In her next column for The Latch, career woman Michelle Battersby shares her advice for overcoming the fears around leaving a role to start something new. Formerly the APAC marketing director at Bumble and CMO for Keep it Cleaner, Michelle is setting out on her own to co-found an entirely new business — and she’s bringing us along for the ride.
It’s a surreal feeling sitting down to write this in my current career state. I’m 29, have just moved back to Sydney from Melbourne, and am living with my parents *temporarily*.
What’s surreal about this moment is that it feels like déjà vu circa 2016. I was 25, had just quit my job in corporate banking and was asked to launch Bumble into Australia. I moved back in with my parents, started my own company to get Bumble off the ground and began hiring people from my bedroom.
In that moment, that plunge felt like it was going to be the biggest of my life, yet here I am, four years later, having just outdone myself on the fear radar.
What’s scarier about this time around is that I feel like I have more to lose. I want to admit that because it’s something you have to consider when taking career plunges. It’s also something that can hold you back if you let it.
With my first plunge (the Bumble plunge), I had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. To this day, that is the first question I ask myself when making a scary decision or taking the plunge; ‘What do I have to lose and what do I have to gain?’ If you only have something to gain, what on earth is stopping you? Run full steam ahead.
The second question I ask myself relates more to my most recent plunge. If you begin to weigh up your options and perhaps the wins and losses are equal, your pride is getting in the way, or you are looking for comfort, then you need to try to search for the fear.
It recently took me quite some time to commit to co-founding my new venture. I’d been approached a few months ago but I was in a delicate headspace and, to be honest, I was beginning to doubt myself and all my life choices (cue drama queen).
However, I pushed the mud in my brain to the side and recognised the only thing holding me back was fear. If fear was the only thing stopping me, then I know that was simply not good enough. I have learnt, the best decisions are the ones that scare the shit out of you.
So, if you’re reading this considering taking a new plunge in your career, or in your life, then I would say you’re already over the first hurdle. Admitting that you’re ready for something new and beginning to seek out other opportunities is actually the hardest part.
Sometimes it can be painful to consider change, especially when you’re feeling like nothing is necessarily broken. I compare this first step to being in a relationship — if you’re beginning to scan the room with a little more interest in what else is out there, then you’re probably not with “the one”.
The most important thing to remember in all big career moves is, at the end of the day, there can always be something gained, even in what you may deem as a loss.
If you can learn and build new skills whilst doing something different, then you’ve still put yourself in a better position than where you left off.
Michelle is keeping her followers updated on her new business venture via Instagram. Check in for her regular column with The Latch to receive updates and advice as she carves a new path for herself.