Have you ever thought something like this – “I would love to change up my [job/life/relationship], but I’m really okay where I am. The [benefits/pay/people/lifestyle] make up for everything about it that I don’t really like”?

Did you catch those really’s? They are a dead giveaway that something is really wrong – whoops, another really!

Look, it’s part of the human condition to think “I’m kind of okay, so why rock the boat?” Our problems start when we entertain thoughts about change and, particularly, when we say them out loud. Here’s what happens. (1) If we take the word really out of those sentences, are they still true? And (2) once we’ve acknowledged that we want to change things up, the world starts helping us change them – whether or not we’re ready.

You be you.

The world/Universe/God (pick one – or more) wants us to be us. So, when we put it out there that we’re not allowed to be us in one of our environments, things start moving – whether we’re ready or not.

Case in point, my client, Karen. The first time Karen came to me for coaching, she had been laid off from her job. She’d been looking for a while and wanted to get some help figuring out how to position herself for her next move. So, after figuring out her area of expertise (events and growing new markets) she found a job that she liked representing a marketing platform for events and she moved forward with that company.

Now what?

Then that job soured. Karen realized that she needed to make a change, so we started looking for her next opportunity. That’s where things got sticky. Karen can do a lot of things really well. We hit problems trying to narrow all those things she could do really well to her top skills. We worked on identifying not just her top skills, but the top skills that she wanted to use to move her forward.

That’s where we had some interesting conversations. Karen is an evangelist for a customer centric approach to business. So, she looked for jobs in a hot new field, customer experience. She feels the same way about companies and their employees, so we also looked at opportunities in employee engagement. Karen was absolutely confident that she could handle anything in either of these fields and that she would enjoy the work.

Wait a minute

There was this one sticking point that we went back and forth on for at least 6 months. You see, Karen is a top notch sales person. She has a phenomenal record for racking up sales, and for creating new markets and new sales opportunities. But she didn’t want to be in sales. It was too scary.

I called her out on this. I kept asking (okay, maybe it was browbeating) why she was settling on jobs that didn’t use her top skills.

Why did I keep pushing sales? Karen has been in some form of sales in most of her jobs. She just hasn’t had the title or been paid for her sales efforts. And she excels in two of the trickiest and most hated parts of the sales cycle: cold calling and creating new markets.

Settling and Fear

Most sales people will do anything to avoid cold calling. Not Karen, she knows how to ask meaningful questions to help potential customers see how her offerings can help them and she knows how to make things work for both sides of the transaction. That is sales gold.

But Karen didn’t want a sales job. No way, no time, ever. I’m sorry to say, this is the most common reaction I get when I suggest that a client (particularly a woman) consider a sales career.

You made the money,  now keep it!

It’s a shame, because the only people in a company whose compensation is directly correlated to their work are sales people. We went back and forth on this for several months. Karen was determined to settle for a job that directly fed into the success of the sales process instead of going for the literal gold.

Luckily for Karen (and for my reputation), while networking for her job, she met someone who wanted her to sell for them. They could picture the huge impact Karen could have on their company. And she still didn’t want to do sales.

In our meetings, we kept talking about not just her top skills, but the particular skills and talents that made Karen unique – and those talents and skills added up to sales.

Do not settle.

After much coaching and discussion, Karen decided to go for the job. She got the job. She loves the job. She’s in sales. She’s having a huge impact on the company. Win. Win. Win.

Karen didn’t fall into the trap of settling for a job that was fully in her comfort zone. She forced herself to reimagine how she thought about herself at work. She slayed her fears, didn’t settle and started living into all of her potential at work.

Picture that: work you love, using your favorite skills and talents, making a great living. You can have it when you refuse to settle.

Ready? I’ve got your back.