fbpx

The Only Question to Ask in Career Exploration

by | Dec 4, 2021 | Blog Post, Career, Identity

You may be going through a career transition: Post education, loss or change in your job, or taking action because longterm burnout in your current role is no longer maintainable. Perhaps you are also weighing out the age old dilemma between seeking fun and meaningful work vs. the wisdom of the last generation saying to strategize what brings in the most dollars. What all these forks in the road have in common is the need for answers that come from a sound and meaningful place.

But how do we get there? Through aptitude and personality interest questionnaires? Pros and cons lists? Will the right counsellor tell us what to pursue? I have found over the years that there is really one core question worth asking:

Who am I and what do I want?

In reality, most people form their career paths unconsciously. Untreated wounds from earlier life lead people to (a) pursue status and money to boost self-image and ‘prove them wrong,’ (b) we pursue convenient and easy access work so that we can stay numb to feelings that scare us and to avoid being challenged or (c) we pursue half-baked ideas from our disconnected ‘Peter Pan’ fantasies, ungrounded in safe and practical reality.

But who are you really?

The sort of career-counselling we do around Thrive does not measure your skills and talents. We find these yard-sticks actually distract us from the greater task of searching inwards, releasing old pain and discovering our long-frozen desires that lead us to our highest development. You are more than you think you are, and being that full self requires some courage.

Our process of looking at this means directing you out of your long-suffering thoughts and endless mental chatter. We instead direct the focus to what your all but forgotten body is saying. Most often, it first needs to catch up with all the signals you have ignored (this isn’t your fault—you have done your best to work around pain that felt too big to deal with in the midst of a stressful world). It will say, I am tired. I am so sad and no one listens. Will you notice how much I need your love and care? Can you make decisions that make me feel safe and healthy?

People often cry at this point, in a combination of grief at finally acknowledging backlogged pain, but also in spectacular relief that there is another way of existing. An exit door to constant ‘pushing through’ and ‘looking on the bright side.’ This may be messy work, but we cannot let in joy, purpose, motivation and inspiration unless we first empty out chronic stress.

Next, people start to report spontaneous feelings of lightness. I found myself drawing pictures the other night. I haven’t done this since I was a kid or I told my friends I was struggling and they didn’t laugh. They actually said they’ve been feeling down as well.

The proper energies of the nervous system are flowing again and with this, the emotional signalling that is the seat of identity may be accessed. We can now reach the deeper signals that not only tell you what you want to make for dinner, but what you want to do for a living. Life becomes less of a logical measurement contest and more of easeful listening to what your body says. It is like having the wisest consultant on your team. As someone who spent eight years in chronic burnout, but who now has learned to listen, I can say the latter is better in every respect.

Is pursuing work based on desire practical?

Is burning out for a paycheque practical? You have a handful of decades on an earth in which no human has ever said I wish I’d worked more and was dying with more money on their deathbed.

Tropes aside, there is absolutely no amount of money worth living through life with a burned out nervous system. From this place, relationships, personal health and even career itself suffer. Anxiety, depression, relationship issues and triggering of attachment trauma.

Joseph Campbell said follow your bliss, and from here doors will appear where there were only walls. Whether you explain it mystically or scientifically, a nervous system that is engaged with the dopamine-stimulating momentum of following meaningful goal is one that better accesses its creative centres. It is a body that rests better, is more emotionally available, and that feels guided by a self that cares for its wellbeing.

The greatest career investment is clearing out the cobwebs, connecting to ones emotional motivation and making the decision that work needs to stimulate wellbeing.

To explore this more today, connect with us for individual counselling or low cost counselling—both of which featuring counsellors trained and prepared to help you know yourself deeper and make a plan to move forward.

Carson directs Thrive Downtown and Thrive Integrative, the recent South Surrey expansion.

 

Podcasts

Couples Series: How to Prepare for Couples Therapy

Couples Series: How to Prepare for Couples Therapy

You’ve taken the big step of contacting a counsellor or agreeing to join your partner who did the legwork. The day is fast approaching, and the big question is, how to prepare for couples therapy? Fortunately, the lion’s share of the guidance will come from your...

Couples Series: Does Couples Therapy Work?

Couples Series: Does Couples Therapy Work?

When you’re stuck in what feels like unresolvable arguments, it’s only natural to seek a solution. Since you’ve tried everything else, perhaps you’re now turning to professional help. What else do you do when the person you love most is also one of your biggest...

Couples Series: Does Marriage Counselling Work?

Couples Series: Does Marriage Counselling Work?

You’re feeling stuck. How could we possibly be having the same fight again? Taking deep breaths and timeouts isn’t helping. The frustration and resentment of being misunderstood are getting to the point that you’re wondering if things can even be fixed. Life is busy,...

Coping With Trauma During Anniversaries

For the older generation of Americans it was the day JFK was assassinated. For the younger generations it was 9/11. Many people remember where they were, what they were doing and the absolute shock and trauma they experienced as these events unfolded. For many people...

Giving Up The Fight And Finding Freedom

Giving Up The Fight And Finding Freedom

I have lived in fear for many years not realizing that the endless thoughts and critical self talk was all an ill attempt to avoid feeling my feels. It was when I came to understand that my struggles didn’t need to be constantly scrutinized by recounting the past and...

The Truth Behind Getting Our Needs Met

The Truth Behind Getting Our Needs Met

Many people struggle with communicating their needs in relationships. Whether it be with their partner, workplace, or family members. Somewhere in our past we commonly learn that it is not okay to express our emotions and or tell others what we need to feel safe. Boys...

How Humans Learn

How Humans Learn

Driving a vehicle, throwing a football, baking Bananarama Chocolate Chip Muffins. . . nobody was born knowing how to do any of these things. It would be absurd and unfair to expect somebody who hasn’t gone through the process of learning each of these activities to be...

The Non-Monogamous Checklist

The Non-Monogamous Checklist

Society modeled to me throughout my life, and still to this day, that a relationship with a significant other looks a certain way. I was taught that there are milestones to be reached in a relationship: Things like holding hands, the first kiss, sex, moving in with...

Marsh Cooper — Low Cost Counselling

Marsh Cooper — Low Cost Counselling

A crucial part of Thrive Downtown Counselling Centre is its low-cost counselling option. Currently, I am one of four counsellors doing their university-supported internship through Thrive. Below you will find a short video of myself, speaking with the experience of...

Your 5th Vital Sign – Are You Listening?

Your 5th Vital Sign – Are You Listening?

One of the areas I find I do the most coaching and education around is hormone health, particularly the menstrual cycle. Many women and people who menstruate arrive in my clinic room with nary a clue as to which hormones are playing a role in their brutal PMS or...