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?

Go to the profile of OBI JAMES
Aug 11, 2015

"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.

  1. You work purely to pay the bills.
  2. You know there's something not right with the path you're on but you tell yourself to live with it.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
(Steve Jobs)

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

Go to the profile of OBI JAMES


Org Culture Transformation , Obi James Consultancy Limited

Show me your leadership team and I'll tell you about your organisational culture. I am a culture change consultant and executive coach who specialises in creating a culture of shared leadership within organisations - often starting by employing my VIBE methodology to help leadership teams align around their vision, identity, behaviors and engagement - of all stakeholders, but most importantly of their people. I strongly believe that your leaders and leadership team's ways of working with one another shape your culture. With 15 years’ experience of successfully developing leaders, teams and organisations such as NHS, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Greater London Authority and Northern Trust, my methods have been designed to drive inclusion so that organisations can unleash the power of the collective - not just that of individuals. By pooling individual capabilites, my team and I strengthen workplace relationships leading to more effective communication, decision-making and collaboration - as all voices (particularly the marginalised ones who often deliver greater insight, creativity and innovation) are re-engaged and empowered to challenge the status quo. A former Vice President in HR, trained mediator and certified executive coach, I am also a certified Organisational and Relationship Systems Coach (ORSCC) and Team Performance Coach (CTPC). I also serve on the Faculty for Centre for Right Relationships (CRR Global) and train leaders, HR professionals and coaches on systems thinking empowering them to shape stronger cultures within their organisations. I regularly facilitate collective leadership across organisations, with clients including various executives and leadership teams within organisations such as UNHCR, Greater London Authority (GLA), Bloomberg, Blackrock, Lloyds, Farfetch, Save the Children and the NHS. In 2019, I was elected to join the Board of Trustees for Royal African Society (RAS) and have been interviewed on CNBC Africa, Africa’s first and most powerful business media brand. In 2019, I became a Judge for the International Business Book category at The 2019 Business Book Awards and will be judging one of the categories in 2020. I have spoken on Collective Leadership and the Power of Collaboration at global events such as the Finance Transformation Summit and at Cass Business School.  For more information, please visit http://www.obijames.com/


Go to the profile of Harshil Panchal
Harshil Panchal about 4 years ago

Hi mem gm i m harshil here doing law n ll be completing in june 2016 n i would like to practice instead of doing job in corporate world n all want to do llm furthur wat shall i do

Go to the profile of Muhammad Fachrizal
Muhammad Fachrizal about 4 years ago

ya saya sangat setuju dengan pendapat anda dari satu generation leader and in new word and how can i am join you team for me

Go to the profile of Muhammad Fachrizal
Muhammad Fachrizal about 4 years ago

and aku baru saja ajukan pensiun dini dari salah satu bank daerah ku karena aku mengikuti satu program bank word and tetapi sampai sekarang aku belum terima uang pesangon dan kulihat tumpang tindih dari tidak di jalankannya satu aturan dari menteri yg tidak dijalankan oleh bank tempat aku bekerja mohon petunjuk atas kronolgis diatas dan aku mengambil keputusan tersebut di karenakan aku tidak menerima keputusan yg di tudingkan kepada ku sehingga nama baiku tercemar di atas public dan rekan tempat aku bekerja tercoreng thank for all