How to manage the struggle of a new career or role

A friend texted me her frustration with her new role in a new career. And while I was trail-hiking with the family, I started to recall my struggles when I had been in that position more than once. It made me realise as I explored the options to manage it, that it would be worthwhile to share them with my friend and you.

This article is dedicated to those stuck in a situation where they desperately want to succeed but are overwhelmed and aren’t feeling like they are getting on top of their new role and/or career. Here are 5 points to keep in mind: –

1. Learning Curves 

The first thing to keep in mind is learning curves can be many and steep, especially with a new role and, perhaps, a new industry. Therefore it is perfectly natural to feel a little overwhelmed and insecure when so much of what you are doing is new and requiring your conscious brain to work overtime so that you can learn and retain new knowledge that makes up the know-how of the role. The best thing to do here is invest the extra time but also to hold on to the perspective that learning curves all deliver you to a better place. While it will feel like a real struggle, soon enough you will find yourself performing with little effort because it will become second nature. You can be sure of this because the brain will make anything you are repeating second nature so you can achieve a lot without draining yourself.

2. Stress

If you’re too stressed, you’ll most likely make too many unnecessary mistakes and struggle to absorb information and recall it in a timely manner. Don’t rush or overthink that just because you’re worried you might be judged for not learning the role quickly enough. High stress dumbs us down and this is not the time to allow that to work against you. To relax and stay focused on the task is to find yourself better connected to your colleagues, creating authentic relationships as well absorbing more knowledge and recalling it when needed.

3. Compete 

To compete is fine, as long as you are not being hard on yourself and making yourself feel inadequate when comparing yourself with others’ performance. If they can do it, you can too. Be inspired by what they are showing you is possible and while you’re at it, notice the ones that don’t stress. Be curious and pay attention to what attitude and assumptions they have which keep them calm with perspective. Ask yourself, “What did they do when they first started that helped them succeed in the role today?”

4. Courage

Be courageous and don’t try to pretend you know more than you do. Show them how comfortable you are with learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you can come up with a way to do it, explain it to those with experience that you can trust to give you quality feedback. Ask how they think you’re progressing and where you should be focusing the most. The more they feel your resilience and willingness to learn and grow, the more you will be valued and supported.

5. Light Heart 

Don’t take it too seriously. If you are too attached you will stress, panic and misinterpret situations. Lighten up and just give yourself a chance to enjoy the opportunity without turning it into some “life or death” dilemma. There will always be job opportunities and by assuming this opportunity is the only one, it will load you with too much pressure and is likely to work against you. We will not be attracting support and patience from others if we are too self-critical, highly strung and struggling with confidence.

As you can see, there are many temptations to make a new job or business opportunity much harder than it needs to be. When we lack perspective and the courage to allow the process of something new to challenge us before it becomes second nature, then we risk sabotaging the opportunity before we reap the rewards from new experiences, skills and success.

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