The September sun is still shining but Fall has begun, a time that often signifies a new start. We hope to feel refreshed and renewed but instead may be feeling stale and stuck. Similar to the new calendar year kicking off in January, Fall can be a time for us to reflect and perhaps reconsider certain aspects of our lives, including where we stand professionally, where we want our career to go, but most importantly, who we want to be. Because the who we are and the what we are doing need to align to minimize frustration, stress or unhappiness.
I recently conducted the first of an ongoing monthly workshop - Overcome Professional Road Blocks and Rediscover Career Satisfaction – with the focus on how we can best reconcile our personal selves with our professional identities, a recurring theme I’m hearing in both therapy and coaching sessions.
As children, we are often presented with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We may get ideas from parents, older siblings, peers, TV, or our wild imaginations, but we answer proudly and unapologetically according to the tempo our little hearts beat.
And then we grow up. “Real life” takes over. And we seem to lose our internal tempo.
External influences become internalized as expectations that should be met, as instructions that need to be followed. Work becomes a necessity as a means, a validation, and a ticket to professional recognition. As adults, we become governed by external guideposts rather than our internal passions.
How do some of us get lost or stuck on our professional path? Why can’t we get (or maintain) that career satisfaction? After all, work does fill up most of our waking hours. To uncover these answers, ask yourself a few critical questions first:
1) What do you identify as your core values (things that matter most to you in life)? How are you (or not) honoring those values in your work?
2) How are your natural talents being showcased currently in your work, or how would you like to apply your talents?
3) When are you most happy or pleased at work?
4) If you had absolutely zero fear, what might look different about your professional life?
5) What scares you most about failing? What does failing mean to you?
Something I recently learned is that the fear of failing can be a real phobia and lead to self-imposed obstacles in achieving what can bring us the satisfaction in life we deserve.
These are just a sampling of questions and concepts that we began exploring in the self-discovery workshop I facilitated in NYC. It is a first step in acknowledging who we are in our work, how we identify professional goals, and what might need to change to create a more harmonious reality. This has been an invaluable process in my own professional coaching exercises.
If you are wondering why you “can’t get no satisfaction” or where your true self has gone, ask the child still living inside you - “What makes your heart sing?” And then search for a tune that matches.