Finding Clarity in Your Next Career Move
Ep. 145
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    By far, the #1 question I get asked is some version of:
    “I hate my job but I have no idea what else I would do. How do I find some clarity?!”
    I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that no one can give you a clear answer to that question. Because what you’re really saying is: “I’ve lost touch with who I really am. I’ve done what I was supposed to do and found myself unhappy. I feel lost and don’t know how to get back to what I truly want.” 
    The clarity you’re looking for can’t come from outside of you. The answer isn’t in some online assessment. It has to come from within. It only comes from getting a better understanding of who you are when you aren’t trying to please everyone else or look perfect.
    But here is the good news: Doing the work to find clarity in what you want to do with your life will change every single aspect of it. It will bring you back to yourself. It’ll lead to more self-compassion, self-trust, and self-acceptance.
    It will help you stop the self-sabotage that will otherwise continue to ruin your life. It will give you control over your own internal state so you’re not at the mercy of reacting to everyone and everything around you. 
    It will let you show up as the full, flawed human that you are so you can experience all that there is in this life. What more important work is there?! So don’t go for the easy answer. Take the time to find out who you truly are and do it on purpose. 
    This week in the podcast, I go more in-depth into how to start discovering clarity in what you truly want.
Show Transcript
So the process is not discovering some unknown career, right? It's not about figuring out some long lost like thing out there that’s all of a sudden going to check all the boxes and make you happy. It's about rediscovering yourself.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode of Lessons From a Quitter. I am so excited you are here. You're in for a very long overdue one. Today, we are going to talk about how to find clarity in the thing that you want to do and I'm honestly a little surprised that I haven't done a podcast episode about this until now because this has to be the number one question I get all that time. And so I want to talk to you about it. I tend to get a ton of people who did what they were supposed to do, Type A personalities, oftentimes, you know, followed that path and woke up one day and found themselves very unhappy. And now they are tasked with figuring out what it is they should actually do with the rest of their lives. And as you might imagine, that can be overwhelming for some people. Does this sound like you? I'm assuming it does. So a lot of people that come to me, don't have, like, it's not as though I am a painter and I'm just stuck as a lawyer, I don't know how to make a living as a painter. It's I have no idea what I want to do. How do I even decide what the next thing is? This thing wasn't right. So how do I know what the next one is? And I want to talk to you today about how to approach that question and how I help my clients gain clarity. Okay. But first let's talk about how not to approach it, shall we? I always use an analogy to dating because I think this is really the easiest way to understand how you're going about this the wrong way. I have to get people who are very miserable in their careers and they want to get out and they just want to find the next thing. But the next thing has to be the thing, right? They don't want to make another mistake. They already know how painful it is to kind of end up in a career that they don't like and they want to desperately avoid that. And so it becomes like I become paralyzed because I don't know if what the next thing is. And the next thing has to be the right thing. And it has to be the thing. You know, some, I don't know, long lost passion that I was just unaware of until now. I say that and it does sound ridiculous when you hear it out loud. But that is really what most of us, myself included, what I thought when I left. And the reason I like to compare it to dating is imagine somebody who is miserable being single, hates it and thinks that they have to get married in order to be happy and wants to find the next person like is like, I'm running out of time. I don't want to waste my time dating on these apps. Right? I want to know whether the next person is the one or I just don't even want to worry about it. I want you to think about the energy that they come into dating with, right? Where it's like I don't want to waste time. I don't want to be on this app. This is so annoying. I hate dating. I also hate being single. And I just want to get there, like I want the next person to be the guy or the girl. And if they can't , let me know, or if I can't figure it out within that first date or two, then I'm out, right? I don't have the time for this. Time's a tickin. I need to get married. I don't have to tell you probably not the best approach at finding your soulmate or your spouse for, you know, the rest of your life.

