But now, after 15 years, a total reinvention, and running my own business, I see exactly what was happening. I can see why I couldn’t figure out what I wanted, and also what I should have done differently to clear the pathway, and do that in the quickest, most effective way.
Why do we get so confused about what we want? Let’s break it down.
In The Beginning
First, as young children, we know exactly what we want, and we declare it. “I want that toy!” “I want to play with my friend!” I want to dance!” It’s part of the process of early life to begin to understand what we want, and then declare it boldly. And we absolutely hate to hear “NO” in response to our desires. It’s also a part of how we operate that we’ll be upset - and show it - if we don’t get what we want.
Then, it all changes. We start to receive tremendous interference and pressure from authority figures (parents, teachers, family members) who tell us how we should think, behave and feel, and who shame us for wanting what we want. They subtly and overtly teach us that:
• We shouldn’t think for ourselves
• Our thoughts and desires shouldn’t be trusted
• Older people know better
• We should tame and alter our desires so that we fit in, don’t get hurt or alienate our “tribe”
This is even more true for girls. Sadly, all four of those beliefs are false. Often older, more “mature” people (including our parents) have totally forgotten what it is to identify what they want, declare it bravely and fight for it. Because they’ve lost that ability to figure out what they want and get it, they shouldn’t be our highest guide for what we want. Our highest guide in all things should be ourselves. And parents who can’t see that often do us a great disservice in how they raise us.
Finally, our ability to see what we want clearly gets even more muddled in adulthood, when there are so many new, competing demands that make a mess of our desires.
- Many people want a high-impact professional role but also the ability to be in the fabric of their children’s lives and participate actively in how they grow.
- Many want to speak and act authoritatively, and be powerful leaders, but our society tells us that women shouldn’t be forceful, and punishes us when we are.
- Many men and women are told how to behave in gender-rigid ways (women should be sweet, unassuming, and warm; men should be powerful, strong and authoritative, etc.) but most of us feel overly-constrained in these tight boxes that don’t reflect the complexity of who we really are.
- Finally, many want a dramatic change in their lives, but that would mean (they think) that they’d have to start over and lose everything they ever achieved and accomplished
Understand That “Thoughts Become Things”
As Mike Dooley and so many other spiritual thought leaders have shared throughout the ages, what we think and believe will bring into being what appears in our lives. If you think you can’t have a great job that you love that also makes a great living, then you will have exactly what you think: a lousy job you don’t like that doesn’t earn enough. If all you think about is what you don’t have, then you’ll perpetuate your lack and your unhappiness.
I work with hundreds of professionals a year who want better, happier lives and work, but they don’t see how they have been influencing their thwarted careers every day, by their fear-based negativity, hopelessness, anger and resentment, and their victim mentality.
What to change? Start monitoring your thoughts very carefully. Choose to think more positively and powerfully about what your future can hold and what you’re capable of. Understand that what’s come to pass in the past need not continue. The past is a reflection of what you thought and believed and how you acted in the past. Change your thoughts and beliefs so that they align with your most positive dreams and visions. Then take brave, concrete action that supports those visions. Greater awareness equals greater choice. And becoming braver means you’ll have greater power to affect positive change in your life.
Don’t Buy Into Our Society's Misguided Myths About Work
Millions of people have bought into the myth that you can’t love your work and make a great living at it. It’s such a misguided belief, yet so pervasive and powerful. If you choose to believe that your passions, talents, gifts and abilities can’t be used in service of the world in a lucrative way, then there’s no hope for a happier career.
As Maria Nemeth shares in her great book The Energy of Money:
People are happiest when they are demonstrating in physical reality what they know to be true about themselves, giving form to their Life Intentions in a way that helps others.
This is the heart of what makes humans happy, fulfilled and rewarded – to stretch toward their highest potential, and to demonstrate their greatness by offering themselves in service to others through their natural abilities and talents. Figure out what your special, unique talents are, and find new ways to use them to earn money. If you think you can’t, do an online search and find 50 people around the world who are rocking it doing what you’d love to, then ask yourself honestly, “Why can’t this path work for me?”
As we commit to leveraging our gifts to help others, we’re able to overcome the guilt, fear and shame that society has taught us to feel about boldly and proudly monetizing what we love to do.
Further, our society has taught us that pursuing work in a trade is “beneath us.” As Mike Rowe – “The Dirtiest Man on TV” – has shared, there are five damaging myths we’re taught today about blue collar work and workers. These myths include:
• There are no good jobs left in America.
• The best path to a good job is a four-year degree.
• Trade jobs are dead-end jobs.
• You can't make six figures.
• There's no room for women in the trades.
I asked Mike why so many people think trade jobs, like those in plumbing, HVAC and electrical professions, are dead-end jobs that provide no upward mobility, and why it’s untrue.
Mike shared, “It’s untrue because it’s statistically, practically, and undeniably false on every level. The mastery of a trade doesn’t just give you a skill you can fall back on -- it gives you an opportunity to start your own business. There’s certainly no shame in working for someone else -- most people do. And today, a skilled tradesperson has a great shot at earning a six-figure salary. But people forget that skilled tradespeople form more small businesses than any other kind of entrepreneur. So -- not only is there upward mobility -- there’s widespread, limitless, and unprecedented opportunity.”
There are so many more pathways to happy, rewarding work than we’re led to believe in our world today. If your passion is working in a trade, pursue it with pride and gusto, despite the naysayers.
Finally, Get In The Cage With Your Fears (And Come Out The Other Side Braver)
Let’s face it - fear is what keeps people from pursuing what they want. Fear of all kinds: of embarrassment, failure, of what people will think, of not having what it takes, of money, of losing everything, and even of success.
Take the time today to outline everything you fear about making a significant change in your life. Then look closely at the root of your fears, and you'll most likely see how unfounded they are. Who and what taught you to fear in this way? Was it a parent who said you weren’t smart enough to do what you want? Was it a traumatic experience like a humiliating firing that stripped you of your self-confidence? Or a terribly botched attempt at starting a new business that left you feeling like a loser?
Whatever the root cause, there was a powerful and positive lesson you were meant to learn, and it sure wasn’t that you’re not smart, strong, talented, or committed enough to create what you want.
Make this the year you finally realize what you’re capable of, and go out and prove it.
Read the original article on Forbes.