I keep asking myself this question. And all I seem to come up with is that I am clearly asking the wrong question. I have been unhappy for several years professionally. This would probably come as a surprise to many of my friends and colleagues because looking from the outside in I have owned my own successful Internet consulting company for nearly seven years and I’m well-connected. However, I am counting on the notion that no one is reading this blog.
Here is what I do know:
I am happy with my family.
I am happy in my marriage.
I am happy with my life.
I am grateful with all that I have.
I am not totally happy with our move to L.A. but I think this is for me to explore later.
I am not happy professionally.
And really that is as simple as it gets, but getting to identifying the above was a big challenge. I’m a person who creates big change in my life when I am drastically unhappy in one aspect of it. For example, two years ago I got pregnant with our first child – it was a surprise pregnancy (and a delightful one I might add) but it also was the catalyst to thrusting me into really taking action once Lil B was born. Fourteen months after his birth I told my husband I had to figure it out and “knew what I wanted” so I applied for a job at a startup, got it and moved my family to Los Angeles, bought a house, found childcare all in less than 30 days. Granted I didn’t do this all on my own, my husband is going to grad school here but we were dealing with his commuting just fine. I just needed a big change and well, that is what I got. Unfortunately it didn’t get me any closer to realizing a) my potential and b) where I want to be professionally.
For the past several years I’ve read self-improvement books and awesome articles like is searching for happiness making me more unhappy and I read and re-read Reid Hoffman’s deck on The Startup of You just to get a simple answer to this highly complex question and mission so that I could put it in a box, put a bow on it and call it good for the rest of my life. I still have the haunting words of a former boss telling me that eMyth changed his life and the way he does business – you’d think I would get around to reading that. My point? All of these things talk about investing in yourself, but if you don’t know how to do that you’ll always stay in startup mode never fully defining anything about yourself.
I have gone through the exercise of writing down all the things I hate doing and all the things I have an interest doing, then putting all the new interests in a matrix and scoring them on levels of compromise, education and cost (time and money) to get into the field.
I’ve asked myself numerous dead-end questions like “What do I want to do?” – a hopeless question. So broad, no direction, no launching off point and “What is my passion?’. You’ll go nowhere with this.
Then I started asking myself questions with potential:
What are my interests?
What am I always thinking about?
Do I like people?
Do I like providing a service?
Do I like competition with others or competing against myself?
I’m still working on myself and this mission of mine. Until then, can anyone relate? What struggles have you had professionally – juggling parenthood, the ladder, what you thought you wanted to be, have you untapped your potential?Add to Favourites