We are a society of quick fixes and this “now” urgency filters into most areas of our lives. I see it manifested in the way that we search for jobs. We want the perfect, shiny, easy solution to discovering and achieving what we really want to do in our professional lives. We’re given so many examples in t.v., radio, and movies of these fabulous people who seem to have it all figured out and are making millions. In most cases, the having it all together and figured out part is far from reality. If you knew all the factors that had to happen in the background before the instant success; you would understand that it is a process.
The truth of the matter lies in looking at yourself. That’s the hardest part. Clients will come to me wanting to know what tests they can take to be told exactly what they should do and be in life. They think that quick answer will be the key to ending all the frustration and will save them a lot of time. The problem with that thinking is how you respond to a test may tell you what you are good at, but will never tell you what you really want. The people who have reached high levels of success have done so by following a gut instinct that told them to pursue an idea, not because a piece of paper said this is what they would be good at.
Back to the looking at yourself part. Whether you have just entered the workforce or have been doing the same job for years successfully and are searching for the right fit, the best way to figure out what the ideal career step would be is to jump into the fire. It may sound strange, but what we really want to do is hidden within. It’s that quiet voice giving you hints and nudges here and there. The problem is that our mind is so focused on the “now” that we dismiss or ignore it all together. Part of that avoidance is because we are afraid to jump into the fire. This idea is based on my coach mentor Martha Beck’s term “Ring of Fire”, which is the process of disbelieving false ideas that are causing us discomfort.
We know what we want in our careers but we are afraid to jump into the fire for all kinds of reasons. We need a job that is secure, that is low risk, that gives us all the goodies that the advertisers say successful people should have. The problem is we are spending our days doing something we dislike. Can you imagine how much money you could make if you did something you actually did like? But our brains are not wired to think that way. Our survival mode of thinking keeps us in place and uses fear as the fire that we don’t want to get too close to because we’ll get burned. If we can learn to recognize the fear for what it is and step in to the fire, it may feel like we’re burning; but what we’re actually doing is transforming into a new, energized, purposeful version of ourselves. The confident successful on the outside, but fearful on the inside will no longer exist. You become the confident successful person on the inside and out. From this place, the real magic of creating an ideal career begins. It may take some time and won’t happen right away, but compared to the years that you could spend in a job that you are not fit for, it’s well worth the time and effort.
How do you do this? You can start by making a list of all the things you would love to do if there was absolutely no limitation based on money or circumstances. Then look at the list and see which ones feel the lightest and freeing to you. Ask yourself: what’s stopping me? You’ll probably come up with lots of logical thoughts, but most of these are just fears disguised as logic. Gently question those thoughts and see what emerges. Just the questioning will allow the fearful part of yourself to start to burn away. Then take a break from the trying and come back to it later. Over time you will become more clear on what you really want.