Before we jump into today’s blog, we’ve got two quick reminders for you:
- Enrollment for the Passion Plan Virtual Experience (PPVE) is officially open! We’ve capped the number of people who can sign up at 100, and spots are already filling up fast. The early bird price is $369 through this Friday the 16th, after which it goes up to its regular price of $469. You can sign up here.
- It’s not too late to join us for the live hangout today. We’re going live at 12pm EST to talk about why “do what you love” and “do what you’re good at” is bad advice that doesn’t work (and what to do, instead). You can watch live, or register to get a replay video sent to you afterwards. Register here.
And now, on to part 2 of our what to do when you’re stuck at a crossroads blog series!
This is what my inner dialogue used to sound like. Tell me if you can relate:
“I’m SO tired of this job. I feel like every day, I’m just existing. I can’t keep doing this.”
“But I don’t know what else I should be doing! I can’t exactly make a change if I don’t know what that change should be.”
“But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not the job that’s the problem. Maybe there’s something wrong with me for not being able to enjoy this!”
… sound familiar to any of you?
Being stuck at a crossroads is the equivalent of being wedged between a rock and a hard place:
You know something needs to change, but you can’t figure out what. And until you figure it out, you can’t make a move. So you default to the only thing you can do … which is to keep doing whatever you’ve been doing.
And in that way, you end up on autopilot. Day after day, nothing changes, and you grow steadily more exhausted and frustrated.
I passed years of my life this way. It’s sort of terrifying how easy it can be for nothing to happen, and yet time still marches on.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
This — the existential angst of being immovably stuck between the rock and the hard place — is a very common place to be.
You might think that everyone who ends up here did so by traveling a very unique, singular path. But in my experience, that’s not really true.
Most of us have a VERY similar trajectory that lands us at a crossroads:
- We were encouraged to get good grades in school, so that we could eventually get a solid first job.
- We picked a major or course of study based on what we were good at or what we thought we should do … not based on what might fulfill us.
- We worked hard in college, but we were young and inexperienced, so afterwards we still had to take the first job that would have us.
- We end up disenchanted with the “real world” rather quickly because we don’t feel connected with what we’re doing.
- We start job-hopping, in the hope that maybe we’ll find what we’re looking for somewhere else (which we don’t).
- The lack of purpose — both on a daily basis, and in the big picture “what am I doing here?” way — starts to eat at us. Cue the existential crisis.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
If this at all resembles your own backstory … is it any shock that you find yourself at a crossroads?
You just learned that you’ve spent decades studying and preparing for a life that isn’t capable of fulfilling you. It’s not what you imagined it would be, and yet you still don’t know what you actually want.
Is there any other normal human response to that besides angst, anxiety, overwhelm, and confusion?
STOP TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SUCKAGE
Getting un-stuck from the crossroads has just as much to do with what you need to stop doing as what you should start doing.
I’m going to give you two big things I want you to STOP doing, and next week when Kristen concludes this series, she’ll continue with the start doing part.
Thing #1 I want you to stop doing, immediately:
Stop taking responsibility for how much this sucks.
What often keeps people existing between the rock and the hard place is the fact that they believe, somehow, it’s their fault that they ended up there.
They worry that it could be their brokenness keeping them stuck. They fear that they made a fatal error along the way, and if they could only figure out what it was, everything would be fine.
This is so un-true.
If you believe on some level that your flaws, your errors, or your “brokenness” is responsible for your being stuck, then you’ll keep trying to fix the situation instead of move on from it.
So, let me reiterate:
This is not your fault.
Your angst, confusion, overwhelm, apathy, frustration … they’re all signs that the system isn’t working for you. You are not broken. And there is nothing wrong with you.
When you stop taking personal credit for the suckage … you free yourself up to move on from it.
THING #2 THAT I WANT YOU TO STOP DOING
Stop pretending to be someone that you’re not.
Elizabeth Gilbert (famous bestselling author and all-around great person) once said that the two most important words a person can ever say are: “NOT THIS.”
It’s time for you to make some declarations about what you’re NOT and what you’re no longer willing to tolerate or pretend that you enjoy. Such as …
- “I am NOT an extrovert. I don’t want to work in an open-cubicle environment where I get interrupted all day. No thank you!”
- “I do NOT care about traditional notions of retirement. I’d rather travel the world in my youth than wait forty more years to enjoy my life, like I’m ‘supposed’ to.”
- “I am NOT a power player. I just do NOT care about climbing the ladder. Nope, not for me.”
- “I don’t want children! Call me crazy, but I love the idea of being child-free, and I’m no longer willing to be ashamed of that.”
- “I can NOT pretend to care about this organization’s mission anymore. Fake smiles and enthusiasm? My soul dies a little every time I plaster it on. I’m done with that.”
It’s incredibly liberating to declare “NOT THIS!”
Leaving the crossroads in the dust means getting vocal — with yourself, and sometimes with others — about what you just aren’t willing to tolerate anymore.
And until you start acknowledging what’s never going to work for you … don’t expect to take even one step in the right direction.
It’s one or the other. And it’s time to pick. You might not know yet everything you do want, but you certainly know what you DON’T want. Start there.
And now, I want to here from you! What things are “NOT THIS!” for you? Will you stop taking responsibility for what sucks? Let me know, in the comments!
TOO LONG, DIDN’T READ? LISTEN INSTEAD!
If reading long blogs just isn’t your deal, you’re in luck:
We’re now recording our blogs for you!
Here’s Rachel reading this week’s blog:
Rachel (+ Kristen)