Hate your job? Rushing to change it? Overwhelmed by career indecision?

Step back, zone in and ask yourself “What’s my ‘why’?”

Go to the profile of Zena James
Jul 01, 2014
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Jump forward a few decades… What do you want the overriding theme of your life story to have been, especially the long-ish part about your career? That you succeeded in being all things to all people? That you enjoyed many minor achievements but lacked any focus or you found yourself starting but not quite finishing multiple exciting projects? That you found yourself running, chasing, sometimes achieving, wearing yourself out but never really pausing?

Of course not. You want to tell new and old friends, loved ones, acquaintances, colleagues and definitely potential employers that throughout life you spotted opportunities that looked right for you, pursued them in your own unique way and that out of that determination and curiosity emerged a host of fulfilling experiences and ‘paths’ that made all your careful effort completely worth it.

Not impossible. But what if, rewinding back to now, you feel overwhelmed by choices and don’t really know which paths or events might be the ‘right’ opportunities for you? What if it’s just easier to sow random seeds everywhere in the hope that something vaguely suitable will appear? Well, that might work, but equally you may end up so frazzled by the effort of casting your net wide and as quickly as possible that you won’t spot an obvious career opportunity or promising turning point when it stares you right in the face.

So what’s important to you in your life and in your career, apart from the basics of financial and physical survival and security?

As Eyes Wide Opened career coach Anna Sundt suggests here: http://www.ewopened.com/free-stuff/finding-your-life-force, ask yourself how in the distant future you’d advise a youngster who, in your latter years, asks you “What should I do with my life?”. Write down in 60 seconds your advice. Read it back, note the theme, maybe congratulate yourself on your wisdom and then admit that what you’ve written is really your advice to yourself. ..

And then ask yourself – especially if you’re at a career crossroads - are you following this advice right now as you eagerly but hastily pursue a change of job or a significant career shift? Ask yourself, what’s your ‘why’? Why is change so important to you, especially now? Do you need to be working in different surroundings, or with different types of people, or for a different return or type of 'reward' altogether?

Have you slowed down enough to answer?

There are times when speeding up is the right thing. Grabbing life’s opportunities does after all need energy, momentum, a sense of excitement and even what I like to call ‘healthy impatience’, but those seemingly ‘right’ opportunities might be more plentiful in the first place if there’s been a healthy dose of reflection and honesty about what you want out of life, what you value most in the people around you and most importantly, what YOUR signature strengths are.

Maybe it’s that straightforward: slow down just for one short minute to articulate your own ‘life force’, take your own advice to that young questioner and just maybe, it will nudge you a bit more squarely back onto the path to a more fulfilling working life.

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Go to the profile of Zena James

Zena James

Writer, Eyes Wide Opened, -

Zena and the team at Eyes Wide Opened are on a mission to help people become crystal clear about what really makes them tick, what they have to offer an employer and how they can offer it. They set aside the less helpful 'What do you want to do?' and ''What job are you looking for?' questions (which can only really be answered if you have an inbuilt career path GPS) and instead help people find the answers to 'Who are you?', 'What do you stand for?' and 'What really matters to to you?' Eyes Wide Opened - www.ewopened.com - was founded in 2011 by Alastair Creamer, a leading figure in creative training (Catalyst, Creamer and Lloyd) and Paul Preston, a former Unilever chairman and global talent & HR leader. The duo developed a series of intensive, practical and reflective courses for people at a career crossroads with input from businesses on what they're really looking for from their recruits. The eight coaches have eclectic backgrounds spanning business, the voluntary sector, the arts, academia and even Scotland Yard! ------------------ Web: www.ewopened.com Twitter: @ewopened Facebook: Eyes Wide Opened

2 Comments

Go to the profile of Suzy Walker
Suzy Walker over 4 years ago

I love this! Slow down enough to hear your own wisdom!

Go to the profile of Scott Peltin
Scott Peltin over 4 years ago

This is a great topic in today's business world, where it is so easy in all the noise to lose track of our "why". When we teach Mindset strategies we share some amazing research from Suzanne Kobasa linking a person have a clear purpose/passion/meaning (why) to their resilience (hardiness). Thanks for posting this useful blog.