It is in the Journey, not the Destination.

One of the biggest struggles, I believe my clients have the fear of making the ‘wrong choice’.  There is so much build up to making a career change they get stuck in the fear and the ‘what if’ing’ . It is common for all of us to forget that life is a journey, and therefore so is our career path.

Even when we find the right relationship, we settle down and get married.   We still know there will be bumps, days we are struggling or arguing and maybe even questioning why did I pick this person?   Then there are days of happiness, joy, excitement when you know for sure deep down yep this is the person for me.  Same is true for careers.  Even when you have a career you LOVE  there might be days that are fantastic wonderful glorious and their might be days that are miserable, challenging, and full of questions.

It is messy.  I said this week to a friend of mine, “Everyone I know who is now happy in a career isn’t afraid to embrace the mess.”  Because we get stuck in the fear and the beliefs around what if I make the wrong choice or what if I mess up my career by picking wrong, we do nothing. We stay stuck and miserable in a career that is just enough. But the people I know who have a career that makes their heart sing, have taken some crazy paths.

Person 1:
received her RN,
worked at the hospital (hated it),
worked as a home health care worker,
stayed at home to raise her children
became a school nurse for 30+ years
simultaneously went back to school to get her masters in health education,
Currently in her retirement does a lot of work with health education and keeping the school kids aware and educated.

Person 2:
degree in journalism,
worked at a newspaper for years,
insurance salesman,
car salesman,
landscape architect (owned his own business)
Recently got his vet tech degree and works for a local vet and loves it!

Person 3:
degree in education
worked at a pool all through school–loved it
taught for  few years (didn’t like it)
nursing school (struggled with classes)
taught again
massage therapy school
various jobs while ‘figuring it out’
Swim teacher/aquatics director–loves it!

Now do they love every aspect of their jobs–no–would they describe themselves as working happier–yes.

Yes, we all know PLENTY of people who have picked one job and been happy with it their entire lives.  But even those folks, have made tweaks, added educational experience, moved departments , etc.  They have engaged in the activities that make their heart sing–just maybe not as messily as the rest of us.

This is a process, a messy on-going, spiraling up process.  It is not a destination.   It doesn’t matter how many steps it takes you to get there.  As Jen Curran so lovely described even though her journey hasn’t taken her where she thought it would in the time she envisioned she is still following her bliss:  “I’m now working happier by learning not to define myself and my success by my paycheck job and not to put so much pressure on my dream job to materialize into the perfect career right away.  It will all come in good time.”

We get stuck on finding the dream–so stuck we don’t want to make any moves at all that aren’t ‘right’.

If you hear anything from this blog post hear this:  You will never know if you have made the right move until you make it  All life is risk, getting married, traveling, finding a job.

Anytime we are making a decision we are going to leave something behind–but when we get stuck in the this decision has to be right trap, we become paralyzed.  So with quality guidance and solid processes we can figure out what comes next, how to start on the journey of working happier and living happier one solid decision at a time.

Ironically after I wrote this blog post a client of mine sent me this interesting article by Cal Newport that has a different spin on the same content.   The Danger of the Dream Job Illusion.   He writes about the danger of getting stuck in looking for the perfect dream job.

I believe as humans we are happier when we dream.   There is no danger in dreaming–the trick is combining our dreams with our practical every day needs of life.