I’ve been blessed this past week to travel with 80 high school students to a youth gathering of 22,000 in Minneapolis. That meant a very long bus ride from our home in St. Louis. I love young people, and other than the lack of sleep, it was a fantastic week with great kids.

On the bus ride to Minneapolis, we watched the movie High School Musical. My sons were out of high school when that movie came out, so I’ve never seen it before. It was enjoyable, and I found some themes that apply to adults as well as teenagers.

If you’ve never seen the movie before, the plot surrounds Troy, a basketball star, and Gabriella, an academic decathlete. They just transferred to a new school, really liked each other, and decided they wanted to be part of the high school musical.

While both were musically talented and wanted to participate, they received a lot of pressure to keep their focus on the status quo, only doing what they did very well.

What they each did well (basketball for Troy, academics for Gabriella) was how others, including friends and family, identified with them. When they each dared to do something different (the musical) friends and family pushed back.  At first, they were willing to accept the status quo but later dared to do something different.

I think that often happens in our lives, especially in our careers. We, along with the rest of the world, can frown on those who make changes.

For example, I spent many years in healthcare organizations. If I spoke to someone about something outside of healthcare, they looked at me like I was crazy and would say, “But you’re a healthcare guy.” That’s how I was identified by others because of my experiences.  

Hiring managers shy away from those without “industry experience” because it adds some risk, causing them to miss the opportunity to bring in new perspectives and ideas.   

Where I have a bigger concern is when we do those same things to ourselves. It usually looks like this. You learn about an exciting position you’re qualified for, but it will be a big stretch from what you’ve been doing. 

You’re excited and ready to apply, but then start the limiting self-talk. You say things to yourself like, “I don’t know if I’m really ready,” or, “They’ll never consider me because I don’t have any direct experience.” You might be a little anxious or nervous and then decide not to apply at all.  

Doing what we’ve always done is not risky. It’s in our comfort zone, and in that zone, we think subconsciously, “I’ve got this all under control.” We often don’t look to God. We say, instead, “God, I’ve got this.” I know because I’ve been there.

Is there something you’ve been thinking about doing in your life or career that is different? Are you worried about the risk, the unknown? We often forget where there is a risk, there is a reward.  Have you invited God into the conversation? Have you factored that into your thinking? 

Remember, it’s in the unknown where God shows Himself most powerful. Do you have the courage and the faith in God to carry you through the unknown? Here’s some encouragement.

In scripture, we are told, I can do all this through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).  God can unleash His power and strength for you.

When we do something unfamiliar, we often think it’ll be impossible because we’ve never done it before. But God says we’re wrong. He says in scripture, For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).

Buckle your chin strap, get God on your side, and try something different. God will reward your risk and reliance on him.

Have you ever made a career move that was out of your comfort zone? Leave a comment and tell us how God came through for you!