You know, that would be a very different approach than somebody who is content with being single, can find happiness exactly where they are, but also wants companionship and wants to experience dating and marriage and relationships and all that other stuff. Right. And they go into dating thinking I'm going to meet a lot of really cool people, right? I'm going to see what happens. And I hope that it ultimately leads to something that is more serious. And that allows me to kind of go deeper with a relationship with one person. We'll see what happens, but I'm happy where I'm at. Those are just two very different energies of approaching the same thing. Okay? So your actions might be the same. You might both be on a dating app talking to different people but the way that you are showing up is going to be very different and your experiences are going to be very different, right? And so I say that because it's the same thing that I see with people that come to try to find the quote unquote the thing they need to be doing, right. It's as if they have to discover something outside of them. So they're like taking all the assessments. They're asking everybody. They're going to career coaches. They're trying to figure out the answer as if it's like hidden under a rock somewhere. And they just didn't know for whatever reason somebody else is going to tell them. And it's a very frenetic, like panicked approach. And that typically doesn't end with the best result because what got you to this mess was kind of ignoring what you want. Right. And trying to kind of have the blinders on and force yourself to figure out what the thing is and putting this pressure that the next thing has to be the one, it has to be right. And it has to blow your mind. And it has to make you fully happy. And all this other stuff is just an unreasonable amount of pressure. And it typically doesn't end well. And that is why people are terrified to either take the next step or they do take the next step and they still don't know how to manage their mind and they're still miserable. Okay. And so this is like how not to do it. And that is why in my programs I work a lot with people on like getting to the place where they can love where they're at. And I know that sounds impossible when you don't know how to manage your mind, it sounds like I can't love, you don't know where I work. And I would say in the vast majority of situations there's a lot that you can do to make where you are working more enjoyable. Even bearable, right? It doesn't, maybe you won't love it. You still want to leave, but we can work on getting you to a place where it's not as desperate to get out because that gives you the space to start exploring and figuring out what it is that you actually want which requires you to get back to yourself. I know that sounds very woo, but this is the whole journey. The reason you don't have clarity is because you have spent your entire life basically hiding who you are. You have been programmed to do what other people want you to do. Right? We've all lived working towards other people's definitions of success, whether it was our teachers, our parents, our friends, society’s, the things that we saw on TV, whatever it was. We got in our head that, you know, it's respectable to be a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer, or I want to make this much money or I need to have this kind of a job or whatever the thing was. And then we decided like, alright, that seems like a pretty good goal. So I'm just going to put my head down. I'm going to work towards that. And then we got there and in that time you decided that like other people knew better. I'm just going to like, take these tests, you know, get into this school, then go to this graduate school or get this job and work up the corporate ladder. And we started like to be quote unquote, realistic, right? Whatever hobby you had, like, we don't have time for that anymore. We have to make money. We don't have time to live our life and actually enjoy things. Right. That was cute when you were a kid, but now you're an adult and you have responsibilities. I have really important things to do. And I can't just have fun all day. Right. And so many of us literally don't have anything anymore in our lives. We don't have hobbies. We don't do things just for fun. We don't take time off. And so it's really difficult to know who you are because you've been doing the thing that you don't want to be doing. And so how can you know what you want to be doing? If you don't spend any time doing the things that you want to.

So many of us have spent so much of our life achieving as a way of getting external validation. So we become addicted to this success because it gives us like a little hit of dopamine, right? Other people's opinions when they think we are successful, when they think we're doing well that gives me a little taste of my own worthiness, I guess, right. Then I can feel a little bit better about myself. And that's why so many of us stop doing the things that we want to do because we're so terrified of what other people think. I want you to think about whether you’re worried about leaving your current career because another job won't be quote unquote as respectable. Or if you think it's beneath you, right. Like, and I say this, I was like that. Trust me. I had to do a lot of managing my mind around going from being a lawyer to selling photo booths. And I still had to manage my mind, even though I had already left for a couple of years from being a lawyer, to being a life coach, right. Or coaching people, there was a lot of thoughts about what other people thought about coaches and, you know, the prestige that goes with that or lack thereof and thinking of like how respectable it was to be a lawyer, let's just say. And so you are going to have to examine those thoughts because that's what's keeping you stuck. Right? Because I want you to understand prestige is a fake response to building up your own self-esteem. You will constantly need that hit from other people in order to keep that up because you're not giving it to yourself. Whenever we are seeking something that protects our quote unquote image, right. When we are doing something because we think that it makes us look a certain way, it's always in the pursuit of our own worthiness. We want to feel worthy. We want to feel good enough. And we've seen that people around us respect lawyers or doctors. And so maybe if I have that, I will feel good enough. And I don't have to tell you that it doesn't work. Because then you get there and you're like, oh, I still have the same thoughts about myself though. I still don't feel worthy. So even if other people think that I'm so impressive or amazing or smart or whatever, I still feel like a fraud because I don't have those thoughts. Right. And so we give our self-worth and all the beliefs that we have in ourselves to other people. And that's the exact thing that stops you from actually figuring out what you want to do. So the process is not discovering some unknown career, right? It's not about figuring out some long lost like thing out there that all of a sudden going to check all the boxes and make you happy. It's about rediscovering yourself. Who are you when you are not trying to be everything to everybody else? In episode 86, I did a book review of Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star. And in that episode I talked a lot about the exercises that she put in there. It's a fantastic book. And I would suggest if you are confused about what clarity you want it's a great starting point. Again, asks a lot of questions that you need to start asking when you are going on this journey and it starts giving you some direction in how do you figure out what it is that you want to be doing when you have kind of ignored that for so long. And again, this is why I focus exclusively on mindset and my programs like it's not about like, let's, you know, search for different companies that would be good for you or figuring out like more traditional, I guess career advice, is because if you don't deal with your thoughts, they are going to keep you stuck. Right? You're going to keep jumping and repeating the same cycles. I see this happen all the time where people quit and then go to a new career and are still unhappy because they didn't deal with their intense fear of what other people think about them or the people pleasing and the need to put on this image of perfection. And so you go to the next thing and a lot of us just go to the thing that's tangentially related, or as close as possible to what we're already doing, but just a little bit different, hoping that it's going to change something, but that's not actually what you want to do. You're just too scared to kind of admit what it is you want.

