Hearing my 2 year old son squeal "daddy!" when I walked through the garage door brought a feeling of relief. Relief from a day of pushing through my work in a daze. I realized in that moment when he wrapped his arms around my leg that I had not felt connected to anything or anyone...all...day...long. My family brought me through a difficult time. With a supportive wife and my son to offer me purposeful roles in life as "hubs" and "daddy" I knew I could make it through a day at work that left me feeling..."blah." I began asking these questions:
"Why don't I feel excited to go into work? Why does my job feel so meaningless? What would I do if I could feel excited to get up on Mondays?"
I was not content to leave life in cruise control at "happy family, miserable work." I wanted purpose in every role I played, every hour of my day. I explored law school, enrolled in nursing school, researched the process to become a pilot. I was all over the place, but I was determined to feel synergy between work and home.
In 2008, I contacted a career consultant who led me through a process of self-discovery. I took the Highlands Abilities Battery, which helped me to quickly discover that law school and nursing were not in my wheelhouse. This assessment gave me confidence in the abilities I had and how I could feel a sense of success in my career direction.
As one who felt a "disconnection" in my life and began a journey of discovery 10 years ago, I have met many others yearning to join the journey with me. I began Thrive Consulting for the purpose of helping others discover the success, connection, and purpose they were created to experience.
You CAN feel a life-giving synergy in your life (A.K.A. "WOW!")
3 ways for you to move your career into WOW status:
1. Discover your fear
You've heard of "fear of failure," but have you ever explored your own "fear of success?" Yes, I wrote "fear of SUCCESS!" Fear of success is a legitimate problem holding many people back from taking action to alter their situations. Some fear changing the relationships in their lives. "If I lose weight, how will I handle the attention people give me?" "If I apply for the management job, will my coworkers still like me?" "If I get a promotion and bring in a higher salary, will my wife still be happy if I ever lose it?"
If you are to find the strength to bring about change in your life and career, you must first begin the process of exploring your own fears that keep you in the "now" position you find yourself. Here are some questions to help you discover your fears:
- What do I hope to get out of pretending to be powerless?
• What do I get to avoid?
• Who do I get to punish or love?
• What emotion am I not willing to release? For many it is anger.
• What guarantee am I holding out for?
• Am I manipulating with self-pity?
• Am I feeling better than or less than?
• What am I afraid of losing if I succeed?
2. Discover your design.
Once you've uncovered the specific fear that seems to prevent you from taking action to make a change in your career, you must then focus on discovering how you were created to succeed. You WERE made to succeed! There are many tools available to help you discover interests, personality type, whether you are people person or a project person, etc. These are helpful first steps in gaining clarity about yourself. The challenge that I found when I began my journey is that I really didn't know what I wanted because I didn't know what I was designed to do well.
You are gifted with natural abilities that others find challenging. You might have the aptitude to succeed as a mechanical engineer, but maybe you've been pursuing social work because you wanted to help people. What you will eventually learn if you continue pursing a path without discovering your unique design is that you may not be suited for the field that you originally believed to be your destined path. For example, I studied Bible at a Christian college for the purpose of becoming a minister in a church. I obtained a ministry job after college and quickly discovered that I struggled with the slower pace and isolated feeling of ministry life. I wanted to be influential with people and found that I had a gift for leadership. My journey brought me from ministry in a church to a therapist, then from therapist to supervisor, then from supervisor to director, then director to regional director. This happened within a relatively short period of time. Why? Because once I found a path that allowed my natural abilities to shine, I found an alignment between my abilities and my daily activities through work. Work felt less like work because I began to enjoy what I was doing day to day.
A major piece of my journey included a discovery process with a consultant through the Highlands Company. I took the Highlands Ability Battery and found that it helped me learn more about me than I could have taking other assessments that required a great deal of self-awareness. Interests and personality were important in my discovery process, but aptitudes were essential. When you're ready to take action on your career journey, I encourage you to learn more about aptitudes and the objective measurement tool, Highlands Ability Battery.
3. Take your first step.
I love this quote. I have many friends who struggle with taking action because the journey seems so long and too difficult. Trying to make a shift in your career may seem daunting when you have bills to pay or your life is busy with activities for your kids, but taking time to make one step in the direction of self discovery often results in benefit to your bank account and your family. If your children sense that you are disconnected or stressed because of a poor fit between your abilities and your work, they will suffer. You will be less energized to engage your children in quality family moments because you might be bringing home your dissatisfaction from your day of disconnect.
What if your self-discovery first step could be a gift to your spouse, your children, and your future self? If you are a teacher and think you might want to become a nurse, what harm will there be in researching the requirements of becoming a nurse? What harm would come to your family if you began by contacting a local nursing school to ask a series of questions about how to get started? What pain would result from making a call to begin career testing to learn about your aptitudes? The answer to all of these questions? ....NONE. No harm, no pain, nothing to lose.
I pray for your journeys to be successful! I pray that you refuse to let fear of failure or success prevent you from discovering your amazing, unique design, I pray that you have the courage to reframe your first step as the beginning of a life-giving journey!
Choose to move your "now" to "WOW!"