The societal forces you believe are preventing you from succeeding are probably your own projections.
In a 2010 Deloitte poll, 80% of workers expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs. 52 percent of respondents to another study indicated they would start over if they could. But up to the epidemic, the number of resignations remained incredibly low. Why are so many individuals hesitant to quit unsatisfactory jobs?
According to research, your intimates—husbands, employers, close friends, and parents—can make the move more difficult. Those who know you the best are also the ones who are most likely to hinder rather than assist you when you are trying to reinvent yourself, according to Herminia Ibarra. She emphasized that they would put pressure on you to maintain the status quo, even if they said things like, “You are crazy.”
The true tale, however, is far more nuanced. The apparent societal pressure is frequently partially, if not entirely, imagined in the minds of the job-changers themselves, as Kyung Min discovered when researching the voluntary career transfers of 23 executives for her INSEAD’s Executive Master in Change (EMC) thesis. They can avoid feeling overwhelmed and hampered by these negative feelings if they have the right understanding.
Considering social pressure
While some of Kyung’s interviewees were unaffected by the negative reactions of their close friends and family members, others were nonetheless affected despite encouragement and support. One CEO recalls hearing from his colleagues that they greatly admired him for having the guts to start his own business. Instead of being inspired, he felt under pressure to live up to their praise. This kind of thinking implies that it is irrelevant how other people respond to your shift. That depends on how you read their expression.
The problem does not lie in the other person’s reaction, but rather in your own insecurities and worries about what other people may think, say, and do. Your difficult past with the person you’re turning to for comfort might make things worse. This is especially true if you’re dealing with a critical parent, a mother who treats you like a trophy kid, or an envious friend.
An unwitting ambush
In your mind, you’ve already envisioned how your closest friends and family would react when you approach them. It is the result of your underlying goals and beliefs as a result of your previous relationship patterns. If you have fond memories of your father’s criticism, for instance, you may feel and act in a certain way because you expect such treatment in the future. More stress or pressure will cause you to take a defensive stance because of this dynamic. Defence mechanisms, which include projection, denial, and avoidance, are what Freud called these mental models and behavioral coping strategies. The challenge is that you do not know what is happening.
After you’ve been triggered, you’ll look for a meaning in the answer that confirms your initial reaction. Other interviewees said things such, “My father wouldn’t have cared anyhow because I was a failure to him,” or “I assumed my friends resented my transformation as they always expected me to be a corporate leader.” Prediction is the basis for these interpretations. You know “what” you are evaluating, but “why” you are giving that evaluation is unclear. The unconscious need to rationalize one’s emotions through such a mechanical process might lead to the formation of ego defenses, skewed thinking, or projections.
Be careful, though. By reacting defensively, you reinforce your false idea that “they” are preventing you from achieving your goals. This affects how you interact with them in the future and can become a destructive cycle. As a consequence, we unintentionally undermine ourselves.
Controlling personal pressure
You should be aware that not every instance of societal pressure is a product of your own vivid imagination. It is possible that some or all of it is true. Despite this, you have complete control over the way that it is processed.
Your loved ones may experience the same unease that you do as a result of the disruption that you are causing to your long-established professional identity and shared history. Each indication made during conversations, regardless of how well it was intended, has the potential to set you off. And quite frequently, we misinterpret the discomfort or worry expressed by the other person as disapproval or disappointment. It is essential to have empathy for others and to keep in mind that the changes you are considering making in your life may have an effect on those who are closest to you. Your capacity to resist the unconscious mind’s attempt to take over and control your actions is the most important factor to consider. In order to have a better handle on your emotions and ideas, you need to have an understanding of what lays underlying them.
What countermeasures can you take against the threat that you are unaware of? The following are “act-in” tactics, which are ways in which you may strengthen your self-control and clear up some mental space for yourself.
1. Be aware of your routines and the situations that set off your triggers.
Every one of us has a past in terms of the social role that we played in previous relationships, whether those ties were with our families or with our friends and neighbors. Your ingrained behavioral and emotional patterns dictate how you engage in conversation with these individuals, and this tendency frequently comes at the expense of unwittingly engaging in drama. The first step in breaking these behaviors is becoming aware of the triggers that set them off in you.
An activity known as a “role biography” is one of the methods that coaches do while working with their clients. You draw your self-image at three distinct ages and phases of your life: when you are six years old, when you are sixteen years old, and when you first begin your profession. For example, a delightful trophy daughter who made her parents pleased and happy all the time, or an excellent student who never had a failing grade. The way in which you perceive yourself in relation to other people might be a reflection of the experience you have inside a relationship. As a result, this activity assists you in reviewing your previous experiences in romantic partnerships and in determining the triggers and patterns that tend to emerge in those encounters. By doing so, you may make sense of how it effects the social pressure that you feel and, as a result, raise your level of self-control.
2. Practice impulse control.
We use the word “impulse” to describe the sudden desires to react. When you give in to your impulses, you put yourself in a position where you are more likely to “act out,” which puts you on the fast track to an unconscious spiral. When you feel yourself being triggered, make an effort to suppress the emotional response you normally have and give yourself a reality check. Try to get your hands on some objective facts to back up your subjective impressions and conclusions. Put your interpretation to the test by asking yourself challenging questions such, “How do I know that’s what my father meant by that? What kind of evidence is there to indicate it?” The discipline of controlling one’s impulses is essential to the management of one’s behaviors and emotions, and it protects one from slipping into invisible traps.
3. Go into the location that is transitional for you.
It’s possible that another instance of difficulty is ahead. Establishing a transitional place within your mind in which to meditate may be of use to you in monitoring the content of your internal dialogue. This kind of thoughtful contemplation might help you become more aware of the reasons behind your feelings and thoughts. You are free to construct the transitional space whenever you want, wherever you want, so long as you are able to focus. You don’t have to be inside of a yoga studio in order to practice mindfulness; simply going for a stroll and taking in some fresh air might help.
You may also use reflective social interactions to co-create a transitional zone, working with someone neutral as a sounding board, and examine both your conscious and unconscious aspects in this way. For instance, the EMC program is intended to supply participants with a psychologically secure and encouraging environment in which they may delve within and investigate elements of their unconscious that they normally wouldn’t pay attention to in their day-to-day lives.
In conclusion, the unconscious makes itself known through our experiences. It has substantial repercussions for how we perceive social pressure at work and in life generally, including throughout job changes and further down the line. You won’t be set free from the unconscious by gaining this understanding, but it will assist you in being the conscious designer of your life and career path.