Is it worth changing our circumstances in search of fulfillment?
I recently had a discussion with a professional, in her 30s, who was so confused about her role at work.
"I don't fit in."
"I think I chose the wrong profession."
"I may actually lose my job."
That was her story!
The conversation reminded me of myself at a bank in Maryland where I spent my first seven years after college.
While at the bank I hopped from one position to another thinking that I would find satisfaction if I tried.
Sometimes we think we have to change our circumstances to create a better life for ourselves.
And yes, this works in some cases. A spacious home can be better than a cramped space. But for some circumstances, it works for a minute.
In 1998 I was a relationship officer in a Nothern Virginia office. Most of our clients were older white males married with children in high school or college. They were very successful in businesses established for years. I believed I couldn't possibly have anything in common with them. Or at least that's what my brain told me. And for sure I didn't try.
Whenever my boss dragged me along to meet with clients at their offices, at lunch, or on the golf course, I hardly created conversation. They spoke about their vacations, children's activities, or the next big investment. I wasn't married. I had no children. I was a 24-yr old African girl just trying to make my way through the corporate world.
As I think back at those conversations around the table, I remember sitting there feeling so bored and sometimes yawning.
"When is this over with already so I can get back to my desk and get lost in my grad school assignment.?"
"This is too hard."
"I cannot find new clients."
"I don't like golf."
These were the stories I told myself. It did not help that I am a bit of an introvert.
Four years later I made Assistant Vice President. But I still believed my story so I requested a transfer to another location.
Greenbelt, Maryland was mostly black and Hispanic back then. I thought I would tap into the minority-owned businesses in that area to expand my portfolio. I believed I would fit in.
When I got there, I inherited some accounts right from the start. And as diverse as that environment was, I carried my story with me. The accounts I inherited made money. And I hardly booked any new clients.
What's even more disturbing is that I had all the support I needed. My supervisors and unofficially assigned mentors were fantastic. They saw a lot of potential in me! But my brain refused to see the same! Instead, I found all kinds of reasons as to why I did not fit in. Again.
The most profound truth I have learned about the brain is that we create our reality with our thoughts.
I lived my life thinking my circumstances were the problem.
I compromised my experiences.
I did not allow my mind up to open up to the possibilities.
Three years later, I decided that;
"being a loan officer isn't for me. I am tired of selling to people with who I couldn't create a meaningful relationship."
Once again I requested a transfer to the credit review department.
Like a damsel on a mission I went to speak to my boss.
"Peter, I think I would like to join the credit review department."
"Are you sure that's what you want?" he asked.
"Yes, I want to gain that experience." I lied!
"Okay If that's what you want I will be happy to give you a reference" he said.
I honestly believe my boss saw through all the excuses. But the gentleman that he was, gave me a very cordial response.
My story is a classic example of why we are never satisfied if we are constantly choosing to change our circumstances. Fulfillment comes from within. If it is not there, it doesn't matter what you do outside of you, you will not find it.
In order for us to find satisfaction or fulfillment in what we do, we have to manage our minds. We have to listen to those internal voices that tell us we don't fit it in, it's too hard, we are in the wrong profession. The brain is inherently lazy. It seeks comfort.
We need to be aware of our automatic thought patterns in order to effect change in our lives. If you are not into journaling you might want to reconsider. It is the easiest way to create awareness.
Write your thoughts down as they come to mind without judgment.
Be honest with yourself and separete the facts from the thoughts.
Choose the ones that do not serve you and ask, how can I change this thought so it can benefit me.
It is from awareness that we can create change from within.
And yes a bigger house is better than a cramped space. But how about you learn to love the cramped space while you are in it. Appreciating our current circumstances as they are, creates a far-reaching life experience than wanting more. In fact, when the big one comes, the experience will be more fulfilling both from the outside and within.
I coach professional women from burnout, to writing their own rules, reconnect with their passion, so they can lead with courage, purpose, and heart.