Are you living your life’s purpose?
That’s a loaded question, right? You may be thinking to yourself… “Well, who does live their life purpose?” and “How do I know what my life purpose is?”
I get it. I used to ask the same questions.
For at least 20 years I did not live my life’s purpose and I built a career I didn’t love because, well quite frankly I trapped myself with affluence and a lifestyle that I enjoyed. I worked in the Financial Services industry, which did not especially interest me, however I was headhunted which resulted in gaining a role in an industry which I had no passion for. And, as a workaholic with a strong work ethic, I achieved lateral moves and promotions which culminated in an ascent up a corporate ladder which I wasn’t sure I wanted to climb. I climbed the ladder because I could, and therefore I thought I should.
Although I was successful in my career, I faked a sense of interest in my various positions. Most of the time I was bored. Extremely busy, but bored. At most of the internal meetings that I attended I would sit there wondering why everyone was so keen on the subject being discussed. I kept thinking there must be more to life than this.
But what could it be? Learn more here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-E2ClLiqq2U
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A cautionary tale… don’t be a lifer.
I was recently at an event and I bumped into a few people who I used to work with. They asked me how my new career path was going, and I replied with enthusiasm that I love my career and that I am really pleased I have found my purpose in life.
One of the ladies responded flatly… “That is so inspiring, I wish I could do that”.
I eagerly responded that she too could follow her dreams - that I do not have any special super powers that she does not have…. to which one of her colleagues countered, “Oh, you’re talking to a bunch of lifers, we’ll be working here forever”.
Another one of her co-workers chimed in “Yah, I am a total lifer”.
A gentleman to her right added“Me too, I was just thinking the other day that I have not had more than two weeks off at a time since university, but like they just said, we are all lifers”.
I was astounded.
I could not believe it. I don’t think even in my darkest moments during my career that I ever saw myself as a lifer. Can you imagine going to work every day thinking that you were a lifer? It sounds like a prison sentence. How would you reconcile that with yourself? Well, at least I get two weeks off for good behaviour once a year…
I tried to pump up my former colleagues with enthusiasm to follow their aspirations but eventually I gave up and departed the event shortly thereafter. They were victims of their own limiting beliefs and were not willing to adjust their mindset no matter how much I challenged them to do so. They had sold themselves the story that they were lifers and that was the story they were sticking to.
My message to you?
Please do not be a lifer! If you do not love your job or have a passion for it, and have the option to make changes, then develop a strategy and craft a mission to discover your purpose and follow your dreams. Being a lifer does not serve you, nor does it serve the company you are working for.
Listen to your inner wisdom and if you feel the desire to change careers, follow your passions and build a new career. Do not build a career for money or recognition because no amount of money or recognition will erase the disheartening and demoralising feeling of doing something you do not want to do. I guarantee it.
Although I shouldn’t have been astounded – according to a Gallup Study 71% of employees hate their job. http://www.medicaldaily.com/i-hate-my-job-say-70-us-employees-how-be-happy-work-319928
I once bragged that in between conference calls I made a cake in 17 minutes.
My husband had called to say that a friend was flying into London at the last minute for a 24-hour period and that it was her birthday. I immediately told my husband to invite her over for dinner and said I would do something special for her birthday.
As I got off the call and looked at my diary, I realized that I was scheduled to attend back to back conference calls all day. The only gap I had in my diary was 20 minutes in between two calls, and so I seized on those precious minutes and frantically whipped up a cake and popped it in the oven in a record breaking 17 minutes.
I was super pleased with myself and bragged to my husband that if needed, I could rule the world because I was The Master Multitasker.
I was Superwomen!
Fast forward to a year later and Superwoman was curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor suffering from a panic attack. I would become afflicted with panic attacks and depression for the next 18 months. Apparently, I was not Superwomen and could not rule the world. I couldn’t even rule my own world and because of that my body and mind got sick because I thought that I could do it all.
Which begs the question, why do we women assume we have to do it all?
The answer is complex and multifaceted and is not one which can be answered in a short blog. However, what I will say is this – You don’t have to do it all.
As Gloria Steinem so eloquently puts it.....
“You can’t do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children, and cook three meals and be multi-orgasmic ‘til dawn…Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement.”
If you find yourself chasing your tail, running around trying to be all things to all people, ask yourself these powerful questions:
The key take away items I want to leave you with this week are the following:
By setting boundaries realise that:
Do you worry that other people will think you think you are better than them? (now that’s a mouthful isn’t it?)
She stood on the stage looking embarrassed and uncomfortable. She was supposed to be telling the audience about her newly released book.
But she couldn’t do it.
When asked why she couldn’t talk about her book, she responded “I don’t want people to think that I think I am better than them”.
I knew exactly what she was talking about.
For in the past I too had and sometimes to this day continue to downplay my achievements, for fear of being seen as bragging or coming across as thinking I am special.
As I watched in agony as this woman stammered and apologised for her success, I wanted to run up to the stage, give her a hug and say “You deserve this. You earned the right to talk about your success. You go girl”.
