“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” – Henry David Thoreau
Are you Fleeing or Pursuing?
A new year is upon us, and all around we see fresh motivation for action. It seems like everyone is re-evaluating the possibilities in life and taking action to do something new and better. In this journey, many of us are seeking career change. According to Gallup, 70% of employees consider themselves to be disengaged at work. Ultimately, what people really want is to create a fulfilling work experience, but they don’t know how to find the work they love. Please know it’s possible to achieve something bigger in life than the 9-to-5 job you suffered through last year.
While taking action is important, it can lead you in the wrong direction if you simply run away from the status quo without clear intentions. So I ask you this: As you search for a new career step, are you actively pursuing work that feeds your soul? Do you really want to know how to find the work you love? Or are you simply fleeing work you hate? In other words, in the great life game of tag, are you “It” or are you one of the millions scattered about running away?
Perhaps the question seems patronizing. After all, isn’t any step away from something you dislike a step in the right direction? Is there no value to leaving behind the things that no longer serve you?
There is of course value in identifying – and avoiding – the things that drag you down. However, running away from something will never be as satisfying as pursuing an intention. Therefore, if the end goal is to connect with what you really love to do, identifying intent is vital to the process.
Remember: when you intentionally move toward something, your energy is focused and the pull is strong!
What to do if You Don’t Know Your Intention
First, you may feel some shame if you have little or no idea what you really love to do. This is common and understandable. After all, you’ve probably been trained to not pay attention to doing what you really love, anyway. It’s a natural consequence to not know how to find the work you really love. Our system floods us with messages that tell us exactly how to succeed: Go to college, get a degree (better yet, an advanced degree) and get to work. You’ll be comfortable and content!
However, as years go by, you begin to notice that maybe the messages you heard weren’t really in your favor. Despite your Master’s degree, you still feel like a dime a dozen during interviews. You find you’ve made steep sacrifices that perhaps didn’t pay off the way you imagined. You relocate for the right opportunities; you work 60 to 80 hours a week; you put off marriage and kids; you lament with coworkers about how there’s no time to take a real vacation this year. You do everything required to move up in the system, and still you don’t seem to have the rewards you felt you were promised in the grand scheme of corporate life.
As we all work in this daily grind, our non-conscious beliefs about doing what we really love make themselves known regularly. They tell us we must only give more and better to the machine to get better results, working ourselves further into misery. Or, the beliefs make us rationalize with “if only” statements: “If only” I got the promotion; “if only” I worked for a different company; “if only” my boss would disappear…
These non-conscious beliefs leach into the deepest parts of ourselves – the parts that empower us to truly do something bigger. When we try to make a change, these beliefs work against us. They tell us things like, “You won’t be able to make enough money doing something different,” or they promote sunk cost fallacies like, “Are you seriously going to throw away your college education to do something else? You just paid off your student loans!” These beliefs get personal, too, such as, “Your significant other/parents/kids will never understand if you abandon the status quo.”
We encounter serious opposing forces when we try to buck the system to do what we really love. It’s OK to forgive ourselves for not having clear intention for the journey.
How to Start Setting Intention
To set intention, we must learn again to pay attention.
Consider the last time you felt angry in a work conflict. Conjure up the situation in your mind. Do your first thoughts go to the circumstances, such as what went wrong, who did it, and all the negative ways you were impacted?
Now, take a deep breath and rather than focusing on the storyline, focus on the physical feelings of that moment of anger. Perhaps your heart was beating quickly, your shoulders tensed up, and your face felt hot. Maybe you got a headache, or your stomach churned. Can you remember the physical sensations of that moment?
Our bodies are often wiser than our minds. All day long, our bodies signal to us with physical sensations. When we actively tune in to these feelings, we can start to identify the things we really love, and those we don’t. We’re talking about doing what we really love here, and love is about emotion, not logic.
Setting intent to do what you love will require that you pay attention and identify the moments when you feel physical sensations of joy, exhilaration and bliss. This is the process that shows you how to find the work you love. To begin connecting with your intent, try paying attention to the different sensations in your body throughout the day. Jot down a quick note about how you feel physically when:
- You solve a problem at work
- You share a meal with a friend or significant other
- You sit in a meeting
- You talk with your boss
- You care for a pet animal
- You commute to work
- You teach or mentor someone with less experience
- You practice a personal hobby
Some of the things you might ask yourself while paying attention could include:
- Does your energy feel upbeat and flowing? Or does it feel stagnant and stuck?
- Does your body feel expansive and light, or contracted and heavy?
- Are you sitting or standing openly, or are you making yourself physically smaller by slouching and taking up less space?
- Do you have a knot in your stomach?
- Do you feel like your skin is glowing?
- Do you feel positive anticipation or dread?
- Do you feel tense? Are your shoulders or leg muscles tight?
- Is your brow furrowed do you have a headache?
- Do your cheeks hurt from laughing so much?
Over the course of a month, if you log these observations, you’ll get a great idea of the moments you really enjoy (and those you don’t). When we pay attention to physical sensations, we can connect them to emotional feelings and set intent in our journey to do what we really love.
Support in Setting Your Intent
Engaging Breakthroughs is about doing what you really love and having security while you do it. We’re not promising to help you make so much money that all your problems go away – after all, chances are those same old problems will come back even when the bank account is overflowing. Money is simply energy that helps us meet our needs. Doing what you really love empowers you to lead a more fulfilling life.
There may be risks to learn what you really love to do. It’s not easy discovering how to find the work you really love. You may encounter setbacks and discouragement when you pay attention to the sensations you’ve been ignoring for a long time. At Engaging Breakthroughs, we provide high quality support to work through the non-conscious beliefs that are keeping you from doing what you really love.
Complimentary Breakthrough Consultation
I’d love to visit with you to discuss how breakthrough coaching can help you overcome barriers and achieve your goals. I offer a complimentary online Engaging Breakthrough consultation via Zoom.
In this 30-60 minute online breakthrough coaching session, I will help you get crystal clear on where you are right now and where you want to be. I’ll give you my best professional recommendations to help you take your first steps toward your success breakthrough.
|Written by Craig Tennant
Founder, Engaging Breakthroughs
Transformation Architect and Breakthrough CoachAt Engaging Breakthroughs, Craig Tennant delivers
breakthrough success workshops and online life breakthrough
coaching for people who seek to break through to success
and discover life beyond the 9 to 5.