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A few months ago I wrote about the pursuit of the carrot: The ever elusive carrot–the holy grail that has you thinking if only I could get the carrot then I would be ok. I just need to keep working for the carrot. But the carrot keeps changing growing and unfortunately moving. When we are living our lives chasing the carrot we are missing out on our lives. We get so caught up in grabbing the carrot that we lose sight of our day to day lives.
Recently a client said to me, “Its not just that I feel the need to chase the carrot but it is real trouble when I catch myself chasing someone else’s carrot”. Aw yes! That is a problem. Too often we get so comfortable being on the chase for the carrot that we lose sight of whose carrot it is. Before we know it we have swallowed hook line and sinker and devoted our lives to someone else’s carrot.
For example let’s take Sandy. Sandy grew up in a traditional family. Her dad worked a 9-5 corporate job for 30+ years before retiring and her mother stayed at home until the kids were out of school and then worked part time at the local hospital as a nurse until she retired. Being a hard worker in a traditional setting is very important to Sandy’s parents. Sandy has 2 kids the youngest just entered first grade. Sandy had gladly quit her corporate gig to stay at home with the kids. The corporate culture never fit her and she was happy to be home with the kids.
Now that they are in school she is looking for a new job. She gets 2 job offers. One doing marketing for a start up that is doing great things for inner city entrepreneurs. The pay is low, but the hours are flexible and she gets stock options. The second is as a manager with room to move up at one of the larger corporations in town. There is lots of room for growth, the salary is large and benefits are good, but the hours will be long. Without thinking she takes the corporate job telling herself that makes the most sense and is the most practical. Within 2 weeks she is having regular panic attacks and headaches, she is never home, and when she is she is totally overwhelmed with thoughts of work. After chatting with her husband, Sandy realizes this is not her carrot. She is chasing after a life style and career that her parents’ value but she doesn’t. They decide to cut back on living expenses so that she can take the job with the start up. Six months later Sandy is energized by her work. She can let it go when she comes home, the flexibility allows her to be their for her kids and she feels like she is really giving back.
Buying into a belief that when I reach ____ then I will be happy, is dangerous. But buying in to someone else’s belief that when I reach ____ then I will be happy is down right devastating. So ask yourself what carrots am I chasing? Do I even want to catch these carrots or do they belong to someone else?
One of the best ways to tap in to what you want out of your life is to name your values. Download some worksheets I have designed to help you name your values here. –no sign up necessary.