If you’re feeling lost in your career, imagine that we are grabbing a cup of tea somewhere cozy so that I can help calm some fears and help you avoid some costly career mistakes. So grab a cup, and let’s dive in.

Things You Might Say If You’re Feeling Lost in Your Career

1. I’m afraid

If questioning your career path is bringing up fear, I want to validate that it’s normal and appropriate to be afraid of this kind of change.

When I went through my career change it became not just a question of “What will I do?”, but, “Who will I be?”. Calling your work into question can also call into question your sense of self.

If you are asking, “Is this what I want? Is this what’s best for me? Is this as good as it gets?”

These questions do not go away; they only get louder until you address them.

The hardest place to be is when you know that where you are is not right, but you don’t know what’s next. As soon as you know what’s next, it gets a lot easier.

2. I’m the only one

You are NOT alone. Even if people in your bubble seem to have it all figured out, millions of people don’t.

My clients are sometimes the people who look like they have it all figured out from the outside, but inside they are questioning and struggling.

Whether you look like you’re failing or have it all together, you are NOT alone.

3. Why haven’t I figured this out by now? What’s wrong with me?

This is not cultural knowledge that we have. No one teaches you how to do this well. You’ve probably gotten conflicting messages about how to choose work since you were a child. Just be practical vs follow your passion.

4. It’s too late to change careers.

Absolutely not. I’ve worked with clients from age 28-65 and it is truly never too late.

5. But I’ve already spent so much time and money on THIS career.

It’s not wasted, but it would be a waste to keep doing something that’s not right for you.

6. I feel like a failure.

It’s time for forgiveness. Use this as a turning point. You’ve learned what hasn’t worked, and that’s a valuable starting point. I don’t work with clients who have less than 5 years of work experience because that visceral, real-world learning of what doesn’t work is so helpful.

7. I don’t want to start from scratch.

You won’t. You’re an adult with life and work experience; you are not a blank slate. You will use what you know in new ways. YES you might need to fill in some skill and education gaps, but that’s not the same as starting from scratch.

8. But isn’t it selfish to want meaningful work? What about my family?

Is it selfish to make a difference and be well-compensated for it? Is it selfish to make more money so your family can have more opportunities and ease? Is it selfish to ask your family to make adjustments for the sake of your mental, physical, and financial health?

We’re not talking about leaving your family behind to suffer while you tra-la-la around dreamland. We’re talking about using your work as a tool to elevate circumstances and opportunities for the whole family.

In my family, ME stepping into my meaningful work meant initial and ongoing investments in my work. But here’s what choosing meaningful work has given the family:

  1. When I had a newborn, I was able to take a decent maternity leave.
  2. And then, I was able to keep a flexible working hour so I could balance parenting and work.
  3. Eventually, my work allowed my husband to quit his toxic job and become a stay-at-home dad.
  4. My work is location-independent, so we were able to move wherever we wanted and we chose closer to family.
  5. My work can be tiring, but I genuinely enjoy it and most days I have the energy, patience, and interest to spend time with my kiddo after work.

It has worked out well for all of us, and the more rewarding my work gets, the more freedom, flexibility, and options my family gets. And that’s just my family. My work also allows me to make a much bigger difference than previous jobs, so the impact of the work is more significant.

There’s nothing selfish in that. You can choose a meaningful career that is good for your family, your team, your clients, and yourself.

9. But I’m not sure what’s right for me.

A HA!. That’s the real work. And that I can help with.

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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