Have you ever noticed that the things worth doing are usually hard?
Going to the gym.
Maintaining a positive mindset.
And the same is true for achieving your career goals.
A client of mine recently wondered with me if his lack of success toward his career goals was a sign that he was doing the wrong thing.
Maybe he just wasn’t meant to achieve what he wanted to do. Maybe he should give up on his dream of starting his own business and just start applying for jobs.
After all, it was more practical and more immediate. It payed the bills faster.
Maybe you, too, feel like this at times. That no matter what you do, the cards seem stacked against you and you just don’t seem destined to do what you want to do.
The battle seems too hard, things don’t seem to go your way often enough, and eventually you just see it as a sign that you’re pushing things in the wrong direction.
After all, if it were meant to be, things would just “click into place?” Right?
The truth is, overnight success is a myth. You must be persistent to be successful. Part of success is failure, no matter what you’re trying to do.
So how do you know when you’re on the road to success, just experiencing normal failures, and when you’re barking up the wrong tree, and the universe is telling you that it’s time to let go, and move on to something else because this venture wasn’t meant to be?
Career Search and Soul Search
You’ve got to be brutally honest with yourself, and assess the situation from a couple of angles.
But first off, you are not always the best person to be honest with yourself.
Sometimes, we’re too harsh on ourselves and are our own worst critics, while at other times we go too easy and think that we can do things well when we really don’t. We’re just not objective. So in addition to you asking yourself what you think, you need to find at least one objective person go through the rest of the questions in this post with you.
Never Give Up
There are some dreams you should never give up. If you deeply, truly love something, you have to find a way to make it happen.
If you are an entrepreneur at heart and you just can’t bear the thought of giving up your business, then NEVER, EVER give it up. But you may have to do lots and lots of hard things to make your business survive while it’s still struggling. (And that’s ok, because that’s persistence.)
So ask yourself: Am I continuing to pursue this direction (whether it’s a business or a job) because it’s what I’ve been doing and it feels too painful now to change course, or am I continuing because I love what I’m doing and I can’t bear the thought of letting it go?
If you are continuing for the sheer love of the thing, that trumps every other answer you might give below.
You might as well stop reading now and keep doing what you’re doing, because it doesn’t matter if you’re good at it, if you’ll make money or whatever else. All that is figure-out-able, and you’ll do what you need to do to be successful (if you don’t fall victim to the Hollywood Principle).
If you’re doing what you’re doing for the sheer love of the thing, keep doing it. Figure out the rest.
The Career Search Continues. . .
If you’re still a little confused, ask yourself (and your completely honest friend) the following questions:
Is there something I love better?
What you love to do should be a major guide in helping you figure out what you should be doing. So if there’s something that you’ve always wanted to do but thought you shouldn’t for one reason or another, now is the time to listen to that. Give up what you’re doing and figure out how to pursue your true love.
Can I make money at what I’m trying to do?
If you’re doing what you love but your business model is flawed, you have to reassess. No amount of hard work will get you where you want to be if you’ve got something fundamentally wrong with how you’re going about doing things.
The same is true if you’re trying to make a living at a job that just doesn’t pay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I was a social worker for years.
But if you’re doing what you love for the love of it, and then feeling unsuccessful financially and wondering where the disconnect is, you have to stop and reconcile that. Either decide what’s most important to you, or figure out how to use your same skills doing something that can make you more money.
What am I really afraid of?
Are you on your current career path because it’s what you want, or because you’re scared?
SO MANY people I’ve talked to have either done something with their career because they were afraid not to, (become doctors, business people, sales people) or NOT become something because they were scared (like doctors, artists, healers, therapists, chefs, travel guides, entrepreneurs, and more).
What have you done or not done out of fear?
What will you regret if you don’t pursue it?
What are you really afraid of?
What ever it is, stop right now and realize that no one and nothing matters except YOU shining your light in the time you have.
So do it.
Does it fit the lifestyle I want?
Lifestyle design is huge. If you’re thinking about what you really want to do, then you should also think about how you really want to do it. If the path you’re pursuing sends you off the deep end because you’re working too hard, that’s bad news – even if you’re doing something you love.
You have to remember that work/life balance is important, and probably a huge reason you’re undertaking a career search in the first place. So don’t get sucked into passion that takes over every other thing that’s important to you.
Seeing a Clear Path
Guys, I’ve got to tell you, any time you’re learning and growing and taking on new challenges or there’s any kind of uncertainty in your life (when isn’t there?) there’s going to be doubt. You’re going to wonder if you’re doing the right thing or if you misread the signs.
But I believe that you’re here to share your gifts with the world, and that means that you’re here to do what you love to do.
Because that is true, then there’s a way for that to work in the real world. There’s a way for you to make money (yes actual cash, folks!) doing it, and for it to fit into your life.
So it’s just up to you to find the path that works. And usually, it’s about being unafraid, and listening for what you really, truly want in terms of THE THING, and how to shape it – that is, what does it actually look like?
Simple, but not easy. That’s why I’m here to help.
So tell me, what questions do you have about where you are on your path, in your career search, where you’re stuck and what you should do next? Post it in the comments below!