I said a few encouraging words to her when she came off the stage, but I am not really sure in the few short minutes that I spoke to her, that she could actually take it all in. She was stuck in a moment of overwhelm.
I have been pondering this scene for a few weeks now and it has made me wonder, why we, especially women, tend to downplay our successes.
When you think about it, children receive awards and certificates all the time for their achievements, yet as adults we often don’t take the time to celebrate our proud moments. We reward our children to give them the motivation and courage to keep trying and to help them develop confidence, yet why don’t we do that for ourselves as adults?
Why do we fear that other people will judge our successes?
I believe it is imperative that we look back and celebrate our successes and proud moments, because like children, it helps us develop confidence and a positive mind-set to push forward, try new things and move towards pursuing our goals.
So, in that spirit, let’s take a minute and celebrate our successes.
Share your successes with me…
I’d love to hear about your proud moments…. I will cheer and celebrate your accomplishments alongside you. You don’t need to downplay your achievements with me!
Need help with this?... Here’s some food for thought:
Here’s to you and your proud peacock moments!
Much love, Claire xx
Overwhelm can manifest in so many ways...
Listen to the amazing Hanna Hermanson interview me on her Podcast "Dream Life is Real Life" where I discuss how I transitioned from suffering panic attacks and depression during my corporate career to now living my dream life..
Shift from Anxiety and Rock Bottom to Creating your Individual Utopia (iTopia) with Claire Rogers - Dream Life is Real Life
.Much love, Claire xx
I think so too and I’m a life coach.
A couple of years ago I read “If I could tell you just one thing: Encounters with remarkable people and their most valuable advice”by Richard Read. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, however at the time I took umbrage with the comedic genius Stephen Fry’s comment: “one piece of advice I want to give is avoid all life-coaching lessons, they are snake oil, without exception, and the art of stating the so f*cking obvious it makes your nose bleed”.
Ouch, I thought, clearly Mr Fry hasn’t met the right life coaches. Fast forward to a few years later whereby I have now met several of the self-styled world famous, #1 life coaches and I now tend to concur with Mr Fry’s statement.
Some life coaches truly are hawking snake oil.
I say so-called world famous #1 life coaches because the analytical side of me wants to ask them “world famous according to whom?” …“You’re the #1 life coach according to whom?” “How can you be the #1 life coach when so and so also claims to be #1?” “Is there some sort of survey that measures and quantifies this?”
But I digress.
The reason why I agree with Mr Fry’s statement (for the most part) is because on meeting some of these coaches my impression is that they scream inauthenticity and arrogance and my internal radar tells me that they aren’t coming from a good place of wanting to empower and help people.
One such coach wrote such a beautifully well-written authentic book on coaching that I was dumbfounded upon meeting him to find he was one of the most arrogant, unemotionally intelligent individuals I had ever met that I can only assume a ghost-writer wrote his book, for the book certainly did not represent who he was or what he believed in in person.
Another coach I met claimed that for an extortionate fee each month they could guarantee instant, quick life changes for the client. I call BS on this – no one can guarantee life-changing results for a client. A client has to put the hard work in and change their own life – a coach is there to empower, inspire and facilitate the client with the tools to initiative and implement change, but is not able to do the changing for the client. That’s like having your personal trainer do your push ups for you.
I witnessed another alleged famous coach tell an audience member who had poured their heart out on their challenges that they were probably “f*cked up”before laughing and moving on to the next audience member. This coach charges six figures – can you imagine paying that kind of money and being told you are f*cked up? What really astounded me in this case is that the audience hung off his every word and several people kept telling him how “prolific” he was. I kept thinking are you kidding me? The guy is a jerk preying on people’s vulnerabilities.
So why am I writing this? Because I want people to be aware that there are snake oil coaches out there. As an African proverb says “Beware of a naked man who offers you his shirt”, which in this case means, beware of people who offer to coach you but don’t have their own house in order.
What makes a good life coach?
Watch here…. youtu.be/vZZiq3mt0H0
I don’t mean to disparage my industry – there are a lot of very good authentic life coaches out there; in addition to meeting the snake oil coaches I have also met some exceptional life coaches.
Truly excellent life coaches are authentic, trustworthy, self-aware individuals who are not afraid to show up and be open and honest about their own personal development journey.
In my case, I’d like to think that I am a good life coach because over the trajectory of my life I have screwed up, made countless mistakes, and ignored my gut instinct on several occasions. I have had trials, tribulations and successes. What clients are paying me for is the knowledge and learning’s I have gained not only from my successes but also my own failings. Sure, I have qualifications in coaching, which have honed my coaching skills, but what makes me qualified is the time and personal development I have put into myself to overcome and learn from my mistakes.
The thing to remember is that life coaches are human beings; we may be further along the road than some people, but note that along the road we have stumbled, fallen and had to dust ourselves off to keep going. A life coach should not be scared to admit this to their clients.
Beware of happy shiny coaches selling you a story of life perfection and quick fixes – it’s normally all smoke, mirrors and snake oil.