5 Ways To Bypass Your Inner Critic and Get Clear on Your Dreams

From time to time I come across this advice for uncovering What You Were Meant To Do With Your Life: Ask yourself, If I knew I could not fail, what would I do?

I have to admit to you, I hate this question. More accurately, I dread it.

You see, I can’t seem to play this game with out waking up the sleeping giant – my inner critic.

The more I dream, the louder she gets: Be a professional dancer – you’re too old to start that now. End world hunger, or violence against children – you’re too introverted to fly around the world making speeches. Start a retreat center – yeah, maybe when your son starts college. Who has the time?

Pretty soon, I feel anxious and overwhelmed, and I’ve convinced myself that I’ll never amount to anything. 

I need a trick for bypassing the inner critic.

But first, it helps to understand what this inner critic really is:

We humans have a built-in survival system, designed to bring us back to our safety (comfort) zone. This comfort zone is what we know. We know how to function in this zone. Even if this place is not completely satisfying – in fact, even if it’s lousy – it’s familiar, and we know how to survive here. The comfort zone includes our physical environment, our social network, even our identity.

When we leave our comfort zone – and even when we think about leaving it – the survival part of our brain says, “Hey, that’s potentially dangerous out there. Better return to the place we know.” Unfortunately, this happens even when contemplating a change that we KNOW would make life better, like applying for a better-paying job.

Moreover, our survival systems don’t distinguish very well between physical threats, social threats, and threats to our identity. Those negative messages are like cattle herders, trying to drive the cattle back into the fenced area of our comfort zones. Get back! Hee-ya!

The inner critic the most cautious part of our brains. 

Many times, it’s incredibly helpful that we have this automatic threat-assessment system. Dark, unfamiliar alley? Maybe not! Fresh coffee at the drive-thru? Better make sure it’s not too hot before gulping it down!

Trouble is, it is hard to just “turn it off.” Maybe even impossible. And, since it’s mostly helpful, we wouldn’t want to turn it off completely and forever anyway.

So, how to selectively bypass this critic and get clear on your dreams?

Try any or all of the techniques that follow. Some are geared specifically towards careers, others for your big exciting life goals in general.

Technique #1: Recognize the inner critic for what it is

Make a list of the objections your inner critic tends to throw at you. To get at these think about big decisions you considered in the past or ones you are considering now. See which objections are most common, and most likely to stop you in your tracks.

Then, notice whenever they arise, and see them for what they are: your automatic survival system, your internal cattle herders. Then choose to ignore them – or see them as problems to be solved rather than walls blocking your path.

Technique #2: Make the other voices louder

Interview 6-10 people in your life; have them reflect back to you what you’re good at, and what they appreciate about you. Sometimes others close to us can see it better than we can.

Prepare 4-6 questions that you’ll ask each person. Ask these people to reflect back what you’ve been saying you want for your life…what are you excited about…what dreams you have articulated…what you’re naturally good at doing. Compile the list and see what patterns emerge.

Technique #3: Create an envy list

Make a list of people who’s careers you envy. They can be people you know personally or famous people you know of. Then next to each one list what it is about those careers you desire most – the freedom? The income? The kind of work they do? The travel? The kind of impact they have in the world? Often, this list will help us recognize the things we want for ourselves, but believe are out of reach.

Technique #4: Bypass the critic with pictures

Create a vision board for your ideal life. Include as many aspects as you can: career, health, relationships, living environment, financial wellbeing, etc. For best results, draw MOST of it yourself rather than cutting out images from magazines; this will help (1) keep your vision from being tainted by the limitations imposed by the advertising industry (such as gender or racial stereotyping), and (2) make the symbolic meaning of the drawing as personal and tailored to you as possible.

There are only two rules – no words, and no numbers – but as a guideline I also recommend using as much detail (and color!) as possible.

While this may seem similar to the dreaded “If-you-know-you-could-not-fail-what-would-you-do?” question, it actually works differently. By drawing symbolically, you make it easier to feel and intuit rather than (over) think your way through the exercise. Your results are more likely to be what you actually crave than what you’ve convinced yourself is important. And, finally, this symbolic image of your ideal life will leave open multiple options for achieving it, which allows you to fold in, rather than be sidetracked by, the unexpected opportunities that come your way.

Final Thoughts

Learning to quiet your inner critic is certainly a process.

