Next month marks two years since I left my safe, secure, and tenured job. I had spent 11 long years in a job that drained me mentally and physically. To say it was not the best use of my talents is an understatement. I always knew I wanted to do something else, but I had a hard time figuring out exactly what the “else” was. I was very driven and motivated, which made it all the more difficult because I had nowhere to place the motivation. Leaving me feeling stuck externally, but with the internal adrenaline to push forward like a horse out of the gate.
I think that internal drive is what separated me from my co-workers. I always remained highly professional and never partook in the “I hate this job” conversations. Though I may have felt that, it didn’t feel like a good use of my energy to sit around talking about it for an entire lunch. I knew the job wasn’t meant for me and I knew I would be the one to actually leave. I knew there was something stirring inside of me that would emerge one day and put me on the path to my next step.
I realize now the problem I was experiencing in the first several years of my career was my focus was seriously misplaced. I spent a lot of my time focusing on how I didn’t want to be in that career. I focused on all the things that irritated me about the job. This hyper focus on what I didn’t want stripped me of the energy and enthusiasm to focus on what I did want.
That’s the thing about focus: what you focus on expands. When I was focusing on my resistance to my current situation my unhappiness expanded. With that expansion there was little time for growth and exploration.
Around year 8 I started noticing changes within my self. I began to explore the world outside of my job. I did whatever I was drawn to. I let myself just play and see what things felt good. I took different kinds of classes and tried out different social groups. I stuck with some and let the others go. I had no attachment; it was all just for fun.
For the first time in my career life I was no longer focusing on the woes of my daily 9 to 5. It made going to work everyday so much easier. My focus was no longer on resisting the present moment.
With the resistance gone, the clarity I had been searching for many years slowly began to form. It wasn’t an overnight change, but when the concrete idea popped into my mind I knew it was right. I could feel it with every bone in my body.
I worked for another 2 years after gaining the clarity about the change I wanted to make. It was the easiest two years of my career. I no longer resented going to work every day. I no longer felt stuck. I realized I was making a choice to stay and at some point I could make another choice. I also stopped identifying my self-worth with my job. I realized I had the power to define my happiness and myself. I could create what I wanted no matter where I was.
And you have the same power… look at what you’re focusing on. Is it working for you? Spend a little time with that question and then take the time to choose your focus.
If you’d like to find more ways to make peace between your job and your dreams, I’m offering a free teleclass on September 20th. You can register by clicking here.