Career Coach Deirdre Mulhern shares guidance on how to overcome the biggest blockers to changing career or expanding your horizons at work - Fear and Confidence.

We have all been there.

You daydream for just a moment envisioning where you would like your career to go and where you would like to see yourself in five years’ time, but you quickly shake that thought out of your head before you allow your ego to get too inflated!

You chat with your friends or family members about the future and discuss how you have always wanted to start your own business or to have a job that is creative, but you quickly shut down that idea in case your friend laughs at you for having ‘notions’.

We Irish are undoubtedly a lovely bunch but when there is even a whiff of someone becoming slightly ‘too big for their boots’ we have a tendency to abruptly bring them back down to earth.

With so much of people’s lives on social media now and with everyone encouraged to have an opinion about everything, you feel it is only a matter of time before you become the topic of conversation during the weekly gossip session.

Why am I saying all of this? 

As a career coach I work with people who have so many great talents and interests and so much potential and yet they will decide to stay in a job or career that does not make them feel alive, in fear of what other people would say or think.

In addition, so many people come to me who love the work that they do but feel they have more to offer the world and have limiting beliefs about their potential to start their own side business. In most cases we discover, through coaching, that they have major fear and confidence issues.


It boils down to fear – fear of failure, fear of ‘falling flat on your face’, fear of what others will think and say behind your back. It also boils down to confidence and lack of belief in yourself.

I have yet to meet a client who would classify themselves as over 70 percent confident.

That negative voice in your head, the one we all have, is your biggest problem. It will tell you things like, ‘Who do you think you are starting your own business?’, ‘What makes you think you deserve that promotion over Mr. X’, ‘Your boss thinks you are really stupid because you didn’t know how to locate ‘X’ document’. 

If Covid has taught us something, it is that anything is possible. The unthinkable is not only thinkable, it is do-able. Yes, we all have fears and we all have niggling confidence issues but that means we are human.

The world’s most successful people in work are in no way immune to fear and confidence issues, they just know how to manage them better and have more than likely trained that inner voice to speak more optimistically. 

If there is something you are passionate about doing – then it will not feel like work and your passion for it will shine through.

If we view a challenge like changing career or starting a side business as one monumental, uphill task then we will never do anything about it.

The best thing to do is to divide the goal into small manageable steps, take your time with it (nothing is an overnight success) and just start.  

So keep an ear out for that negative self-talk and next time change the narrative to ‘Why the hell cannot I be a success’.


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