Changing Jobs: Finding What’s Next (And What You Want)
Last week I wrote “We Suck At Dreaming”, and pointed out how we often focus on what we don’t want rather than what we do want. We take our dreams and put them in a box so they are practical or realistic, or we gut stuck focusing on what’s holding us back. Once you realize how much energy and attention you give to what’s not working, you’ll want to shift towards putting more energy towards what could and would work for you. But how?
How do you figure out what you want, what the next step is, and how to make it a reality?
Making a change to your job or career is one of the most common times I see women struggle with these questions. You know you are not completely happy or fulfilled doing what you’re doing. You know you are not fully alive and thriving within your job. You know the people that you spend so much of you day with are not supporting your growth and ideas. You know waking up and doing this 40+ hours a week for the next year is going to suck the soul out of you. But what do you want instead?
That isn’t always so clear.
If you don’t know what you want, it’s probably because you don’t know who you are anymore. You’ve disconnected from yourself, and therefore disconnected from a lot of your passions and purpose. Over the years we simply forget. We get distracted by jobs and relationships. We lose ourselves in the rat race.
I went through this myself when I retired from dancing professionally. I knew dancing was not my dream anymore. I didn’t want to travel constantly and always be hustling for the next gig. What did I want? It took a lot of Friday nights alone, getting to know myself again. I had to learn who I was if I wasn’t a dancer. A women emerged that I had either long forgotten or never even known – someone who was more than just ballet technique and performance pizzaz. It didn’t even recognize the powerful and passionate woman I got to know was me. Once I knew who I was, what I wanted became very very apparent.
WHO —> WHAT —> HOW
Figure out WHO you are, WHAT you want will reveal itself naturally, and HOW to make it happen will be intuitive and instinctual. You have to start with the WHO.
A lot of the time we attach our identity to our work. We become our jobs. And without them, we don’t know who we are anymore. Or we become who we think we should be, or need to be for our families. What the world really needs is you. And when you get back to being you, your passions will become clear again.
Start by spending some time with yourself. No TV, no boyfriend/husband, no happy hours with friends, no kids… just you. Go for a walk, meditate, sip tea for an hour, go do that thing you’ve been wanting to do for the pure pleasure of it.
Without the distractions of life, you’ll be forced to reconnect with the part of you that is deeply passionate and always dreaming. She knows what she wants, and she knows how to get it. Tune into her, let her out for a little while.
On a blank screen or sheet of paper. Ask yourself: Who am I?
See what comes up naturally. Look beyond the labels and physical descriptors. Are you a lover? An adventurer? Are you kindness or playfulness? What do you stand for? Who are you at your core?
If you can’t answer that right away, that’s okay. It’s just a sign that you need to spend some more time on this first step: connecting to who you are. (note: who you are is not your ego’s version of you… on overly critical and self-depreciating viewpoint) A great life coach or loved one will also be able to help you figure this out… because we often see ourselves through a limited or judgmental lens. Others can offer a unique perspective on who they see us being.
Knowing who you are goes beyond just helping you figure out what your next career move will be. It will help you decide if this relationship is the one you want to commit your life to. It will allow you to say no to the things not aligned to your values, and invest and prioritize the things that feed your heart and soul. When you know who you are, you start to live and dream from an unlimited place. From there anything is possible.