I had a great job, I worked hard, and I spent a LOT of money on shoes, vacations, and makeup.
See – I was fabulous.
I wasn’t happy in my career even though from the outside it looked great: Great company, great co-workers, great salary, and great promotions that led to me having some great titles.
Being fabulous is exhausting.
So, to distract myself I spent a lot of time being fabulous. I thought that the price I paid (career happiness) would be manageable if I could just distract myself enough.
So, I went to South Africa (twice).
And traveled around Italy (and took hilarious “I’m fabulous!” photos. See above).
I bought highly impractical Prada shoes.
I hiked the Inca Trail.
I tried amazing restaurants.
I paid an insane amount of money for makeup in pretty packaging.
And yet ….
Underneath all of that fabulousness was a pretty unhappy person.
All of that travel and makeup and fashion was a like a band-aid on a pretty gaping wound – the knowledge that I was capable of something extraordinary, but instead I was settling for mediocrity.
And the truth was – none of it, the travel, the makeup, the fashion, was going to make me happy. What I really needed to do was spend less time on vacation, and more time on my career. Time spent not worrying about what I thought should do, but instead thinking about what I WANTED to do. What kind of work was going to be truly meaningful for me?
But that was hard, because it meant admitting that *maybe* I wasn’t quite as fabulous as I had thought. And, I’d have to face down some tough fears – like what if I couldn’t figure it out? Or, what if this was as good as it gets?
(Note: It’s not. Being unhappy in your career is NEVER as good as it gets). It was scary (what’s next for me? What if I fail?). Humbling (wow, that idea didn’t work out, and I really have a lot of bad ideas).
It was scary (what’s next for me? What if I fail?). Humbling (wow, that idea didn’t work out, and I really have a lot of bad ideas). Terrifying (am I really going to do THIS?) and pretty darn wonderful (wow, I LOVE THIS).
I finally learned the good news:
You can be fabulous in different way entirely. You can be fabulous and do what you love at the same time.
For me, it started when I began to reallocate my travel budget to investing in my career. I spent time signing up for interesting programs, researching careers on google and in person, and spending time and money going to inspiring conferences and learning new skills. The most impactful part of the investment actually cost me very little money: Google and talking to people to get real information. I took what I learned and explored some options.
And slowly I started to figure a few things out – things like what I really wanted to do with myself (help people), how I wanted to do it (by being my own boss), and what it takes (just taking action…even when it’s terrifying). So, all of my research and investment lead me years ago to get on the path that I walk today – which is a pretty amazing and successful career as a career coach. Ultimately, I get to help other people find what makes them happy.
And you know what? It’s even more fabulous than I ever expected! (And no, I can’t believe I used the word fabulous this many times in an article. But, I think you get my point).
For you – what will you do to refocus some of what makes you amazing into making your CAREER amazing?
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