Are You “Should-ing” Yourself?

Are You “Should-ing” Yourself?

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to give advice to a group of young professionals on how to think about their careers, here in part is what I said…

When I conduct informational interviews, the first question I ask is “why do you want — job?”. Usually one of two things happens: I get up a ‘wind-up toy’ response that is rehearsed and given without much thought, or I am met with total silence. This is not meant to be trick question, but it does tell me that too often we, and I include myself in this, are operating on autopilot doing things “just because”.

There is no shortage of career advice you can get if you just ask. People love to convince you that they know what is best for you. In other words they are “should-ing” all over us. We do it to ourselves, too, — we should our way through important decision-making times in our lives.

Now, I want to offer this personal challenge – separate the “should” to the “could” in your life.

While should implies obligation, could implies possibility.

Often when we come from diversity communities or when we are the first one in our circles to accomplish a goal, we bring certain expectations from family and others, and these expectations may not always fit with who we are or who we want to be. In other words, we are getting “should-ed” on.

Moving away from the “shoulds” in our lives to the “coulds” from the sense of obligation to the sense of possibility based on what your heart wants is not easy, but in the end, the rewards of the hard work you invest in finding your voice will make it all worthwhile.