When I started to think of the next career in my life one of the surprises was how little I knew about myself. I thought the process would start with some options and action plans but I soon realized that I have missed a major step and that was nothing but knowing myself. Don’t get me wrong! It is not a little side project that you can master in X number of days or months. You have to acknowledg the fact that it is along process and dedicate a portion of your time to it on a daily basis.
Many of us try to keep our eyes open and constantly challenge ourselves to see the difference, to be out of our boxes and experience what is out there for us, but is it enough? Is it simply enough to read, and to listen and to absorb what is out there without even confirming if that is what our spirit and mind wants to gain? What if it doesn’t need all this information?
As much as we are connected to our phones and laptops nowadays and we are nourishing our minds one way or the other we are disconnected from ourselves and surrounding. The amount of time we spend on learning about other people’s lives either on TV or magazines or simply social media is much more than the amount of time we spend on knowing ourselves. Think about it! Let’s be honest. How many of us know the abilities and gifts we carry with us on this earth? how many of us know the values we breathe on a daily basis and affirm them on the challenging moments? How many of us, no matter how much we like our jobs, get up in the morning and instead of jumping on our phones think of the alternatives with which we can make the day a bit better for ourselves and our surrounding? How many of us instead of blaming the whole world for what we are going through, simply sit down for an hour ever day with 100% responsibility thinking of the options with which we can shift our direction toward what we are good at?
Unfortunately, the answer is not that promising. As Richard Leider describes in Power of Purpose, out of every 3 people only one person gets up in the morning with a life goal and mission. Two others are simply lost in this chaotic world!
For the longest time I was one of those “two others”. I dragged myself to a high paying job which didn’t allow me neither to grow professionally, nor personally. Except the first couple of months of my career when I was extremely excited the 6 remaining years in the famous corporates and small start ups has passed with this thought in my mind: ” I have to change this situation, I will not retire from this profession”. But you know what? I continued to do the same job for another 6 years before simply leaving everything behind me.
Now that I look back the key activity that I missed all those years was a proper “thinking” process. Thinking about myself, my life, my purpose, and my mission. If I was truly aware of my values such as equality I wouldn’t be working in an industry where expats were paid 200 times more than locals and if I knew how much I embraced empathy as a value I wouldn’t be working with the bosses who thought of nothing but numbers and projects.
Thinking is a slow process which unfortunately in the fast-paced-life loses its priority to other activities. I was one of those people who was constantly thinking about so many different subjects, but being distracted is different from giving yourself the space not only to think but to hear what your inner soul is telling you. If I have embraced my inner resources and became creative in finding the ways to be happier at work I would probably still make the same decision but I am pretty sure I would have had better memories from the career I spent so many years in and I wouldn’t suffer as much.
In the world which promotes fast achievements, self branding, hard working, unrealistic snapshots, hard partying and any other extreme actions, one thing can save us and that is a little space with which we can reflect and slow down to move forward. Too bad that no one told me that a couple of years ago.