I get it. You’re unhappy at work, you aren’t using your skills, and your interests have changed. But you’re completely overwhelmed with the idea of doing something about it.
Does it mean you need to change jobs and start over?
What if you make a change and you don’t like it?
It can be confusing and stressful, so you just stay where you are and hope it works out.
If this is how you’re feeling, this episode is for you. I’ve been there and my clients struggle with this too. Listen in so you can learn the tangible steps to take right now so you can take action toward what you want, confidently.
What You’ll Learn:
- If you should listen to the voice that asks when enough is enough
- The 3 steps you can take right now to decide if you need to make a change in your career
- How to tap into your energy to tell you if you’re on the right career path
- How to move from overwhelmed to taking action with confidence
Featured in This Episode:
- “We Should All Be Millionaires” by Rachel Rodgers
- Apply for 1-1 Coaching. Go to www.melissamlawrence.com/apply
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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want if you want to stop feeling stuck and start feeling better. This is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence.
Let’s get started.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. Before we dig into this week’s topic, I just want to give a shout out to one of my clients. Kate, you just celebrated her progress over the last six months and her journey has just been incredible. When we started working together, she was miserable and felt underutilized, wanting to make an impact and have her skills utilized. She wanted to know that she should either stay where she is or if she should change companies, if she should work towards a promotion.
She wanted to be able to communicate effectively and process her feelings better, both at work and at home. And now, just six months later, she is starting her own business. She realized what is important to her. She advocates for herself in all areas of her life. She is exercising. She’s feeling healthy physically and emotionally. She’s healed relationships with others and with herself. And she says that coaching with me changed her life. But you guys, she changed her life.
I was her guide, but she did the work and had all of this in her. She had that voice saying she needed to do something different about her situation. And she did the work. And I just helped her bring out what was already there. On some level, it just needed to be developed. And now she’s in a completely different space. And it’s just so rewarding and exciting to see the progress that she’s made. And so I just want to give her a shout out to celebrate what she’s accomplished and all of this success and happiness that she created.
So this topic and what we’re going to talk about today is a little bit connected to the journey that Kate had. So you may be wondering if you should do something different. You are unfulfilled where you are. Maybe you’re feeling miserable, but you’re scared to change because what does that mean? But how do you know when enough is enough? Maybe you’re unfulfilled, but also overwhelmed with the idea of making any change because you’ve worked hard for where you are.
Do you just start over entry level? You may have heard Kate story and thought, what if I if it comes out that I should start a new business, I’m not ready for that. Right. It can be very overwhelming. And so you’re not sure what to do. You’re not sure what can help you if you think about coaching, you might think, but is that going to be worth it? What if I spend money on my development and it doesn’t work?
What if nothing can help me? What if it just is what it is and let me tell you, that was my old favorite, I used to say that all of the time just is what it is. So you might think you need to get promoted or change jobs, and that will be what helps you. And I just want to tell you that if you change the circumstance, that brain of yours is coming along with you. You don’t get a new brain when you change jobs.
So some of those concerns you’re having about how you’re thinking about what you really want, not being sure that’s going to be with you no matter where you go. So what I would say is I’ve been there, so I also was in this place before I started my company, that I felt there was more for me, I was unfulfilled, but I had a good salary and a good job and I thought I should just be grateful for that. So I totally understand where you’re coming from.
This is also where my clients are. So what you need to do is listen, because that voice, I promise, is there for a reason. Maybe your culture isn’t a good fit. Maybe you’re destined for something different, maybe your boss is just a jerk, maybe there is something in you that is bigger than what you’ve known. What is normal to you is based on what you’ve seen and what you’ve known, so if you’re thinking that you want more, if you’re thinking that you’re unfulfilled with where you are, but the idea of doing something different is scary, it’s because you don’t have that belief in yourself that you can do something more and you don’t have the examples around you to show you that it’s possible.
With me, my immediate family didn’t have their own business, it was a paycheck by paycheck family. Making money was hard working with something that was necessary, and it was a luxury to like your job, that is what I knew. But I don’t want liking your job to be a luxury, I want it to be a standard, a standard for you, for those that love you and you can create that new normal. You can create that example for everyone around you and for yourself.
And Martha Beck’s book, Finding Your Own North Star, she talks about this concept of your social self and your true self to your social self. Is the person that was shaped by all of these external things, like how you grew up, your parents, the environment that you were in, the different experiences that you had, how your family treated money, for example, how your family or the people around you talked about their work right? Like for me, for example, I grew up in a family where money was hard to come by, where we never seemed to have enough, where you had to work really hard and jobs were even hard to come by.
