You know you’ve found your calling in life when you see it everywhere. By that, I mean you observe everything through the lens of the problem you are trying to solve. For example: In my case, I am obsessed with changing the way Americans look at their careers. As a result, I find myself seeing a corrolation to career satisfaction everywhere. Most recently, in a movie.

“We Bought a Zoo” = Good Career Advice

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a Matt Damon fan. The day I saw him scream,How d’ya like ‘dem apples?!” in Good Will Hunting, I was hooked. So, when the movie, We Bought a Zoo was playing this past weekend on HBO, I DVR’d it. I’m sure you can imagine what happened as I watched the film. Yep. I analyzed the entire thing from a career coaching perspective. How could I not? What’s not to love about Damon’s role as a journalist who’s industry and career are dying, ultimately pushing him to make the radical decision to jump into first-time business ownership? Did I mention he bought a zoo, or did you figure that out from the title? Forget the real plotline regarding the loss of his wife and it’s affect on the family, I was fixated on the reality of whether Damon’s character could make the career transition.

(Starting to see how bad of a career geek I really am?)

Career Change Isn’t Complex or Difficult…It’s Just Scary

Switching careers isn’t as tough as people make it out to be. In fact, our “new normal” is to have several careers in our lifetime. Like it or not, we all will change careers more than once. Ask anyone who has successfully made the change and they’ll reflect and tell you this: It wasn’t rocket science, but it was scary. Our fear of failure is so great, we’d rather stay in the unhappy but familiar situation we are in than risk going after something else and not succeed. It’s not until the pain is so intense that most of us take action. It took a dire situation with Damon’s family in the movie for him to make the switch. The same thing happened to me in real life. (You can read about my own career change here.) To sum it up: Sadly, it seems for most people, only when the fear of not changing becomes worse than the fear of trying that career change finally happens.

20 Seconds of Courage = The Secret to Success

In the movie, Damon’s character has an older brother who taught him as a kid that all you really need is, “20 seconds of courage.” In this case, the 20 seconds gave him the courage to introduce himself to the love of his life. But in my world, that quote was all about career change. Why? Every powerful thing you can do to alter and/or improve your career takes a mere 20 seconds of courage to put into action. Don’t believe me? Then check out these high-pay off activities:

  • Pick up a phone and dial an old colleague, or potential new employer.
  • Send a personalized request to connect.
  • Introduce yourself at a networking event.
  • Say your personal brand/elevator pitch to a stranger.
  • Ask for a meeting.

The interesting thing about the actions above is none will hurt you. Okay, so maybe you won’t get the response you had hoped for, but not a single one of them will harm you physically. Meanwhile, all of them can help your career. They aren’t hard, just scary. All it takes to overcome the fear is 20 seconds of courage.

Challenge: 20 Seconds A Day Keeps Career Failure Away!

What if everyone reading this article experimented with giving 20 seconds of courage each day to a career development activity? That’s a mere 1/4,320th our our day. What would happen?

I dare you! Grab 20 seconds of courage today and use it on your career. Then, post how it went in the comments below.

P.S. – First time reading my posts? Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Not only do I write for Linkedin, but I’m also founder of a popular career advice site,CAREEREALISM,and currently run the career coaching program,CareerHMO. I hope you’ll check them both out!