Do you sometimes feel unqualified to achieve the big dream of your career?
Do you feel like you should spend $100,000s of dollars (if you're in the US) (or if you're outside the US, put your career on hold to go study) in order to get an advanced degree or training and finally feel legit in your profession?
I've felt that way too. When I got my bachelor's degree, my professors groomed me for a PhD in Literature. I decided not to get one, but throughout my career, there was always a voice in my head telling me that I wouldn't be legit until I got a PhD in whatever field I was working in at the time.
The need to study more before you can have the career you want is something I see a lot in my clients. And I don't want to knock school -- if you want to be a medical doctor or a licensed therapist, you do need to go to school. And if you want to do research, an academic institution is often the best way to get your research done.
But in many cases I see, this desire for more education is hiding a basic sense of unworthiness, one that no degree or certificate can take away.
If you're in a profession in which you don't need a professional license in order to practice, and if you don't want to do research, ask yourself -- Do you feel worthy and talented? Do you feel like you can learn the skills of the trade? Do you feel knowledgeable about your field? Do you feel like you can help people?
If not, why not?
Unpack the desire to study. What need is it fulfilling? Is there an alternative way to meet that need?
As for me, I will always continue to train and stay updated on the latest best practices of my profession. But I also understand that my basic sense of worth and service to my clients is separate from that training. I hope the same for you.
Someone asked me "do your coaching clients help you deal with your own issues? Do you learn from them about what you should do about your own situation?"
My coaching clients teach me a lot, but part of me wanted to answer "no."
This is because I still feel very separate from my clients' transformations.
Let me explain: My clients make amazing changes to their lives in a very short amount of time of working together. It's pretty crazy. And my favorite thing about coaching is that I can never anticipate the changes they'll end up making, and when they will make them. After a week between sessions, a client will come back telling me things like "I just quit my job and I'm moving across the country" or "I'm going to work in a different field entirely." I'm always delighted, and I love not knowing what's going to happen next.
Clients love attributing the changes they make to me, but truly, in coaching, I'm not in control.
The changes I facilitate in clients' lives are very personal to them and depend on their internal logic. They are living with themselves every day, while I'm only with them for an hour a week. I'm not privy to a client's entire history or to their day-to-day experiences.
I know coaching works, and I know the theory of why it works. But I will always remind clients that their transformations are up to them, and not up to me.
It's easy to worry about failure when you're trying to create a fulfilling work-life.
Have you ever had one of those days where you’ve thought, “What if this is as good as it gets?!” or “What if a fulfilling work-life is just not in the cards for me?”
I definitely have. I used to think I was just a weirdo for not enjoying my work like my colleagues did, and that I'm just not a "work person." I thought that for the rest of my adult life, I would just have to suffer through most of my waking hours at a full-time job I didn't care for, and then I'd retire. And then I'd get sick. And then I'd die. It was bleak.
Today I wanted to share a "fear of failure" exercise from my mentor Melissa Pharr, who reminded me this year that when you try to push away those fears of a bleak life, they just get worse.
I usually don't share others' exercises verbatim, since I'm obsessed with myself and my exercises (duhz), but I am making an exception for this important mentor because this has been super helpful to me.
To release fear of failure:
1) Feel your fear.
I know it feels like the last thing that you want to do, but you know the saying, what you resist, persists.
Fear is just here to get our attention and help us learn whatever we need to learn next to become ready to ALLOW our desires to feel like a real possibility.
2) Ask yourself what this fear is here to teach you.
Yes, it seems woo-woo, but we’re usually pushing fear away and NOT giving ourselves time to just feel it, let alone reflect on why it might be coming up. Asking what your fear is here to teach you can hold the key to growth.
3) Decide upon a response that is in line with your desires, instead of your fear.
Once you have some idea, even if it’s just a guess, about what your fear is here to teach you, it’s time to ask yourself, ‘How can I respond to this emotion in a way that is aligned not with my fear, but with where I actually want to go?’
There’s something about this process that will majorly help you build trust in yourself. As you see yourself being that person who has a fulfilling and energizing work-life, you will see with time that little will get in your way.