And if you had a really good job, you held on to that job. If you had health insurance, you held on to that health insurance. Nobody left their job to be happy. So when it came to me wanting to start my own business and to do something outside of the norm where I had already achieved so much success, I had worked so hard to never be in that position where I was living paycheck to paycheck and struggling and my children having to buy their own clothing, like I didn’t want to have that same experience as an adult and for my children.
And so I worked really hard to have a good career, a high paying salary with a lot of great benefits. So when it came to changing that, to realizing that wasn’t my destiny and really what made me happy, it was really hard for me to leave because that’s all I knew. And it felt wrong and silly and irresponsible. But it’s not and that’s what we’re going to talk about more in this episode, so your social self, like I said, is that person that is shaped by all of those external things and their true self is the one that doesn’t have that influence.
That’s kind of you as you were born. So I want you to think about yourself as a baby. You probably don’t remember being a baby, but when you were a baby, you were born. And let’s assume you wore diapers and a lot of little babies run around without clothes on. But at some point, clothing was no longer an optional thing. You had to wear clothes and it was the people around you, the people caring for you, or maybe it was yourself that decided, now is the time that I’m going to wear clothing.
OK, so you learned when to wear clothes and that it was not acceptable to be naked forever, right? So that is an example that is really simple and kind of funny to think about of how your social self is shaped. Same thing with money or relationships, how you treat people, what to expect in life, what’s hard, what’s easy, what your capabilities are. That’s all based on other people’s social norms and the society that you’re in and the people that were around you when you were growing up and that you continue to surround yourself with.
What other people think is possible and acceptable is what becomes what you think is possible and acceptable for yourself. And there may be parts of that part of these beliefs that you have that are not true to you at that kind of true self level that are more that social software, what you’ve been accustomed to, and you might not even know the difference. So one quick way that you can tell if something that you’re doing is aligned with your true self versus your social self is by paying attention to your energy.
And I know this is going to get a little woo. And some of you may be thinking, what about the tactical career advice? And I totally get that. But just hang in there. If you think about the things that energize you, that you can lose hours. And if you think about the last time you did something that just was natural and felt like joy, that is your true self. That was something that was aligned to that true self that has not been influenced by other things.
Now, if you think about the last time you felt drained and all of your energy was zapped outside of you, for me, that could be going to the dentist. That is a resistance. And that resistance is there because it isn’t aligned with your true self and likely something that you’re doing out of obligation or you learn to do right. So would the dentist doing that out of obligation? Not because it’s something I enjoy, but it’s something I do because I choose to.
It’s a necessary obligation for me. And you get to decide what are those necessary obligations for yourself, because some of them are the dentist and some of them are working in a job you don’t like. So how do you sort this out for yourself? How do you know when enough is enough, if it’s just in your head, if it just is what it is, if you’re complaining and you shouldn’t and if you’re really ready for a change. So the first step is going to be to get the thoughts out of your head.
Stories are so much bigger in your head. So if you’re upset about something, for example, maybe somebody did something that really ticked you off, you’re going to spend a lot of time building that up, building up everything they said and did what you could have done differently. How could they do that? What were they thinking when they did that? And then it might bring up some other ideas of things that they’ve done in the past that also frustrated you.
And then it becomes this bigger thing. And then you might think about, wow, what are they going to do next time and what should you do about it? And it just becomes this big thing or that could happen with meetings. It could be a big presentation. And you can’t control what’s going to happen in that presentation. And so you start spinning out and getting worried about what people might say, what they might do if they’re going to like what you say or your side’s going to be OK.
Is the technology going to break down all of these things and it just becomes so big. So you need to get all of those thoughts out of your head and into paper, into talking them out loud so that you can really get a handle on what is the fact of the situation and what is the story. Because those are two different things, how you really think and feel can be a fact, but there’s also the story of what you make of things mean.
And also, I’ve talked about this before, but your brain wants you to stay the same, your brain does not want you to change. So it’s going to offer you a lot of ideas about why you should stay the same and why you should not chase your dreams and how it is silly and how you just need to toughen up and do what you’ve been taught to do your whole life. So the first step is really to get all of that out of your head, to just get all of those thoughts, write them down.
