A hundred and fifty years ago, it was someone’s job to manually rewrite original words if you wanted a copy of something. Most people then couldn’t imagine that today’s technology would take care of that in a fraction of the time.

Without innovation and risk, we wouldn’t have many of the wonderful breakthroughs that make our lives easier today. But the thing about risk is that it can be scary. The unknown can be petrifying… Although, what if Thomas Edison had been too scared to continue dreaming and innovating? Well, we wouldn’t have copy machines. His electric pen was the earliest version of the copy technology we use today.

I recorded this video because I’ve been there. I’ve been afraid to take the risk. LinkedIn recently reminded me that I stayed in my event-planning job for five-and-a-half years. If I get really honest with you, it was about two years too long. But my biggest problem was that I didn’t want to work in event planning anywhere else, and I had no clue what other kind of job I wanted… let alone would be qualified to do.

So I did everything I could to avoid dealing with this. I got married. I bought a new house and coordinated a move that involved living with my in-laws for five weeks. And I went back to school for my Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. All things that could also be deemed “risky,” as well as solid accomplishments. But, to me, they were also distractions from the real issue I was avoiding.

Six months into my Master’s degree, I hit a breaking point. I could no longer put it off. It took me about three or four months to get clear on what I wanted next, and another eight to find—and get—the right job. That’s a lot of floundering when I already knew way before all the distractions that I needed a job change.

You know what’s riskier than exploring new jobs if you’re unhappy with where you’re at? Staying put. Keeping your head down. Putting up with degrading bosses or mind-numbing work. All those years ago now, I wish I had someone who had experienced risk-fear, like I have, who could walk me through the process of finding meaningful work and tell me to stop treading and make the jump.

Your first step? Find out your Career Path to Meaningful Work with this fast quiz.

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