If you are alive in America today it means you are living in one of the most safe and prosperous places and periods in all of human history. Never before have we had such wealth, comfort, and security. Because this is a relatively recent and unprecedented phenomenon, there are several consequences that many in our generation (I use generation here to mean people still in the workforce) are facing. There is one in particular that I have seen come up time and time again with my clients that saddles them with a burden of unease, but freezes them from action.
They have the sensation that they are drowning in choices.
We all know the advice we've heard from our parents or grandparents, which is to find a good job and stick with it until retirement. Having a good job was fortune enough, and if you stayed with it you'd be taken care of, likely get a pension, and could retire comfortably. Compared to the Great Depression, followed by WWII, a guarantee of comfort and safety were enough of a carrot to make that a satisfactory life path.
Now that we have comfort, we want more.
We grew up being told that we could do anything or be anything that we wanted to. That's an extremely helpful mindset to instill in children as it encourages them to dream big and believe that they can attain those dreams. Telling someone that they can do anything or be anyone is also an incredible burden. Who should you be? What should you do? These are the questions that many of my clients are still wrestling with today ("should" being a word that I dislike). I had one client tell me that she "still didn't know who she wanted to grow up to be." That makes sense. We are told so much of all the possibilities out there, how are we supposed to be happy with any one of them?
The choices we celebrated become frustrations.
Imagine someone is buying a backpack, so they pick one and buy it. It might work well for a while, but they they start to see other people with different backpacks and wonder if they should have gotten those models instead. This other person seems really happy with their backpack, perhaps they should have gotten that one. Or how about this other person who does a lot of extreme sports and makes a lot of use of their backpack, perhaps they should have gotten that model. All of a sudden they're no longer happy with their choice of backpack, because they're so worried about all the other options there are out there. Even if they wanted to go in and buy another backpack to replace the one they have, which one should they get? There are so many models out there they're worried about picking another one and just being disappointed again.
Replace backpack with career, and that's exactly what many people are facing. What they need, which is the same thing the person buying the backpack needs, is a clear understanding of what they want out of a backpack (or career). Does it need to carry a lot, be rigid or soft, be lightweight or sturdy, small or large, simple or complex, etc.? If you knew precisely what your requirements for a backpack were, picking one, and feeling confident that you made a good choice, would be easy.
Clarity is the solution to the problem of choice.
When you have clarity regarding what work you love to do and what kind of lifestyle you want to live, picking a career, and feeling confident in that decision, becomes easy. Clarity gives you the tools to eliminate many of the choices you find yourself facing, and helps your identify which are the ones that would actually be good options. Imagine being in a noisy room and trying to hear the person sitting across from you. Having clarity is like being able to mute the surrounding noise, so all you hear is the conversation that's important to you.
Do you find yourself feeling overwhelming by the choices around you? Do you wonder if you're in the right career, but haven't been able to get clarity regarding what other careers you might want to go in? Perhaps you just feel stuck at your job and wished you knew what you should be doing. If any of these describes you then I'd love to work with you to get clarity.