Have you ever looked in the mirror before headed out to work and ask yourself the following question: "Why am I doing this?"
With some deep thought and a honest answer to yourself may unlock the answer to the level of happiness you're seeking in your life. This is a question I was forced to ask myself when I was laid off from my job in 2009.
I was laid off in the heart of the financial and mortgage crisis, soul searching for answers of where everything went wrong. But then I stopped to ask myself that critical question.
My answer... "I'm doing this to pay my bills and afford to do fun things every now and then." In order for me to keep my house, drive my car, put food on the table, and provide I "had" to go to work.
Regardless how much I hated my job, I had to go in order to keep my way of living moving forward. But then that forced me to ask a deeper question.... "How did I get here to this point?"
How did I allow myself to get to the point of hating my job, and living in a cycle of mental imprisonment? That let me to thinking about freedom and choice.
ENTERING THE WORKFORCE
Think back to when you were about the graduate college and enter the workforce. This is when you started to develop your perception of what the working adult looks like.
The steps I'm about to share likely didn't happen in this order but your journey ended up at the same destination.
First, you graduated from college then off to work your first adult job hopefully aligned to your degree. You need somewhere to live, so you either decided to get an apartment or a house.
Not just any house or apartment, you needed a big house or the apartment that's right in the center of all the attractions. Why? Because that's what the working adult is.... nice place to live, just to make sure everyone knows "you made it".
You need a way to get around, so you need a car. Not just any car, you need the car that makes the statement that "you've arrived". The kind of car that immediately gets your friends and families attention.
You need to look the part when you show up to work or when you're out with your friends. Not just any clothes though, you need all the name brands that "everyone" else is wearing. Why? Because you're a successful working adult, that's what they do. Right?
Along the way you paid for some of those clothes with cash, your credit was in good shape so you got approved for your mortgage and a car loan.
Then in a few years you get married then shortly after you have a couple of kids. Not realizing the imaginary handcuffs you're putting on yourself is getting tighter and tighter.
So now you're paying for your nice home, nice car, continuing to buy your nice clothes, your spouse is also doing the same and paying for daycare.
Let's summarize this, your expenses has increased dramatically while it's highly likely that your income hasn't increased at the same pace.
Now you're in a situation where you have less freedom and less choices in your life. So now you're forced to stand in front of the mirror to ask yourself, "How did I get here? Is this it the rest of my life?"
WORKING FOR FREEDOM AND CHOICE
This is a conversation that I've recently had with my son who is a junior in high school about to enter his senior year in high school. I used this as a moment to allow my older self to speak to my younger self.
The truth is I spent most of my young career trying to live up to the perception of what a successful working adult is instead of focusing on what makes me happy. This was an extremely big mistake that I'm still recovering from to this day.
Simply put, I spent most of my early career buying and doing things that I really didn't need, to impress people I really didn't like or even wasn't paying attention to what I thought.
If you're feeling stuck and in the mental prison of having to go to a job that you hate just to keep pace with your "perception" of what it is to be successful, it's not too late to fix it....
Your ultimate goal in life is not to impress others or to appear to make it. It's to make sure that you wake up and check in mentally each day feeling fulfilled and happy with what you do.
This requires a shift in your mindset and your willingness to rescue yourself from the damage you've done. But I assure you, you're certainly not alone and it's not too late.
START FROM HERE
How do you fix what seems an mistake that you can't seem to escape and seemingly to never able to fix?
I challenge you to start exactly at the point I started with.... get your literal and mental trash can out and de-clutter your life. It's also extremely important that you change the habits that's led you to a spiral of mental imprisonment to habits leading you to freedom and choice.
Starting with your habits and the materialistic things that you've acquired in your life is just the beginning. You need to analyze if your career is truly serving you more than just earning a paycheck to pay bills.
Do you have your ladder on the right corporate wall? Is the job that you're showing up to each day truly serving you? Are you living out your purpose?
Be still for a moment to assess where you are and free yourself from the mental imprisonment you're living today.