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  • Steven Robinson
    Steven Robinson

    What Should I Do To Pursue A Career That Will Make Me Happy?

    Dear eNotAlone: I still don't know what to do. I guess I'm confused, frustrated, disillusioned - so many emotions and I don't know where to start. On one hand, I want to pursue a career that will make me happy, but on the other hand, I worry it won't be practical or even possible. To make matters worse, I often don't feel like doing the things I should - if anything, I want to "punish" myself for considering options other than what I "should" do. Should I focus on my goals or just do what everyone else wants me to? What should I do? Please help.

    * * *

    Are you feeling frustrated or stuck in a situation where you don't know what to do? It might be a challenge to consider all of your options and figure out what is best for you. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a breath and a step back from the situation.

    Sometimes it's difficult to figure out a future plan when there are so many steps involved. It can also be hard to evaluate whether your current course of action is the right one. To help yourself decide on the best path forward, brainstorm a list of pros and cons of each option. You may even enlist the help of a trusted person who can provide additional advice or perspective. Writing out these ideas on paper can help the decision-making process become clearer.

    Once you've limited your choices, focus on answering the following questions:

    • How does this option align with my values and beliefs?

    • Will I be satisfied with the results if I follow this plan?

    • Am I willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen?

    Keep in mind that whatever choice you make, there is no guarantee of success. The key is to create a strategy for how you will work towards achieving your goal. Even if something doesn't turn out the way you envisioned, you can always course correct and change your plan.

    It is natural to be hesitant to pursue something unfamiliar or untested. You may feel the need to go down a conventional path – one that feels safe and predictable. It is okay to take calculated risks in life. Plan ahead as best as you can, but remember that failure is an essential part of learning and can provide valuable lessons that can help you grow.

    It is also important to look beyond what "should" be done. Consider what you need to feel fulfilled and supported. Many of us have internalized external expectations, causing us to limit ourselves and our possibilities. Rather than follow the expectations, ask yourself what makes you feel joy and satisfaction.

    Of course, it is not always easy to make decisions about your life when you are feeling scared or stuck. But allowing yourself to dream and think big can help you find new paths that could bring you closer to your goals. Find people who can listen, support, and push you outside your comfort zone. Use fear as a tool to inform rather than hinder.

    Above all, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all plan for a successful life. What works for one person may completely fail for another. So forget the noise of what others expect of you and remain true to your own vision. Don't be afraid to take risks and make mistakes in order to find what works best for you.

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