Remember to be patient and kind with yourself. Just learning to recognize this voice, and engage with it, is a big step all by itself. As you learn to discern between your inner critic and your inner voice (which might also be called your dreams, your “heart,” or your intuition), it will get easier to “go for it” and create the life you desire and deserve.

3 Reasons You Hate the Job You're Great At

Sally was a licensed nurse and mental health counselor, working as a health coach for an insurance company. The company sent clients to her for evaluation and counseling, mostly by phone.

She should have been happy. She was working in her field, she set her own hours, got paid $15,000 more than any other job she’d ever had, and she had good benefits.

Yet at the end of every day, she felt restless and empty inside. Eventually she began to hate her job, even though she was good at it.

It’s funny, isn’t it? Sometimes we dread a job we’re actually very good at.

How can that be?

If you find yourself in that situation, it’s crucial to understand why you’re there -- otherwise, you may switch jobs, only to wind up in the same predicament.

In my experience, there are three main reasons you hate a job you're great at.

Read each and see if you can find the one that fits your situation.

Reason #1: The Missing Mission

Remember Sally? She was earning the best money of her life, but she felt empty inside.

Why? Why not just take the paycheck and go on with her life?

Deep down, Sally wanted to work with teenagers, not adults. She was especially concerned about homeless teens and their risk of falling through the cracks.

Sally was unhappy because she had a case of mis-matched mission: the mission of her current employer did not fit her deepest, truest personal mission in life. She took the job after eight months of being unemployed because the job paid well and had other perks – but after she caught up with her bills, that missing mission felt like a big hole in her life.

Why is mission so important?

The diagram below illustrates the Four Career Domains. These are the four aspects of your self-ness that need to be fulfilled, in order for you to love your career over time.

The Four Career Domains: The overlap is where your ideal career lies. 

The Four Career Domains: The overlap is where your ideal career lies. 

Here’s a quick summary of what’s in the Four Career Domains:

  1. Best Self: Can you be your “best self” at work – who you really are, at your best? This includes your values, the roles you like to play at work, and your temperament.
  2. Passion, Mission, and Purpose: Why do you work? How does your work create meaning in your life, address an issue you care about, or involve your passions?
  3. Natural Talents and Learned Skills: Does your job use your favorite skills? Does your job challenge you to continuously grow and learn new things?
  4. Personal Requirements: Does your job fit into your life? Does it pay enough, enable you to live the lifestyle you want? Do you like the hours, the commute, the benefits? Does it allow you to “be there” for your kids? Etc.

Each of these domains must be reasonably satisfied in order for you to enjoy work and be energized (rather than drained) by it over time.

As you might guess, what’s in each domain varies quite a bit from person to person.

Here’s what it looks like when you have a case of the Missing Mission:

The Missing Mission

The Missing Mission

If you have something you’re very passionate about, or a strong sense of personal mission, you need to have it fulfilled somewhere in order to feel fulfilled in life. Some folks call it their “calling” or their “higher purpose”—those are all terms for the same need.

Some folks get their personal mission fulfilled through volunteer work, time with family or even hobbies. There’s no requirement that you get it fulfilled at work. However, if you hate a job you’re good at, this is one possible reason why, and it’s helpful to check your “mission match”—and how much this matters to you—as you determine why you are so unhappy at work.

Reason #2: The Square Peg in the Round Hole

Angela has been at her job a long time. She’s a talented engineer, and she’s been promoted a few times. Now, she’s the head of an international team, working on an airport security project. It’s important work that has the potential to save lives. She gets a lot of recognition, she visits exciting countries, and she’s paid well.

Why is she so miserable?

Angela does not want to be a project manager. She’s’ an introvert, and she really prefers to work behind the scenes. Moreover, her values include total honesty and transparency, yet her position requires a lot of political maneuvering.

Angela is miserable because she can’t be her Best Self at work. Your Best Self is a composite of your values, the social roles you prefer to play, and your temperament. It’s the person you are when you’re at your best, when you’re in your groove, when work feels effortless and exhilarating.

Now, it’s unreasonable to expect that every moment of work will be blissful. But, if you’re constantly working against the grain of who you naturally are, work will eventually wear you down, even if work fulfills your personal mission, uses your natural talents, and pays well.

If you’re constantly working against the grain of who you naturally are, work will eventually wear you down.

Three reasons you can't be your Best Self at work:

(1) You get promoted beyond the type of job you originally choose – for example, getting promoted into managerial roles. We think we’re supposed to climb that ladder at work, moving into jobs with more and more prestige or pay no matter what; yet doing so can sometimes take us away from the kind of job that fits us best.

