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If fear of making the wrong career decision (or just having too many choices) has paralysed you into inaction maybe you need to experiment tester pot style.

 

Anyone who has been confronted by the abject confusion of a paint swatch chart will relate to this. It doesn’t matter how long you stare at the chart and think about what the right colour would be -  the printed version is NEVER the same on your wall and you don’t truly get a sense of whether it would work in the room. So there’s only one thing for it and that’s to invest in a tester pot, wet the brush, get stuck in and see it for real out in the light of day.

 

Lets weigh up the analogies with work.

  1. A full size can of paint could turn out to be an expensive mistake ( Yes, I have a heap of them in my shed too!). Tester pots on the other hand are an easier, lighter, cheaper experiment. Testing works if it’s a business you’re thinking of (find a small cheap way to test your idea); if you’re thinking of retraining or moving into another area (shadow people who do what you want to do, talk to them, build connections, volunteer). And it gets you past that horrible fear of investing your money or time or both into something that you then discover you don’t like.
  2. It’s easier to get going with a tester pot. In other words it just doesn’t feel like such a big weighty decision and it gets you out of your head and into the world. And getting going, everyone, is when things really start to happen.
  3. Since you don’t have so much invested in it so you’re more open to adapting your ideas – rather than insisting or worrying that the one you’ve chosen works – even if it’s plainly not going to. And you have the freedom to dabble in a few at the same time and seeing which one you like best ( you may decide to have a few).
  4. A great room EVOLVES. In actual fact great design is a process of layering, experiment and often happy accident. The best and happiest work lives aren’t grand design either. But a process of following what you like, testing, experimenting, growing, evolving, changing. You may need some help deciding what you want it to look like and where on earth to start and how to make it happen though! (That’s where I come in)
  5. On a philosophical note and for a bit of perspective – you’re going to be redecorating that room in a few years or selling up and going elsewhere – we all grow, our needs change, and we move on. A paint job isn’t for life, so why does a career choice have to be? Take that pressure of permanence and perfection off yourself and see what happens!

All that said, if you’ve got an instinct about something, if you just know it’s going to work – don’t rob it by endlessly playing safe. Go out, buy the biggest pot in the shop and change that room.