If you aren’t happy in your job, why do you stay? Why are you wasting so many hours of your life? Steve Preston, one of the career coaches on The Mid Life Opportunity Coaching Panel, calls this the Velvet Rut.
If you’re relationship is rocky, why do you stay together? Think who might be out there waiting for you!
The answer to these questions depends on your attitude to Risk and your fear of Failure.
To illustrate this, how do you feel about jumping over a 4 foot ditch? Easy? Take a run up, take off, land on the other side with both feet on the ground. No problem. Now let's try the same exercise, jumping across a 4 foot gap, but this time you are standing on top of a tower block, jumping from one block to the next. There's a 100 foot drop to the ground. Not so easy now? It's the same distance, the same effort. You know that you can do it because you've jumped across the ditch. But you don't feel quite so confident now do you?
Why is this? The difference, of course, is the fear of failure. If you fail to jump across the ditch, you might get a wet foot. No big deal. If you fail to jump across the gap between the tower blocks you will fall to your death.
If you have a low fear of failure and you are willing to take a risk, you will attempt the high level jump and almost certainly succeed.
If you fear failure and are less willing to take risks you will not attempt the high level jump, but you are very likely to jump the low level ditch – and succeed without getting your feet wet.
Most people who remain unfulfilled in life – those who remain in jobs they detest or who continue in relationships which have all but collapsed – have a high fear of failure. They’d rather carry on with ‘the devil they know’ than strike out and try something new.
People in midlife who are made redundant or who find themselves at the wrong end of a relationship breakdown don’t have the luxury of making the choice between the status quo or starting something new. They have to start again, regardless of their attitude to risk. And do you know what? Many of them succeed in the new direction that they choose. Many midlifers find that they can take a risk and succeed. They can change direction and make a new life for themselves.
What is your attitude to risk? Would you try the high level jump or are you strictly a ditch jumper?
Rob Horlock has established The Mid Life Opportunity (www.midlifeop.com), a community for people in Midlife. Advice and Guidance is available from The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join - click here