What do you truly want? Do you even know? It is easier, than we'd like to admit, to allow outside influences determine the steps we take and the goals we make.
Let me tell you a story:
Many years ago, at the start of my life in the work-world, I spent six years in the tech support industry for a large corporation... and I was miserable. How I got there was a little convoluted but the short version is due, in part, to external influences that I allowed to affect me, to a large degree. Most of my friends in college were pursuing an education in computer science, and while I was directed towards life sciences and human development, I somehow got it into my head that a technical field was the direction to go. It was an up and coming field (dating myself here) and there was a lot of excitement. Jumping on the bandwagon was easy.
So I took steps to work my way in to a technical career and dove in headfirst. In hindsight I can tell you, quite honestly, that I was forcing my uniqe, multi-sided being into a very tightly formed, very square box. Needless to say it was uncomfortable! But, I believed (in my head), that I was going in the right direction. The truth is, I had allowed myself to be guided by external forces rather than attend to what was truly right for me - what was in my heart. In other words, I did not trust, nor listen to myself.
My inner voice was defying protocol
Nothing about the work made me happy or excited me. Frustration and depression would rear their ugly heads and would be the first in a series of clues that something needed to change. And clues I did get along the way. My job was about tending to the technology within the organization - fixing computer and network problems. I wasn't supposed to be spending time with the people or giving trainings, in fact I was instructed 'not to'. But I did it anyway. (My inner voice was defying protocol and I began to 'listen' in order to serve myself.)
I'd secretly put the word out and gather a group of the secretaries in each department to provide training on topics that they wanted - topics that allowed them to "help themselves" rather than having to call for help. Things like: "Six steps to try when your printer doesn't work", or "How to manage setting and options in Word and Excel", or "Bring your Questions Free For All".
I slowly discovered, what I should've known all along, that I like people a lot more than machines, and helping people to be better in a way that has meaning for them, 'feeds me'. I would look forward with excitement to these simple gatherings and would come away with real joy. I wanted more of this, a lot more. It seems clear now, but back then my values were clouded over by a misguided belief that I needed to be something else.
Today I'm living my dream job
Fast forward through a switch in careers and acquisition of many certifications, a long trip through a career in professional training, facilitation and a ton of personal work. Today I am living my dream job, and life! I am a coach - Business, Career and Life. As a coach I do exactly what I love to do - I work with people helping them be better in the areas, in which they want to excel, their business, their career, and always in their life. And, I happen to be very good at what I do.
My journey was an incredibly long one, and one I had to make. Yet it didn't have to be so long. The best part of my job now is helping my clients get clear about what they really want, and they get there much more quickly than I did because, unlike me, they have a guide. Someone who can see the obstacles from a different - external - perspective, and help them to get out of their own way. What they end up with is not a type of career or specific set of steps, but more of a compass with which to guide them about which direction to take. A compass that allows them to make decisions in alignment with their values, vs. beliefs that don't serve them; a clear answer to the question, "Is this (step/decision/action/etc.) 'Right' for me?"
Doesn't that sound great?
Whether you are fresh out of college, looking to explore new career options, starting a business or wanting improving the one you own, or simply want to get more out of life, exploring clarity about what is truly in alignment with you can be the best thing you ever do.