As children we are encouraged to dream and imagine. We are prompted to “reach for the stars” and told that anything is possible if we work hard enough and want it bad enough.
However, once we leave the sanctuary of our youth, something changes. A paradox emerges: In order to have enough future security, we must surrender our prior imaginings. It is now imperative to choose something specific and something solid. The whimsical wishes that filled our waking and sleeping dreams before adulthood now seem to only take place during slumbering respites in darkness.
Why? Why is being a “responsible adult” somehow equated with being dreamless? Why is whimsy regarded as a waste of time?
When considering your next career, pause and ask yourself this single question: “How do I align who I am with what I want to accomplish?”
Formulating an answer to the above question must not be approached with haste. Take your time to delve into your inner motivations and past aspirations. Do you know what makes you, you?
-Your Mission, Should You Choose To Embrace It-
Here is the challenge I pose to you: Can you articulate your personal “youness” briefly in the allotted time of an elevator pitch? There are numerous paths including personal retreats, webinars, executive coaching and books to help you uncover and reveal your essence and unique mix of skills and gifts. Two favorite reads encountered during my journey are The Artist’s Way and The Untethered Soul.
No matter what direction you choose it is important to relate to the approach of the material. Resistance to change lessens when we can identify with the method of manifesting the change. This does not mean you can’t stretch to expand your comfort zone, but make a conscious effort not to set yourself up for failure.
It is difficult to admit we don’t want to change even if our current state of being is the source of our pain. Ironically, we tend to find comfort in the familiarity of our discomfort. Pay close attention to the state of your mind when choosing to enroll a learning tool into your decision to change any aspect of your life, including your career.
-Results Reflect The Inner State Of Their Conception-
If you are anxious or your choice is precipitated by fear, then it only stands to reason, the result of your choice will also reflect your unease. As best you can, attempt to quiet your mind, ask to have the best source of learning be revealed to you, take a deep breath, and then choose. Sometimes, you are only a single moment and breath away from unlocking your highest purpose and potential.
Once you pick your specific catalyst for change, then the real work begins. Keep a journal to process your experiences and to take notes along your journey. Make every effort not to judge your experiences or reflections. Just write.
Can you answer the question yet that I posed at the beginning of this post? I hope your answer is not “yes.” In my experience, investing quality time in the exploration of your response will pay you tenfold in terms of personal satisfaction and inner peace.
Let’s say hypothetically that you read this piece, invested significant time with the aide of your chosen tool or professional, and now you are ready to create a substantial answer. Congratulations. Now, you are poised to consider your next dream career.
The work you’ve undertaken extends you the ability to express your “youness” in every item of original content you create and in every interaction you experience from this point forward. Your interviews will be more authentic and effortless; your cover letters will strike a chord with their readers; you will receive opportunities you never fathomed before pursuing your leap of faith.
-Integrating You With Your “Youness”-
You are about to embark on your new career path; anticipation and excitement coarse through your veins. Before you take one step forward, re-read your journal musings and remind yourself of your “youness.”
In fact, remind yourself every day. Copy and paste your answer to the question I raised at the start of the article into your phone’s calendar. Use your own words as a tool to anchor your intention to align who you are with what you want to do. Bottom line: stay present.
No matter who you are, what your birth certificate regards your age to be or what job you are currently doing, it is possible to choose again. Ask and thoughtfully answer the question I mentioned. The rest of your life begins the moment you say not “yes” to being led by fear and instead say not “no” to sharing your “youness” with everyone you meet and reflecting it in every aspect of your life.
What path will you choose to discover your “youness?” How will you know it’s time to answer the question posed at the start of the post?
This post was originally published to LinkedIn