What do you truly want from your working life? Now I would certainly not be so bold as to claim that I know. However, it seems to me that when you take money out of the equation and ask people ‘What do you want in your work?’ most will say:
- I want to be myself
- I want to enjoy what I do, and
- I want to make a difference.
When asked if they are doing any of those things, the answer more often than not comes back as no, or worse, I don’t know!
I think the problem is that from school years onwards people progressively lose sight of who they are and what they love to do, and they end up falling into jobs or life situations that don’t fulfil them. Or, they end up doing jobs they’re good at but they’re just not passionate about. This was certainly true for me. Falling into an unfulfilling but bill paying career led me to lose sight of who I am and took me further away from knowing, let alone doing, what I love to do.
The irony of this situation is that the skills and strengths that any person, organisation, family or in fact nation need to function and be successful are right there in front of them, they are just hidden. They’re hidden because people don’t trust that they can be successful being themselves and doing what they love. They don’t even ask themselves the question of ‘what do I want?’ and ‘what do I love to do?’ because they get side-tracked into the business of serving someone else’s agenda. This can lead to people feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and worse still, stuck!
I’ve worked as a coach in fast paced high pressured environments for a number of years now and with numerous managers and directors as well as some unsuspecting friends. What I’ve found is that helping people to apply the principles of positive psychology to their daily lives can really help them become aware of their strengths and find ways to use them more in everything they do. This approach has then led them to become happier and more importantly braver to make decisions that are right for them.
Focusing on my strengths, what I’ve got, and what gives me energy rather than my weaknesses or what I haven’t got, has really helped me to take the leap and set up my own business. I feel more fulfilled and successful than I have ever done in my life. I’m not a millionaire, I’ve not accomplished a spectacular feat of human endurance, and I certainly wouldn’t claim to have got everything right or achieved everything I want. But, I love my life and more importantly I trust myself to be able to go out and achieve whatever I set my sights on. This is the most liberating feeling I’ve ever had!
So in answer to the question of whether you can be successful being yourself, I’d say being successful is being yourself!
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