One of the techniques we’re taught during coach training was to help clients shift their perspective or reframe their situation. If you can reframe how you see things, you can change your inner and outer dialogue. Once those two changes are made you can take action from a place of power rather than react from a place of fear or frustration.
I remember the dread and drain of feeling trapped in a job I hated. It was a “good job,” but it wasn’t fulfilling. I knew I was capable of more – doing more, earning more, and having more impact. Not only that, but I didn’t trust or respect the people that I was working for and with. A normal shift or reframing that a coach would suggest is to focus on being grateful for having a job. But there was another shift I needed to make: It is okay to outgrow where you are.
My heart started racing. I felt dizzy, weak, and had a hard time concentrating. An overwhelming sadness folded around me like a swaddling cloth. I felt constrained by it on every side. It was Sunday night, and this was my body’s response to the coming dread of tomorrow – another Monday morning. If you have ever been in the grips of an anxiety attack, you know how draining they can be physically and emotionally. Even if you haven’t experienced a full-blown panic attack, you do know what it is like to dread Monday morning.
This was the life I lived for years. The panic attacks were the worst when I was a teacher. I taught 5th grade for two years that felt incredibly long and were extremely stressful. Although I knew I wanted to use my gift of teaching to change lives – the role of elementary teacher was not the ultimate position for me. At the end of my second year of teaching, I made a decision that I would not be going back for a third year.
Now, I could have seen the $80,000 education, the hours spent student teaching and serving in AmeriCorps, and all the preparation for the six-hour exam as a loss. Instead, I focused on what those experiences taught me. I learned about my capacity for compassion and commitment. And I learned how much I truly did want to help other people succeed. One of the most important lessons I learned was this: If you don’t like where you are – you have the choice and power to change things.
I could have chosen to wallow in a career that I was clearly ill suited for. Had I made that choice I am sure it would have made me a bitter, worn and complacent woman. I see it all the time – women who have settled for less than their calling suffering from perpetual burn out. I chose a different journey – rather than complain I would change things. That determination has carried me from classroom teacher, to award winning corporate training professional, all the way to making the leap from employee to entrepreneur.
It is always important to be grateful for what you have and where you are. Being grateful allowed me to be present in a job I hated. But acknowledging that I had outgrown my role opened the door for me to freely and confidently look for what was next. My inner dialogue was one of excitement about possibilities rather than trying to talk myself into staying in a job that was draining my energy, enthusiasm and passion. And as I began to talk about what I really wanted and ask for what I wanted, the opportunities and support showed up.
What’s your story?
Are you living on purpose? Or are you:
- Trying to talk your self into something you really don’t want?
- Living your life based on other people’s expectations?
- Making decisions to soothe someone else’s fear?