Ultimately, every career comes to a crossroads.
When facing an intersection, I look for signs. Ideally, these are clear indicators of which path to take. There’s one sign I’ve been looking for most consistently.
Because I want to live a life without regrets.
I guess so?
Whether it’s missing a school play because of work, failing a relationship, leaving important words unsaid, or having our priorities messed up, regret is a heavy burden we carry in our lives.
Regret takes up energy and space. They always drag behind you like bricks in a suitcase, making the road to your next destination dangerous. They drain any energy you could use to enjoy the journey, and threaten to drag you to the ground at any moment, to the lowest, weakest, most powerless version of yourself.
I have been there too.
I was at a crossroads in my career. Stuck at the crossroads between being put off for a promotion (again) and being paralyzed with fear (other than job hunting). And I could only see one road. traditional road. Please continue to please. continue the performance. keep being perfect. Keep your promises. Please don’t stop. Especially don’t let the team you lead down.
You may have been there too. Maybe you are there now.
What do you do next when you’re at a critical crossroads?
Why pause, especially when your brain is telling you to slam the accelerator into the floor?
Pause when all you want to do is escape from that very uncomfortable moment of indecision as quickly as possible.
Because that speed demon moment can make you miss valuable road signs to guide your journey of discovery.
My goal was to live a life without regrets. Can you find your way to the possibilities?
Regret makes me want to look in the rearview mirror. revisit. doubt. Question yourself and your judgment. living in the past.
And there are only two ways to look at your life. rearview mirror or windshield. look back or look forward.
What are the chances of a collision when looking in the rearview mirror?
If pausing is beneficial in avoiding crashes, why would we all want to skip this step, myself included?
Pausing is uncomfortableBeing busy can be as comforting and comforting as having chicken soup on a cold winter’s night.
you don’t realize you’re at a crossroadsConflicting priorities cloud our ability to notice when we are stuck. We are stuck in old patterns. We are stuck in old beliefs. You’re stuck with old labels and restrictions.
Decisions are not easier decisions. No evaluation required. No nasty trade-offs or emotions. It’s easier to allow a series of small decisions to eventually become big ones — at least in the short term.
feel pressure from othersWe want to be liked and loved, which means we want to belong. We are willing to settle for less than what we want to feel the way we want to feel.
it’s easier to say yesEveryone likes people they get along with. And a comfortable road is a busy road. I feel we are in good company.
ego factorWe want to be seen as “having it all together”. We want to be seen as ‘successful’. Always know and strive for the ‘next’ with complete clarity.
Perceived impact on time and resources. We embrace the belief that we don’t have enough time or money to fulfill our deepest dreams and desires.
unconfident. Impostor syndrome and saboteur thinking loudly repeat the refrain, “You are not good enough.” “You’re never good enough.” “This doesn’t matter.”
you don’t know what you want It’s like being hungry without knowing you’re hungry. Sometimes you and I know what we’re doing isn’t working. And sticking to that idea is exhausting. Melancholy. Overwhelming. Especially if you feel the pressure of making a decision is pressing.
When I paused at a career crossroads, three simple questions became my signposts pointing the way to the possibilities. And it moved me to a life without regrets. The same he three questions are also valid.
- what is working?
- What’s not working?
- What are the smallest steps you can take to move towards your desired outcome?
One step is motion. Movement is momentum. Momentum is magic.