A lot of us get told we can’t do what we really care about for money. We get told that artists can’t make it, that acting’s not a real job or that helping people is a hobby.
When we’re kids we learn that we have to be a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer or a fire fighter. And for some people those jobs are a perfect fit, but for a lot of us they make no sense.
When I was a kid I loved climbing trees, running through the forest and playing games with my friends. As a teenager I felt like an unpopular loser and the forest continued to be my refuge. The teachers in high school told me I was smart and that I should go to university. I didn’t really like school but they told me university would be better and I believed them.
A charismatic career counsellor helped me take one of those career tests and then went over the results with me. Together we decided I should be a speech therapist, mostly because I liked working with kids. So I signed up for a linguistics degree and did volunteer work in speech therapy programs. I liked it all right, so I decided it was my path.
But I had a summer job that I actually loved – working with teenage girls while living in some cabins on a lake. We worked, going on canoe trips to pick up garbage or clipping back the branches of overgrown hiking trails. I loved having fun and being silly. I loved being in the forest. I loved watching the girl’s confidence bloom over the summer. And I loved working on a team of supervisors who cared deeply about the girl’s well being and doing a quality job of the work we were assigned.
I loved this job but it was only a 3 month contract every summer. I thought I had to grow up, get a “real job” and stop having so much fun.
And so I did. I finished undergrad, switched from speech therapy to teaching, went to teacher’s college, dropped out and then got a job working for a non-profit. I wore business casual clothing, got benefits and business cards. I believed in the work the non-profit was doing. I was a grown up.
I think so many of us knew what we loved to do as children and then get a little bit lost. We grow up, give up on our dreams and get “real jobs.” But then we think, maybe I don’t want to sit at a computer 7 hours a day for the rest of my life. Maybe I was meant for something else.
And I’m still figuring out my purpose. It’s closer to that first job working with those young women in the forest than I thought. The themes of my purpose are women, healing, and nature. And I’m making it happen. I’m going to a body-based psychotherapy school and plan to open a therapy practice that uses time in nature as a component of the healing process. I plan to be a part of a team that all shares the same vision and supports each other.
And while I’m still gaining the therapy skills to address the more challenging components, I’m starting to do career coaching – some of it on the phone and some of it in the forest. And I love it. I love walking with women through the trees talking about their lives and their dreams, just the way I loved walking and working with teenage girls and the way I loved playing in the forest with my friends as a kid.
I am who I am. I am who I’ve always been.
And you are who you’ve always been too. So it’s time for you to be yourself :)!!
Want to learn more about who you are? Book a FREE 20 minute career coaching session here!!
And don’t worry, this is actually 100% free!! I promise not to try to sell you something partway through the call!! This is all about getting your questions answered :).
Career Burnout Coach