It’s easy to lose sight of the goals and expectations that you have set for yourself in your career when your personal life is buzzing.
There comes a point where the dreams that you had as a kid, and a teenager, and a college student start to look a little fuzzy. You can’t remember your “why”, or what your purpose was in the first place. You can’t see the steps it takes to get there, let alone the end goal.
You become more worried about paying rent or a mortgage, and buying groceries, and putting food on the table, and doing laundry, and being a good spouse, and a good parent. And there’s nothing wrong with any of that. You should pay your rent and mortgage and rent on time, and buy groceries, and put food on the table. You should put energy and care into being a good spouse, and a good parent, and a good friend, and a good family member.
Those are all things to strive for, those are all good things.
But sometimes, those good things aren’t enough to make you feel as though you have a purpose. Sometimes, those relationships and responsibilities aren’t enough to make you feel fulfilled.
To feel unfulfilled and purposeless can be disturbing, and heartbreaking, and paralyzing. And you’re not alone in that. You’re not crazy for feeling that way. Without a feeling purpose, we become susceptible to depression, and despair, and overwhelming negativity – and that’s not a pleasant rabbit hole to fall down.
Questioning your lack of purpose and/or fulfillment isn’t something that you invented. It isn’t something new – it used to be called logotherapy – a concept that was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl on the premise that the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. Now it’s evolved into meaning therapy.
So what do we do when we lose sight of the goals that we’ve lost sight of? What do we do when we suddenly look around at our life and think, “what do I do now? How did I get here?”
Perhaps the first step is to stop beating yourself up. Stop berating yourself for the fact that you do not feel blessed. Stop scolding yourself for not feeling grateful. Stop feeding into the thought that you screwed up somehow if you’re not thriving in the career that you thought you’ve always wanted.
Instead, start asking yourself questions. What really matters to you? What do you really care about? Are the goals you have your own, or are they the things you think you’re supposed to want? Did your goals change? Did your dreams shift? What’s your why?
Ask questions. And just when you think you’ve asked enough – dig deeper. Ask more.
Then take five minutes at the end of the day to write down five things that you did that you feel were worthwhile. Don’t get caught up in the size or amount of worthinesses, either. Too often we disregard tiny moments of compassion and action as insignificant, when in fact, those are the moments that make up the lives you look to in admiration. Those are the moments that form the foundation of a life of fulfillment and purpose.
It’s ok that you’ve lost sight of the goals and expectations that you have set for yourself in your career when your personal life is buzzing – and it doesn’t mean you can’t bring them back into your field of vision, either.
Start with asking questions.