Doing everything right is no guarantee that you’ll be happy or satisfied.
My Tedx Talk has been bringing me all kinds of interesting inquiries about coaching and people sharing their stories with me. Sometimes, a theme emerges from a rush of interest and lately, I’ve been talking to young men in their late twenties and early thirties who had great promise tacked on them early on, and who are now lost and unsure of what would help them feel good about work.
These are people who did extremely well academically and got swept up in what the school and their parents assumed that meant they were to do. There was a path set out. You showed success, you got put on the success track of more rigorous classes and more opportunities that led to impressive accomplishments for a college application. They all got into prestigious schools and most did really well after having chosen majors that guaranteed them a job. They’ve worked at those jobs, and now hit a wall of loss and disappointment.
NO, nobody died, but the wave that swept them up crested. Now they find themselves out in the real world with good jobs, but no sense of who they are or what they want.
“How did I get here?” is what they are asking.
What about you? Are you asking the same question, even if for a different reason?
It’s so easy to get on a track, respond to what’s in front of you and succeed by jumping through the hoops held before you. It’s not unusual, then, at some point to begin questioning the whole thing.
What needs to happen next is something that I hope we can start asking our young people sooner. And we adults could stand to ask it of ourselves too.
Will the conventional path to success make you happy? A distinction needs to be drawn early on between success and happiness. It’s not that they are mutually exclusive, but we get so focused on success in the hopes that it equals happiness (or at least money) that we don’t put happiness into the mix from the start.
Can we really answer that when we are in high school or college? That depends. Read on.
Here’s the problem: Nobody asked you why you wanted what you wanted.
You went along with what you were supposed to do and you did WELL. But doing well is no guarantee that you’ll like what you’re doing.
What do you want your life to look like? What kind of people do you want to be surrounded by? What kind of location would you hope to live in? What are the non-negotiables about working for you? For example, do you need to know you make a difference? Do you need to do something that is meaningful to you in some way other than a paycheck?
Can you know the answers to these things before getting out of school and experiencing life? I think you can. But it’s going to come from those that come before us modeling it for us.
Whether you are at this questioning stage yourself or you are guiding a younger person, the key is to dig deep and find who was in there before there were rules and fears and naysayers. That’s your Life Blueprint ®. Let us help you find it.