The only real battle in life is between hanging on and letting go. ~ Shannon L Alder
Have you been working hard to take your career in a new direction with little to show for it? Feeling frustrated and stuck?
This part of changing your career really sucks, but it’s also completely normal. I see it come up over and over again with my clients. All of them are smart accomplished women who’ve had successful careers. They go and get new qualifications and update their skills, but then it’s like: Now what?
When you’ve been goal driven all your life it can be confronting to find yourself at an impasse but it honestly happens to everyone. Not having a clue what to do next is completely normal when you’re going through change and you’re in that state of flux. Not only that, it’s actually a key part of the change process (if you want to know more about the science behind this look up the Change Curve).
Knowing this fact alone can be a massive relief if you’ve been struggling.
If you think about it, no life change follows a linear path, whether you want a healthier lifestyle, a higher income or a more successful career. The way forward is not going to suddenly become clear as if by magic.
You can’t feel clear and certain about where you’re going AND open yourself up to new possibilities at the same time. If you create hard and fast plans too early you might miss amazing opportunities by becoming too focused on what you ‘should’ be doing.
I know this isn’t an easy shift particularly given we live in such a goal-oriented culture and it can feel unnatural and even a little irresponsible to have no direction and be ok with that, at least for now. Don’t get me wrong I love goals but you can’t force them when you don’t know which direction you’re travelling in.
My advice? Get comfortable with flying blind for a little while and stop fighting it.
You won’t always be in this confused place but there’s a good reason why you’re here right now. It also helps is to remember that before you can have what you want (i.e. a more fulfilling career), there’s always something you need to let go of (usually some form of fear or self-doubt).
What can you let go of that’s going to free up space for you to move forwards?
It could be projects and people but more than likely it will be old ways of thinking that don’t serve you anymore.
Maybe you’re resistant to networking outside of your current industry, because it’s way out of your comfort zone and you’re not sure how you will be perceived.
Or you want to take on a leadership role but you’re worried about the long hours or the extra responsibility. Or you are harbouring major resentment towards your industry or boss.
If you’ve got thoughts like this running around in your head they’re going to block you from seeing future possibilities. You have to actually make space for those ideas.
During this time your best friend is going to be faith – faith in yourself, faith in the higher order of things, faith in your inner guidance and a deep knowing that the way forward will be revealed in its own good time.
Remember you won’t stay stuck forever.
It’s very rare that we see our whole career path laid out in front of us in all its amazing glory. More often than not, we’re lucky if we can see the next step, with the occasional glimpse of what lies ahead.
How do you deal with confusion and lack of clarity in your career?