Quite recently I have been coaching a number of women at career crossroads and I’ve noticed quite a lot of similarities amongst these women. They’re incredibly unhappy, they’re desperate to change something because of their unhappiness, and the choices available to them send them in a complete tailspin because nothing is clear. Because of this confusion, they don’t know where to turn and they don’t know what to do, so their unhappiness intensifies.
Should they stay in their job and go for a promotion? Should they shift sideways but to a different industry or company? Or should they leave their job and go and do something completely different?
What’s obvious about these women to me is that their unhappiness hasn’t sprung to life overnight. In fact, this unhappiness has taken time to really grow legs and sprout. And when this happens, it becomes a desperate situation. They may have ignored the situation for a while, hoping that things will work out. Or maybe they’ve changed and they’ve realised the job or company no longer serves them.
While there’s no question these women are unhappy, what makes their decision even harder is the struggle to find the time and space to make an informed and clear decision. Life is busy, especially when you are working and have a family. But this busyness just adds to the problem. So the confusion and unhappiness remains.
Knowing they need to make a change also brings up deep fear. Fear of stepping into the unknown, fear of a lack of resources (there’s a mortgage to pay, children to school), fear of not being supported, fear of being responsible to others…. the list goes on.
But what also goes on is the unhappiness. So what do they do as they delicately balance this unhappiness on one hand and fear on the other?
Last Sunday I was fortunate to attend a workshop by Caroline Myss, who has worked in the field of energy, medicine and human consciousness for over 20 years. What I especially loved about Caroline is her quest for the truth and her down to earth approach. Her presentation was on sacred contracts and archetypes and how “archetypes provide the foundation for your personality, drives, feelings, beliefs, motivations and actions. They take an active role as guardians and inner allies, alerting you when you are in danger of falling into destructive or “shadow” behavior”. Archetypes can be the court jester, the Queen, the Goddess. If you’re interested in exploring Caroline’s work on archetypes – please click here for further information.
What really caught my eye however in the workshop was that you can’t force yourself to take on another archetype. Here’s an example. If you want to be an actor, yet you’re not born with the actor archetype, you will struggle because you cannot take on another archetype that you weren’t born with. In my eyes, it’s a bit like trying to make something fit that just won’t fit – a bit like putting a square peg in a round hole.
Which brings me back to being at a career crossroads. There are many things to address when you are at the point, but perhaps the first thing you need to do is to start getting really truthful with yourself. There’s no doubt that truth is a game changer – and most of us will do anything to keep the status quo because change can make us uncomfortable. Yet truth is complete and unadulterated power, so why would we shy away from something that ultimately works for us?
Start asking yourself real meaningful questions. Are you a square peg in a round hole trying to make something fit? Do you keep busy for the sake of being busy because it keeps you from looking within, and deep down you don’t want to see what’s really there? Are you doing something that goes against the grain of who you really are and what you’re here to do? Are you afraid of putting in the amount of effort to be successful because you’re actually lazy? Do you sabotage the opportunity to go to the next level because at the end of the day you’re really a procrastinator? Are you trying to be someone you’re not? Are you ignoring your raw talent?
These may be hard questions to ask yourself, but think about the gold on the other side when you start being honest with yourself. Go deep and ask yourself what you’re really terrified about, because you owe yourself the truth. It’s not ok to say you don’t know or that that’s just the way things are, or you’re like that because your mother is. It’s not ok IF you want to live a really happy and grace filled life.
We’re all in this journey called life together and we’re all going through the same things, so you’re not truly on your own. But part of making the journey a little more comfortable is by knowing the self more – warts and all. As Shakespeare said so beautifully – “To thine own self be true”.
If you’re at a career crossroads or if you want to explore your career options, a coaching session could really help reveal your natural ability and talent so that you’re able to make a transition easily and effortlessly to what you’d ultimately really love and comes naturally to you. Please contact me if you’d like to know more.