Fast Company: Why It's Often Better To Take Small Steps Rather Than A Leap Of Faith

06 Sep 2022
When it comes to a career change, or accomplishing any big, risky goal, it can be tempting to just go for it. Here’s why you might want to reevaluate.

Originally found at Fast Company

With so many people contemplating a career change, it can be tempting to take a leap of faith. Quitting your day job and going all in can feel empowering, but it may be smarter to slow down and take small steps toward uncertain goals instead, say Nathan and Susannah Furr, authors of The Upside of Uncertainty: A Guide to Finding Possibility in the Unknown. The Furrs call this approach having “personal real options.”

“There’s this myth that you have to go all in on a project or initiative to be successful, when it’s actually better to do a personal real options approach,” says Nathan Furr.

The Furrs were introduced to the concept after interviewing Ben Feringa, recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on molecular machines. The Furrs asked Feringa if he faced uncertainty on his road to a scientific breakthrough.

“He laughed and said, ‘It was all uncertainty,'” recalls Nathan Furr.

Feringa told the Furrs that he encourages his students to have at least two projects going, one certain and one uncertain. “Striving for certainty will lead you down false paths or lead you to commit too long to projects that won’t work, or to uninteresting projects that will work,” he explained.

Research from the Academy of Management found that hybrid entrepreneurs—entrepreneurs who keep their day job while they try their new venture on the side until it shows it has legs—are more successful than entrepreneurs who quit their job to do their venture.

Continue reading the original article at Fast Company.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.

Read the Academy of Management Insights summary.