(2) You choose a job based solely on a strong sense of mission. For example, I started my career as a social studies classroom teacher, and I was very passionate about the work and about education, citizenship, and so on. Yet, my temperament was not suited to it for a number of reasons. I had to uncover other ways to fulfill my passions and mission.

(3) You picked the low-hanging fruit. If you've been unemployed for a while, and you get offered a decent job, you take it, right? Sure, in many situations that's a very prudent decision. And, it's important to see it for what it is - a stepping stone to a better choice. Take the job, but remember that it's just a way to pay the bills while you look for The Real Thing.

Your Best Self may not be missing entirely, so this can be hard to spot. It may look like this:

When you can't be your best self at work

When you can't be your best self at work

Here's my advice: If you suspect you can’t be your best self at work, start considering your options now—before you experience total burnout.

This will give you time to make a transition on your own terms—rather than getting fired for poor performance or a bad attitude.

Reason #3: You’re not using your preferred skills.

Most of us have lots of skills. The trick is: do you use your preferred skills at work?

For example, I myself am really great at changing diapers. I’ve had lots of practice, and I can change diapers with the best of them.

But, I don’t want to do it all day for work. Oh sure, if you paid me well I’d do it for a while. But eventually, I’d grow quite weary of doing it all day, even if I was well-paid. And pretty soon “bleh” would turn to “grrrr.”

Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you want to do it all day. There are most likely other things you’re good at, too.

When you don't use your PREFERRED skills, work's a chore (at any salary)

When you don't use your PREFERRED skills, work's a chore (at any salary)

Three reasons you aren't using your preferred skills at work:

(1) You picked the low hanging fruit — once again, take a job that’s passed on by a friend or relative if you need work now. But remember that it's easier to find a job if you already have a job - and keep looking.

(2) There's no room for growth. You can also get into this situation if you chose a job that you originally liked, but which has no room for growth. In this case, your issue is a combination of both Preferred Skills and Best Self–especially if some of your values are “growth” and “being challenged.”

(3) You chose a career very early in life–in high school or college—before you really had a sense of everything you can do and can learn to do.

Regardless, if you’re not using your Preferred Skills, that job will get pretty old.

Some FAQs about the Four Domains:

“What if I just don’t get paid enough? Where does that fall?”

In that case, you generally don’t walk around saying, Bleh, I hate my job. If your Personal Requirements are unfulfilled, you might have the experience of loving the job, but feel stressed in the rest of your life – you hate your commute, or you are always broke, or you feel trapped living in a city, or you don’t have enough time for your kids, etc. In these scenarios, your Personal Requirements aren’t being properly fulfilled. And although that’s definitely a problem, you’ll diagnose it with a different trigger thought other than I hate this job.

“Okay, I’ve identified the reason I walk around dreading work. Now what - should I quit?”

Bravo! Diagnosing the problem is the most important step. Without it, you have a real risk of repeating the pattern again and again.

But should you quit? Here’s my perspective: many people who walk around thinking I hate my job probably should change jobs, eventually. Life’s too short to hate the thing you do more than any other waking activity, right?

And, I am 99.99% certain that there is something else for you out there, something that satisfies all of your Four Domains better than the job you hate now.

But, depending on how stressed you are, you may be able to plan a very gradual transition, 3-5 (or more) years from now.  You may want to wait, for various reasons—until your child starts/finishes school; until you pay off a credit card; until you finish that degree; until you do some career counseling. How soon you should leave a job you hate depends on your situation.

I've lived with the job this long, and I'm developing a good 401K. Doesn't it make sense to just stick it out until retirement? 

Let me answer this question with two other questions:

(1) How close are you to retirement?

(2) How happy are you, when you're not at work?

If you are close to retirement, and you're reasonably happy when you're not at work, then it may make sense to stick it out - especially if you will retire young enough and healthy enough to have some fun after you retire.

If you're under 55, but you are good at "compartmentalizing" - leaving work at the office - then you may want to stick it out for a while. I've met people who have such a strong need for financial security that meeting their deep need for security is far more important than "enjoying" work. And of course that's fine.

But - and this is the thing I want to stress - if you're unhappy even after you go home, if you fall into a funk Sunday night at the anticipation of going back to work Monday morning, if you're too drained to enjoy your weekend, if you're drinking too much or eating too much chocolate to drown out your feelings of emptiness - then "sticking it out" is just. Not. Worth. It.

