When I started on this little journey of internal exploration over five years ago now, I thought I wanted to be a commercial real estate broker in New York. This is hilarious to me now. Like, so so funny. I want to go back pinch my little 25-year-old cheeks and pat my little 25-year-old head and say something like “Aw, you’re so cute.”
I look back now and realize that thinking I wanted to do that with my life was a direct result of having totally and completely lost touch with who I really am.
Since then, I’ve gone through a few iterations:
- Real Estate Sales
- Executive Assistant
- Interior Designer
- Health Coach
- Yoga Instructor
And now… are you there, God? It’s me, Dana. Who am I?
JK. Now I know exactly what I want.
I think this happens to the majority of us though. We start out drawing rainbows, trying out for parts in plays, singing and dancing and making things with legos, just generally following our little guts around. We know, clearly, in each moment, what it is we want, what we like to do, what we might want to be when we grow up.
Fuck it, mom, I wanna be a lion tamer!
But as we actually go about the business of growing up, we’re told that we need to be practical, stop being selfish, have a good head on our shoulders and be realistic. Instead of hearing of all the different ways that we could channel our innate passion and interests into a livelihood, we’re told of all the ways we can’t. We’re shown better alternatives, like an accounting degree or medical school. We hear cautionary tails of starving artists, flakes and failures.
We basically learn along the way that not only will it be unnecessarily difficult to do what we love for a living but, we might starve too, oh and people won’t like us.
Worse still, we subconsciously learn that our instincts are wrong or selfish and something to be ignored for the better sense of others.
So we start to say things like “Oh I don’t know, whatever you want to do is fine.” We start to go with other people’s flow. We go to law school to make someone proud or because we figure that they know better. We give away our personal power to each little decision we make without really asking what we want and sooner or later the big decisions are made in the same way.
We wouldn’t actually know what we wanted to do if we bothered to ask ourselves anyway.
So, let me ask you this now. Do you know what you really want? Not just in regards to a profession but, in life. 25-year-old Dana wanted to be a commercial real estate broker, which is a pretty good indicator of how well I could answer that question back then. What’s your version of that story?
We hear a lot of you say how much you hate your job. “Should I Quit My Job” was one of our most viewed posts to date (yeah we can see what you’re reading, sneaky…).
Everyone seems to hate their job. The bosses are dumb and awful, the hours are long, the work is thankless and uninspired but, they don’t know what else they want to do.
So how do we figure it out?
How do we avoid wasting thousands of dollars on an MBA because, I guess I’ll figure it out later and then at least, I’ll have an MBA?
We can start really small instead. We can take back our personal power in every little decision we have to make throughout the day. We can start asking ourselves what we really want in the tiny, unassuming moments such as “What do you want to order for dinner?” and before we know it, we’re back to being like “No, you know what mom, fuck it, I DO wanna be a lion tamer.”
“You start small by recognizing and honoring your own preferences in every situation. When you are confronted with a choice, no matter how small or insignificant, ask yourself, ‘What do I really want?'”- Jack Canfield
It’s like blasting your delts in the gym. Each decision you make based on what you really want, builds the muscles of knowing yourself and your preferences. This will lead to further intel on who you really are and what you really want.
It might take a while but, everything worthwhile takes … awhile. At least that’s what Joel always says, especially when things are taking awhile.