In the past I’ve helped a few people in their career. Most of these people were in jobs they didn’t like and wanted something better.
Usually the way I start is by asking them to make three lists: what you love doing, what you are very good at, and what the market needs.
By finding that intersection between passion, skill, and demand, our work can be transformed from drudgery into something quite dramatic.
But most people don’t believe me.
Either they don’t believe such an ideal role exists or that they don’t have the skills or connections to land such a job.
The problem is that they’d made an unconscious agreement with themselves that they must suffer at work.
And if we’re really honest and self-aware, we realize that we make all sorts of debilitating agreements with ourselves.
I’m not [smart, good, attractive, young, old, healthy, rich, …] enough.
All of these agreements come from a place of fear and lack. They may have been instigated by our parents, friends, society, or ourselves – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’ve accepted these agreements and made them our reality.
Every agreement we make with ourselves that comes from a place of lack and fear will lead to suffering. Even our identify – the self-view we hold of ourselves – is an agreement.
But agreements are not unalterable. We can undo the fear-based agreements we made with ourselves. It’s a simple two-step process.
Step 1: Give ourselves permission to renegotiate the agreement.
When I tell people that they are allowed to be happy in their career and that achieving such a state is not very difficult, their first reaction is often doubt. But when I ask them to open themselves up to a new way of thinking – by giving themselves permission to think differently – their eyes (and often their mouths) open wide with wonder and awe.
It’s as if a giant weight is lifted from their shoulders and a hazy veil removed from their eyes. The new reality looks incredibly different than the one they’ve been locked in on.
Step 2: Renegotiate the agreement.
Now that you’ve been given permission to see the world differently, take each limiting agreement that doesn’t serve you well, and renegotiate the contract with yourself.
I used to be the person who couldn’t imagine being happy in my career. I am open to seeing that differently. In fact, I am a now someone who recognizes that I have certain skills in which I’m pretty good – that can help others – in areas that I’m passionate about.
By truly negotiating this new contract – meaning that we fully believe and accept it – then an incredibly mysterious thing happens. The world conspires to meet us in that new state – and we get exactly what we’re looking for.
In actually, it isn’t all that mysterious. The world always conspires to meet us in exactly the state we’ve chosen. We just don’t realize that most of the time we’ve chosen severely limiting agreements with ourselves.
So, the next time we find ourselves in a place of sorrow and suffering, we can ask ourselves this simple question: What agreements have I made with myself that are leading to this ugly state?
From there, we give ourselves permission to make a different choice and negotiate a new agreement – one that leads to far more peace and joy.
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the agreements we’ve made without ourselves and how they directly lead to our experiences in the world. I look forward to seeing you then.