Thoughts and such like.....
There's a song by SuperTramp that I used to love, and forgot about until a conversation over the weekend with my youngest son:
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily
Oh joyfully, playfully watching me
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible
Logical, oh responsible, practical
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical
(Lyrics by Roger Hodson)
Nik was pondering over his career choice/dream, and my career advice years ago, 'do what fuels your passion!' He was tired and sore and is struggling with 'is it worth it?' I truly believe that the saying that if you can marry your passion with your skillset then you don't work for an income - income flows to you. However when you're living hand to mouth as you try and make a name for yourself, that advice might be a little hard to take.
When making decisions about what next, I believe the same rule can apply whether you are 20 or 60. Barbara Sher in her 1994 book 'I could Do Anything if I only knew what it was' says try asking the question: 'What did I like to do at 5, 10, 15 et cetera? What do you like to do now. Throughout that list is the thread that connects you to your passion - go through it, let it sit, and then review it again. Ask too 'What do I hate to do?' Think about how you can cut those things out of your life, to allow you more time to do the things you love. (www.amazon.ca/Could-Anything-Only-Knew-What/dp/0440505003/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526411276&sr=8-1&keywords=Barbara+sher)
There are many other such exercises, if the one above doesn't resonate with you, try something else - don't give up, because it's too hard. Yes, you can learn anything if you put your mind to it, and you can have a career in a job/sector you hate, learn to love the financial reward that comes from it, but inside how is your soul? Does it feel like it shrivels up a little each year? What if you don't know what you want to do, and so just follow what your parents and teachers have advised, well they've lived well and seem okay with it - have you ever asked them, 'If you had followed your dream when you were young, would you be doing what you do now?' I think many of us might be surprised at the answers we receive.
So many people have moved forward, not really thinking about what it is they really want, and then they become surprised because Change Happens! People, myself included, are funny. We wish for change, if only, and then, because change is inevitable, when it happens we're caught off guard. We're surprised, don't know what to do.... whether it's forced retirement, being laid off a job you've had for years... an unexpected move.. an inheritance.. we're paralyzed. What we fail to realize is that life is actually handing us a gift? If you don't have enough to live on - okay that's a problem, and so while you work through what you really want, think about taking a mac-job. That is a job that pays the bills, doesn't take too much brain power, and yes, it may be a let down from 'who you used to be', but what's the worse that could happen? You're embarrassed - why? You're doing something, and moving forward, your job pays your bills, and at the same time you're figuring out what next - what really moves you? How can I make it happen, who do I know that I can call for advice, to mentor me to bounce ideas off. What do I need to do/learn to make it a reality? Often we're terrified to move forward because of fear - fear of the unknown, fear of rejection or just fear (what/why we don't understand). Fear can be a powerful force in our lives, we stay in the same place because it's easier than moving forward.
When I decided to up my education I was in my late 40's, I was terrified, I still carried the voices of teachers in high school in my head, those who told me I wasn't smart enough, couldn't make it - but, it was something I wanted, not just for myself but for my kids, they needed to see that their mum was walking her talk. What was the worst that could happen, I failed an exam! Big deal! This was a big change, and like all change, whether we instigate it or it happens to us, there was conflict - it's a fascinating thing, we can make change happen, or allow it to happen to us... Me, I was taking control and even in though I made the decision, my choice, I was conflicted internally - fear, worry at the cost, worry just because... it was terrifying! Quite a number of years later, I'm so happy I made that decision and faced down the fear that had been with me for years and had driven me, at a cost to me, to constantly prove myself to people who had no idea of my history and certainly, outside my mind, did not think of me in the same terms as those teachers long ago. Now I think about it, what ego I had to think that they spent their time thinking of me! From that one decision, I've been able to change career, and develop my own business and, despite the ups and downs of any new business, I'm happier than I had been in my previous career - I get to chose who I work with, my values are what carries my business and new career, and I am constantly learning from, and meeting new people who add value to my life.
So, I challenge you, take a chance - look into the future. What do you see yourself doing in five or ten years? Where are you? How do you feel? Did you take that risk, or even make a calculated risk knowing that you could always turn back if it didn't work out? Imagine the future you writing to the present you right now - allow your imagination to let go, create a future you participating in all those things you've dreamed of doing. What would your future self say? What steps did the future you take to get where they are, and what is the message they are sending to you, right now? Then sit down, either independently, with your partner or with a coach, and if this is truly where you want to be, create a plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. What are the steps you need to take?
If you need help and/or support contact me for a free discovery session. Remember, you are in charge of how you live this life, whether in your second or third act, there is plenty of life left in you to live. Only you stand in your way!
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog