5 Signs You are Living Someone Else's Dream
Isn't it time you had your own dream? What is holding you back? What makes you settle for less than what makes you truly happy?
"I think I'm living my father's dream". That's the response I got from Danny*, a Senior Vice President in Asset Management, when I asked his reason for signing up to our structured Career Change Programme. That's no surprise. I have heard similar responses from other senior professionals in the past. One executive was terrified about telling his parents that he was leaving his highly paid and successful banking job to re-train as a teacher. He was 53 years old at the time.
It's particularly hard for those who have only ever worked for one company or in one industry. "I wouldn't know where to start" is a common response. Career change is easier for some than others. A Canadian study found that "Millennials have almost twice as many job and organizational changes as Gen Xers, and almost three times as many job changes as the Baby Boomers and Matures".
Midlife on the other hand, is a lot like being a teenager again, except with more wisdom which sometimes brings with it some fear. A larger percentage of our Career Change clients are in their 40s and 50s. They experience the same restlessness and yearning for change, but fear gets in the way of taking the leap.
If you are fortunate enough to work for a company that invests in your personal development, you may have come across various psychometric assessments that facilitate self-discovery.
If you have an extra dose of good fortune, you may have had additional support such as executive coaching to help you process the information from your assessments and more importantly, explore the question, "How do I use this new information from the assessment to maximise my potential, make a positive impact and create a future that is right, not just for my company but for me?".
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), people in the United Kingdom work 1677 hours a year. Some in other countries work even longer hours. Given that you most probably spend a significant portion of your life at work, surely it is crucial that it brings you fulfillment.
- You work purely to pay the bills.
- You know there's something not right with the path you're on but you tell yourself to live with it.
- You feel it is selfish (and certainly, not courageous) to explore a career change. You tell yourself you'd be letting too many people down.
- You say you can't afford to leave your job, but you haven't even spent time exploring your options. How certain are you that there is no alternative path that can lead you to a happier life?
- You've given up on change, without even trying?
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
Do the signs resonate? What is holding you back? What makes you settle for less than what makes you truly happy?
If you would like to discuss specific challenges, get in touch for an informal chat about how we can help you.
Obi James is the founder of OBJ Coaching Limited based in London, UK where she employs neuroscience and the systemic coaching approach to help leaders, partnerships, teams and organisations create a healthy balance between engagement and productivity - so that they can achieve sustainable results.
She is also a Career Coach for Leaders and Executives - Directors, CEO’s & Entrepreneurs helping them to position their personal brand, successfully navigate their networks, expand career possibilities and create work-life balance.
Danny* - name changed to protect confidentiality