Career Transition: Which Comes First: The Self-Confidence or the Egg?

Gail Nicholson Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC
Gail is passionate about working with individuals who want to explore and connect with a more authentic sense of self as a basis for defining their lives, work lives and roles in the larger community. She offers a blend of personal and career counseling, as she has found that attending to personal issues or mental health concerns can reduce barriers to moving forward. Gail works with clients on defining purpose and direction, handling stress and tackling career exploration, job search and small business start-up.

Which Comes First: The Self-Confidence or the Egg?
by Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC

My career counseling clients often express doubts about achieving a new and exciting goal.  “I’m not sure I can do it.  And even though I’ve never done anything like this before, shouldn’t I feel more confident?”

There’s a popular belief that one should feel no fear and expect overnight success when confronting a challenge or venturing into uncharted territory.  The reality is exactly opposite.  We’re often frightened and anything but self-assured.  We ask ourselves, “How can I succeed in this desirable but overwhelming venture?”

The answer is simple; progressively bigger steps.  Telling yourself you can do it is helpful, but it’s not enough to give you the experience of really knowing what you’re doing.  Confidence comes from doing.  Start small and learn over time.  Envision your end goal, create a series of action steps and follow through.  Re-evaluate your plans regularly.  Adjust your priorities, as you understand more about what it’s going to take.

If your dream is to become a successful screenwriter, own your own day care center or become a landscape architect, you will be a different person when that day comes.  Between now and then, develop confidence by stepping back from your long-term goal and asking yourself, “What small thing can I do today or this week that will move me closer to what I want?  Is there a phone call to make to someone in the business?  A class to check out that will improve my skills and give me a chance to practice?  A professional conference to attend that will allow me to meet people with valuable connections?”

As you plug along, notice the changes taking place inside yourself as you move closer to your goal.  How does it feel to be getting better at picking up the phone and calling those who can provide assistance?  What is it like when someone refers to you as an intern with promise?  Soon, introducing yourself as a professional in your new field comes easy and feels right.  People send business and projects your way.  You feel confident and know how to handle things, including how to fix a mistake. And you realize that it took every thing you did to get where you are now, and you feel thankful for the chance to learn and succeed in this new career that you have chosen


3 Comments on “Career Transition: Which Comes First: The Self-Confidence or the Egg?”

  1. carla rajnus Says:

    Nicely put, Gail! Nicely chosen words. How are you doing? I thought so and a big
    hug for you. My private practice is saying, “I think I can, I think I can I think I can”! So it is always inspiring to see the success of others!
    Best wishes.


    • Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC Says:


      Thanks for the respnse! Great to hear from you. And isn’t it a process, keeping a practise going and thriving with all the changes we’re going through, personally, in the world and economy.

      A big hug to you,


      Gail Jean Nicholson, MA, LPC “Offering a blend of personal and career counseling” “Offering a blend of personal and career counseling””Offering a blend of personal and career counseling”

      Individual Counseling Collaborative Divorce Coaching Employee Assistance Programs Outplacement Services

      1020 SW Taylor, Suite 550 Portland, Oregon 97205 503.227.4250


  2. renee lee rosenberg Says:


    . I am speaking about mindfulness at the Oct 20th Career Development Specialist Meeting in NYC. A fellow NYC career counselor forwarded the Portland Career Counselors web page article about mindfulness and then I saw your name listed. Wow, it’s been a long time. Hope you remember me and hope all is going well. Great article, reminds me of ICDC and Howard Figler in San Diego many moons ago.

    Renee Rosenberg, MA, LMHC
    Book: “Achieving the Good Life After 50”


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