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Full disclosure: I made a BIG decision in April... and it's definitely not for everyone.
It was a decision that I've been sitting on for a long time. Have you ever procrastinated so long on making a choice out of indecision (a.k.a. fear) that, one day, the stagnation becomes intolerable and you just can't wait anymore? And then you make that big decision in a split second.
It's not even hard or scary in that moment, and there's not even a whole lot of thinking. You just intuitively KNOW that you'll move forward with that decision, and that's that.
That's how I decided to finally transition my occupational therapy license to "inactive" status last month.
If you've been following me for a while, you might know that I started my career as a healthcare professional. I was 100% committed to the healthcare industry for the first few years, like any bright-eyed do-gooder fresh out of grad school.
Even now, I love the idea of my old profession, and I'm still a huge advocate of how it can change people's lives.
But the more I immersed myself in that field, the more I knew that something was "off".
I tried to ignore that feeling because I'd already invested so many years (and student loan debt!) into that career. I tried to reignite the energy I once had for it by adjusting my hours, my commute, and even my job title.
But after 4 years of trying, I could no longer hide from the truth: working with people in a clinical way was simply not my path.
It wasn't part of my DNA: it didn't come natural, and it didn't come any easier even after years of trying to brainwash myself into thinking like a clinician. It didn't come natural even after hundreds of hours of "professional development" and thousands of hours on the job.
What does come natural - and what probably helped me to be successful as a clinician in the first place - is my ability to "see" people on a soul level.
What comes natural to me is coaching people as they heal themselves in ways that can't always be explained or measured by medical science.
I've always been much more "big picture", spiritual, and "woo-woo" than my colleagues, and it was high time I celebrated those parts of me - and found a professional path that would do the same.
I've learned that a career that showcases your authentic, natural self is the only type of career that will allow you to make the lasting impact that you want to make.
In my experience, this is especially true for us intuitive, heart-centered folks... the empaths, the INFJs, the sensitive souls.
We can "fake it to make it" for a while, but eventually, being two-faced or being otherwise inauthentic will become unbearable. Hiding becomes intolerably painful.
Living with integrity and being aligned: these are signs of emotional and spiritual well-being.
So today, I challenge you to take inventory of where you're at in your career.
And I'm not talking about climbing the corporate ladder. What I want to know is whether your work (or the way you do your work) lights you up... or whether it's making you fight against yourself. Because ain't nobody got time for that.
Does my career celebrate what comes natural to me?
Do I need to hide essential parts of myself... and is it worth it?
What do I need to feel safe showing up as myself when I walk into work each morning?
Be honest. This is important.
Really give your responses the time and attention they deserve.
(If you're so frazzled and busy right now that you can't even give yourself the time and attention to seriously ponder these questions, I highly recommend that you sign up for the free 3-day challenge at the end of this post. I say this with love: take a damn breath!)
Like I said in the beginning, not everyone will want or need to make a dramatic shift like I did. But you'll know if something's "off".
When we engage with work that celebrates our natural selves, we gain energy, self-respect, and the opportunity to create space for more powerful impact.
When we leave work that doesn't align with our nature, we make room for someone else to come in and do the work that they're meant to do.
If you're trying to brainwash yourself into sticking it out in something that - let's be honest - feels paaainfully "off", consider the greatness that you already are. Why camouflage all that badassery in "should's"?
Why dull your shine? For WHAT?!
It's never too late to course correct, my friend. Making a career or life that celebrates your real personality and passions is the most natural thing in the world.
I don't normally share what I write in my Wellness Wednesday newsletters on the blog, but I really wanted as many people as possible to benefit from this short and sweet message that I sent out to my subscribers a couple weeks ago:
Wow, this is officially the final dispatch of the Wellness Wednesday newsletter for 2017!
And my, what a year it's been. Especially within the last couple weeks, things have been feeling really hectic. Babies about to be born, friends' loved ones passing away or leaving, anger on social media over the state of the country, hard conversations, new money goals, new fitness goals, lots o' learnin', and just generally a whooole lotta energy shifting around.
Throw in the emotionally-laden holiday season, and it's no wonder people get overwhelmed during this time of year.
We could all use a little more simplicity.
This year, I'm simplifying my annual reflection and new year resolution-making by asking myself one simple question.
But before I do, I want to acknowledge the fact that new year resolutions - which I think are better-called "new year intentions" - have a bad rap of not working! Because seriously, if you want to set a goal for yourself, start by figuring out what you'll do differently next week... not arbitrarily naming what you want 365 days from now!
But more importantly, resolutions are often divorced from emotion. And without emotion, what's to propel you forward? We are humans after all, not robots. We operate on emotion at our core, not on batteries or algorithms.
So let's keep our new year intentions simple and heartfelt this year.
Ask yourself: How do I want to feel in 2018?
This is your deeper "why" for any goals, decisions, or actions you may play with in 2018. This will be your motivation and measuring stick for success.
Maybe start with just one, because again, simplicity!
The purpose here isn't to force yourself to feel a certain way, but to take action to align yourself with the things, situations, or people that promote your desired feeling.
As for me, I want to feel UNAPOLOGETIC in 2018.
...Unapologetic about the way I earn money, the people I surround myself with, my dorky personality, or even the way my apartment looks. I want to feel unapologetic about how I live my life and how my life looks.
I've already starting asking myself this question every morning, and it's already spurred me into action - mostly in the realm of having difficult conversations that have been long-time-coming. It's also led me to reassess what type of companies I want to work with and even what types of rugs I have on my floor!
What about you?
How do you want to feel in 2018?
To get you started, here's a list of emotions we often feel when we're happy, fulfilled, or getting our needs met:
I can't wait to see what's in store for both of us, just around the bend.
Much love, laughter, and heartfelt intentions,