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5 Steps to Avoid Hitting the Panic Button After Quitting Your Job

by / ⠀Startup Advice / July 26, 2012

Ok, so you finally came to the realization that your job wasn’t for you and decided to quit in order to start your own business like you’ve always dreamed of! So now what? The emotions that we have during this transition period are crucial to manage in order to make sure that we are successful in our new purpose, instead of panicking and falling back into our old way of thinking. If we allow ourselves, we will let doubts creep in about whether we made the right decision or not, others will get in our head saying we should have never left our stable job with benefits in the first place, and before you know it we find ourselves searching on careerbuilder.com for jobs that are eerily similar to the one that we just summoned up the courage to leave.

Don’t want this happening to you? Then listen up because these 5 steps are absolutely critical in order to maintain the courage you had to quit your job, and the strength to avoid hitting the ever-tempting panic button. The most important thing that we can take control of in our career is our emotions. The good news is that we have complete control over our emotions, meaning we only feel what we allow ourselves to feel. As a result we have no one to blame but ourselves for the negative emotions we feel and no one to thank but ourselves for the positive emotions we feel. The bad news is that we often don’t have a strategy to follow in order to manage these emotions. Your emotional control is a lot like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it becomes, so get your workout gear on and follow this regime until controlling your emotions in your career becomes a skill that is second nature to you.

Step 1: Schedule Your Time Productively

Too many times I have seen people quit their job to pursue a passion, only to get home from their last day at the office and delete their morning alarm. They decide that they don’t need a schedule to be productive and that they will be able to wake up when they feel like it and accomplish what they need to for that day. This is a huge mistake. Whether you are starting a business or deciding on a new path remember this; if you were able to get up early for a job that you hated then you can certainly push yourself to get up early to do something that you love.

The problem with allowing yourself to go into each day without a set schedule is that it will become extremely easy for distractions to set you back. Starting the day late and allowing distractions to take away from our work affects our psyche because we start to realize that we are not making as much progress as we should, and as a result, we start to panic. In our panic we feel we need to blame something for our lack of progress, but instead of blaming the poor work habits we have developed, we may subconsciously blame our decision to quit our job. This opens us to the risk of pushing the panic button and going back to our old job or a job very similar to the one we just left.

I have found that the act of scheduling my time and making to do lists is a stress reliever within itself. Once you schedule a task, you do a dry run in your mind and you start to believe that it will get done, which is often the most challenging part. Once you are able to understand what needs to be done, it just becomes a matter of actually doing it. I like to make my schedule the night before a workday, but you can experiment with different ways to find what works best for you.

Step 2: Remember Why You Left

Often after we decide to quit our job we experience a high. We focus on how great it is to be done with a job that we didn’t like, and how exciting it is to be starting something that we are passionate about. Somewhere along the way, particularly when we encounter struggles, we start to look back at our job and think to ourselves; “maybe it wasn’t so bad”, and we may even flirt with the idea of going back. This is a form of panic that causes us to glorify our old job by conveniently forgetting all of the negatives we experienced while working there.

The best way to crush this panic is simply to remember why you left in the first place. Make a list of all of the reasons that made you decide to leave that job and see if it makes you feel differently about going back. In addition to this I want you to remember two days at your previous job in particular; your worst day at your old job, and the moment when you reached your breaking point and knew you had to leave. These can be great tools that will put things in perspective and crush the panic that you are experiencing.

Step 3: Remember Why You Chose This New Path

Starting over is hard. With all of the work you have put in towards your new path it is easy to lose site of the reasons you chose it in the first place. You will get knocked down and you will be tested on your new journey, but it is crucial that you reconnect with why you started, and will yourself to get back up. The important thing to remember is that the reasons you chose this new path were so compelling to you that they made you realize you were missing something in your life.

Think back to those reasons that gave you the insane courage to take the road less traveled. What does this new path give you that your old job never could? What benefit does the work that you put in every day provide you with? How much more fulfilled are you in the work you do now versus your previous job? The answers to these questions will be enough to ignite that fire again and allow the panic you were feeling to dissipate.

Step 4: Stay in Touch With People Who Motivate You

This has become a daily ritual of mine. The people that you communicate with on a daily basis affect your psyche tremendously. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Whether you grab lunch, talk on the phone, exchange emails or just send a message on twitter or facebook, staying in touch with the people that motivate you provides you with two extremely important benefits. The first benefit that these people provide you with are ideas. When two extremely passionate people with similar interests and goals have a conversation, they are able to feed off of each other’s energy, and as a result, provide each other with a number of great ideas that they can incorporate into their business. When you are in a completely energized and positive state, it is very difficult for panic to creep in.

The second benefit that keeping in touch with these people provides is the ability to see others that are on the same path as you. If you are worrying about your business failing, or thinking of all of the worst-case scenarios that could happen to you, it is always helpful to talk to someone who faces the same challenges as you. This allows you to see that nothing terrible is happening to them and in fact, they are probably the happiest they have ever been in their lives.

Step 5: Reinforce and Refine Your Vision Every Day.

I believe that this is the most crucial step towards not only avoiding panic, but also reaching success in your new career. One of the greatest fears we have as human beings is the fear of the unknown. This fear can either paralyze us and kill our momentum, or cause us not to try in the first place. The only way to get rid of a fear of the unknown is to acknowledge it, and do your best to make it known. If we are fearful of the unknown that lies ahead on our new path, then we really just need to get extremely clear about the direction we are moving in, and what the end result will be.

In order to do this you have to ask yourself a couple of questions: At what point will you consider your business a success? How will you know when you have reached that success? When you answer these questions you should be as specific as possible so you can play the entire scene in your head as if it is really happening. You should be able to envision exactly what that success will look like, what you will say to yourself when you reach it, and how it will make you feel. Using this type of visualization comforts us, because it gives us a very clear picture of what our success will look like and lets us know it is within reach. Refine your vision based on the new knowledge you gain everyday, because this vision is going to be the most important tool you have to propel yourself towards success in your new career.

Don’t Push the Panic Button!

Like I said previously, emotional control is like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to get stronger. The more you work at it the stronger it will become until soon enough; it will be second nature to you. Following these five steps will seriously expedite the process of building your emotional control and in turn, make you much more likely to successfully work towards your dream until you make it a reality. If you take anything away from this article I hope it is this: Do not push that panic button because you are doing something far too meaningful to give up on. After all, if you decided to give up, how could you ever change the world?

Bio: Ken McClinton is a Life Coach and the founder of Eyes on the Rise.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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