Yesterday I put out an offer to my followers to Kick-Start a Meaningful Career. I’m developing my ability to offer my work to help women find a meaningful career they love in group settings and hence the offer is in Beta, at a super low cost. (Want to know more? Here’s the article).
I received a really heart-wrenching reply:
“Forgive me for saying this, but I am always skeptical of these promises to find a fulfilling career. We are told to “follow your passion” but I have no idea what my passion is. I enjoyed my work for 10 years and then it became a humdrum bore. However, it pays the rent. I have been in the same line of work for 22 years, and about 10 of these years have been so wasted. I have no idea, at 47, what to do. And I don’t have a passion. Many people don’t have a passion, so that advice is tacky and ridiculous for them. “
And yes, I can’t agree with her more. I never once mentioned ‘to find your passion’ in my article, and it’s not in any of the modules. However, I hear that this person has been hearing this guidance everywhere and is totally sick of it because it’s not helpful. She’s frustrated and in pain about all the wasted years of her life.
In 1996 I started looking around for another career. I’d been trained in music, as a music teacher and performing artist. Music WAS my passion but the career I was in (playing in a Military Band for 5 years) kind of killed that passion slowly. Music and military are rather on the opposite ends of the creativity scale!
I was painfully unhappy in that career, and scoured the Sunday papers for weeks and weeks to look for something else. Nothing grabbed me. Every advertised position was for something I was not trained in. It was frustrating and anxiety-creating beyond words to think “I NEED to find something else but the one and only passion I had is now gone, I don’t see any other jobs in music anyway – so what the heck should I do?”
The panic kept rising as I realised I have no idea what other passion I had. So how could I possibly follow my ‘passion’ and turn that into a career I could love?
I had no idea at the time that a career coach (or even a friend) could help me uncover some of my other needs (things or experiences I value). I felt totally stuck in a really hard place, with no support at hand. It felt like I had to figure it all out by myself and get the answer… and I felt very lonely and unsuccessful.
This morning I read an article in the Huffington Post that mentions 7 things you can do to move your career forward. It’s an excellent article with tips by a professor who helps her students think about their future, and how to find a meaningful career.
The author’s no 1 tip is : Know your passions and turn it into your career objective.
Yep, there it is again. The passion thing.
Dr Carol Morgan says, “Many people end up in jobs they don’t like because they didn’t have a plan. And they never had a plan because they never did a self-assessment to figure out who they are and what they love to do. Since I am a person who finds it easy to self-reflect, I sometimes struggle to understand people who can’t. But I have found that I am in the minority. However, just because it doesn’t come naturally to you doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to do it. Grab a friend or a loved one to help you explore your passions. Then brainstorm about how you can turn them into a career.”
If you’re stuck in a place where you want to move to a different place in your career and you’re stuck with where to go next, my number one suggestion is to search inside yourself first, before starting the outward/job search.
If we go about the career search unconsciously because of outward benefits like a salary or a different external perk, chances are we could end up a few years (or months) later with the same challenge – “I’m not inspired by my career anymore and I need to find something else!”
I find it crucial to go an inner journey of discovery to find what is meaningful and important and energizing first, before looking at what kind of a career might offer those important ingredients. I call this ‘A Magical Journey of Discovery’ because clients so often discover hidden truths about themselves that they’d never thought of or knew before.
We’re all busy, busy, busy people and the reality is it takes commitment and especially courage to stop the hamster wheel for a few hours and deeply look inside to find what will truly fulfill us. It takes huge courage to face some truths we may have been hiding from even ourselves.
If this is you, I warmly invite you to book a complementary Career Truth call. It offers an honest look at where your career stands, what frustrates you, and will provide clarity about some next steps for you.
It’s liberating to discover the truth and far less painful than suppressing it for years and ending up with major fibromyalgia and migraines, like one of my recent clients. He’s far down the line, having been in an unfulfilling and stressful career for more than 20 years. I don’t wish that for anyone, looking at the physical and emotional pain he’s in.