Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm talking about the importance of prioritizing purpose and connection in all aspects of life but especially when making career decisions.
Let me tell you a story that goes something like this... I just got promoted, I'm making over 6 figures, I live in a beautiful condo downtown, I have great friends and family. I feel fortunate for what I have, but I am deeply, deeply unhappy. I cry most days, I have no energy after work to do anything but watch reality tv or HGTV, and the dread I feel on Sunday nights overwhelms me.
Does that resonate at all? You know, the "outside" seems pretty darn great but the inside is crying out about unmet needs? That was me. For a very, very, very long time. Eleven years to be exact. And I know there are a lot of you out there who have felt the same.
Looking back, here's how I would boil it down - I was deeply unhappy because I was lacking connection and purpose in my life. And what made me even more unhappy was that everyone was telling me I should be happy because I "had it all"... and then this made me feel even worse about myself. And it left me drained and depleted.
We can strive for the next promotion, and the next promotion, and the next promotion and win them all, but at the end of the day when purpose and connection are missing, we will be unhappy with every win. We "think" that next thing is going to make us happy, and then it doesn't. So we strive for the next thing, and that doesn't make us happy either. If that pattern continues, it won't be long before a real sense of disillusionment sets in about the story we've been sold. You all know the "story" I'm referring to -- get into the best college, get into the best graduate school, get a high paying job, get married by 30, buy a house, get a dog, have a child, etc and at the end of that very long list, happiness awaits.
We need to be smart enough to recognize that happiness is unique to each individual and not based on some superficial list of life achievements. And we need to be brave enough to admit what isn't working for us. We have to be brave enough to be radically honest, without judging ourselves and without minimizing our experience.
I find that what usually is missing in this equation is purpose and connection. That's at the root of the unhappiness so many "successful" women experience. It doesn't matter how much money or friends you have - if you are lacking fundamental human connection and purpose, you will be deeply unhappy. And on the flip side, this is why people with "average" jobs and "average" salaries can be deeply happy. If they go home after work to a wonderful, big family and a supportive partner after working in a job that matches their purpose, they will experience deep joy and fulfillment and be much, much, much more happy than the person who appears to "have it all" per the story we've been sold growing up.
If this resonates with you, I strongly encourage you to start here -- evaluate your goals. If they consist of things like "get the next promotion" and "book that trip to Greece", I encourage you to take a deep look at what you're chasing in life. In my opinion, the biggest and largest and best goal any of us could ever strive for is deep, meaningful, and true connection and a job that fulfills our purpose. Get away from goals that center around words like promotion, job title, salary, and fancy trips and cars, and move towards goals that center around the things that are going to bring you joy, meaning, peace, connection, and fulfillment. And *most importantly* I can't tell you what those goals are because they are different for everyone. What makes me truly fulfilled is going to be drastically different from what makes you truly fulfilled. What brings me peace and joy is going to be different from you. We are all unique and special in our own ways and the "cookie cutter" approach to goals has been all wrong from the very start. We are all very different, and therefore we shouldn't all want the same things, but yet most of us are striving for that cookie cutter list I rattled off earlier (you know, the high paying job, husband, dog, house, kid, etc).
Warning: This is not easy. It sounds simple right? Draft a better list of goals with meaning? But it's terribly hard for so many women, including myself back in the day, because most of us have been programmed growing up to want that cookie cutter list and we have literally never thought about what we truly want. If you're say, 35, and this is the first time you've ever thought about what you truly want in life, it's going to be difficult. It's probably going to bring up some tears. It isn't an afternoon project - it might take months to figure out. It might even require the help of a coach or therapist. But it'll be worth every tear, every minute, every dollar you spend on it. I can say that from personal experience. I sought the help of a therapist in 2015 and, in 2017, I made the drastic choice to leave my job as a lawyer and start grace + hudson. It took me two years to work through some things and get really clear on what I want. Don't be surprised if it takes you that long too. That's important work and it can't be rushed.
At the end of the day, we all deserve to be deeply happy. And when you start to think of goals in a different way - when you start to think about YOUR unique happiness instead of the cookie cutter list of things that are "supposed" to make you happy, the idea of happiness seems a whole lot more attainable. And when we feel our goals are more attainable, we feel more empowered to reach them. In short, when you follow your unique purpose and the things that bring connection and fulfillment, you'll never be led astray. You'll always have the means of reaching them. It might take a long time, but you can get there. It was what you were put on this earth to do, and only you can stand in your own way. The other stuff is just obstacles to help you grow and help you become a better you.
I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my own experiences. My wish is for everyone to know the feeling of doing work that brings them joy. It truly is an unbelievable gift to not dread Mondays and hope for Friday's fast arrival. If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe.
P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I have a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!