5 Things to Remember When You Feel Lost in Your Career
There is some good news and some bad news.
We’ve all been there. The dark days. The ones that feel like they are never going to end. Monday through Friday feels like a constant battle. Same thoughts, same feelings, same life. For me, this happened about 2 years ago. After the novelty of my fancy graduate scheme had worn off I found myself miserable. I was questioning everything in life and afraid of the answers I was getting back.
Was this it? Probably.
Where am I going? Nowhere, so it feels.
What do I want? Oh, I just don’t know.
This would repeat for a while. It started to feel like life was like groundhog day and I was Phil, just going through the motions. Same day, same shit.
I used to think that this was it for me. This is all I would ever amount to. It’s funny to look back at now but at the time, at the time it was no laughing matter at all.
That was until I really resonated with this quote:
“Where you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” Henry Ford.
It’s perhaps my favourite quote for a simple reason. It’s glaringly obvious.
So I said to myself: If you want to go somewhere, start walking. They’ll be loads of people that have come from shitter backgrounds than you have and they are smashing life. If you want to ‘be someone’ go and be someone, stop waiting for life to come and smack you in the face.
After that odd time in my life I decided that I would think a little bit differently about life. It took a while to adjust my thinking. It took a while for me to stop saying after every meeting ‘that was a stupid comment’ or ‘your not good enough to be here’. To be honest, I didn’t really realise I was doing it. But when I did it become so obvious how detrimental my negative self talk was.
We all know the story.
There are more broken dreams and billionaire dollar ideas in a graveyard than anywhere else. People that are held down and tied up in other people’s dreams never live the life they want and never find the happiness they deserve.
People live other people’s dreams, not their own.
Enter motivational video. You can be whatever you dare to dream to be. If you want to break through the glass ceiling — grab a hammer and break it. If you want to be free, work hard, work consistently, work passionately. Success is the only outcome possible.
Enter the scene of a boxer getting knocked. Blood pooling from his face. Eyes swollen. Sweat beading his back. He plants his hand beside him and gets up.
It’s not about how many times life knocks you down, it’s about how many times you get back up.
And then you wake up on a cold Thursday morning. And think… but my problem is that I can’t shake this feeling of not being on track in my life. I don’t know what that means or where I’m supposed to be I just don’t feel successful. I don’t feel like I’m on the path to success.
You are in control of the path
If you want to be a singer… practice singing. If you want to be a writer, write until your fingers can’t tap anymore. If you want to get in shape, go run. If you want to get promoted, figure out what it is that your company deems as promotable and go do that. Once you realise you are completely in control you can take ownership of the path. You are carving the path and you are stepping on the path. Don’t like it? Change directions. Want to get there faster? Figure out a way to do more in your day and do that.
You are the sum total of your actions. If you want to success in whatever area of life you will. You just have to go out there and do it.
There are no shortcuts
My problem was patience. Not surprising considering the world I’ve grown up in. If I want instant gratification, I can post a picture on Instagram and receive a few likes to feel happy. If I was to buy something (within reason) I can go on Amazon, find the product and off I go, it’ll be here tomorrow. If I was friends I can add someone of Facebook. If I want a conversation I can pick up my phone and send a text or two.
But careers are different. If you want happiness in work you need to think about what makes you happy. You need to spend time looking inside yourself, getting some introspection. This isn’t going to be one survey online, results say doctor and you go study medicine. Careers don’t work like that, or at least for me it hasn’t. This is about dedicating yourself to a path. You won’t be in your dream job tomorrow. You won’t at the top of your game by Wednesday. You won’t have people asking you for advice a month from now. Those timeframes are redundant in the world we live in today.
To find the career for you, your work, purposeful work that you find fulfilling takes time. And that’s good, because you’ve got loads of it.
Use your eyes and ears
Be receptive to the world around you. Do you get wound up by certain things? Do you find yourself getting frustrated with elements of your day? Great… what is it? What part of what your experiencing is frustrating… is that because you are in bad mood or is that because you genuinely hate meetings that are disorganised? If it’s the latter, that’s good… you’ve found something to start with.
We don’t find passions down the side of the sofa like a £1 coin. We cultivate them. We build relationships with activities and we find meaning in sticking with them. We fail, we try, we learn, we succeed. It’s a process. Being alert and aware of the world means you can get curious about the things that stir your interest.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein.
And we do this all the time. Most days. We get up at the same time. We eat the same stuff. We do the same work. And we wonder why we’re still miserable.
Which leads me onto my next point.
Experimentation is the key to finding it
You will know when you’ve found it. It feels like the only thing you want to spend your time doing. It feels like you’ve finally found that thing that you might actually be good at. But how do you get there… you experiment. Try writing, filming, building a business, teaching… there world is full of things to try. There are so many career opportunities.
Trying things out and seeing how you feel is a great way to find out what you want to do with your life.
The perspective of time
Lets say you are in your twenties. A fairly broad timescale but it adds to my point. You have circa 40 years of work ahead of you. It’s hard to even perceive that scale of time because it about double the years you’ve been on this planet. Do you remember when you 10? Nope me either. You’ve got an absolute lifetime, or two, take the pressure off a bit. Worry about it when you’re 45.
In a way this is an article to me from me. Two years ago I was experiencing all these feelings. Mainly the one of feeling lost. I’d done all the things I thought I was meant to do and I wasn’t happy. Reminding ourselves that careers take time and finding your thing is a journey is not a bad thing to do from time to time.