The Responsibility is Yours
I know you want me to tell you exactly what to do to get out of a situation that doesn't feel good. You want me to put you through a 5-step, 1o-day process or have you take a fancy test that will spit out the hows, and whys, and whats of career change or job search or miracle transformation.
I also know the reasons why you want the quick career test, the career map and the action plan.
They're not what you think.
You think they are what you need.
I'm telling you they're not.
You aren't looking to me because I'm a career and coaching expert with years of training and many, many years of experience. Nope. This is not the reason.
You might think it is. Your brain tells you that's the reason.
I'm telling you it's not.
You aren't looking for help from me because you are ready to actually do whatever it takes, face your fears, get uncomfortable and do lots of hard work on yourself that feels terrible.
What you are hoping I can give you is a blueprint or roadmap that will lead you directly down an easy, pain-free path to a shiny + exciting new career or job. You want to do it perfectly, quickly, and with low risk and minimal effort. You want to keep your career change very business-like and manage it like you would a work project.
I don't blame you one bit.
That sounds amazing. If you figure out how to make that work, tell your friends.
You think there is actually a perfect process--perhaps it's a complicated looking document with spreadsheets and sections for you to map out a 1-year, 3-year, and 10-year plan for your career and life. This, super-document will keep you on track, and is just the thing to save you from making mistakes that'll keep you feeling bad, waste your time and keep you stuck and in pain. The last thing you want is regret. You are very afraid of making a mistake, taking a misstep. After all, you have children, a mortgage, and aging parents and time, money, and your own age are not on your side.
If this magic existed, somebody would have made it available on the Internet. You could just google "magic career document" or "the magic 10-step process for getting a better job". Career coach's would all go out of business because you wouldn't need us. You wouldn't be here right now because you'd have already found this magic, applied it and voila...problem. solved.
But you haven't found it. Even with all the information out there on the millions of career and job sites, nobody's been able to provide you the magic you're looking for.
Because all the strategy in the world isn't enough. It's not about that. If that's all it took, you wouldn't be here and neither would I. You'd be living your dream life in your dream career and I'd be undergoing my own career change because I wouldn't have any clients.
Back to how you "think" I should help you...
You're looking for me to give you a perfect plan. This way I'll take the burden of this big problem from you. This way, if things don't progress perfectly, if the perfect plan with all the perfect steps mapped out from now until eternity doesn't end in your happiness, you can blame the process, or the plan, or heck, even me and just quit and stay stuck.
The search for the perfect plan acts as an escape hatch. It's an excuse for your brain to use when things start to feel hard and you are faced with the parts of yourself you don't like and that don't feel great. It's a way to side-step important decisions you don't want to make, conversations you don't want to have, and feelings you don't want to feel.
Real, lasting change is going to require all of those things. It's going to feel hard. You'll need to change the way you're used to making decisions, do things differently from what you've done. The processes, action plans, mind maps, strategies, research and analyzing, will only take you so far. At some point you are going to need to admit that you can't think or analyze your way out of all the things that aren't working for you.
You can't keep blaming your boss, your workload, office politics, your childhood, your sensitivity, your lack of education, or youth, the fact that you are different or special or whatever it is that you're currently letting rob you. You're going to have to look whatever "it" is square in the eye. AND by it, I mean YOU. Most of what you are battling is yourself. It's not the external circumstances or situations or unfairness. Of course things like privilege and discrimination exist. These are not the only things keeping you stuck though. Many of your own thoughts are just as big of a problem. You think all sorts of things about the circumstances in your life that are not helpful and are making you feel terrible, and unhappy, and stressed, and overwhelmed, and uncertain.
So, if the reasons you think you are seeking me out aren't the real reasons and the reasons you think you are unhappy at work aren't the real reasons, what are they?
The reasons are almost always all the things you are afraid to say out loud. Don't be fooled though, you are thinking them. They are still wreaking havoc in your life. They are things like "I'm not good enough", "it won't work", "I don't deserve to be happy", "I can't change", "what will people think?"
These things need to be brought to the light of day. Once you become aware of these automatic and unhelpful thoughts, then you can see how they are tripping you up.
The reason your boss triggers you when she points out the mistakes in your report is because deep down you think she thinks you aren't good enough. The reason you think she thinks this is because you do. It's the only reason.
The reason you want to leave your company isn't because they keep overlooking you for the promotion. The reason you want to leave is that YOU don't believe you deserve the promotion.
You say you don't start a business because your family believes it's too risky and you'll fail. The real reason is that YOU don't believe you'll be successful.
If you jump to a new company, sure, that might help you get a promotion but it's not going to make you feel more worthy of getting it. It's not going to all of a sudden make you feel like you are good enough to do the job. You'll just feel like a fraud who got a promotion. You'll tell yourself it's because you changed companies and they don't really know you or you got it because of your resume. Not because you are amazing at what you do and because you earned it and you are capable and worthy of the responsibility. You'll keep feeling just as terrible but with more responsibility and pressure.
If you force yourself to start a business and follow somebody's "10 step plan", you start a "list", or you spend thousands of dollars on a business coach or get a bunch of investors to back you but you still have the thought "I'm I won't be successful" or "I'm not good enough", you'll prove your thoughts true. They'll show up in your results.
Changing your circumstances or situation won't change how you feel about yourself. You'll keep feeling too old, too shy, like too much, or not enough, like a fraud or like you're sacrificing who you really are. You'll keep striving for perfection at any cost because you think it's the only way to "prove yourself", you'll keep people pleasing, doing things you don't want to do, not stand up for yourself, not speak up when you want to and keep your dreams trapped inside of you. You'll do this because you think it's the path to worthiness. That if you fail it will prove what you already think is true. You can't be successful or you are a failure or you're not enough or good enough or smart enough.
That hurts. Who needs that kind of pain? Life is already hard.
But the thing is...
The best way to let your dreams come true is to wake up.
All the really good stuff is on the other side of that messy, uncomfortable, painful, mascara running, favourite team losing disappointment, grief, fear, and shame.
It's worth it to get to the other side but you can't just hop the fence. That doesn't work.
If you want to change something about your life that isn't working--your job, your entire career, start a business etc., and nothing you've tried seems to be enough, here's the thing...you have to be willing to start make different decisions over and over and over again. You can't stop just because something feels hard or uncomfortable. It won't always feel that way but it will at the beginning. Where you would naturally want to play things safe, you might need to take a small risk, when you would usually say no, you have to say yes. When you do, lots of stuff you've been pushing down about yourself is going to come up. Full force. It won't feel good. All the self-doubt, self-sabotage, indecision, paralysis will feel powerful but you are more powerful. This is the part I'll guide you through. This is the part you need me for. It's what I do everyday, all day with people.
You have to pull the weed out by the root. Planting pretty flowers over top of weeds doesn't prevent the weeds from popping back up.
This is the reason to work with me. Sure, we'll use some strategy, there will be some process and a few hacks but these are not what will set you free.
You have to set yourself free. I can't do that for you. You have to take that responsibility. But you can.
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