Careers are long journeys, big pieces of all our lives, and as such, numerous decisions will present themselves along the way. These are 4 choices that can make or break your career based on the road you take when faced with them.

Giving in to fear

Fear is an all-powerful, often dilapidating obstacle that everyone has to overcome at some point. Everyone gets scared, even Chuck Norris (blasphemy! I know, but it’s true), it’s what you do in the face of fear that maketh the (wo)man.

Maybe you are scared about packing in the comfortable nine-to-five in order to start your own business based on an amazing idea that you have. Or possibly your fear is derived from realising that to be happy in your career you need to change industry completely, and start over. It may even just be a small fear of reaching out to somebody professionally and asking for help. Whatever your fear is, don’t let it control you, because doing so may not only break your career, but your spirit as well. Stand tall, face your fear, and reap the benefits associated with doing so!

Regret over sweat

4 choices that can make or break your career - regret

Personally I am one of the people that believe a successful life is defined by having few to no major regrets when the end comes. ‘What if…?’ the simplest of words, but ones that have power over many, especially in regards to their professional choices.

Choosing to accept the pain of regret, rather than having to suffer through the blood, sweat, and tears associated with the hard work needed for you to make a change for the better, is a decision you will look back on with disappointment. Hard work is as the name suggests, and more, but if that’s what it will take to make you happy professionally, don’t settle for anything less. Whether it’s starting over, or putting your head down and powering through, don’t settle for regret, and remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Misery for the sake of familiarity

You may have been working at a company for years, or doing the same type of job for various companies for over a decade. When you started you enjoyed everything about it, the hard work, the long hours, you were dedicated, energetic, and driven to succeed. However, somewhere along the way all that was lost, replaced by misery and disdain, yet you are uncertain about making a change due to the comfort afforded by familiarity.

There’s only one thing to be said here, and I think Shia says it best;

That’s right, just do it, life is too short to accept professional misery simply for the sake of comfort and familiarity. As said at the top of this article, your career is a big part of your life, would you be willing to settle for unhappiness in any other area of your life? Then why settle for it professionally.

Not taking risks

4 choices that can make or break your career - risks

Risk and reward go hand in hand. You may be unhappy with your current situation, or simply want more from your professional life, but you think “at least my current position is a known quantity, why mess with a good thing, right? Right!?”

No. Simply put, don’t ask, don’t get, if you truly want more from your career than what you currently have then you will need to embrace the concept of taking risks. Sure, the idea can be daunting at first, but think about what you stand to gain rather than what you have to lose. We’ve already covered the concept of regret, don’t let that be a part of you moving forward. Take a deep breath, steady yourself, and take that first step into the unknown, odds are, regardless of the outcome, you’ll be glad you did.

Posted by Alexander Goodenough

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