If you think you're stuck with the job you have - think again.
Most likely, you believe you're stuck
because you have not yet discovered the better option

Wrapping Up: Helpful Questions

(1) Which Domain(s) do you think are missing or mismatched? (It may be more than one.)

(2) What are the chances you can get those Domains satisfied somewhere other than work? (For example, at home, or by volunteering.)

(3) What are the chances you can shift your work responsibilities, title or roles to better meet the missing Domains?

(4) How important is it to you to have those Domains satisfied at work specifically?

(4) What numbing activities might you be doing, to numb the sense of restlessness, emptiness, or frustration from work? (For example, drinking, binge chocolate-eating, 3+ hours of TV per day, etc.?)

(5) What is the price you are paying by not having those Domains satisfied at work? What is the impact on you and your life?

(6) Have you ever had a time when you loved your work (even if it was unpaid work)? What would it be like to feel that way most of the time? What would that do for your life overall?

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, we really don’t like the work we’re doing, even if we’re great at it.  We may dread going to work, and it may make it hard to enjoy the rest of our non-work life as well.

This can be really confusing, and it can be tempting to disregard the thoughts, because we’re able to do the job well.

But, as human beings, we need to feel a fulfilled sense of meaning and purpose. We need to feel we can be who we naturally are, and we also need to like the actual tasks we do all day.

Understanding what’s in your Four Career Domains, and which ones are unmet in your current job, is the first important step in getting back on track.

Good luck, and let me know what you discover.

How to Give Yourself the Best Career Advice (Part II)

Are you agonizing a career decision?

Should I look for another job?
Should I apply for that manager position?
Should I take a job with that much travel?

In Part One of this series, I showed you how to uncover more of your buried wisdom on almost any topic, including your career.

If you’ve tried it, you’ve probably uncovered some good stuff. I know it works for me.

Now: what to do with these great insights you’re getting? How do we make these insights work for you?

That’s the subject of this article.

Turning Insight Into Action Steps

For about 15 years before I became a coach, I was a professional facilitator. True story: 

On one occasion, I was facilitating a group of 8 people on a team-building course. They were stuck on a part called the Incomplete Bridge. A team needs to use two boards to get across a span - but neither board is long enough by itself.

This particular group kept doing the same thing over and over - and failing. They were convinced that if they just did that same thing better, that they would succeed. 

They were getting pretty frustrated. But they kept trying that same thing over and over to cross that washed-out bridge. 

I stopped them for a water break, and I said to them, quite casually, "You know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results." 

They want back to their challenge, and wouldn't you know it, two outspoken members insisted on trying that same method again

Well, about three minutes after that, someone in the back spoke up. She said, "Wait! Are we being 'insane' here?" 

They stopped, had a little pow-wow, and resolved to try a few other methods to the problem. Soon after, they found the correct solution and got across the bridge. 

The moral of the story here? 

Sometimes, people get stuck only because
they don’t know what they’ve learned.

They know what they’re seeing right in front of them, but they don’t know what larger lesson they can draw from it. That’s the "bridge" between what’s going on now, and your next action step.

Fortunately, in many cases a simple process can help you cross that bridge.

Ready? Here it is:

WHAT – HOW – WHAT – NOW

“What-How-What-Now?” stands for a series of questions you can ask yourself to more easily turn your stuck-ness into meaningful action. Having a coach or facilitator ask them to you is ideal because s/he can ask follow-up questions as needed. But in the absence of that, journaling the answers can help you move “out of the mud” and get your mental car back on the road.

(1) WHAT?

The first question is: What is going on (with this issue or problem)?

This is the part you have already been doing, as you’ve written down your thoughts and feelings. (If not, go back and read Part I for more information.)

Take your time with this step. If you find yourself getting stuck in blaming, or going over and over the same scene in your head, step back and name your feelings. Do you feel anger? Resentment? Betrayal? Fear? Grief?

(Not sure? See Part I of this series for a complete diagram of feelings -- the "feelings wheel").

Once you feel “done” with this part, move on to Question 2.

(2) HOW?

The second question is: How has this impacted my life?” (Bonus question: How has this impacted others who are close to me?)

This question asks you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture a little. You’re looking to spot the way the situation has affected you – as well as the way your own choices have affected you. Both are important.  

