Not so long ago we didn’t have many options when it came to having a career. I guess the word ‘career’ itself wasn’t very well-known. Career. Boys just became what their father was or were sent to a master to learn a craft. Girls found a caring position, either as mother or servant. There were not too many options and although I guess enough people were unhappy with their fate, you did what you had to do.
The Shift: Choosing from the Mind
Things changed. Education became more widely available. Social classes became less visible and education was open for everyone, until the son of the doctor sat next to the son of the butcher. And then women were also allowed into schools and universities.
Most 4-year olds that I know have their answer when being asked ‘what they want to become when they grow up?’ It starts with exciting things like pilot, police officer and detective, but often changes over time to safer options like accountant or lawyer, although some will stay steady on their youthful mission to become the heroic police officer m/f they dreamed of being.
Whether our parents liked what we opted for or not, point is: we were the lucky ones who got to choose. The choosing involved a lot of thinking. We thought about what we liked best doing, what paid best, what looked good on our CV’s or simply the highest chances for finding a job.
The Next Shift: Choosing from the Heart
But something interesting is happening, at least for a lot of people around me. There is a shift from choosing with are heads towards choosing with our hearts. We spend a lot of resources into discovering our life purpose, and build our career upon it. Our job has to fulfill us and the people around us with something deeper, something of intrinsic value, something bigger.
Suddenly there’s a tsunami of coaches for example (go to any meeting for entrepreneurs and at least half of the crowd labels themselves as coach; myself included to be honest). People with the noble intention of helping other to be as happy as they can be.
And that’s absolutely wonderful. Research shows that over 80% of people with a job experiences stress in that job. And stress is bad. It induces burnouts, depression and illnesses. Finding a job that is bringing you joy and a sense of fulfilling, I believe that’s super important. I mean, we spend a hell of a lot of time working. It’s such a waste of life to hate your job.
I think it’s beautiful that we learn to choose from something else than that powerful brain. Our mind is strong, but also often creates options for us based on fear. Fear of not making enough money, fear of not finding the right job, fear of not pleasing our parents etc. The options are endless. We choose our way out of what we don’t want.
Choosing from the heart, the more spiritual way of choosing, means choosing from a place of love. It’s choosing for what we do want, and for what we want to give to the world/others/God.
Now, that sounds pretty darn amazing, right?
The problem with the Next Shift
It is pretty amazing. But the majority of people choosing based solely on the heart, are often the ones who don’t make it in the business world. They are amongst the many coaches not finding customers and easy targets for smart internet-business-gurus promising how to multiply your followers, customers, reach or income within a month. Believe me, that’s not how business works. That’s a scheme, and in a scheme, most of the people loose.
Yes, some make it. Some manage to create a wealthy business that sustains their lifestyle. Just like with anything: they have a talent. Or luck. Or both. Or they are at the top of the pyramid.
The big problem with heart-based choosing is that we forget that life is all about balance. When we float with our heads in the clouds, blinded by the pink clouds of passion for something we want to do, it’s easy to forget that here, on earth, gravity keeps our feet on the ground. We can ignore our feet, complain about taxes and other worldly ballast; but it is part of this game called life.
We need to make choices based on balance. If we choose from our heads, we might forget to do what we really love and become very unhappy. When we choose based on the heart, we might forget that we also have responsabilities towards ourselves, our families and our society/tribe.
What about Purpose?
Living your purpose. It’s such a beautiful phrase. Finding your mission here on earth and share that to fill your destined spot in the bigger picture.
Absolutely, I totally agree.
But there might be moments in your life where you, for example, are responsible for a family, a relative or a house. I see taking care of my three daughters who have dreams and ambitions and desires as part of my purpose too.
This doesn’t make choosing easier, because it might mean stepping back from the romanticised ideal of living your purpose. It might involve having a job. Does that mean it’s better to let go of the ideal way of serving the world and your passion? Of course not. As said, I believe all in life is about balance. Also when it comes to designing a career.
You can inspire people while serving coffee or being an accountant. It’s not about the shape of your dream job or purpose; it’s about the content.