210: Your Career Isn’t Everything


Welcome to episode #210 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. When we’re struggling with finding the “right” job or the career path that we think will be the most fulfilling, we often think that there is only one thing that will create happiness: getting our career “right.” Knowing our one path. Getting that one job or promotion. Or maybe even not working at all. Finding that one job thing that makes us the happiest.

I know this because people ask me this all the time as they’re figuring out what’s next in their career. What’s the path? Is this the right job? How do I know if this is the path I should take? Should I quit? What if I’m settling? 

I want to challenge this idea that your career is everything and will be the sole reason for happiness or success in your life.

It’s normal to think this way, especially if you’re a professional who has put in a lot of time and energy into their career. Investing in education or professional certifications create this desire to see even more impact and a return on the investment. It can often feel like a race to see who is going to win this career and job competition and it’s hard not to compare yourself to people who are your age or graduated with you or have the same titles as you.

You also see other people who look like they have it all figured out. They have the passion jobs and the things that look like their calling. They look like they’re living these big lives full of big money, big titles and big adventure.  You see how much other people love what they do – and you think – “I want that too – I want something that feels like it was meant to be.” 

Yet, thinking your career is everything is creating pressure and a feeling of anxiety over what you still haven’t done that is not serving you. 

I’m going to open your eyes to a new way of thinking and therefore working that is so much more effective. 

Right now, you might be thinking to put everything into and focus on your career. Yet, you’re already tired, investing more time and energy than ever so why aren’t you feeling the extraordinary levels of freedom, joy or arrival that you think your career is going to give you?

The reason for this is because career success is not the linear equation it is often made out to be. The success that often comes in any life is an output of other things that are more valuable than the career or activity itself. It’s about the kind of person you want to be and the decisions you make to align with that person. In addition, we find that people never are truly satisfied because the goal post just keeps moving, so even if they went to the right school or got the right job or hit that next milestone, it just never feels like it’s enough.

When we look at the studies on what motivates people to do their best work, we find that work in and of itself is not the motivator. The true motivators are things like impact, friendship, service, learning and family. When you hear these words, you’ll think that these are the markers of well-lived lives and you wouldn’t be wrong.

We have this whole career and success thing backwards. Instead of chasing career success, we need to chase the conditions that create well-lived lives.

I remember when I was first changing careers, I did love my work – I was doing supply chain at what is now Stanley Black & Decker. Yet, I also knew that there was a next career step for me too. I was dating Jay at the time and even though I had friends and a boyfriend – my career took over most of my life. I wasn’t making nearly as much as I do now, but I was saving my money and investing in an IRA and 401K. I paid for all of my own things. My car, my apartment and my travels. I found a rental in Baltimore and decorated this tiny loft apartment to make it more cozy. I would even buy one fresh flower each week to put in a bud vase. I planned and took an epic trip to Japan with my closest friends (and Jay) the first year I started working. I moved and took on leadership roles every 6 months. I put all the resourcefulness and aliveness in my energy into my life and work.

It was not my calling but the sense of learning and growth that occurred was so much more valuable. I was making this transition that was as much personal as it was professional. Figuring out how to save money and be independent. To live in a new place and organize my personal and work days. To plan for my future while enjoying life now. I could see now how much perspective I had. 

These kinds of transitions have massive growth potential – to influence so many next steps in our lives. Yet, we often discount how our personal lives are experiencing tremendous growth and instead only value professional growth. 

That would be a mistake.

Our mental health or emotional health is what keeps us going when times get tough in our professional lives. Our family lives and relationships keep us healthy and happy so that we have perspective and support when we’re going through tough times. Our physical health practices are what keeps us focused and able to handle the stress of a heavy workload. Our spiritual lives create the mental capacity and vision to handle tough people or moments when you want to run away and hide from work – and instead show up to create a version of your life and work based on something bigger than you.

Our career and the abundance it creates is an output of all the other practices we put into place. 

Yet, when we let our careers and jobs drive our entire lives, we find that we have a hard time disconnecting from work. We keep thinking about it as we go to bed and even when we’re on vacation. We unplug our laptops, but we take them with us “just in case” and miss being present for the other parts of our lives.

How do we put our career in perspective across our whole life? How do we keep it from being one of the main reasons why we are happy or unhappy?

You create mental resilience through spiritual, high performance practices. There are 2 ways that I do this with my clients in our coaching together. 

The first is that we create a work environment that supports the lifestyle and demands of your personal life. This often looks like taking stock of your current hours, how you interact with people, whether or not you are using your gifts, and how to develop them even further. Whether or not the compensation or time works for you or not is also a consideration – and how to make more money if necessary.