I won’t lie to you – asking this question is a bit harder than the first “WHAT?” question. In fact, it may be a bit painful to answer it.

That’s because “HOW” is going to uncover some of the stuff that you already know, deep down – but which you haven’t had to face yet, because they are safely buried under things like anger, blame, or the distraction of binge-watching Netflix.

“HOW” is going to uncover some of the stuff that you already know, deep down – but which you haven’t had to face yet

Nevertheless, it’s vitally important –because it sets the stage for the third question, which (promise) feels a lot better.

So, take a breath and ask “How has this impacted my life?” Write this question in your journal, then begin to write down whatever comes up.

Here are some examples of the kinds of answers you get for "HOW?":

I am still in a job that I really don’t like.

I’m so unhappy that I am short with my partner/kids when I get home, and my family life is suffering.

I realize that, since I’ve become burned out, I have probably been really difficult to work with, and my co-workers are afraid to tell me.

I realize I haven’t really committed to building this business. I’m so afraid it will fail that I haven’t really started.

I realize that I’ve spent so much time blaming my supervisor for his shortcomings that I haven’t even considered my exit strategy. It’s been easier to be mad and to stew in it day after day than to face the fact that I need to find another place to work.

I realize I have not been in the driver’s seat of my job, so to speak. I have said yes too often, have taken on too much and have let myself get somewhat burned out.

Now, here are two very interesting things that happen when you answer the “HOW?” Question:

(1) You may have several answers to the “HOW?” question – and they may even seem contradictory. This is okay, even normal. In a messy situation, lots of truths can coexist.

(2) You may need to cycle back to “WHAT?” another time or two. If you realize you’ve become burned out and you may have become difficult to be around at work, you may uncover feelings of embarrassment and shame. This is actually pretty productive – as far as feelings are concerned, you need to “name it to tame it.”  Seeing what’s there will help the next step really work.

So, it may be a little tough to ask this question – but keep digging, because often part of why we’re stuck is because we’re wrestling with contradictory truths.

Once you have found some answers to the “HOW?” question, you might sit with that for a few days, or you might move on right away to the third question:

(3) WHAT?

The third question is: “What am I learning from all this?”

Once you’ve faced the reality of how your current situation (and some of the choices you’ve made, up until now) have impacted you, you are ready to look at what you’ve learned.

Here are some examples of answers to “WHAT am I learning?"

I’m learning that no one is going to “fix” my career but me. I need to have the courage to take full responsibility for it.

This may sound clichéd, but I’m learning that work really doesn’t love you back. You can’t sacrifice too much of yourself at work, and expect it to be repaid. You have to pace yourself, take care of yourself. You have to say “no” sometimes – as difficult as that may be.

I’m learning that I really do need a mentor.

I’m learning how important it is to get out of debt and save for the proverbial “rainy day.” That will allow me to leave a bad situation more easily.

I’m learning that I need to widen my social network so I can find another job more easily.

I’m learning that I have to investigate a new opportunity more thoroughly before saying “yes.”

Some of the things you write here may be “hard lessons learned.” And that’s okay. But ultimately, you will move through those and uncover lessons that feel more energizing, because they hint at possibilities for new action.

When that happens, you are ready to move on to Question 4.

(4) NOW?

The fourth question is: Now what?”

Now that you have peeked behind the curtain of your problem, so to speak, what is your next step?

(IMPORTANT: It you are a person who likes to take action, you may be tempted to skip right to this question. However, in my experience, I find that you’ll be more likely to break out of old, unconscious patterns if you work through the first three questions first.)

When you work on the “NOW?” question, you may…

(a) …Know exactly what you need to do next. It may be clear as day. You’ll feel a “yes” down in your gut when you think about taking this action (confirmation from your implicit learning/wisdom).

(b) …Need to brainstorm and “vet” some options before choosing. The “NOW?” journal question is a good place to do this. Then, as you look back over your list of possibilities, you can consider each of them against your values, the practicality of each, etc., or bounce them off of a trusted advisor such as your spouse or best friend (or coach).

Final Thoughts

Sometimes it’s a lot easier to write yourself out of a stuck place than to think yourself out of a stuck place. A few simple journal techniques can help you stop spinning your mental wheels and “get out of the mud.”

This combination of techniques (writing both thoughts and feelings, and using “What-How-What-Now?” have helped me work through many of my own stuck places over the years. I’ve also used “What-How-What-Now?” to great success with in-person client sessions, in both group and individual formats.

