20 Sept 2019

Career Development

Have you lost your direction?

Written by Dennis Stanley

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Ten years even? Will you be moving towards your own personal vision of success – or perhaps you’ll already have achieved it?

I bet that the answer isn’t doing what you are doing now. But sometimes we reach a point where we can’t see forward. We can’t imagine a future that inspires and motivates us. We can’t imagine doing anything other than existing in the humdrum life we lead now. But here’s the thing, we’re surer of what we “don’t want” and less sure of what we “do want”!

If this is you, I can guarantee that you are not alone. Through my coaching I often meet people who have reached a point in their lives where they realise that their job no longer fulfil them. The satisfaction just isn’t there, yet they can’t see a way forward.

Perhaps you started out along your chosen path in pursuit of your dreams, but at some point along the way – while you’ve had your head down getting on with life – the path has taken an unnoticed turn into unfamiliar territory. Or, maybe you grasped an opportunity earlier in the course of your life, possibly due to necessity, impulsiveness or false promises, and now you’ve found yourself treading water, unsure of what comes next.

The problem is that this epiphany often comes at a point in our lives where you can’t just “wipe the slate clean” and start again. You have responsibilities and commitments in the form of mortgages, children, cars and all of the other anchors we accumulate as we transform from the carefree younger version of ourselves and turn into proper adults! Does this sound familiar?

So, how can you move past this?

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that just because you “feel” like you are stuck in a rut, it doesn’t mean that you are. What it often means is that you’ve either lost your purpose or you’ve lost sight of your options. Both situations are fixable.

Why is purpose important?

In its simplest form, if you don’t know where you want to go, you’re never going to get there. Without direction and goals, you’re living life without a rudder. Whilst “drifting” with the current may serve you well for a while, it’s perhaps unwise to believe this is sustainable over the long term.

Research has also shown that having a sense of purpose also helps us to maintain our wellbeing and resilience. Without a purpose it is easy to feel disillusioned and hopeless. The process of (re)discovering your purpose is empowering and can be transformative.

Helping someone uncover their end goals is often the easier part for me. It’s the second point that I’m about to cover that can prove to be a bigger challenge.

What if I’m stuck in my current situation?

Being unable to see a way forward can be hugely debilitating. Sometimes there isn’t an obvious path that you wish to pursue and sometimes the barriers between you and where you want to be seem insurmountable.

But this is very rarely the case.

Those anchors I mentioned before often come into play here again. We question ourselves on how to progress or change direction without upsetting one, or more, of them? Will the change disrupt my ability to earn a comfortable living, will I be able to afford the mortgage, will I still be able to drive “a nice car”, the school fees? And so the voice(s) in our head paint a bleak future, beating us into submission and we let go of the dreams of changing direction and our hopes of a different future.

My job here is to help my clients’ change the way they think and challenge limiting beliefs, which may be holding them back and unwittingly closing down options I help them discover their ‘what next’, their ‘how’ and ultimately their ‘why’.

One of the key ways I do this is through the behavioural C-Me profiling tool. It provides a fantastic insight into your individual strengths, and how you contribute to teams, as well as where your “blind spots” lie.

Once you understand yourself in this way, and recognise your value and worth, it becomes easier to imagine and explore options; and ultimately develop an actionable plan towards achieving your goals. The process of gaining these insights can be challenging, but the rewards can be life changing.

If you feel ready to discover your ‘what next’, contact me at dennis.stanley@marriage-stanley.com