If you don’t take yourself outside your comfort zone, you might never know what you are truly capable of. I really believe that.
Stagnating in your career, your business and in your life is not a pleasant feeling to experience. Your energy levels drop, you become complacent, unsure of yourself, and downright boring to be around.
Changing careers – taking things up a notch – is certainly a way to shake you out of the shackles of stagnation and get your juices flowing again.
But what happens when it doesn’t work? What happens when you make the leap of faith and do something that you think you want, and it actually turns out it’s not what you want at all?
I have a client who is going through this right now. She thought she wanted a new career, in a different field and went all out to get it. To her credit she has spent the last 18 months forging that career, successfully I might add. But she called me tonight to say she is calling it quits and going back to her previous career while studying a new area – which she loves.
What was the breaking point for my client? The realisation that she was living out a career she thought was expected of her – that would bring her greater recognition, better money, greater standing with her peers and ultimately more happiness.
The reality was that she spent the majority of the time stressed, anxious and unhappy. Now much of that may have been down to by the environment she worked in. But I also believe the pressure to live up to what she thought others’ expectations were of her was the major factor.
As we grow up we are faced with the expectations of others every day. Our parents. School. Friends. Siblings. University. Colleagues in the workforce. Society. It goes on and on, and on.
When I started Law School I met a girl who was to become one of my best friends. She was so envious of the fact that I didn’t come from a professional family (I was the first in my family to study at University). Having a would-be lawyer in the family was an immense achievement and they were all unspeakably proud of me.
My girlfriend had a sister who was a doctor and another who was a dentist. Her parents were both doctors. She became a lawyer, succumbing to the family pressure of following in the steps of a “good profession”.
What many people don’t realise is that at some point they may actually have stopped living a life they want for themselves (if they even knew what that was in the first place) and be focused instead on creating a life that conforms to the starring role they have been cast in by all of the parties above.
It takes courage to stand apart from the crowd and everyone you love and say – this is ME. This is who I AM. I may not be who you think I am. I may not even be who you want me to be. But I am me, and I am going to live my life, and have a career that makes ME happy.
It may not happen overnight, but once you start to feel the ripple effect in your life of being true to who you are, you won’t be able to go back to living your life for other people.
When I was leaving Scotland to move to Australia, my University friend said to me, the day before I left, “What is it you are searching for Fiona? Why can’t you be happy here, practising law, like me?” At that time I didn’t have an answer. Now I do. I was searching for me, the real me. I had to go 12,000 miles to find her, and often I didn’t really like the who I found.
But now I do. Now I can look at myself and say “Hey – look at you, all grown up and doing what makes you happy. Haven’t you come a long way. And yet, haven’t you still got a long way to go J”.
There are so many platitudes I could throw at you here – life is too short; you’re only young once; you never know what tomorrow holds so make the most of today. All of these are true. Yet I know that in the midst of actually living our modern-day lives the bigger picture of who we are and what the purpose of us being here is gets lost.
So, I’m not expecting miracles from you. All I ask is that once you finish reading this post you pause for a moment out of your busy schedule and ask yourself the question: Who am I? And if you can’t answer it without feeling some tinge of discomfort, or worse, regret, then promise yourself you will invest the time in yourself to work out who you actually WANT to be.
Once you know who you want to be, you can take steps to do what you need to do, to have what you want to have in life.
Happy questioning! Please share this with someone who will love it as much as you 🙂
If you’d like to learn more about how you can take ownership of your career to allow you to create a career you love, be rewarded for what you do and take control of your future, you might want to join me for a LIVE and FREE workshop, where I’ll show you exactly how to do just that. Click here to find out more.
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