The reason this works is because you are controlling what you can control. Work isn’t just about pushing as much through as possible. It’s about the finesse we have as we do it. How simple we can make the work. How we can make the work more of a craft – a combination of both art and science – so that we see how our time spent is creating true impact, helping our own lives and the lives of others at the same time. 

The second is we increase your skills in how you communicate with and lead. We as humans generally will work over 90,000 hours in our life. We spend two thirds of our lives working so if you don’t have the skills to effectively communicate and lead the people you work with, the experience we have of working with others tends to be full of stress and suffering.

When we don’t work on these skills, we end up blaming others and wishing they were different. We move from job to job and wonder why everywhere we go, there are difficult people and situations that feel untenable. We burn ourselves out emotionally and mentally working so hard because we’re compensating for our lack of communication or leadership skills. 

These skills would allow you to quickly assess and influence others – to help bring people together and to solve problems without putting everything on your shoulders. When you think of delegation, providing feedback and having tough conversations – there are ways to do this without feeling like you need to run away or totally dump everything all at once onto the person in front of you because you’ve been holding it all back.

You end up realizing that these leadership skills add value to any place you go and that you make the places you work at better because you are the one who can lead and communicate effectively when others struggle to do so.

These 2 skills alone of creating work environments that suit you and communicating and leading others will provide you with so many more options of where and how you work. It creates a better personal and home life as well. You’re not as stressed nor are you working so many hours and you take these skills into your personal lives as well. Making decisions well and communicating with your family and friends way more effectively too.

This is why creating this level of space where you work now is often the first thing we focus on when we work together. We go to the root cause and we transform the way you work and live today before you ever have to change into another role or do something drastic. 

Career success then becomes inevitable because you’re working on the inputs that affect not only how you work and live a more balanced life, but also the kind of leader you are at work.

Now that you have seen what’s possible, do you really want to continue thinking the old way about career success? Do you want to focus solely on success alone or having the perfect role or job, or do you want to focus on the inputs that create success and well-lived lives – having the ability to create work environments that fit your lifestyle and learning to communicate and lead more effectively?

If you want to take the second route and have both meaningful work and a well-lived life, you’ll want to watch my free training on how to stop hiding and overworking and instead, stand out and lead a life of more time and financial freedom.

If you’d like to choose the latter and become a spiritual achiever, I invite you to watch the free training on how to Stand Out and Lead, using spiritual, high-performance strategies: STAND OUT AND LEAD.

You can apply to join my Spiritual Achiever® program, where you’re going to create your next chapter with spiritual and high-performance strategies to achieve time and financial freedom using my proven method. It’s risk-free. You either start seeing results within your first month or I give you your money back. Schedule your call here at www.mayempson.com/contact.  We’ll see you inside.

Want to know more about what happens when you join?

  1. When you join Spiritual Achiever® Coaching you’ll be supported for a full year: Career Revelation Academy: A 5-step career change process (if you have a job you want to stay in, I’ll show you how to love it even more) that can launch you into your next career chapter in 30 days.
  2. 2x/month group training and coaching on Spirituality, Achievement, Earth Energy and Harmony. You’ll know how to design your days for breakthroughs, create a personal brand and community, lead yourself and others through change, become more physically and mentally fit, reduce stress and reinvent what’s possible in this next chapter of your life.
  3. Discover your Leadership Strengths and Branding Workshop: Increase your awareness of what makes YOU different from others and how to become even better at your genius zone.
  4. Your Best Year workshop: Create your one year plan and design this next year, no matter what time of the year it is.
  5. Your Next 5 Years one-day virtual retreat: Vision what’s possible 5 years from now and break out of your old routines so you can step into new habits, behaviors and routines.
  6. Tickets to all in-person Spiritual Achiever retreats (discounted rates): Highly immersive and intimate gatherings where we spend time in nature, experience energy work, eat and move well – all while making big decisions and committing to what’s next for us.
  7. Monthly 1:1 Coaching Sessions: To help you break through obstacles, define your individual path, and to work on both strategy and mindset.

The next step?

Schedule a consultation to get clarity on how coaching can help you on your journey.

Once you’re accepted into the program, you’ll receive a calendar invite for a 2-hour deep dive 1:1 session to map out your personal goals and your own year-long journey.

You’ll have immediate access to the Spiritual Achiever process and philosophy – how to achieve your biggest goals and reinvent your life.

You’ll have immediate access to 5 modules of Career Revelation Academy – to love your career even more and launch that next chapter of your career in 30 days.

You’ll have the calendar invites for the upcoming group calls and retreats.

If this speaks to you, I can’t wait to talk to you live: Schedule a consultation.

Reach out at www.mayempson.com/contact for more information on my Spiritual Achiever coaching program. You’ll figure out what’s next and actually go and do it. 

That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.

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