While I’d like to believe that work doesn’t dictate our lives, the reality is we spend a large majority of our time at work. We need it to survive. To do all the things we want in life.
We clearly can’t ignore it, so instead we should do what we can to actually enjoy it!
When you enjoy your work, everything can seem to magically fall into place and life feels amazing.
On the contrary, when you feel stuck in your work it can completely drain you in life.
But it doesn’t have to be an either or.
Yes there will always be highs and lows, but your work doesn’t have to be about just surviving and getting by in life.
It doesn’t have to be a trade off of joy and fulfillment vs finances.
YOU CAN DO WORK YOU LOVE and THRIVE in life.
I’m not just throwing out inspirational juju here ;) I’m speaking from personal experience.
I love my work now, but I remember just a few years ago crying on my way to work. The tears were not because I was in a bad job, or even that I hated the job I was in. I was actually in a position I once considered my dream job.
The tears were because I felt so guilty, confused, unhappy, and stuck at work.
If you are struggling with these feelings now, my heart truly goes out to you, and I want to share a little story that will give you hope. Maybe it will even help open your eyes to what’s really possible for you.
A story for hope
I was promoted to my “dream” job just a few months before my 28th birthday. This was a job and title I had set my eyes on right out of college.
I spent five years going above and beyond, making work my number one priority in life so I could learn as much as possible, and prove myself in pursuit of this position. I became a true workaholic, giving 110% to my career, and it payed off. I was promoted years before I thought I would be.
I still remember my first day in the new role, feeling so proud that I had actually made it happen. Thinking yesss, I’m finally successful!
Boy was I in for a treat….
Initially things were great, but within a few months the excitement started to settle and the inner turmoil began.
It seemed like all of a sudden all my steam wore off. I’ve always prided myself on my work ethic and drive but there was something unexplainable happening to me.
Work started to feel like a chore. I could barely function without caffeine, I started making silly mistakes, and I would dread going into work each day.
This sparked a whole period of complete confusion in my life.
Living the lie.
I remember being so angry at myself because it didn’t make any sense. I always wanted this job. I worked so hard to get here. I had everything it took to be successful in the role. But I had zero motivation to actually fully apply myself.
Well, when we don’t fully apply ourselves in the way we know we can… that starts to eat away at your soul.
So I decided to live the lie.
Even though something felt off, there was no way I was going to allow myself to ruin this opportunity. The time I invested, the lifestyle it gave me... I was going to force a smile, buckle down, and try to convince myself that I was happy in life.
But here’s the thing about living the lie…. You might be able to fool everyone around you, keep up appearances, keep pushing forward, keep reaching new levels of success… but you can’t fool yourself.
I learned the hard way that allowing yourself to live the lie that you are happy in your work, the more likely you are to get caught up in the trap of walking through the motions and feeling trapped in life.
Depressed or unhappy in your work ?
Within a couple months I began to lose my energy and excitement when it came to anything in life. There were a couple months where I was genuinely concerned that I was depressed.
And over time this only lead to feeling more anxious, disconnected, unhappy, and stuck.
It wasn’t until I was out of the position that I realized just how toxic staying in a job that drains you really is.
About a year and a half later the company I was working for went through a major restructure and I was laid off.
You would have thought I would feel crushed, terrified for my next steps… but I felt relieved and free.
I hate to say it, but had I not been laid off, I don’t know if ever would have been able to walk away from that position. I very easily could have kept plugging away, climbing the corporate ladder, and living the lie that it was working for me because it was providing for me financially.
And that thought terrifies me because I cannot imagine going back to that stuck and sad place in my life.
The meaning of success
But society has a way of brainwashing us so we pursue work that will make us look “successful”. At a young age that was my driving force. I so badly wanted to be accepted and viewed as successful that I got caught up living according to what I thought would make me be successful….
A desirable title, benefits, great salary package, a home, steady relationship…. You know all the boxes we’re programmed to think we should check off.
But what I realized after the layoff was that I never took the time to really think about what would make me FEEL SUCCESSFUL.
This is where everything changes. When you stop living according to what society, your family, or peers have told you will make you successful, and you instead pursue work that will make you feel successful according to your own values and desires in life…. That’s when you finally begin to understand what it means to do work you love. That’s when you start to thrive in life.
So if you’re looking for a way to do work you love, start by asking yourself WHAT IS YOUR OWN DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?
This is step one in reconnecting to yourself.
Stay tuned for more tips later this week!
And if you’re ready to really take the reins on your life, discover your heart’s true desires, and take steps towards doing work you love it’s time for you to Clarify your Calling with me
To your happiness and higher level living,