I’ve just read this quote from someone on Twitter. It made me feel really sad. What a shame to go through an entire career feeling that way.
Now I know I don’t know the context, maybe this person was just unhappy for the last part of their career, who knows? However, if you are experiencing the same feeling at the end of the weekend, do you really want to carry that right through to your retirement day?
What if you could do something about it? What if you could do anything you wanted?
Many people explore that question briefly, and most people shut it down before it goes much further than a fleeting moment of curiosity. There are often good grounds for doing so; household bills to cover, kids’ university fees to think about, possibly the care of older relatives to consider, ‘this is what I trained for, and I wouldn’t know what else to do’ and so on, and so on.
But what about you? You’re in this too, why should you compromise your satisfaction in life? You deserve better, you deserve more.
So, if you’re feeling some of these things, why don’t you find an hour or two for yourself, grab a notebook and find a quiet corner in a café and allow yourself to be curious. Here are some questions to ask yourself. The only rule is that you are not to shut the idea down in its tracks. Just dare to dream for a moment.
- In the perfect world where you could do whatever you wanted in life, free of any restrictions and boundaries, what would you do? Write down every single thing.
- Imagine the perfect day doing this job. Write down everything that happens to you on that perfect day. Go into detail and note how you would be waking up, what would you be saying to others, how would you be feeling, what would your energy be like? How people would be reacting to you in this perfect world.
- Write down what you would be enjoying in terms of job satisfaction, general well-being in your life, the conversation you’d be having with others when you talk about your work.
- What is getting in the way of you being able to do this thing? Maybe you wanted to be an Oscar winning actor. If this is not possible, what would be a more realistic goal?
- Now looking at your current situation, what assumptions are you making regarding your reasons for staying where you are? Sometimes we have long-held assumptions that may no longer be accurate. Sometimes our assumptions, when we see them written down in black and white suddenly seem ridiculous. ‘I don’t want to let person x down’ is no reason to compromise your happiness. Are you sure you would be letting them down? Have you asked them?
- What assumptions are you making about yourself? What are the common excuses you use to stop you from making a change? Write them down and really challenge yourself. Which of those reasons are simply lame excuses? Cross them out.
- If you have identified your perfect career path, and it is achievable, what small step could you take towards achieving that goal? Would you need to retrain?
- Who can help you? You need to choose a team. A cheerleader, a trusted advisor, a critical friend. Maybe they are all the same person but having an external influence to help you stay on track can be massively helpful. They could also call you out on some of those potential lame excuses.
- Often, guilt stops people from making a change. What can you do to be kinder to yourself? How can you shift your thinking so that you feel you deserve to pursue this goal?
These are just a few questions you can start with, and there are many more; too many to list here. If you are in a position to do so, it is worth getting the support of a coach to help guide you towards your chosen path.
If it doesn’t lead you to an actual change in career, it may just help you find an outlet that brings fulfilment. If you can’t win an Oscar, you might be able to channel that energy into helping youth theatre groups or treading the boards with an amateur theatre company.
Choose the retirement you want to have. Look back on your career with fondness, not regret. Languish in the memories of the passion and enjoyment you got from your career, not dread and drudgery. In fact, if you love what you do so much, there may be nothing to stop you doing it beyond retirement age if that is what you choose.
If you are already fulfilled and happy, I’m really pleased about that. Maybe you can champion my message and look around you. If you notice someone whom you suspect is a Sunday blues person, how can you help them find their inner bounce?
If you want to talk more about this in person, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 07468 560780.
Photo by Snapstock.