Taking business risks isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Successful, accomplished individuals also ponder, dream, vacillate, struggle and dare to take the plunge, making significant career shifts — from familiar, lucrative senior positions to extremely different careers.

Consider the litigator with a thriving 17-year practice who decides to shift from courtrooms to living rooms, fulfilling her passion for interior design. She’s excitedly back in school earning a new degree. Other senior executives and managers don’t have the luxury of electing to make career shifts. Companies merge, morph and migrate, forcing successful contributors to cast wider nets for employment. Such necessity lands many top performers in strange, new waters, swimming in self-doubt.

These extremes frame endless variations in between. Whether eager or pushed to make major changes, confidence and security often disappear, replaced by fear and anxiety — hardly ideal for marching into new, unfamiliar territory. 

As you become your own agent for (career) change, rely on these words of wisdom to boost your confidence, discover next adventures and help when embarking on career shifts.

  1. Turn Fears Into Fuel Beginning any new adventure, by choice or circumstance, sparks fears. Taking even small, incremental steps forward ignites progress. Pick up your phone or do research, and replace fears with facts.
  2. Respect the Past; Just Don’t Live There When change happens to you, owning the loss—without getting stuck there—can help you move forward. Recognize that the career you had is now over to begin to respect and leverage your strengths. Have patience with yourself; this transition’s not easy.
  3. It’s All About the Person Sitting Across From You In new career territory, remember what you know well. Draw upon your own past wisdom. Many talents are universal. Focus on the person sitting across from you to leave every interview that much wiser.
  4. Converse Well About Money to Negotiate Wisely For All When negotiating, be thorough, prepared and wise so everyone wins. Don’t apologize for transitioning; emphasize the unique strengths your experiences bring to this new table. It’s important to all parties that negotiations succeed.
  5. Always be Willing to Earn Your Stripes Again Balance strengths with your willingness to learn new skills. Reassure others that you know what you know — and what you don’t know yet. Clearly communicating you intend to learn and be a fast study helps everyone’s confidence grow — including yours.
  6. Only You Can Sell Yourself Short — Don’t Finally, as your own agent for change in career, business and life, remember to draw upon all that makes you who you are. Tasks may be different, terms unfamiliar and mistakes ahead plentiful, but only you can sell yourself short. DON’T.

Randi Brill is a lifelong entrepreneur, the CEO of creative firm QuaraCore and Teacher Peach and the author of 99 Creative WOWs: Words of Wisdom for Business.”