by Anne Day
Feeling stuck? Not sure what to do next or what you want to be when you grow up? You’re not alone but as we interview and talk to women about their self-doubt, one word keeps resonating with me.
Self-awareness is key to moving your life forward, both personally and professionally. How much time do you spend reflecting on your skills, strengths, areas of weakness and the values that you hold dear? Likely not much time, because you are too busy living your life, but maybe it would be time well spent.
Sometimes you need to stop, press pause, even rewind, and take stock of where you are in life and what is important to you, and what is holding you back from becoming who you are meant to be.
Often we are too quick to blame ourselves if a job or relationship isn’t working out, but perhaps it’s not you. Perhaps it is more that your values are not in alignment with the workplace or person. When you step back and look from the outside in, it can be easier to see what needs to happen, and perhaps no one is to blame, it is just not a good fit.
I know, easier said than done, especially as there is risk in moving on, and fear that you won’t be able to secure another job, find another partner or be able to support yourself financially. Plus you likely have such mixed emotions about the whole situation. I guess that is part of the weighing up proposition and asking yourself how bad does it have to get before I do something?
I remember one job early in my career, where I constantly didn’t feel as if I fit in. I blamed myself naturally, and thought I needed to work harder at it, pretzel myself, be more like the others and it would work out. Then an incident happened where some truths were being stretched to make a sale and it made me realize that we did not share the same values or goals. And I left. I walked out that day, and never returned.
Afterwards, I wondered what had taken me so long. I felt such a sense of relief. A great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I hadn’t realized how unhappy I’d been, until I ended it. They didn’t come chasing after me either, we’d both realized it was not working out.
For some of us, it takes a wake-up call to force us into action. That’s not always such a bad thing, if you listen. On the other hand, if you chose to ignore the message, likely you won’t change, your situation won’t change and neither will the outcome.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten who you are? Will the “real you” stand up. So it’s time to get to know yourself again and what you love to do. In a recent blog, Danielle Laporte gave out some good advice – ask your friends. Ask them to spot your joy. As she said “one of the most helpful things you can do for your friends is be a witness to what’s working.”
I like this advice, because it focuses on the positive. We don’t need more criticism – we do enough of that by ourselves. No. Often our friends will be the first to notice how our face lights up when we are talking about something – a job, a project, a person. Take note of that. You need to be doing more of whatever sparks your enthusiasm.
On the reverse side, perhaps your friends will point out how often you complain about something or someone. Again, pay attention.
It may help you to recognize where you need to spend your energy, your time and could very well help you get back on track.
Being clear on what you want out of life, your direction and how to get there, can only help you in realizing your destiny.