Even after I graduated with my Bachelors, I thought I knew what I wanted to do and spent the next four to five years getting my doctorate in clinical psychology. I was going to be a therapist. During the fifth year, I tried something different, something I never considered before (because of my unease in speaking in front of people): teaching. And I loved it! I switched majors and ended up getting my doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Fast forward eight years, and I'm thinking of a career change again. Maybe it is hobby ADHD. This time, it’s not even in the same general area, but it is related to my eventual minor in college. However, this move may mean going back to school for another degree. The government doesn't really want their money back, do they?
The thing that's holding me back is fear. Many of us are afraid of change, because it includes unknown factors and we're not comfortable with the unknown. Even if our current lives suck for one reason or another, we're not always willing to change it because we'd rather deal with known expectations than take a risk. In my personal experience, risks I've taken have worked out, but every time I'm faced with the option to try something new, I freeze up again.
Fear is a common motivator we don't acknowledge all the time. When I ask my students what motivates them, a lot of them will answer "family." But you know what? I suggest it's not their family that motivates them, but fear. Fear of disappointing someone. Fear of losing someone (in the case of not having the income needed to support a family). This fear is what drives them to come to class and turn in their work.
Writers talk about fear, and there's a great video of Elizabeth Gilbert, where she talks about fear in writing.
The trick is to go on, despite your fear. Take a deep breath, put on your big girl panties, and just do it. What's the worst that can happen? You fail?
Well, there is that.
But I'm also one of those people that has no regrets. Even my mistakes were learning experiences. I believe they happen for a reason, and sometimes that reason is simply to make me who I am today. I like me.
Writing a story when I knew absolutely nothing about creative writing was a risk. Letting other people read my writing is a risk. Sending my work out to agents and editors is a risk. Going to conferences alone is a risk. Talking to other authors, editors, and agents at said conferences is a risk. Letting characters talk me into writing stories outside my normal genre is a risk. But you know what? I've done them all with pleasant consequences. I've met some fantastic people, made lifelong friendships, and actually enjoyed doing all these things. If I had the funds, I'd attend every conference physically possible. The writing risks I've taken by listening to random characters became some of my better work. I've stretched my creative process by stepping outside my comfort zone.
I urge you to do the same. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to research Graphic Design schools. *grin*
When have you taken risks? How'd they turn out?