Making a change is hard. We always assume the worst when we pursue new avenues and opportunities. Whether we are stuck in a relationship that makes us unhappy or a job that leaves us lukewarm and unsatisfied, we think to ourselves, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

This line of reasoning makes sense on the surface. As humans, we experience loss aversion. Research indicates that the joy we get from gain is only half as powerful mentally as the pain we feel from losing.

This puts you in a predicament. You want to leave your job, but you don’t want to lose it. Whether you are gaining prestige and a sense of identity or just punching the clock at work, the thought of no longer having that base of stability keeps you from taking the steps you need to in order to live a more fulfilling life.

Leveraging Loss Aversion

In order to overcome this hump, one of the most effective things you can do to propel yourself into your best life is to stop dreaming about what you’d gain from changing to a new job and start thinking about what you are losing by keeping your current one.

Are you losing out on a sense of freedom? Are you losing out on extra time with your children who will be grown in the blink of an eye? Are you losing out on having a more meaningful life?

Spend 10 minutes today writing down everything that you don’t have and aren’t doing because you are not quitting your job.

Redefining Failure

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Another way to avoid the trap of loss aversion is to redefine failure. Find a way to make it clear to yourself that being less than you could be is failing. Living a “life of quiet desperation” is failure. Putting time and effort into lining someone else’s pockets is failure.

Under your list of what you’re losing, write a few sentences about what failing in life means to you.

Making a Decision

Now that you have some clarity on what staying at your current job is costing you, you can make a well-informed decision about whether to quit.

Our conscious brain is constantly attempting to resolve uncertainty in our environment. Ambiguity breeds anxiety.  Make the decision to quit and a lot of that uneasiness will go away.

Pencil a day in on your calendar and dedicate yourself to putting in your notice.  Set up a few steps in between to take action and secure your next opportunity. With these actions, you will feel more at ease and more able to focus on taking the steps necessary to pursue your dream.


  • Mark Danaher

    Career, Life and Leadership Coach, Virtual Speaker and Trainer

    Careers by Design LLC

    Mark Danaher is a career/life/leadership coach and certified career counselor who helps leaders elevate their careers and life to one they will love.  He helps his clients make the best of tough situations so they can be their best professionally and personally.   Mark uses coaching along with his extensive career development knowledge and expertise to offer his clients a uniquely holistic approach to making career and life pivots.  He helps his clients manage burnout, stress, and anxiety, integrate balance into their lives so they can make a meaningful change in their lives. He uses a holistic narrative career approach to help people tell their stories and learn from their careers and life.  Mark completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Connecticut in Economics and History and went on to earn his Masters at the University of Connecticut in Counseling Psychology.   Mark was the President of the National Career Development Association in 2014-2015 and continues to volunteer for the organization.   He is certified as a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Career Counselor, Holistic Narrative Career Professional, Retirement Options Coach, 2 Young to Retire Coach, Job, and Career Development Coach, Job and Career Transition Coach, and a Certified Career Service Provider.  Mark is a Master Trainer for the Facilitating Career Development Certificate and School Career Development Advisor certificate is actively coaching training, and teaching throughout the year.  He is now a Master Practioner of the Energy Leadership Index which is a great assessment to understand how you use your energy in your everyday life and under stress.  It gives you a great insight into how you can improve your everyday interactions and connections with colleagues, employees, family, and beyond.