Have you ever felt like you were trapped living somebody else’s life? That you needed to escape? Maybe you even feel that way now…
It’s something, unfortunately, that I think happens to a lot of people as they finally enter and get settled into adulthood.
As children we’re all encouraged to dream and think big. We imagine a future filled with passion and possibility. But as we graduate and go off to join the work force, we’re given a very different default set of expectations as to what it takes to “make it in the world.”
Myths of Drudgery, Sacrifice, & Scarcity
Have you ever heard any of these work myths? (Maybe you’ve even thought some of them yourself).
Work is supposed to be dull if not painful, the opposite of fun and play.
Work is supposed to be sacrifice, you can’t be successful in your career and have lots of time for friends and family.
Work is scarce and you’ve got to make sure beat out the #2 guy — it’s a dog-eat-dog world with not enough jobs, clients, resources, opportunities etc. etc.
The thing is, though these attitudes may accurately reflect the way many people may have approached work for decades – none of them necessarily have to be true.
And they certainly don’t have to be true for you.
In fact, all the advances in technology are making it easier and easier for people all around the world to pursue important, purposeful, mission-driven work that is an expression of their authentic passions and deepest values.
Abundance & Possibility – What Are the Next Steps?
Let me be clear: I’m not saying work won’t be hard. If you want to be part of the solution to some of humanity’s greatest challenges: yes, of course, that will be hard work.
But it can be the kind of hard work that makes you excited to jump out of bed in the morning and want to give your all to do your very best.
And, ideally, you’ll be leveraging your unique strengths and further developing your already-potent aptitudes so that you’re operating in “your zone of genius” and applying your efforts to the challenges that mater most to you personally.
But…how do you figure out just what are the strengths you ought to be leveraging and the passions you ought to be pursuing? After all, we’re each of us multi-dimensional, multi-skilled people in our own unique ways. And more: our selves are not static, rather we’re constantly shifting and developing in our identities with a possibility for continuous growing.
As a first step, you might want to check out this series of Odyssey Plan videos by Bill Burnett of Stanford University. (Along with his colleague Dave Evan, Bill is the author of #1 NYT Best Seller ‘Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life’ that describes a way to use design thinking to build a meaningful life).
As you progress, you might even want the support of a group program or a one-on-one coach. As a Transformation Coach myself, I’ve seen how people can make powerful internal changes that allow them to create happier, fulfilling lives that are more productive and successful than ever.
Maybe you don’t know exactly where you want to go yet. I know for myself, when I was feeling trapped inside the system of academia, at first all I knew was that I had to escape. It was a big leap into the unknown — but the ongoing journey has been well worth the risk of breaking free.
Do you have an “escape story”? I’d love to hear all about it!