5 Self-limiting Beliefs That Are Hindering Your Career Change And How You Can Overcome Them

Want to make a career change but are being held back? This post will teach you how to break through that barrier and go for the career you desire.


9/4/20234 min read

5 self-limiting beliefs that are hindering your career change
5 self-limiting beliefs that are hindering your career change

When I shared my plan to switch careers after dedicating five years to becoming a Pharmacist, people couldn't hide their fear or astonishment 😱. Interestingly, during my time in Pharmacy, I had countless conversations with people who felt unfulfilled in their current careers and desired a change, but they seemed stuck in the talking phase, unable to take action 💭.

For a while, there were several things that held me back from making the career switch ⛓️, but I experienced a mindset shift that brought me back to reality, making me realise that change was necessary. In this post, I'll delve into five key factors that might be holding you back from a career change and share how you can overcome them.


💭You Don't Know What You Want To Do

💭Fear Of Failing

💭Sunk Cost Fallacy

💭Concerns About What Others Think

💭You Have Multiple Lives

1. You Don't Know What You Want To Do

When you ask a child what they want to do when they grow up, they almost always immediately know the answer. For me, it was always a ‘fashion designer’. Apparently, now, the number 1 answer is a YouTuber. Nonetheless, the child version of us knew what we wanted but as adults, we often lose sight of that clarity 🤔.

While accepting the fact that I no longer desired to be a fashion designer anymore (and honestly didn’t have the skills for it), one thing I took from this past desire is the need to have a career where I could be creative 🎨. To find your path, you need to explore different options and try new things.

I was listening to a podcast (the ‘to my sisters podcast’) and they were explaining the fact that a lot of the time, we don’t yet know the entirety of what will make us happy/what we want due to a limited range of experiences. Sometimes, the career that will bring us the most fulfilment is discovered through testing out different waters before seeing which one sticks. So get back into that child-like mindset and get exploring 🚀!

2. The Fear of Failing

The fear of failing is a common barrier to making a career switch. People often believe they won't succeed in their desired industry due to lack of experience or skills. They think that if they voice their desire to change and it never happens, they’ll look silly 😰.

One thing I have learnt over the years is that a fear of failure is a sign that you are progressing. No fear is ever felt in our comfort zone and additionally, no growth is made in our comfort zone either 🙌🏾. To be fearful about career switching is natural and is something to be embraced because on the other side of this fear is a person living authentically and taking control of the outcomes of their life 🔑.

Reframe your idea of failure and don’t let it be the block stopping you from achieving the career you want.

3. Sunk Cost Fallacy

‘You invested all that time and money into a degree you’re not going to use?’. Yes, yes I did, and I’m happy about it. Sunk cost fallacy is a phenomenon whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily into it 💸.

Tying myself to decisions I made in the past would do no good for the future me and where I see myself 5-10 years from now 👋🏾. The book ‘The Psychology of Money’ compares this to allowing a stranger to make major life decisions for you - it’s ridiculous. In addition, my degree and experience as a pharmacist contributed greatly to me being able to get my first programming job 👩🏾‍🔬. I was able to transfer so many skills and so much knowledge into the work I do as a Software Engineer.

Embrace the journey, see past investments as building blocks, and don't let sunk costs hold you back.

4. Concerns About What Others Will Think

When I started expressing my wish to change careers, I faced scepticism and disapproval from some people 🤔.

I just didn’t understand why people were so invested in me staying in a career that didn’t make me happy.

I came to understand that:

  1. Switching careers is out of the ordinary, especially when switching from a vocational career such as Pharmacy.

  2. Many didn’t have a grasp of the reality of what it was like working in a community pharmacy. Their own perceptions lead them to believe it was a reputable, rewarding career despite this not being my reality.

  3. People had the perception that careers/jobs weren’t supposed to be enjoyed and should only be a means of income to fund the life you do want to live.

  4. People didn’t see career switching as a viable option for themselves and therefore, couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it.

Ultimately, the points listed here should show you that a lot of the time, people will try to project their own experiences, fears or insecurities onto you. Just remember that they will not be living your life for you, or working your job for you, so choose the option that makes you happy 🌟. Your life is yours to live, and if you seek guidance, seek it from those who understand your aspirations, are at a place you desire to be in, or can offer a fresh, objective, perspective.

5. You Have Multiple Lives

If I knew I had 5 lives, maybe I would’ve spent one of these as a Pharmacist (just maybe). But I don’t, I only have one, so finding a job that will give me the most fulfilment and purpose that I can get in this one life is my priority 🌅. Thinking this way makes transitioning to a new career a no-brainer.

I hope these tips have given you something to ponder on and have made your decision on whether you should switch careers slightly easier. Ultimately, don't let limiting beliefs drive your choices. Remember, your happiness and fulfilment are worth taking the leap for 🎊. Embrace change, be open to new possibilities, and go after the career that brings you genuine joy!

Until next time,