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Take action

Take action

As you take action, you may begin to experience difficulty in moving towards your goal. Sometimes people put so much emphasis on a career decision that they become immobilized with fear or uncertainty. If you find yourself in this situation, you may merely need to give yourself a push; however, if you find that you are really "stuck," you may benefit from consulting a career professional.

Celebrate accomplishments and milestones. Be kind to yourself: pursue activities you enjoy and surround yourself with supportive people. Expect to make mistakes. Evaluate them: they can enrich your life experience and enhance your learning. Continue to engage in new experiences and to make new connections: both will provide you with new and helpful information for your goals, plan, and vision as well as potential opportunities. You can use what you learn to revise your current plan and improve future career decisions.

Don't forget the big picture: sometimes, some of the intermediate steps may be less enjoyable and more challenging than you might like; however, if you keep in mind where the steps are leading, you will be more likely to continue moving towards the achievement of your vision.

Be sure not to view any necessary revisions to your plan as negative. In fact, a plan that remains unchanged is likely not reflective of new information that you are undoubtedly acquiring about yourself, your circumstances, and the labour market. Revisions help to ensure that your plan is dynamic, and that you are continuing on a course that is truly reflective of your vision. A plan that is too rigid will likely prevent you from reaching your goal, or result in your dissatisfaction with your goal, once it is attained.

Prefer to learn in person? Sign up for the Exploring Career Pathways workshop to discuss and explore your career development process.

About risk taking...

Every action or decision comes with a certain element of risk; however, so does taking no action. It is important to be realistic about the level of risk you are willing to take: you may wish you were more adventurous (or less so!), but you will likely not move toward your vision if you are not honest with yourself regarding your risk tolerance. At the same time, analyze any fears you experience: are risks real or imagined? Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the worst that can happen if I pursue this path?
    1. How likely is it that something negative will happen?
    2. How could I resolve this problem if it did occur?
    3. Can I prevent this from happening? How?
  2. What is the best that can happen if I pursue this path?
    1. What steps can I take to ensure that the best happens?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking this risk?
  4. What are the short- and long-term consequences of the decision to me and to significant others?

Understand that fear is natural and might be part of the decision-making process. To move forward, you need to acknowledge your doubts. If you tackle them one-by-one and look at them realistically, they will often become less onerous. Ultimately, however, it is also important to listen to what your inner voice or gut is telling you: if, after you have undergone this process, a possible action doesn't feel right, you likely shouldn't do it.

If you believe that you've taken all the necessary steps and you still feel uncomfortable with your vision or are still not able to take a step forward, there may be other reasons for your inaction. If you find yourself in this situation, you may benefit from meeting with a career professional. For University of Waterloo students, employees, and alumni, Career Development appointments may be booked through the Centre for Career Development website.

University of Waterloo

Centre for Career Development