I’m Ignoring the “Shoulds” Today – It’s So Freeing. And More Productive.

I just caught myself before doing a networking thing on my calendar that was actually just a “should” and not a true choice.

It would have been fine, but doing “shoulds” is not the life I want.

What’s great is that I now have the freeing energy to spend that time doing something that I actually want to do, that will move the needle more so!

Once again proving that the body knows the way, if I will just listen. Continue reading

Unfulfilling Success: Looks Good on the Outside, But What About Your Heartache?

Maybe you’ve checked most of the boxes for what you were told Success looks like, but inside is another story. It might be hard to talk about it because you think no one will get it.

I have a window into this experience on a regular basis. When people contact me for coaching, unfulfilling “success” is often the case. Big heartache, often in secret.

unfulfilling success

It’s so common. Worse, a lot of people think that’s just how it is, or how it has to be: that work and fulfillment don’t go together unless you make too little money to sustain it.

I disagree. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I also have the good fortune to know a lot of people who have found another way. I include myself in that. I know it’s possible in my bones to have sustainability and meaningful work.

In my own work experience, the most miserable job of all was the one that looked the most “successful” on the outside! I have never realized that correlation until now. Interesting.

I’ll explain why it matters to go for something better, and why it’s possible.

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The Joy and Challenge of Finding Your Purpose

This topic of finding your purpose gets all complicated, doesn’t it? Worrying what others will think, how to find what you love, how it all fits with making a living, and all that practical stuff.

In an article about ikigai (a Japanese concept about purpose), they describe the secret to happiness as doing what you love, or more specifically what has a sense of meaning and purpose.

On the one hand, it seems like a simple equation: Do what makes you happy… in order to be happy. It’s both funny and sad how much we end up in a tangle over that simple equation.

In this post, I’ll share some hints and inspiration from others and from my own experience. Continue reading

Best Careers for Introverts, HSPs, and Other Sensitive Souls

Sensitive souls (including introverts, highly sensitive persons [HSPs], and people with big hearts) need to be careful about our work environments and career paths. As a highly sensitive introvert who got so drained by many jobs I tried, I learned the hard way.

We can really thrive and excel in the right environment, and we can wilt easily in the wrong environment.

If you have a yuck feeling about work, I bet it is because the work itself or the work culture are a bad match for you.

You have so much to offer. Yes, YOU. The world needs your gifts. I mean it. You can find a better fit. Not overnight, but a better way is possible.

There are low stress jobs for introverts, HSPs, and other sensitive souls.

No, there are no perfect stress-free professions. But lower stress is definitely a worthy goal. Yes! Stress is a natural part of life and we can be even more vulnerable to it as sensitive souls. We can do self-care, but that’s not enough if the situation continues to be draining.

So often people simply put up with far too much of a stressful situation, thinking we are the problem. Let’s rethink this.

My experience:

I’m a highly sensitive introvert with a big heart. (If you’re a Myers-Briggs Type fan, I’m an INFP which explains a whole range of sensitivity.)

I’ve tried all kinds of work environments from classrooms to cubicles, and many kinds of careers, and there were many rough patches in my work life. Now I have landed happily with being a self-employed career/ business coach.

In those various work experiences, sometimes I felt alive and energized and sometimes completely drained and MISERABLE. Oh I can feel the bad memories in my body as I write this. I want to reach out to you if you’re feeling that misery and beg you to believe it can be different.

Now I get what works:

I’ve studied what factors work for me and what works for others with a similar temperament.  Now I can fairly easily tell you what is important for us in choosing our work environments and career paths. Work can feel great, really! I’ll explain what you need to know.

[image - wondering where to go]

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What If Your Career Ideas Feel Impossible?

You can either listen to or read this post (5 minutes):

This is a common question. My answer is that you don’t even know it’s impossible until you explore some more. I have the kind of brain that thinks there is always a way. Even if you don’t think like that, stay with me for a moment.

I’m very practical. This isn’t about blind faith or deciding things based purely on wishful thinking. 

I don’t believe in jumping off a cliff on blind faith. However, when I see a cliff, I know now that there’s always some stairs to get down. I just have to look around for the stairs or find some help with a ladder.

I hear people all the time stopping themselves from wanting what they want because they think it’s impossible or think it will be too big of a leap for them. Even before they have checked out all the possibilities. They end up stuck in a fog of the unknown.

In essence, they are thinking the devil they know is better than the one they don’t know. Think about that. The logic is flawed. It’s just that you don’t know yet.

The Devil You Know vs. the Devil You Don’t Know

That idea to stay with the “devil you know” comes from an inner fear voice that wants to stop you from trying anything new. It thinks it is keeping you safe. But it is just keeping you small… and unsatisfied.

Feeling stuck between staying or going, like the classic cat in the doorway syndrome? It doesn’t have to be so hard.

Wavering between what you want and what you’re afraid to check out is a place we could stay stuck forever if we don’t take some conscious action.

It’s like that funny thing cats do when they cry to go outside, but when you open the door to let them out, they freeze in the doorway, wondering whether to stay or go.

We laugh at them, or even get frustrated at the cat for not going ahead with what they said they wanted. But isn’t it just like us when we stop ourselves because we’re nervous to check out what’s out there?

I know I’ve done that. Yes, no, maybe, but yes, but no…. on and on. It’s classic human stuff, not just cat stuff.

How do we get out of that doorway when the unknown feels so daunting?

I’ll explain what I’ve discovered, and what many others have discovered, about how to move past the doorway, even when it feels scary.

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