Before becoming a therapist I had a career in business, often managing large groups of people. After the Christmas and Summer breaks there was always an upward trend in resignations or employees wanting to change roles or responsibilities. I began to realise that extended periods away from work often gave space for feelings of dissatisfaction or “stuckness” to emerge. Often the surfacing of these feelings helped to convince people they had to make change.
As a therapist, I’ve begun to appreciate with more depth the forces that keep us stuck at work. They are complex and unique to the individual. Sometimes key career decisions were made at a very young age and much of the circumstances around those decisions have often been forgotten. There can be spoken and unspoken expectations, from society, peers and family which have played into our career choices. And almost universally, there are cultural norms which keep us set in a particular career trajectory, even when in some way, that trajectory grates against an inner sense of what would be most rewarding, beneficial or satisfying to us.
Far from being “hocus pocus” - the idea of an inner self is grounded and real. It’s the voice we hear inside our head, when things are tough. It’s the voice we turn too for inner solace. It’s the voice that can instantly tell us what we do or do not want. Unfortunately for many of us, this inner voice may have been at odds with outer voices. Prolonged conflict between inner and outer voices, especially early in life, can mean we disown our inner voice and instead focus on pleasing others. This works for a while, but can mean later in life we feel dissatisfied or stuck. This stuckness is a true gift. It’s our inner voice being adamant about our finding a true path. The inner voice is always there, even when we feel lost.
Psychotherapists who work at depth (with feelings as well as thoughts), are expert guides at re-finding the inner voice. Exploring the inner voice means we can begin to understand our conditioning. We can start to unearth our innermost needs and wants. And, over time, we can make changes to be living from this place of inner truth. For those brave enough to enter this inner world, there can be extraordinarily transformational experiences.
February 23 and 24, I’ll be running a workshop in Central London titled “Stop being Stuck at Work” View More Information.