According to Forbes, a recent study says that more than half of Americans report feeling unhappy in their jobs. Many don’t know what to do about it and feel confused about their overall career and life direction. These statistics are understandable. It’s hard to know what you think or feel about work when you’re burnt out, pummeled with other tasks, thoughts, and interactions all day long. Most days, we’re lucky if we actually sit down and eat dinner, let alone contemplate existential questions or reflect on our busy lifestyles. If we didn’t slot it into the calendar or don’t get a pop-up notification, we may never consider doing it at all.
Career direction poses a looming question for many, but so many of us can’t answer it. It’s easy to feel cut off and disconnected from our true desires.
After a long day, coping mechanisms like numbing or ignoring our instinctual nudges take the place of investigating and listening to one’s inner voice. The glorification of busy has left us burnt-out and turned off and the damage is real.
If we want to get clear on our needs and desires, (in career and life), we need to make space: in our calendars, in our environments, in our minds and hearts. It sounds basic, and it is, but we’re so overwhelmed by external information and stimuli, that we never get around to it.
The following tips will get you closer to getting clear on what you want out of life:
Prep Logistics: Personal time is usually the first thing that gets axed when other priorities and tasks arise. Clear your calendar of social commitments, doctor’s appointments and non-essential meetings (the PTA will still exist if you skip out on a night or two). Delegate tasks at home and at work. Many times, we take on the lion’s share when there are plenty of capable people around us. Ask for help. It doesn’t make you needy, it makes you smart.
Change Your Environment: Without a clean space, it’s hard to focus on an upcoming promotion when your dining room table looks like a shit-storm, and you’re pretty sure there’s a mortgage bill piled under there somewhere.
Take a weekend to do some deep cleaning, purge your closet, wipe down your desk, and make room in your physical environment. Less clutter makes it easier to think and for those new ideas to come pouring in. Set yourself up for success.
Move That Bod: Pent up energy in the body can leave us feeling lethargic and drained. Endorphins are real! Move the old energy to allow space for the new stuff to come in.I personally love exercise classes that make me sweat until I soak my shirt. Taryn Toomey’s The Class and is a powerful example of releasing energy and renewing spirit through physical movement. My hometown yoga studio, literally called The Movement by CF, is where my mind and body are challenged and my heart swells with a class that inspired this article, Move and Clear.
Do whatever works for you to empty yourself out. Get outside in some expansiveness, take walk in the woods and get the lymph flowing.
Daily Brain Dump: Each day, our brain transmits more than 50,000 thoughts. Did anyone else’s jaw drop with that one?
We need to make mental space before deep reflection can happen. Journal and get all your thoughts and feels on the page. Make your to-do list before bed so it’s out of your mind, and captured on paper.
I like to write my worries down, decide whether they’re legit concerns, and then crumple them up and toss them out. It’s simulating the process in my brain, garbage in/garbage out.
Let It All Out: Just like mental space, emotional space is a key pre-requisite for getting clear. This may come to you in the form of a free write, therapy session or some one-on-one, soul-level work.Ask yourself the hard questions: what’s holding me back?
What am I afraid of?
Are there any limiting beliefs I need to get rid of before I believe I am capable of XYZ?
What do I need to forgive myself for?
Who else do I need to forgive or release from my life?
What Happened When I Made Space
Personally, when I prioritized me, cleared off my desk, sweat off my frustrations, and sat down to genuinely consider questions about life direction, I found myself much more centered, grounded, and connected.
I had a better understanding of my non-negotiables because I was in a place of being tuned in, full of awareness and alignment.
Clarity = Action and Positive Outcomes
With a clean slate comes a renewed energy and motivation to continue taking action.
With space I created, a pursued a new job, a new country, and new relationships.
If I had stayed spinning my wheels in the constant tasks of my old routine, none of this change could’ve ever happened.