A lot of us stay in bad jobs out of fear.

So let’s go there. When it comes to your career, what’s your deepest fear?

[this is the part where you pause and actually think about this for a minute before you buzz on down the screen to read the rest]

I used to have a lot of fears (I still have some).

I was afraid that I’d run out of money and have to sell my wedding gifts in order to pay the rent.

I was afraid that I would get hired to do something that I wasn’t really ready for and people would find out that I was a fraud.

I was afraid that if I did different work, I wouldn’t be the same me anymore.

But my deepest fear was that my work would never provide the security or flexibility I’d need in order to have a child.

Maybe you don’t want to be a parent. But I bet there’s something that you deeply want, and your career is at least part of what’s getting in the way.

Maybe it’s feeling equal to your spouse.

Maybe it’s being able to spend time with your parents while you can.

Maybe it’s proving to yourself that you’re good enough.

People think work is about resumes and outcomes and money and achievement. It is about those things, but it’s SO MUCH MORE.

Your work is part of how you fulfill who you want to be and the life you want to have.

The life you ache to have. The life you don’t even tell your friends about because the thought of not having it is too painful.

The truth is that your deepest fear is the guardian of your deepest desire.

Fear tells you, “You can’t have that.” Desire tells you, “Keep chasing that.”

Think of that deepest fear of yours, and translate it into a desire.

“You’re not equal to your spouse” becomes “Find a way to feel equal to your spouse.”

“You won’t have enough time with your parents” becomes “Find a way to be with your parents more.”

“You’re not good enough” becomes “Find work that appreciates your genius.”

I’ve loved my business for the past three and a half years. The clients, the discoveries, the friends, all of it. But in the last six months, I’ve loved it in a new way, because it helped transform my deepest fear into a fully realized desire. I’m a mom. And it’s even better than I could have imagined. And my work is part of what made that possible.

Our deepest fears don’t often come true. I never came close to having to sell my wedding gifts, I always rose to the challenge of new projects, and if changing careers changed me, it was in good ways.

But the fear makes the threat of not having your desires feel real, and that can do a number on you.

I want you to know that you can have your deep desires. And that your career is probably part of that. I see the proof of this all around me in friends and colleagues. You’re no different. I hope you make room for SO MUCH MORE.

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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