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You’ve seen all the happy Instagram quotes: “Do what you LOVE!” seems to infiltrate our lives via social media on a daily basis. There has been recent criticism of the “Do What You Love” concept that I think is fascinating. It challenges us to think about these cliche concepts and really dig deep on what they mean for us.
I will never forget the day I bought the book “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” I was 28 ,wide-eyed, and ready to take on the world with meaning and purpose. I read hoping to find some secret doorway leading to the Narnia of job satisfaction.
As a student of organizational psychology, having deeply studied, consulted, and worked in and around what it means to be happy and productive in the workplace, I’d like to ask you a big question:
HOW RESPONSIBLE ARE YOU MAKING YOUR CAREER FOR YOUR HAPPINESS?
It would be great if all of our hobbies and passions were also profitable business ideas or dwelled within one job description. Sometimes they truly are. In those moments of time where ideas and reality meet it can be an incredibly exciting time.
Here’s the thing: you probably thing there are a lot of people around you blissfully happy with their jobs and it’s just you who feel’s lost.
Thinking everyone’s work life is perfect is like thinking everyone’s relationships are filled with heart shaped emoji’s and perfectly taken pictures of happy couples on the tops of mountains reflecting romantic bliss.
LOVE and CAREER FULFILLMENT are real. They are. I’ve experienced both of them and so have incredible amounts of people in my life and in yours.
Many of my clients have become frustrated or dismayed with their existing careers. As I begin to dig deeper with many of them I find that sometimes it truly is the job, and sometimes there is other work to do. Our careers are just ONE aspect of our lives despite the fact that we spend so much time actually working.
Now is the part in the blog where I would write a little list to try to give you some inspiring “aha” moment. Instead there is something I recently experienced after returning from a solo reflective trip to Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. This beautiful nature preserve is where great minds like Thoreau and Emerson came to dwell and think.
For 10 years I had a remarkable career experience. Yes, I had an “aha” moment after being caught in a 6.2 earthquake in Seattle in early 2001. While working in marketing and attending am industry conference I realized,at 25, that I wasn’t living my purpose.
I’d been running a small youth service program on the side. I’ll spare you all the details, but I very organically created a position for myself leading service, leadership, and advocacy programming with high school students. I never left the business world and carried on a coaching and consulting practice for the bulk of the time I worked in education.
For 10 years I drove to work everyday and loved the content of my job. I got to watch young people learn compassion, emerge as leaders, and grow into confident young adults. Nothing could be more fulfilling then to be a mentor, teacher, and guide.
As I began to make the career change of my 30’s, entering graduate school and starting a non-profit while consulting and coaching on a more full time basis I began to feel…different. Why didn’t I feel that fulfillment anymore? Am I in the wrong place?
I realized there was something I’d been ignoring. My job had been SO fulfilling that I had not tended to other areas of my life – my health, personal relationships, and more. Though life was filled with plenty of people and social engagements, there was something missing – me.
Now let’s get back to you.
That is what is really important right now. This might be a great time for you to find a new career. It really could be time for a change. It could also be a time to change perspectives. Are there areas of your life you are ignoring, putting undue pressure on your career to bring you happiness?
If this is you, I am giving you permission to put your career gently in the back seat. Maybe it needs a break from the driver’s seat. It’s ok to take some of the pressure off of it from carrying the pressure to make all the decisions, the right turns, or the full stops. It can be on the journey, but it doesn’t ALWAYS have to run the show.
Telling you all of this does not serve my purpose in the least – to coach more people around their careers! That is because I actually do get to do what I love. Being of service has no price. It is what I believe we are here to do – to serve the highest purpose of each person we meet.
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