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Worth It

On occasion one of my clients in my career coaching practice, Career Conversations, will ask me for insight or suggestions as to the type of work I think they should pursue. While I am so honored (flattered even) that they think I can offer such insight, it's not something I can answer. For that matter, I don't believe it's a question anyone can really answer for anyone else. And truth be told, someone's good intentions on this front many years ago may actually be the reason you are on the path you're on. Think of that teacher you admired in high school who said "You're so good at math! You should consider engineering, (or computer science, or accounting)." And so you did, even though you didn't really enjoy it, and now 15 years later, you are working in one of these fields wondering "What was I thinking?". It's not that the teacher did anything wrong per se, but these statements, even with the most positive intention, can rob us of the joy that is found in the discovery. 


Don't let anyone "should" on you.
And for goodness sake, don't "should" on yourself.


I firmly believe that we all have the capacity to connect to a purposeful life whether that purpose comes in the form of a corporate career, a volunteer mission, a trade, entrepreneurship, artistic endeavors, or a multitude of other pursuits. If by reading that last statement you have even the slightest notion that I would suggest you "Follow your passion", let me assure you that I do not and will not offer that up - EVER. Similar to the thoughts shared by Julia Wuench in her Forbes article 'Follow Your Passion' is the Worst Career Advice - Here's Why this over-used expression may sell books but it just isn't all that helpful for many reasons which she lays out in her article. In fact, it may create more stress and anxiety than you already have about your career plans. Instead, Ms. Wuench suggests that you "Commit to learning and re-learning what energizes and drains you." Now that is some sound and practical advice. (But even I'll admit, it doesn't sound nearly as sexy as those three words "Follow your passion," now does it?)

In addition to learning and re-learning what energizes you, I would add to simply be curious. Talk to people in different fields, different companies, different communities and ask them questions. Keep a journal of what you uncover. Learn and try new things often and pay attention to the areas of your current work and life where you seem to get joyfully lost in the process. Be aware that even this isn't necessarily an answer, it's just an indicator but it is likely one that will move you further along the journey of discovery. And that journey is worth it. 

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I help people find fulfillment in their careers and help businesses create stronger teams.