It's an opportunity to grow and explore.
“I’m so good at solving problems, but my career is one problem I just can’t solve.”
The client who said this to me articulated one major reason why you might be feeling so stuck in your career. You see your career confusion/frustration/dissatisfaction as a problem. An obstacle between you and your happiness. An unwelcome barrier that needs to be overcome.
It's totally natural to see your career uncertainty in this light. It's making you uncomfortable and possibly even causing you physical and/or emotional pain. I get why you just want this whole "career issue" to just go away or get resolved...like, yesterday. Buuuuuuut, treating it as a problem isn't the right approach for achieving clarity or making a change.
Viewing your career as a "problem" isn't serving you
Seeing your career uncertainty as a problem can cause some significant challenges for you.
It creates an adversarial relationship between you and your career: It's you against your career! You see your current work or where you're at with your career as frustrating, fraught, confusing and hard. This can cause a lot of extra, unnecessary stress and tension.
It makes figuring out your career a total drag: The process brings you no joy because you see it as a something to be dealt with, and (often) avoided. When you do some work around your career anyway (because you feel you have to), you aren't typically bringing a whole lot of good energy or optimism along with you.
You try to solve your career as you might solve any other problem: You use pros and cons lists and various calculations to churn over the facts and rehash the same factors again and again. You seek solutions online (job sites) or through other people (asking their advice).
But these problem-solving strategies won’t work for your career, because it doesn’t have a simple solution. It’s super complex and nuanced. There are approximately one million factors to consider, and the factors shift and change on the daily.
Approaching your career uncertainty as an opportunity
A much more effective, hopeful, and eye-opening approach to your career conundrums is to see them as an opportunity. To let go of the whole idea that your career doubts, questions, and concerns are a problem.
What if instead you regarded your career uncertainty as welcome and helpful? A sign that you get to dive into a phase of career exploration.
Questioning your career is an opportunity to:
Take stock of what you want at this phase in your life
Reconnect with what brings you joy
Clarify what's important to you
Assess your skills and strengths
Follow your curiosity and interests
Discover and explore new career possibilities
Make a change so that your current or new work is a better fit for you
Doesn’t this actually sound pretty great?! It's a nice alternative to spending your time and energy struggling to find a solution to your career.
Next time you start feeling like your career is the bane of your existence, ask yourself “How could I see this as an opportunity rather than a problem?" This simple (but not easy!) mindset shift will help you nurture a more positive, healthy, hopeful relationship with your career exploration.
I'd love to hear what you think!
Share your thoughts in the comments or send me an email at email@example.com.
How could seeing your career uncertainty as an opportunity to explore and grow help you with your process of seeking clarity?
If you already see your career uncertainty as an opportunity, share how this mindset comes through in the actions you're taking in your career exploration or job search.