Contributed by Eti Katabi
From Kishurim HR / IESF Israel
Our lives are based on expectations. They begin with our parents’ expectations, continue with our friends’ expectations, and expand to the expectations of other circles. As we live life, all of these expectations eventually become our own expectations from ourselves.
Unfortunately, in our quest to meet these expectations, we manage to forget about ourselves in the shuffle. We forget who we really are: what suits us, what we like, what we want to avoid, what’s right for us and what’s wrong for us. This strongly influences our career choices as well when we are young.
For many, at a late point in our careers, we suddenly find ourselves both suffering and confused. On one hand, we might be very successful at our jobs, but on the other hand, we’re miserable.
The cause for this misery is that while we’ve been working very hard to meet expectations, we haven’t been loyal to ourselves. We haven’t chosen a career that’s really based on our needs, strengths, values, and feelings. This discovery often causes a great deal of disappointment to us and those around us.
One way to cope with this disappointment is to blame our jobs: “I work 24/7 without any time off for myself”; “They gave my promotion to someone else”; or “They don’t pay me what I’m worth”.
Others simply choose to ignore their disappointment and to march on.
From my experience, neither path is helpful.
Instead, embrace the disappointment, and then take a step back to really understand more about yourself – and what separates you from the expectations of others. Ask yourself honest questions about what suits you, what you like, what you want to avoid, what’s right for you, and what’s wrong for you. Armed with your new insights, begin to reconsider your strengths, your other skills, and other options. In the end, you will be better positioned to identify the gap between what you’re currently doing and what’s right for you.
Remember that it’s never too late to discover ourselves.