Are you holding yourself hostage?
It can be tempting to get caught in autopilot: working hard, paying your bills and living for the weekends. This slowly starts to feel “normal,” as if it’s all that there is, and there are no other options.
But, what if I told you there was?
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As a career coach, I have found that most clients who come to me in search of a new career feel stuck because they don’t know what they actually want. It’s one thing to hate your job; it’s a whole other beast to sit in the hopelessness of not knowing where to go next… That feeling is often a result of living in scarcity, a fear-based mindset. You make “practical” choices that result in a “reliable” life, but the truth is, you’re often holding yourself hostage from the life you really want to live.
You don’t have to let the fear of life stop you from getting what you really want. It all starts with taking three key steps, which I walk through in my most recent TEDx Talk, to start living a life rooted in inspiration.
1. Do a self-audit.
It’s time to get really honest with yourself, my friend. There are truths hidden within you that you’ve likely been pretending don’t exist. You have probably made excuses to avoid some sort of reality that’s less than ideal. So take an honest look at your career, and ask yourself: what’s working for you?… And what isn’t? The resistance to acknowledge that you don’t like something about your career is often rooted in the fear of change, because change tends to be inconvenient… and it involves some sort of loss… Even if it’s making way for the new to emerge.
The truth is, fear is a necessary physical response for our survival in the world… We learn to look both ways to cross the street for a reason! That healthy fear keeps us alive. And yet, we take it too far, and it keeps us from taking vulnerable action in our lives, be it steps towards what we actually feel inspired by, or changes that we know we need to make. By default, safety becomes a more practical solution than following your dreams. The typical culprit: criticism. The fear of being criticized, judged or put down by others for the desires and goals that you really want.
It is time to put this fear to rest, be brave and ask yourself some powerful questions. Begin by sitting down and conducting a self-audit. To get the answers you’re looking for you must first ask the right questions:
-Where are you holding yourself captive in your life?
-What is working for you, and what isn’t?
-What/who brings you the most energy, and what/who drains your energy?
-What do you know that you wish you didn’t know?
Creating clarity really comes down to reconnecting to yourself and acknowledging what is blocking you from what you actually want. When you answer these questions, and remove the blocks, answers tend to unfold. This is the time to put it all out there, otherwise, you will end up right back where you started. You know you don’t want that.
2. Pay attention to what feels good to you.
The data is in, we are so connected, that we are somehow more disconnected than ever. All of the online connections and overflowing stimulation has led us to be more distant than ever. We are distracted from ourselves, our careers and what we really want out of life. This is why I believe 71% of the workforce is on the job hunt, people are desperate to find what brings them joy.
In order to do this, you must begin to connect with your body and understand what feels good for you and ultimately, discover what brings you freedom.
So, how do you actually feel what feels good to you? Well, it all comes down to listening to your “gut instinct”. Recent studies have begun to show just how deeply our brain is connected to our gut; in fact, scientists are now calling the gut “the second brain,” and for good reason… With more than 200 million nerve cells in your intestine that activate and provide a response when things feel “right” or “wrong,” it makes sense as to why you feel a pit in your stomach when something isn’t right. The reason is, those neurons that make up our brain, are also in your gut and are responding to you from a highly intelligent context.
When it comes to your career, and getting clarity on your best next move, consider creating a list of all the job options you would consider, and then read each one individually. You can also put the list into a random decision generator and take notice of your initial reaction when each job pops up on the screen. Do you feel: liberated or suffocated? Are you expanding or contracting? The truth of what you really want often lies within that initial moment.
Along with this, consider creating a “joy journal,” a concept I learned from renowned life coach Alyssa Nobriga, for 30 days. Each day, write down the moments that bring you the most joy. This could be anything from coming up with a great idea for a project to greeting your coworkers in the morning, to learning something new in an article. Begin to write down a few moments each day, and look back at the end of the month to see anything indicating a pattern or trend in what brings you joy. These are the things you need to do more of in your job and your life!
3. Engage in action.
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It is easy to sit at home with a cup of coffee in hand and make lists, do research and write in a joy journal, but that alone won’t get you a new job and build the life you deeply crave. Yes, it is the foundation to point you in the right direction, but it won’t mean anything unless you get up and actually walk down the new path.
Turn back to that list and pick something you want to pursue. This can look like setting up coffee meetings with professionals in the career path you are considering, attending a networking event or applying for that job you’ve been eyeing. Action can look like taking small steps each day towards build a side hustle or enrolling in courses to build skills to take your career to the next level.
Remember, perfectionism is the enemy of action, and I have found that it’s a mask we all wear when petrified of failure. The next time perfectionism creeps into your approaches, ask yourself: Would you rather do something imperfectly but do it, or do nothing at all? You can always step back onto your path if you stumble, you can always get back up if you choose to fall down.
There are always clues present to nudge you towards you what you want, and as I say in my talk at TEDxLeidenUniversity, it comes down to allowing yourself to see, feel, and find them.
Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from getting what you want.
Source: Ashley Stahl at Forbes.com