And so what I do want you to think about, I want you to look at, and you know, a lot of people give you this advice online. And the reason it's good advice is because it works. If you actually sit down and like go through this stuff is to look back at what you do enjoy and what you have enjoyed in your life. What does light you up? Look back at your childhood or in each job that you've had. Make a list of everything that you enjoy doing in that job. What could you talk about for hours? Right. If you could go into a bookstore, what section would you go into? Start doing journaling exercises on these questions and give yourself some space to really think about it. Don't ,it's not like the knee jerk reaction, give it some time. Like, what are the through lines? What's the connection between the things that you always love doing from when you were a kid? What are the things that you love doing in each job that you had? What are the things you love doing in college? What are the things that when you have freedom that you love doing? And I think a lot of times we think it's not related or who cares or it's like, well like, you know, I like having fun or hanging out with my friends or whatever this stuff is. All of it's related. Right? When I look at my life now it's so amazing when I was doing these exercises a couple of years ago, I kept writing down like I love learning. I will forever be a student. I love just the process of learning. I love teaching and I love personal development and I kept writing. And I'm like, how do you make that into a job? I have no idea. And I didn't know at the time. And it's amazing now I'm doing exactly what I love but it wasn't until I started really becoming more aware of like these are the places that I'm drawn to what are, you know, like maybe aspects of this that might be in a different career. Right. For me, I was looking for entrepreneurship. I wanted to start a business but even if you want to do it as in a career, getting an understanding of what your strengths are, right. What your weaknesses are, whether the things that you like doing, it starts showing you what you do like doing. And more importantly what you don't like. Another thing I want you to think about is like what are you curious about. In episode 134, I talked about the need to stop searching for your passions because I think that's such a loaded term. And listen, if there isn't a passion that you have right now from like childhood, there isn't one that you're going to just all of a sudden discover. Your passions grow as you start working on things. And so just start with the things that really interest you, that you want to read about all the time, that you want to like learn more about when you see on the news or that you see somebody else doing and you think is really cool. Follow those curiosities.

Another question that's interesting that I think can help open up some of the pathways is what's your secret dream, right? A lot of times like we don't want to admit certain things. So I want to ask yourself like if you had like a secret dream that you didn't have to tell anybody that you could do anything, what would it be?

