Originally published on 5/19/21 ALVCoaching.com website.
As a life coach supporting clients in unsatisfying careers, I want to say that lack of clarity is one of the top reasons people stay at a job they don’t enjoy. I’m going to pose this question to all of the readers here – are you happy with your job? If not, how come?
Is it because you are not getting the promotion and pay that you deserve? Maybe you are not fully satisfied with your current career, but you have no clue what you want to do? Perhaps you are in a toxic work environment, and you wish to get out of there asap, but you can’t just leave without landing a new job? Another possibility is, you lost your job because the company you worked so hard for decided to restructure and eliminated your position during the process.
Instead of barging into your boss’ office to demand promotion and pay raises, quitting your job, or applying to all the jobs that you can find online that seem somewhat promising, I want you to SLOW DOWN. I’m not saying you don’t do anything at all. The action I want you to take is to spend some time doing self-discovery. Turn inward to reflect and listen. Ask yourself, what’s your definition of career happiness? What would you like to do all day if money and time are not an issue? And, yes, you may say watching Netflix and eating ice cream, we all love that. What else?
What else do you enjoy doing? Want to talk about all day? Share with the world? Besides just thinking about it, I want you to write everything down. Write whatever comes up as you go through this thought process, including your hope, fear, excitement, worries, and everything in between.
Most of us are fixers. When there is a problem or potential problem, we want to find answers and remedies to correct it. When we are not happy at work, we start to think about what we can do to fix that. Should I look for another job? What about going back to school to learn a new skill and earn another degree? Should I start a business so I no longer have to listen to someone else? These might be good ideas. But, before you proceed, make sure going for these ideas is not just putting a temporary patch to your issues. I want you to find your career happiness with clarity and confidence. Keep all of your great ideas in mind, and do some deep self-exploration.
3 Steps to Career Happiness
Ask yourself, “what’s my definition of career happiness and what exactly am I trying to achieve?” I remember one of the seven habits from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey begins with the end in mind. That’s solid advice. What is the end you have in mind? Also, ask yourself, why do I want this? Know what outcome you want to achieve will help you set your visions and goals much quicker. Understand why you want it and have a passion for it will help you stay on track in the long run.
Besides answering the what and the why, pay attention to how your body reacts when you think about it. You can call this checking in with the gut. Your body stores a lot of valuable information, and your intuition provides great guidance if you know how to listen. Ultimately, I want you to get out of your headspace and get into your heart space. Instead of analyzing every little detail, go with what feels right to you. Stay at a high level and focus on the big picture.
2. Set Your Vision and Goals
The next step is to ask yourself – to get to your outcome, what needs to happen? Get clear on your vision, develop smaller goals that are a subset of your vision, and tackle one thing at a time. Identify what resources you need and who can help you along the way. Remember to ask for help. Talk to people you trust, utilize your network, build new connections, and work with your mentor and coach. It’s ok if everything still feels hazy. Take your time to sort it out. Don’t get overwhelmed by the process. Break things down and take one step at a time. Don’t go through this process alone. Get support.
3. Establish action steps and an accountability plan
Now that you know your immediate goals, what actions are necessary to reach these goals? What’s the timeline for each step? How do you keep yourself accountable? How do you measure progress and success? Without action steps and an accountability plan, nothing will come to fruition. When you are taking action and making things happen, you are building confidence at the same time. Keeping yourself accountable also means evaluating your progress from time to time. Are you on track with your goals to realize your vision? Do you still feel good about what you set out to do? Check in with yourself frequently and see how you feel overall about the direction you are going. Again, don’t work alone. Get someone to be your accountability partner would help tremendously and make you feel less alone. Continue to seek support.
Even if you are out of a job right now, take some time to go through the same three steps and find what makes you happy. I understand being out of work can feel defeated and scary. Without that steady paycheck, life can feel very stressful. But, please give yourself a chance to think through and plan out your next move. Stay positive, this may open new possibilities for you, and you can be in a better place than you were before you lost your job.
To summarize, if you are considering making a change to find your career happiness or if you are in the circumstance where making a career transition is a must:
- Conduct self-inquiry to determine what career happiness is to you and get clear on the outcome you want to achieve.
- Set your vision and goals, develop a strategy, and identify what resources and help you need to reach your ideal outcome.
- Establish your action steps and accountability plan. Without you taking the initiative and responsibility, nothing will come to fruition.
Additionally, remember to have self-trust.
Trust yourself, trust the process, and trust that you will figure it out no matter how difficult a situation is. The following self-affirmations are for you to keep. Write those in your journal every day to remind yourself that you deserve success and happiness in your career and life.
- I release all fear to embrace love and gratitude.
- I see every challenge as an opportunity to practice self-trust and self-love.
- I deserve happiness in all aspects of my life.
- I define success my way and achieve success on my own terms.
- My courage grows stronger each day to help me navigate through hurdles with ease and walk the path I choose with peace.