The road to a fulfilling work-life is not always straight. In this article you will get to know common roadblocks and how to overcome them when you want to create a fulfilling work-life.
What does a fulfilling work-life look like?
For me, a fulfilling work-life is the freedom to do what you love, where you can grow and be yourself. You have meaningful relationships and a positive impact on the people and the environment you work with. I found fulfilment in being self-employed and location independent. But more importantly, in supporting empathic people on their unique (professional) journey.
Having a purpose and sense of meaning at work is becoming more important for professionals. Of course, you have to find your unique answer to this question. If you want to have a fulfilled and purposeful work-life, you need to get to know yourself, your beliefs, core traits, values, blind spots. If you see yourself clearly, you are able to act in alignment with who you are.
The biggest roadblock to get going
On the weekend, we walked one of the nicest hikes in the Algarve, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. My mum had never been on this trail before. It’s quite adventurous and close to very deep cliffs. She asked me a couple of times “Where do we go next?” “What comes next?” Are you sure we are on the right path?” This reminded me so much of my clients and my own life. One of the questions I get asked the most is “What comes next? What if I fail/it doesn’t work out?”
Our biggest fear is the unknown (or unexperienced). We don’t want to be uncomfortable.
We want to have control; we want to know exactly what will happen next. If I take this decision, will it work out? If I start my own business, who can show me the right path? What if I walk into the wrong direction? What if I fall into a huge hole?
In Germany where I grew up, we are masters of worst-case scenarios. Maybe one of the reasons why only 9.3% are self-employed. There are so many fears around not being in an alleged “safe” and “secure” 9 to 5 job.
The fear of the unknown resonates with me because I used to be like that. If I spend long enough time weighing up, asking other people for their advice, reading another book, taking another course, going through different scenarios in my head, thinking THEN I will be prepared and make the right choices. Then I will know what the right career looks like for me.
As you can read from my tone, these strategies didn’t get me anywhere. They blocked me, got me even more confused and kept me stuck exactly where I was.
Get back into your body
You cannot access your potential and make wise decisions in fear. Fear keeps you in survival, not creator mode. That’s why coming back from the head into your body is so important. You too have an inner voice, compass, intuition, gut feeling – however you want to call it.
When you connect with your own truth, you will feel calm and centered. This is a good place to explore possibilities, to visualize what you would like to experience. It’s so important to stop looking for answers and a clear map outside yourself and to start exploring.
(Re)connect with your personal North Star
Like the North Star, our work-life purpose steers us on a course that resonates deeply with the truth of who we are.
I really like this exercise, as I have seen the impact in coaching sessions and leadership workshops. Make time to zoom out of your current life and take a long term perspective to write down your (career) mission statement:
What do I want to look back at?
Which values am I honouring in my life/career? Who do I want to become in that process?
What do I want to contribute?
Is it worse to fail and grow or to regret never trying?
Let go of the need to control everything
I like to explore new cities, streets or paths in nature that I have never been before. Will the path continue, will there be a nice view? I might end up in a one-way street or dead end, but then I can turn around or choose a different path again. I love the surprises on the way. Discovering something new, without TripAdvisor or Google maps. This is how I found one of the nicest spots when I lived in Lisbon for example.
When you let go of the need of controlling or being able to plan everything, you can end up in surprisingly amazing situations. Many things happened for me after I started my own business that I had never imagined. People that came into my life and colleagues who supported me. Opportunities opened up out of nowhere. Meanwhile, a lot of my internal worst-case scenarios never turned out to be true.
Allow yourself to suck in the beginning
There is so much power when you take the first step. Trust yourself, your amazing brain and neuroplasticity. You will learn and grow, especially when faced with a new or challenging situation. Give yourself the permission to explore, experiment, fail, reinvent and learn again. When you start walking, it won’t feel good and you won’t be great right from the beginning. No one is!
You learn from experience, as you go. Don’t worry what others might think if you choose a career or job path that is out-of-the box. These are your own saboteur voices and most of the time not what other people really think. You will be an inspiration to others and give them permission to be courageously themselves, too.
How to get on the right path
If you find that it's difficult for you to build a fulfilling work-life, I have good news. You may need time, courage and a lot of exploration to find your purposeful work. It won't be easy, BUT it's not impossible. Take the time to reflect on these questions and map out the steps you need to take to address what isn't working so well:
Find the courage within yourself to start, even if it's not perfect, and step by step, you'll be creating the freedom to do what you love. You'll finally have a work-life where you can grow and be your true self.
If you find yourself in a difficult place to start this journey, I understand. It can be overwhelming to go against traditional work patterns and beliefs, but you don't have to do it all alone! My mission is helping people like you to free yourself from the 9 to 5 hamster wheel and to create a fulfilling out-of-the-box work-life.
I'd love to hear from you and to help you overcome the blocks that keep you from living your ideal work-life! Click here to book your free Chemistry Call directly.
What is stopping you from building a fulfilling work-life? Let me know in the comments below.