Good luck! Thank you for reading, and let me know how it goes.

How To Give Yourself the Best Career Advice (Part I)

If you’re career stuck, you may feel pretty inadequate.

Why can’t I fix this? What’s wrong with me?
Why can’t I decide?
Why don’t I have one of those “10-year visions” the gurus are always talking about?
Etc.

You may ask trusted friends and family for advice, but deep down you wish you could access a little more personal wisdom.

Well, I about to share with you a method for doing just that.

It may sound familiar, but wait – there’s a specific method I want you to try.

Here it is:

Writing down your thoughts AND feelings will help you tap into your buried wisdom. 

You - yes, you - possess far more accumulated wisdom about what you need than you realize. For pretty much every situation in your life - even for ones where you currently feel completely stuck. 

The key is to start journaling.

Now, I know some of you reading this will say you hate journaling, or never get around to it – but hear me out.

I'm talking about a specific technique, one backed by research, shown to get results. 

But first: why am I suggesting going to all this trouble? Why can't you currently access some of this wisdom, just sitting in your car driving to work?

Two reasons journaling is better:

Reason #1: Some of your wisdom is buried under distracting thoughts & feelings

Sometimes, when we're bothered by a situation, we circle around and around with troublesome thoughts or worries. It's like tires spinning in the mud, and we don't get around to thinking about how to move forward. 

For a while this may actually keep us feeling safe, since change is scary. But when you’re tired of feeling stuck and ready to take a little risk on some change, you want to finally power out of that mud and get back on the road of your life.

Reason #2: Much of our wisdom is "implicit" learning - wisdom you have to excavate from the subconscious

We are learning all the time. Sometimes our learning is explicit – conscious and on purpose. However, research shows that much of our learning happens implicitly - connections that are made on the symbolic or abstract level (that is, without words). Often, we’re not aware of this learning, because we didn’t set out to learn it. For example, assumptions about how dating or marriage "should" go is a great example of this. Certain skills, like how to balance while riding a bike, are also considered implicit learning. 

In fact, In their book Primal Leadership, authors Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee argue that when you have a “gut feeling” about something, that is your implicit learning talking to you.

So, this "hidden" wisdom is there, but in order to use it more intentionally, we must "get it out" and attach some language to it. 

The good news: journaling can help you overcome both of these hurdles.

Here are the steps for this "better" kind of journaling: 

Step 1: Find a quiet space

Step 2: Write down both THOUGHTS and FEELINGS you have on a topic

Step 3: Keep going until you feel “done” for the day

Step 4: Repeat daily, or whenever insight bubbles up, until you gain clarity and an inner call to action

That's basically it. The main trick is to write down both thoughts and feelings you have. This attaches language to both the thoughts and feelings, and thus brings both to consciousness and explicit learning. 

Acknowledging your feelings also takes some of the distracting energy out of them. That's because it helps you "step back" from them - as the saying goes, "Have your feelings so they don't have you."

(In terms of brain function, it helps the frontal lobe take the driver's seat again, so the amygdala or "fight-or-flight" part of the brain is no longer in charge. See here for one article summarizing that research.) 

At a loss to describe your feelings with words? This is fairly common. Here's a handy wheel showing tons of "feeling words" and how they are related. Outer ones are generally the most nuanced and therefore more difficult to name. 

Feelings-Wheel-2011.pdf

The (proof is in the) Pudding

Okay, ready to prove you have more accumulated wisdom that you realized?  

Try this little experiment. It helps if you have several quiet minutes to yourself. If not, then you can start it, let it percolate, and come back to finish it later. 

Remember, here are the steps: 

Step 1: Follow the instructions in the photo below, picking your 4 words. 

Step 2: Then, take out some paper and write down what else comes to mind on this topic. Be sure to include both thoughts AND feelings. 

Step 3: Write until you feel "done." 

Step 4: Write on this for several days in a row, or randomly as more insight percolates to the surface of your thoughts. 

That's it!

If you give this activity some quiet, focused time, I guarantee you will become aware of wisdom on this topic that you didn't consciously realize you had. 

Here's the photo: 

Final Thoughts

If you’re feeling career-stuck, and wished you knew what to do, start journaling thoughts and feelings. You’ll access more of your accumulated wisdom, and eventually you’ll gain enough clarity to take action.

In article two of this series, I’ll give you an easy format for turning that wisdom into action. Stay tuned!