If you’ve ever been at a place in your career and working life where you desperately need a change but are so enmeshed in your current job that you can’t see the way out, you’ll already know that the fraught effects it has on all other areas of your life — your relationships, finances, work/life balance, and health and well-being — can cause it to become one of the most unhappy and stressful times in your life.
With this in mind, it is important to recognise that there are various reasons you’ve become so anchored or identified into your current career or job. These run the gamut from the sense of credibility and ‘achievement’ it provides, which helps you establish your place in the world, to the fundamental financial security you and your dependents cannot live without.
Much more of your identity and validity as a professional and employee is inextricably linked with how you earn a living than you might realise.
You, like the vast majority of folks, have been conditioned from a very young age to create for yourself, through focus, commitment, ambition, and hard work, a place in which you can stand proud, and in so doing, secure the approval of your parents, spouse, children, wider community, colleagues, and friends.
The piece that often goes unnoticed, however, is that this pathway of social responsibility and achievement is one that is, for the most part, external to you. And that is not to knock it entirely — it certainly has its merits in helping to fashion a society that is buoyant in a productive, structured way. Of that, there can be no doubt.
Once you begin to recognise that you’ve been following an agenda that isn’t actually 100% authentic to you however, the set of pointed questions below can help you gain a vastly expanded view of your situation right now.
Journaling Guidelines: In order that you can glean and capture the deep wisdom, the answers that are within you right now, make sure you have a pen and some paper nearby. Close your eyes after you read each question and really take it in. Notice how your heart and physical body respond and imagine that you can tune into the steady, silent voice within you, that for too long, although it is your greatest ally, has gone unnoticed and hasn’t been heard. Ask that voice — the voice of your innermost desires, feelings, and needs to show and communicate to you what it most wants you to know. Once you feel like you’ve captured your deep response to the question, begin to write your response, without stopping to think about your grammar, spelling, or punctuation, knowing that you can always close your eyes again and tune in if there is a thought form you want to better understand or go deeper with.
- Does the career path I am currently on honour the deep, silent stirrings and sensibilities of my soul?
- Where am I not feeling truly appreciated, understood, and seen?
- How is this showing up in my happiness levels and relationship with my body, health, and my innermost Self?
- How is this showing up in my primary relationships with the people I care about the most?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how committed am I to changing my job situation before I lose control of the situation and something big has to give? (Note: If your score isn’t a 10, ask yourself “What is the belief that is holding me back from committing fully to my happiness right now?”)
- Am I open to the idea of progressively beginning to release my investment/grip on this limiting belief and instead, muster the courage I need to begin trusting myself to explore, research, and ultimately create a way out, even when I can’t clearly see the way ahead?
- If I were to move past what I have previously perceived as ‘blocks’ to my personal growth and change, what would I do now, no matter what?
And actually, rather than do this journaling exercise just once, for maximum benefit, these are questions that are worth revisiting at least a few more times over the next week.
When you ask yourself these questions repeatedly, what you are in effect doing is creating a platform for your innermost feelings and needs — the very ones that have unwittingly been going unnoticed and which are, in large part, the reason you are here.
Is that going to make you feel uncomfortable?
Honestly? The answer is probably, more likely than not.
Is it necessary in order that you can have any chance at all of moving towards a work situation that by comparison feels more deeply satisfying, authentic, and aligned?
Truth be told, it takes a significant amount of courage to take an honest inventory of where you are now, but — rest assured, it isn’t all in vain!
It is important for me to point out that my reasons for sharing these journaling questions with you are not to raise your awareness of how unhappy and frustrated you feel. Rather, it is only by identifying the real roots of your career dissatisfaction that you truly begin to remember and reconnect with who you essentially ARE.
There is a tremendous alchemy that occurs on various levels of your awareness at this very point which I don’t want to undermine by trying to capture and articulate it in words. Suffice it to say, however, when you are at this place of feeling so entrenched in your current work situation that you don’t sense that any options or possibilities for doing things differently are at all within your grasp, reaching inwards towards your authentic Self can set about a chain of events that opens your eyes to the choices that are in front of you and which can move you towards a work situation that feels relatively more aligned, enjoyable, expansive, and free.
From my own personal experience as well as the powerful transformational work I do with clients every day, this is territory I know like the back of my hand. And what I have come to know is that even if you feel this way, having the security that your current job provides (rather than no job at all!) is the perfect place to begin this line of enquiry back to your authentic Self and needs.
If you would like to go deeper with the ideas presented in this article and gain a better understanding of the impact they can have in your specific situation and life, I would love for you to be part of my private audience during the free 90 minute, virtual Career Direction Clarity (Group) Session I’ll be leading on April 18. Registration for this super-special event is open — simply click the link to sign up now!
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