Are you doing work you love? If not, what's stopping you? If you are like the majority of people, you are probably doing work that pays your bills but that you don't have a passion for. Even if you are working in the field of your college major, you have likely changed and gained more life experiences, new interests, and are not the same person you were when you chose your career path. That's okay and far more common than you may imagine. In fact, most people are unsatisfied with their jobs.
According to Gallup, there are twice as many people who dislike their jobs as there are people who love their jobs. As a matter of fact, only 13 percent of all the people studied are happy with their jobs; 63 percent are not engaged in their work and simply go through the motions day in day out. And there are 24 percent who actually hate their jobs. These studies are alarming, but true.
So, why are people resigned to stay unhappy in a job they hate instead of doing work that feeds them and that they are passionate about? It boils down to three main reasons.
1. Fear -- that four-letter word that has so many people living a mediocre, passionless life. Fear can be all-encompassing, especially when it means change is involved. So, what are we afraid of?
Fear of failure. This is what I call the "what if" fear. What if I try and do something I am passionate about and fail -- what will people think, and what will it say about me? What if I don't make any money, go bankrupt, lose my house, and end up on the street? We are so afraid to step out because we are worried about failing. It's been said that Edison failed 1,000 times before he succeeded in creating the lightbulb. Had he been afraid of failure, we may still be living in the dark. Success is never guaranteed, but failure is certain if you fail to try.
Fear of success. At first thought, this may seem illogical because isn't success what we all want? The answer is no. Many people hold this deep seated fear. They fear that if they are successful, they can no longer be the same person they are today, and that they will have to change. Or, deep down they don't feel worthy of success. Some feel that if they do achieve success, they may be unable to maintain it, so there is no use in trying. And, there are those who think being successful will take up too much time and energy. Here's something to consider -- isn't doing work you don't like already taking up massive amounts of your precious time and energy?
Fear of the unknown. That comfort zone of ours can be quite a motivator to stay where we are. But when we live in that space, we do not expand, grow, learn, or experience all that life has to offer. This is living a life of muted mediocrity, and who wants to live like that? When I worked as a hospice social worker, I had the privilege of being able to experience with people their final days and weeks. I found that one of the top regrets expressed by my dying patients was that they wished they had not been so afraid to take risks along the way, realizing that they could have lived fuller lives if they had not lived so cautiously and played it safe. Who wants to get to the end of their life with regrets of not having lived life to the fullest? Doing just one thing each day to move out of our comfort zone can expand that comfort zone dramatically and make the unknown less scary.
2. Lack of clarity. This can keep people stuck for years. If you are waiting to wake up one day knowing exactly what you want to be when you grow up, you could be waiting forever. Please do not wait for clarity to just show up. Clarity comes from within, and each of us is responsible for creating our own. There are many exercises and techniques that can help you in getting clearer, but you have to be engaged and do the work required to successfully achieve clarity. It may also take exploring different options to see what fits for you. You may even fail a few times, but it will bring you that much closer to figuring out what work you would love. In essence, clarity is truly an inside job.
3. Not knowing how to make it happen. Suppose you know what you would love to do but just can't figure out how to make it happen. The first step is to set the intention that no matter what, you will make it happen. Once you do this, you have already done half of the work. Your unwavering decision to find a way will begin to overshadow any doubts you have. When you set the intention to do the work you love, the right people and circumstances just start to show up. When you make your mind up, you cannot help but to start attracting what you need to move forward. To keep the momentum, many people find it helpful to create a vision board of exactly what they want their dream job to look like and focus on the outcome daily, expecting results to happen. In the meanwhile, start taking action toward your dream. Take a small step each day. You will find that those small steps start to add up, and before you realize it, your goal of doing work you love is no longer a dream, but a blossoming reality.
What is keeping you from pursuing your dream? Is it fear, lack of clarity, or not knowing how to make it happen? What can you do to push past that barrier and create work that gives you a strong sense of purpose, passion, and fulfillment?