I sort of have a secret dream that I would be famous. I'm not even sure why cause I don't even actually know if I would like that. Um, I actually feel like it would cause me intense amounts of anxiety but I've always had this sort of secret dream and you know, it's not surprising that I love also like being in the spotlight and public speaking, right. So maybe I don't go after like being famous in the traditional sense of like becoming an actress or something like that. But it's interesting for me to kind of take a peek into that side of my brain, right? Like what is it about that that I love? What is it that calls to me? Why would I want that? In episode 132, I have a podcast called The Art of Dreaming Bigger. And it talks about this like about how we don't dream as big because we're trying to protect ourselves.
It's for self preservation, right. We think like I'll just be happy with what I have. I won't want too much like it's unrealistic to dream about something like that. And I don't want to feel disappointed so I'm just going to be okay with this thing that I have here. And so many of us, that's why we're so unfulfilled is cause we won't even let our brain go there. It won't even go to like the secret dream to get an understanding of like, yeah, I actually really would love to be a New York Times Bestselling Author or whatever. But like if I can't say that out loud then it, how can I access the fact that that is actually what I want to go after? And I'll do a future episode about this because you're going to have to go through a lot of these exercises. But at the end of the day you're also going to have to learn how to make a decision.

I think that we are waiting for some kind of certainty, right? When we say we want clarity, we actually mean certainty. We want someone to tell us what is the thing? And we want them to guarantee it for us. I don't know how to tell you that that is absolutely impossible. And you're going to wait forever. Right? There is no right answer. And if you're waiting for some kind of guarantee that you're not going to ever be unhappy or you're never gonna like want to pivot again, again you won't ever take a step. And so you'll be stuck in something that you already know you don't like. There's tons of people that talk about the fact that clarity follows action. And it is just the truth. There is no way to think your way to the end of this. Cause with each thing, as you're paying attention, you start gaining awareness about yourself. You start getting kind of back to yourself and realizing, oh, I do love this part, but I don't love that part. Oh, this is where my zone of genius is, I'm not great with this stuff, right? If I'm not taking the time to beat myself up and actually just being a kind of a curious observer of myself, then I can get a better idea, but I can't do it by just trying to think that. And so I'll do an episode on how to make a decision, but I just want you to know, like when I say this stuff and I want you to start exploring, and I want you to give yourself permission to start like trying different things. At some point you have to make that decision and go into the unknown, right? You have to have some clarity and start trying things and you can try things on the side. It's great. I would recommend it, but it's never going to just be a thought exercise where like, we're just going to decide what the thing is for me. And then figure out that that's going to be the perfect thing and I'm going to go on and it's going to be a knockout success. It rarely, if ever, happens like that. And so I guess that's part of like, what not to do, right. Is like, don't sit and wait until you have like a hundred percent confidence in the fact that this is the thing for you. Another thing I want you to not to do is like stop trying to look at what are the best careers for blank, you know, for teachers to transition into? What are the best careers for lawyers who want to leave law? I'm not saying you can't get ideas, but I think it's asking the wrong question because let's say the best careers are like writing careers, right? Lawyers are great writers and a good transition from law is writing. Okay. But do you like writing? Who cares what the best career is? If it's not the career for you? I want you to stop waiting for somebody else to tell you what your thing is and go out there and try to figure it out. And by figuring it out, you're going to fail a bunch. That's normal. There is no other way to that, right? That is life, fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed, fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed. We were given kind of this wrong understanding when we were in school that like you have to always get a hundred percent and you have to just always know the answers and you have to do what other people tell you. That's a terrible way to live. And so you can start changing the definition for yourself.

You can start deciding that that's not how you're going to live. You're going to allow yourself time to explore. You're going to try to enjoy where you're at and give yourself time to get back to who you actually are when you're not trying to please everybody else. And through that process and going after what makes you curious and letting yourself show up as a full human and working on your ability to, you know, not give in to other people's judgments. Through basically learning how to manage your own mind, you start finding clarity in what it is that you actually want to do. Unfortunately, there's no easy route there. There's no like hard and fast rule. There's no assessment that's going to find it for you. But that doesn't mean that it's not a hundred percent worth the journey. You've already realized that you don't want to be where you are now. Great. That's the first step. I want you to have the courage to go after the second step which is figuring out what you want to do. And if you want help with this I would love to be the one to help you. You can sign up for the waitlist for my group program. We're going to open up in a couple of months at quitterclub.com/group. It's a six-month program and doors will open in May so make sure you get on the wait list and I will help walk you through this and help you manage your mind so that when all the crazy comes up, you won't be alone and you'll know how to deal with it. All right, you guys, I hope you go out there. Okay. I hope you start following your curiosities. I hope you let yourself show up as a full human and I will see you on the next episode.

Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes, it'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at Lessons From a Quitter and on Twitter at QuitterPodcast, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.