My alarm clock woke me rudely. And I greeted my Monday with the same sinking, plummeting feeling that seemed to herald the beginning of every day I went to the office.
I knew I hated my job. But I didn’t have a single career change idea that felt viable. Not one.
Another precious weekend had evaporated, and now it was time to get back to reality, the daily grind.
Big, heavy sighs had become part of my everyday vocabulary. There was the stoic “Steel yourself, we’re going in” sigh, the disappointed “How did my life end up like this?” sigh, and the angry “Why am I so sodding trapped?” sigh.
None were fun.
Within minutes of sitting down at my desk, I would start to feel tired; like my brain was settling down to sleep, while maintaining the appearance of being awake. A numbing sense of checked-out-ness would gradually creep over me.
I just didn’t CARE about anything I was working on. I was bored. And as all the parts of me that had come alive over the weekend slowly retreated into the inaccessible recesses of my mind, I began the daily workday battle to stay awake.
To get enough done not to get fired.
To not feel the office politics raging around me.
To not let my panic at being stuck in work that felt so rubbish overwhelm me.
The experience of work that didn’t feel right was physically painful.
Each clue to a career change idea is physical too
And the experience of finding that first tiny fairy light of a career change idea was similarly physical. A whisper of something that I wanted, which I hadn’t realised before.
That day was a snowy one, which seemed apt given the chilly numbness I felt about my work. The roads were too dangerous to get into the office, so I was having a snow day.
I set my laptop up in my little study. It had a window looking out over my garden. I was wearing a snuggly chunky cable knitted jumper and jeans and I held a steaming cup of delicious smelling coffee in my two hands. It was ludicrously peaceful. Without realising, I sighed again, except this time my sigh was a contented one. How lovely, my heart said.
That day, even though I spent it doing the same old work, felt a little brighter and easier. I felt calmer, my shoulders descended at least three notches from their usual stressed out position somewhere close to my ear lobes.
And there was this gentle fizzy feeling in my tummy, like orange sherbet. It wasn’t loud. It wasn’t a light-bulb moment. But it was subtly exciting. And I knew I wanted this feeling more.
What I’d realised that day, without being able to articulate it at the time, was that working from home resonated with me.
That resonance was deeply physical.
I wouldn’t have been able to figure that out from taking personality tests, or researching home office setups online. If you’d asked me before that day I would have said that I liked working with other people around, that I enjoyed having a commute to transition between work and home.
My body let me know that something different was true.
I wanted a career where I could work from home, as much as I wanted to.
Your body’s ‘yes’ feeling can lead you to a genuine career change idea
That realisation set me off on a journey that gradually led me to further clues about what I wanted.
Over time a career change idea emerged out of the fog and became clearer, each step guided by looking out for that happy-sigh-plus-orange-sherbet sensation I’d had at home on that snowy day.
Realising that resonance was physical was gamechanging.
It gave me a barometer with which to test out how I felt about each element of my career change ideas, as they arose.
And if you’ve got no career change ideas of your own, this could be gamechanging for you too.
Because I’d be willing to bet good money that even if you feel like you haven’t got a single career change idea to work with, you’ve had a couple of fizzy orange sherbet moments of your own.
Perhaps you got it when you Marie Kondo’d your t-shirt drawer that time, or organised a day trip when your friends came to visit from abroad. Maybe you felt really buzzy when you volunteered to coordinate that charity bike ride at the office, read that book about training your puppy, or did the lights for your local AmDram production.
When did you last experience physical resonance, and what were you doing?
That’s your very first fairy light on the string. It’s not a career change idea, yet, but it might turn into one further down the line.
Follow the lights, see where they lead.
Figuring out whether it’s something that you’re good at, or likely to want to invest the time and resources getting good at, or how to make it sustainable financially comes later.
When you can connect the dots as to what creates resonance for you, then you have the beginnings of a trail to lead you to career change.
- Sift through your memories of projects, activities, and specific tasks you’ve done in a workplace, for the ones you really enjoyed. Go back there in your mind. What do you feel in your body?
- Remember some things you’ve done outside of work that have left you feeling energised, buzzy, lifted and excited. What were you doing? And how did these things leave you feeling physcially?
- What does physical resonance look and feel like for you? How do you know in your body, when something feels like a ‘yes’?
- Tune in to how your body feels when you go about your day to day life this week. What ideas / activities / trains of thought trigger your ‘yes’ response?
Chances are that the thing that’s going to be a great fit for you has already showed up in your life in some form before now.
And your body will help you understand what that is, if you listen.
What career change clues is your body already giving you? Let me know!
P.S. If you’re having trouble zooming in on what your physical yeses are, and want more in-depth support, I can help. Check out my Elite Squad for more details.