The Definitive Guide to Business

Former Google career coach explains how to tackle any career-related fear

Source: Mark Hanauer

Jenny Blake, co-founder of Google's career development mentorship program, has helped more than 1,000 people navigate their careers.

She knows that in order to get anywhere in life, you have to address your fears head on.

Whether you're looking to change careers, take on new projects at work or launch a side gig, Blake says it's all about asking yourself one crucial question.

"It's really important for each person to define this — 'What does failure actually mean to me?'" Blake told CNBC.

"But really, when you make this move, what is failure?" she added.

By asking yourself what failure looks like, you're better able to take steps to address fear, said Blake, who recently published "Pivot," a book that shares some of her best career advice.

"For some, failure is financial apocalypse," the career strategist said. "If that's the case, then taking smaller steps, launching a pilot, might be a better step before making a big change."

A "pilot," according to Blake, is a small project related to your larger goal that helps you figure out if you're able to make a bigger move down the line.

Clarifying your definition

While you're defining what failure is to you, it's important to know what failure is not. Blake made this handy list in "Pivot."

Failure is not:

  • Uncertainty
  • Trying something new
  • Trying something that doesn't work
  • Doing something imperfectly
  • Making the "wrong" decision
  • Getting rejected

"These seemingly bad experiences are actually building blocks to your career," Blake writes.

"These are the experiences that make you human, and an adventurous one at that."

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