What should you do when you find yourself on the wrong career path?
We'll, if you're living with the consequences of having long ignored your better instincts, get a pen and paper and find a quiet space. Then write down everything that little voice deep inside you has been trying to tell you -- but this time without censoring it.
If you find, for example, that you've been living someone else's dream, ask yourself:
- What does having other people's approval or meeting someone else's needs help me avoid or get?
- What price am I paying for this approval?
- Do the costs outweigh the benefits? If so, it's time to start exploring your own dreams.
If you're hanging onto a job or career solely because of all the time and money you've invested, get close to your fear. I'm not talking about the fear of letting the world know you made a mistake or the financial angst.
What I'm talking about is getting in touch with the one thing that should really scare the heck out of you -- namely, never getting to experience what your life would be like if you pursued your true gifts and passions.
Once you let that reality sink in, sit down and write a "Dear John" letter to your career. Explain that while it has been providing a good way of living for some time, you have simply outgrown it and need to explore your real dream and passion.
Then start investigating your interests whether it be picking up your paintbrush again, looking into culinary school, or exploring starting your own small business.
It's easy to find yourself on the wrong career track. When that happens, the key is to stay alert for warning signs, watch for the signposts along the way, learn from those inevitable detours, ask for directions, and then start slowly inching your way onto that big expansive highway called Your Life!
As George Bernard Shaw once observed, "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."