I’m waiting for my life to begin…

Dan Miller —  December 18, 2012 — 10 Comments

This morning I received a life coaching request from a 28-yr-old, working in the area of professional specialty that match his academic degrees.

In response to the question: Why are you looking for a change, he wrote:  “I am very unhappy with what I do. I am usually a passionate person and like for what I do to have meaning and to be of value to me. In my current job, I am not able to achieve these things. I seem to be on the sidelines of my own life, waiting for it to begin.”

While this is a season for shopping, partying, and spending fun time with family sidelinesmembers, this year-end is also likely to be a time for anxiously listening for company rumors and resume polishing.  For some of you the news is already in – downsizing and the accompanying layoffs often come in more of a flurry than any snowstorm as bosses look to trim their fixed costs in a last-minute attempt to have a fresh start for a more profitable New Year.  According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas more than 100,000 positions were slashed in December in two of the last three years.  And it seems that for every person who loses their job, there are 1,000 who are worried about it.

Don’t get caught unprepared.  You should see yourself as self-employed in some sense – even if you have only one client currently.  That will remove the feeling of being trapped and vulnerable.  In addition:

  • Re-assess your direction.  Are you on track, or do you need a re-alignment?
  • Recognize that a change (even if unexpected or unwelcome) often wakes up old dreams.  What were the dreams you had as a child?  What are those recurring themes in the things you dream of doing?
  • Stay informed.  You should be reading magazines like Fast Company, INC, and Entrepreneur to see the best new ideas being introduced.  Don’t count on the knowledge you got in college 20 years ago to insure your value today.
  • Make age and experience your assets.  The experience you have today should make you more valuable as a candidate than what you could offer 15-20 years ago.
  • Be ready to document your value.  Be able to describe unique areas of competence you have refined and developed.
  • Be willing to look at all the options available to you.  Perhaps you’ve been too narrow in looking at ways to put legs on your dreams.

Welcome this end-of-year self-evaluation.  Maybe you’re ready to get off “the sidelines” and begin living the life you were put here to live.

  • http://twitter.com/TimBishop4 Tim Bishop

    The last eight words of this post say a mouthful: “…the life you were put here to live.” In my estimation, many people have not figured that part out. How many have even asked themselves the question: “Why am I here?” The self-assessment needs to start there. Until it does, there will be lifelong unrest. The answer has spiritual underpinnings, which our culture is rejecting at an alarming pace.

    • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

      Oh so true Tim! We were put here to do something and if we’re still breathing, we’re not done! That’s my take anyway!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/BYMBE7XZUTQVCRBRRKE3KLED4Q Aspiring Millionaire

      So how DO you figure out why you’re here? I’m 49, unemployed since January, and still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up… I *was* doing IT work, but I’m not even sure that’s what I want to do going forward. I’m open to other areas, and I know I’d have to start at the bottom again. But I’m having problems determining WHAT, y’know…?

      • http://twitter.com/TimBishop4 Tim Bishop

        Go back and look at what you were doing when you were feeling most fulfilled. What type of work was it? Did you excel at it? What are your gifts and interests? And which of those interests are you most passionate about? At 49, you have enough life experience to learn much from analyzing it. This website has some good resources to help in the process. But beyond the obvious needs to find meaningful work and to put bread on the table, times of personal crisis are often good times to ponder the deeper meaning of life. Make knowing God and growing spiritually integral to your search. I wish you well.

  • http://bluecapra.com/about-me Alan Reeves

    I have been where your client has been. It is a tough spot to be. What can start out as an energetic outlook on life and a new career can be repressed due to restrictions in a company, our lives, and our minds. As Tim Bishop just commented, there will be lifelong unrest unless you know what it your purpose in life.

    What worked for me was starting a side business. No matter how bad my day was, I always had something to look forward to, something that I had a bigger stake in than a paycheck, something that I enjoyed. If you are not doing something you enjoy everyday (reading, hobbies, etc but NOT watching TV) you will never be happy

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    Great message Dan! Your stuff is always so inspiring and definitely causes change in me. I find myself much more productive and constantly thinking of ways to improve after I’ve read your blog or even your books. Thanks!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Life is way too short to spend even a single minute on the sidelines. I did that for to long in my life that’s why I’m living BIG!

  • Brad McCullouch

    …. Miller scores another touchdan with tried and true commentary.

  • http://www.livebeyondawesome.com/ Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

    GREAT reminder,”Don’t get caught unprepared. You should see yourself as self-employed in some sense – even if you have only one client currently. That will remove the feeling of being trapped and vulnerable.” This took a while of listening to you to grasp…now it is hard to imagine not seeing myself as self employed. Thanks Dan!
    Live Beyond Awesome.
    Twitter: @TheIronJen

  • Greg M

    Great message! I’m at a strange crossroads with all of this. I have a strong sense about what I am supposed to do but have no idea how to get there from here. At.43 and a father to three sons (15, 13, 11) I just don’t know how to make the transition…or find the time to do so.