A year and a half into my first real corporate job, I realized I hated it. I liked the people, I liked the company. I just hated the marketing role. Sounds simple enough, but what happened next is something I see people do every day. I turned on myself. I thought, “This is a dream job. So many young women just like me would love this job. What’s wrong with me?” A big, fat implied should.
The implied shoulds: “I should not be so shy,” “I should speak up more and be more confident,” “I should be able to motivate others,” “I should be able to talk without getting nervous.”
When we should ourselves, we also hand over our power. Try this instead:
- Make four columns on a page. In column one write the heading: What I am struggling with/Where I am stuck/What is frustrating me. Then put a three minute timer on and write a bullet for each thing you can think of. Do this before going on.
- In the second column, write Implied Should and write one for each. Here’s a hint: it often comes as a comparison, “So-and-so always says the right thing when her reports do something wrong.”
- The third column is Empathy. What can you give yourself a break about? Maybe you’ve had three bosses in three years and no-one has taught you how to give feedback. Maybe you’ve always heard you are so likable, you’d be great in front of the room and it never occurred to you that public speaking is a learned skill. Maybe you think it’s impolite to say in a meeting, “Didn’t I just say that?”
- This column is A Question I Can Ask. For each bullet or challenge, think of a question. “How does one learn to speak up in meetings?” “What could I say or do to make my direct reports understand my expectations?”
When we turn things into a question, two things happen. First, the brain is wired to start looking for answers. Second, we surrender a bit to the universe and it generally provides. When I started shifting my ask from “What’s wrong with me,” to “What can I do to understand the kind of job I’d like,” things started to happen.
I’ve worked with clients again and again who are convinced they hate their job or some aspect of it. When they can create a new habit around getting curious instead of turning on themselves, it makes them happier in the job they are in and clearer about where they’d like to go. If this struck a chord with you and you want to hop on the phone to chat about making a small shift yourself, click here to schedule a complimentary session with me.