Updated: Sep 6
Lately I've been coming across a lot of stories of people trying to do career or business strategies they are not aligned with, and I know there can be a different, easier way. What do I mean by "aligned"? It's when you feel good with what you are doing and enjoy it. You're not betraying yourself in any way (something I wrote in my last blog post), and you look forward to continuing.
Another way to describe it is that you are in your element. Ken Robinson in his book, The Element, says you are in your element when you like what you do, and you are good at it. You're not going against the grain when in it and the results show.
When I went from teaching to coaching, although some parallels between both, I completely felt like I was in my element. I love helping people find or advance in a more authentic career, whether that's a 9 to 5, a business or something else. I also love facilitating connections that help clients realize and replace what's holding them back. It being my 7th year doing so, and the testimonies and reviews I receive, indicates I'm not bad at it too.
What can keep people from pursuing something that is more aligned to them? Societal influence, including family and friends, a sense of acceptance, approval or belonging to go with what others want, a lack of clarity or experience, money/security, status, etc. Recently a person told me that she always wanted to pursue dancing but dropped that dream because she didn't want her father to disapprove of her (he stopped talking to her when she said she was going to follow that path).
These reasons are tough to contend with, underlying them all is a core need to be fulfilled. What if they could be fulfilled however by not dropping your dream? In the case of the person who wanted to dance, how many times have you heard of parents who were okay with the initially disapproved of career when their child found success? I believe the chances are greater of this when you go with your strengths and desires.
Take Viola Davis for instance. Since the age of 14 she knew she wanted to become an actor but went to college to become a teacher (to pay the bills) and felt depressed with the choice.
She wasn't aligned with teaching (great profession by the way for those who are aligned) or in her element. It wasn't until her sister suggested she pursue acting (her passion) that she came alive and won many awards for it.
For habits to repeat itself they must be satisfactory. This is what James Clear says in Atomic Habits and Jon Acuff in Finish (Acuff talks about goals versus habits), backed by studies. Seems like common sense but for some people, like perfectionists, they can believe the more difficult something is the better.
Do you identify with this? I used to at one point. Thankfully, not anymore. This said, I hope whatever you are doing is satisfactory and you feel aligned. There's no point trying to fit in a round hole if you're a square peg. It's possible to be paid well for what you're good and natural at.
If you need further assistance with this, please contact me for a call to see if I can help.