In a previous blog I described the way I stumbled into a marketing career; I became an entrepreneur just as haphazardly.
After being a well-paid but miserable marketing manager in high-tech for a few years, I hired a career counsellor. At one point he threw up his hands in exasperation and said, “I just can’t figure you out!” I was literally helpless. If an expert couldn’t figure me out I must not be figureable.
Perhaps I was doing the right work in the wrong environment, I reasoned, and started my own marketing communications practice. That made the work tolerable, but not lovable.
Many of us use this logic to find our “right” work: we consider the things we’re capable of and look for jobs that require those skills. As our careers progress, we learn which aspects of our work we most enjoy and look for ways to do more of that and less of the other things.
For the first time, I’m excited about ALL of what I’m doing. I’ve never heard of a career or business like the one I’m building . It didn’t exist for me to fit into; I created it.
The old logic would never have brought me to this place. I had to use a new logic. Instead of thinking about the things I’m capable of DOING, I focused on how I wanted to FEEL.
Once I had that feeling in my sights it was like a switch flipped and a series of levers and gears clicked into place.
There’s an expression, what you focus on expands. I focused on what I wanted to FEEL and found myself moving in that direction. Some of it was subconscious and some of it was intentional. About two years after I started to focus on that feeling, my new business, Phrase Strategy, introduced itself to me.
Focusing on a feeling may sound vague, but it’s made things very clear for me. That feeling is a measuring stick and for every possibility that arises, I ask: does it make me feel that way?
How do you want to FEEL?
If you’re contemplating change (e.g. in your career, the place you live, a relationship, etc.) you’ve probably already thought about the things you KNOW. You probably know what you want to spend your time doing, how your perfect home will look, or the traits your perfect partner will have.
Imagine yourself in that ideal situation and think about how you FEEL:
- Go beyond labeling the feeling (e.g. “happy”), as that can be limiting.
- Get specific: when you think of yourself in the ideal, what sensations are in your body? In your mind? What’s going on mentally?
- It can help to think about another situation when you feel that way (e.g. when you’re exercising, being creative, playing with your dog, etc.). Or, recall a time in the past when you’ve felt that way, perhaps as a child.
Once you capture that feeling, sit with it. If you’re creative, draw it or write it or dance it out. If you’re a thinker, close your eyes and imagine it. Get to know that feeling so well that you can quickly identify when it occurs (and does not occur) in other parts of your life.
Personally, I find a bit of time every day to sit with my ideal feeling. When I’m patient, good things flow from it.