Crystal’s Situation: Crystal didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life or how to start investigating her career options. “I’m feeling lost because there are so many career possibilities and most of them are things I don’t even know about! I’m afraid to get a job just to try it out, because it seems like most jobs expect you to stay there for years.”
Crystal’s Question: What if there really doesn’t exist anything that I would find satisfying as a career? How do I know that I’m not just an inherently lazy person?
Julia’s Answer: The short answer to “Is there a satisfying career out there for me?” is yes! As you said, there are so many possibilities to explore. Chances are extremely good that at least one will make you happy.
Moving on to your “Am I just lazy?” question: probably not. Read on for some more productive ways to think about laziness and how to start taking action.
“Laziness” = Inaction + Judgment
When we beat ourselves up for being lazy, it’s because we’re not taking the actions we think we should. We jump to self-judgment because we hope it will spur us into movement, but it often leaves us feeling more unmotivated and paralyzed than before. As long as that critical voice is present, it’s hard to see the way forward.
Try This: Replace Judgment with Curiosity
Assume for a minute that you have good reasons for not taking action. What are they? Let yourself be curious and see how many you can come up with.
- I don’t know where to start.
- I don’t have enough information to make a decision.
- I’m scared of making the wrong choice.
These are all valid reasons! They also have the benefit of being more useful than “maybe I’m just lazy.” Now we have something to work with!
Make Progress by Overcoming Your Objections
Rather than staying stuck in self-criticism and trying to shame yourself into progress, look at overcoming these objections as a path to solving your problem. Keep reading for some examples.
I don’t know where to start.
- How could you find out?
- Who do you know who does know where to start? (hint: check out Alison’s free e-course for some ideas.)
I don’t have enough information to make a decision.
- What are some ways you could fill in the gaps in your knowledge?
- Who could you talk to?
- What resources are you forgetting about?
I’m afraid of making the wrong choice.
- How could you experiment and explore different directions without committing yourself 100%?
- How can you get a taste of the experience in a risk-free way?
- Think back to a good decision you made – how did that feel? Would you recognize that feeling again?
Once you have no objections left, or have ways of dealing with the ones that remain, your journey will go much more smoothly!
Working with the Stuck Is Part of the Process
The process of uncovering your objections and finding ways to circumvent them is a vital part of your career exploration, just like filling out online applications and sending out resumes. Give yourself credit for having the courage to engage with your fears and insecurities. Like a car that’s stuck in a snow bank, you might have to spend some time digging yourself out before you can hit the gas.
Finally: Give Yourself a Little Grace
My guess is that if a friend was in your situation, you wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they were lazy. You’d probably give them some gentle encouragement, help them problem-solve and celebrate their progress. Can you extend the same kindness to yourself?
What are your reasons for not taking action? Once you know what your objections are, how could you overcome them?
Client Feedback on Working with Julia in a Cardy Career Coaching program:
“Julia is an excellent listener and asked really interesting questions that got me thinking outside of the box. I appreciated her understanding with scheduling conflicts, too. Julia was an excellent sounding-board for me!” – Career Direction Clarity + Action Plan Client
Each week the Cardy Career Coaching Team is tackling a career question from someone in our community. If you’re at a crossroads with your career and would like to pose a question, sign up for the Step-By-Step Career Change E-Course! There’s a link to a quick survey in the early emails of the course where you can leave us a question. We might just write a blog post for you!