Say them out loud. Find someone that you can talk to to just get them out of your head so you can really look at what you’re thinking. The second step is going to be to look at the what before the how. So we often get really distracted and really consumed and overwhelmed with what things might mean, how we would make them work before even knowing what we want, and then we just discount it altogether. So, for example, you may have heard earlier when I talked about my client, Kate, but she’s starting her own business.
And you may think, what if I am going to start my own business? What if that’s the outcome that I really want? Well, what would I do about health insurance and how would I make money? And what if I don’t make any money? And then what if we become homeless and like, you’re going to go down this whole big rabbit hole about the worst case scenario of the house? Because it’s never the best case scenario that your brain goes to.
It’s always the worst. Oh, it’s the worst idea ever. And that might not even be your outcome. And you don’t even know for certain that’s what you want. And so going down that rabbit hole is just keeping you stuck. It’s just keeping you the same because you’re not actually dealing with the facts and you’re not actually looking at what you want. You’re just going to the worst case scenario of this really big thing and then deciding that it’s not going to work and then it’s too much and that it’s just not possible.
And then you kind of go back and start at the beginning and you just end up like you’re on this wheel that just never ends. So you want to first look at what you really want and do that work on looking at your social self versus your true self. What are your interests, your strengths, your skills, your experience, the lifestyle you want? What do you feel called to what is telling you that there is something wrong with what you’re currently experiencing at work or in your home?
So you want to really get clear on that before you even start entertaining what changes you would need to make and how you would make them, and then the third step is going to be around taking action and getting some help. So get an outside perspective, not someone who has a stake in the game like your friends and family. You want someone that it’s going to be unbiased. You want to look at examples outside of your immediate circle, like there’s a saying that you are who you hang out with, that you can only achieve the potential of the kind of highest level of the person that you hang out with and the lowest level of the person that you hang out with.
So you stay somewhere in that middle, but that becomes your range based on who you hang out with. I read in Rachel Rogers book and we should all be millionaires. That part of having that mindset is being around people that make more money than you. If, like you really want to be making more money than you want to be around people that have wealth, that have made good decisions and their business or in their life that you can learn from if you’re only hanging around people that are living paycheck to paycheck and are spending all of their money and they’re not smart with their investments, then when you go and you want to cash out your 401k to invest in the stock market, that’s going to seem really crazy and irresponsible to all of those people that are in your circle.
So you want to kind of broaden your range and your perspective by having people from all different walks of life around you and you want to explore who you really are and what you really want. Then you can decide what action to take, you can decide on the how, but you have to do those things first. If you need help, then get help to take that action and hold you accountable. For me, it was hiring a coach when I became clear that what I wanted was to have my coaching business and it was still hard for me to do.
I got to coach my coach helped me do what seemed impossible because I didn’t have that example around me. So I was really good at convincing myself that these big dreams were for everyone else, but they weren’t for me. So figure out what you need to do to be able to bravely take action towards what you want in figuring out that how. But you have to figure out the what first so that you’re not just throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something works.
You’re not just changing your circumstances, hoping it’s going to make you feel better having that honeymoon period at another company with another boss in another type of work. And then you find a couple of months later you’re back where you started. So the action that you take can be making a change in your career or relationships or environment, seeing how you’re contributing to your own unhappiness, because I think you already know this if you’re listening to my podcast, but you’re probably contributing on some level to your own unhappiness, recognizing you need a different culture at work, figuring out that thing that is going to make you happy and have you excited to go to work and to wake up every day, looking forward to your day.
But you have to get really clear on the what, because otherwise you get to think of how impossible everything is going to be, how the how is just not going to work for you. And it becomes so overwhelming. And then you go back to this cycle of convincing yourself you don’t even need to look at this. But when you know what you want, when you’re certain, when you’re confident that you know who you are, when you know what makes you happy, you can make changes and figure out the how.
I promise it just becomes like a problem that we get to solve. So start backwards, don’t decide it won’t work before you really know what you want, what you really want, and that it is something different than what you have now, you can take action to get clear on what you want to change and you can figure out the how to get there. That is how you go from being unfulfilled and scared to change to moving toward a happier career and life.
It may be hard, but I promise it’s simple. All right, have a great rest of your week. Coaching with me is the best way to guarantee you get happy at work and achieve your career and life goals. Getting started is easy. Head over to www.melissamlawrence.com to learn more and apply. It is the first step to get you from feeling stuck to knowing exactly what you want and have the tools to make it a reality.
I will be by your side the entire way.