It can be hard to see the bright spots in your day and in your life if you are feeling burned out and unhappy at work. You spend a huge percentage of your life at your desk, with your colleagues, and proving that you are good at what you do. This can be totally draining if you are not in a position that you are excited to go into the office for each day.
I get it. Believe me, I get it. You could be sitting at your desk right now battling feelings of boredom, anxiety, and guilt.
Remember that nothing in this life is set in stone, and that you an intelligent person who has a lot to give to this world. Even if you are not sure how best to make your big contribution.
Yes, I coach lawyers and law students and love working with legal professionals navigate work-life balance, professional development, lifestyle design, and career planning issues. But I also love hearing other people's point of view, and bringing resources to you that might resonate with you in a new way or inspire you to take positive action.
Today I have the pleasure of sharing the story and thoughts of Christie Mims, coach and founder of The Revolutionary Club. She is a recovering corporate employee who took control of her life and made big changes to ensure she is excited to start her workday each day. While you may be ready to make drastic changes, most people are more comfortable with baby steps. If you have any inkling of unhappiness with your current work situation, reading this post and trying the exercise she suggests are two very smart baby steps. If you are super happy in your current career, take a moment for a silent (or not) cheer of gratitude and forward this to a friend who you know is struggling to find career happiness.
And remember that first day on the new job at work, when you put on your high heels (or your nice tie) and showed up eager to see how you could make an impact?
And remember sitting at your desk in that same job, looking around, feeling exhausted, looking down, and wondering what happened to you. Asking yourself "When did I get so...resigned?"
"and ... tired."
"and plain ... bored. I'm bored. *Sigh*"
Guilty that you want to be doing SOMEthing else. ANYTHING else. And guilty that you spent so much time, and energy and money - putting so much into your education, your career, and yourself just to get HERE. How did you end up wanting to leave? How do you walk away from a good salary? How do you justify staying when you are miserable? And these thoughts spin inside your head, and you keep thinking that you should just be able to FIGURE IT OUT ALREADY.
It's a terrible feeling, isn't it? Lonely, and sad, and frustrating. And nails on a chalkboard annoying.
I felt that way. I can remember sitting at my desk - looking around, and being so SO lonely when I felt like I was trapped in my suit. I felt like I was slowly drowning, but I could not open my mouth to scream. I felt like if I left, I would never figure out how to pay my rent, or make a change. And because of that, I felt like I was waiting for my life to start.
He was my age and had a small wife and child. I can remember seeing him in the office in the summer, and by the winter he was dead of brain cancer. It happened so so fast. And it scared me, because it reminded me that I was wasting my life by showing up everyday not present in my career, and I need to try and do SOMETHING new.
Hoping that things will change was not working for me. All it did was allow me the guilt-free space to watch bad TV and complain (Real Housewives, anyone?) So I decided to try something different, get off the couch, and at least take a stab at living my life, versus waiting for a magical fairy godmother to come across me and make my life beautiful.
I tried and failed a bunch of side projects (writing children's books when I don't have children? Not a brilliant plan on my part!) and I learned that to be successful, I've got to try, not worry about failing, and believe that I can do it. And most importantly, I've GOT feel connected to what "it" is. And before you say it, trust me I know - figuring the "it" out can be the hardest part. If you knew - you'd be doing it already, right? Right.
Try to suspend your disbelief and know that a solution is now on its way to you, but it may not arrive on your schedule. It's a process - but one that works!
-Take a deep breath. Breath in and out through your nose, on a five count, and keep your hand on your stomach. Think about the top three work things that make you smile. Anything that really brings joy to your face (working with people? Writing reports? Figuring things out? What?)
-When you are finished thinking and breathing (good job!) write them down.
-Grab a friend and a glass of wine - brainstorm how you can do more of these things.
-Be fun, be silly, be free. Now take a look at this list - what appeals to you that also seems like something you can take action on? Start there!
OK this is a process, but sometimes all you need is momentum to move forward. One step, even a baby one, is still a step, right?
If you want more support (and to find out all of my secrets!) then sign up for my group coaching class starting on November 5th. It's a teleclass, so you can call in from the safety of your pajamas, in your own home. And, more importantly, magically watch your life start to change!
Chelsea Callanan is the founder of Happy Go Legal, a multi-media resource for new and aspiring legal professionals. Mrs. Callanan is a 2008 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, and currently practices at Murray, Plumb & Murray in Portland, Maine, focusing on corporate and intellectual property needs of business of all sizes.