?

Can you help Megha?
  • Have you been in a similar situation, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How do you think Megha could move her shift forwards?
  • Do you know anyone she could talk to?

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