This post is an answer to a submitted question. It aims to provide help and solutions to overcome the issue.
Podcast version: HERE
"How do I know which job to choose that will be most satisfying to me?
I'm currently unemployed, and before that was in a job for 8 years that really burned me out and at times felt soul-sucking. Part of that was from the company culture, and maybe partly because I felt I couldn't be my true self. I believe there's a way I could allow myself to show up more fully (regardless of being in a persuasive sales position), but I'm not sure how to stay connected to my authentic self when a culture or position is forcing a different expectation. Maybe I would be more fulfilled in a different position or industry, but a mid-life career change can also be daunting. I would appreciate your perspective on how to know when your talents, values, and priorities are in alignment with who you are and what you want - and if they're not, then where to start. I hesitate on taking action on the job search because I'm not sure what fulfilling work looks like for me and worried I will end up miserable again. Thank you!"
My Response if we were in a coaching setting. Although without being able to ask questions I may assume or use scenarios to fill in the gaps.
You seem uncertain, terrified to repeat history. Feeling this way is scary, and normal, let me see if I can offer some insight.
"If something is important to you, you will find a way. Otherwise, you'll find an excuse."
I love this quote because anytime I feel resistance in doing something, I think, how am I not making this important, what's the emotion I am attaching to this situation? Is the emotion positive or negative?
If it's something I value deeply, it's part of the identity I believe in at my core. I know it's vital to attach only a positive emotion to it. Painting a picture in my mind so clearly I could describe it in great detail that someone could almost experience it in a way that states I have it already.
If there's a negative emotion, what I know about the brain is it will hijack you into not doing the thing, or taking any action.
You know I love quotes:
Jeff Bezos: "All of my best decisions in business and in life have been made with heart and intuition – not analysis."
The harder you think, the less access you have to your intuition, your right sage brain. What this means if you stay in the process of analyzing, you're safe and secure in your comfort zone. In my personal life all the most amazing experiences, shifts, and opportunities were by taking crazy action forward, viewing fear as excitement. Ever seen someone on a rollercoaster screaming and think, "man they look like they are having fun, I want to do that!" Are they having fun, excited or are they terrified, they look the same. With many years in bodybuilding, every single show I am behind the stage with a rookie that's frightened and holding their breath, I explain to them that fear and excitement feel the same, you're just excited, and you've worked hard to get here.. now go out and show off that hard work.. there's usually more to the dialog, that's the condensed version. The point is, do it, jump out there, take action, learn, grow, evolve and experience life fully! The right brain, sage mind, operates from curiosity, excitement, joy, hope, peace, and accepting that things will be ok. All things that reassure the brain and nervous system you are safe.
- A rational mind makes you smart.
A sage mind makes you wise.
You can gather loads of information and pass an exam on said information. This isn't learning. Learning, evolving, and growing is done through action. Think about riding a bike, you can watch endless YouTubes on how to ride a bike, but do you know how without actually getting on the bike? No. Action is how you learn, by falling off and getting back on, reflecting on what went wrong and readjusting, and doing it again. Being committed, finding it important to learn it, master it, and allowing it to evolve into a nonconscious effort, where you ride it without thought (habit).
Maybe your purpose in life isn't related to your job.
Maybe your job is your J-O-B and the job is the thing that supports you financially. This is something you do for eight or less hours a day, and then the rest of your waking hours, eight for instance, are devoted to your purpose, your meaning, fun things, hobbies, connection to others or whatever that is. If you need to have a job to support yourself, that's great. That's a noble thing to do and follow your dreams, AND there's one thing you prioritize outside your working hours that follows your dreams, your heart's desire. Perhaps the job facilitates the means the financial energy to do that thing. One thing I picked up on in the submission is the past experience that burned you out. Likely there was a lack of work-life balance. Can you have a fulfilling, meaningful, exciting job every day? I personally haven't experienced that. All jobs, careers, and businesses have highs and lows. It may be my personal experience, and belief, that the more you make the more difficult and greater responsibilities it will demand. I have attempted to take something I am passionate about and turn it into a business and it isn't as fun anymore. It's your responsibility to set and honor your work-life boundaries and stick to them, no one is going to do it for you. Boundaries are for you, no one else. Be super clear on your job roles, do them, and nothing more. Clock in, do your job, clock out and leave work at work (mentally and physically). It's your responsibility to understand your feelings and that a job doesn't inject feelings of stress, frustration, soul-sucking, or misery. That's all thought work, that I deeply enjoy working with my clients one-on-one.
When feeling a negative emotion, it's understanding it's simply a signal. Lean into that feeling, become resilient, get help (coaches like me) to cope, and navigate these signals where you're mind is no longer controlling you. You're living your life how you want to feel and experience it.
Past events don't define you. Nor does your job title.
They teach you. How you frame things will either keep you from taking action or set your soul on fire and take powerful action knowing it will work out no matter what.
I have worked with so many clients that struggled all their life and don't go after what they deeply want and desire because of some sort of fear.
Fear of disappointing other people, family, friends, consumed by what others will think of them.
Fear of failure, worrying about what others think, and people-pleasing can lead to regret and shame after years of misery. It's your life, do what sets your heart on fire, AND it's never too late.
I hope this helps. I wish you all the best. Please share this with anyone you believe would benefit from the insights. Post a comment, I read and reply to them all. Thank you in advance!
If you want to send a question, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org please include:
- A coachable question (something that addresses what's in your control, your thoughts, feelings or actions.)
- And context, explain a situation in the past, currently going through, or worries/concerns of the future, giving me some details on your thoughts and feelings about it.
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