Why do you go to work? It’s not a question we often ask ourselves, at least I can’t say that I do. For many of us we do it because that’s what is expected of us or we need that paycheck or any number of very practical reasons. But I couldn’t help but wonder today, ‘How did I get here?’.
At first I thought the answer was an easy on – I’m here because of all of the many decisions, big or small, that I’ve made throughout my life. They’ve led me to this moment, working for this company in this particular role. But that didn’t feel quite right to me. As I looked back over my professional life, I’m afraid that I’ve often made decisions trying to control or in reaction to someone or something around me. If I’m really honest with myself, I’m probably where I am by accident rather than intention. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t worked hard, grown in knowledge and experience and even ‘moved up’. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person or a failure. It does mean that it’s time for a change.
I think I’ve been ‘renting’ my career rather than ‘owning’ it. What that means to me is that I’ve allowed people or events to fuel my emotions and drive my decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made every decision and own the consequences of each of them, but I haven’t always made choices for the right reasons.
It’s very often too easy to place blame or justification for what do in the words or actions of others. When we do that, we let go of our power to own our careers, and our lives. Ask yourself a few questions…
- Do you worry about who gets promoted around you?
- Do you get upset when you find out that someone has a higher salary than you do?
- Do you spend time trying to decipher intent behind a comment or in an email?
These are just a few examples of the behaviors that may indicate that you’re a ‘renter’. I know I’ve fallen into these traps before and I would suspect that many of you have too. When we are consumed with what happens with the people around us, how we perceive they think of us and what they have that we may not, we lose focus on what really matters, ourselves. We give everyone around us control over how we feel and react.
Ultimately, you have control over yourself and nothing else. Realizing that can make all the difference in your life – I know it has in mine. When we stop trying to control everything that happens around us and take control of our own words and actions, you send a message to your Soul that says you are really ready to live your own life. You’re ready to become an ‘owner’, not of anyone or anything around you, but of you.