The unexplored ‘should’

I shouldn’t really be here this morning.  I should be in an interview.  Hear that word – should?

I realised after a chat with my own career coach that I need to beware of that word.  It can very much get in your way.  Let me explain.  I am currently navigating a career change myself.  I have a dream of a working life that enables me to use my talents to make the difference in the world that I want to make.  In my case, I’ve decided to do this by coaching people who want to enjoy what they do for a living; and also by using my creative talents to make others think about and appreciate the world that they live in.  To put it simply, I want to help others to create a life worth living.  So – why did I apply for a job that would use three days of my precious time, doing something that didn’t fit with this vision?  Because I thought I should, that’s why.  Some part of me that still thinks I should have a ‘proper job’ compelled me to look at job advertisements and send off an application. 

I should have listened to my own heart when I read the letter inviting me to an interview, and felt disappointed.  But I didn’t listen.  I still wasn’t listening when I felt no inclination to prepare.  I wasn’t even nervous about it.  Now that’s not right.

Then I spoke to my career coach.  He asked me a simple but very important question.   

“Imagine that you aren’t living in the real world – you’re in a different world entirely, one where you can do whatever you like.  Describe what you are doing in five years time.  Where are you?  What are you doing?” 

I described a very clear picture.  I was surprised at how clear it was, even to me.  Saying it out loud to another person brought it to life for me.  And the job interview played no part whatsoever in that vision. 

 “So – tell me again why you’re going for that job?” 

That’s what career coaches do.  They ask the difficult, the obvious, questions. 

We explored together why I had felt that I ‘should’ get a proper job.  I realised that there is actually no reason on earth why I should.  I can meet my responsibilities without doing so.  It wasn’t really a ‘should’ at all.

I realised that I need to take my vision seriously and focus as much effort on planning how I can achieve it as I have been doing on being a slave to the unacknowledged ‘shoulds’ in my life.

I know we all have responsibilities that we do need to meet.  I think we also have some unexplored ‘shoulds’ that are no longer relevant in our current circumstances.  What are yours? What do you think they might be stopping you from achieving?

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