Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reason or desire?

In a recent conversation, I was reminded of the tension that can exist between head and heart, between reason and desire.

The man sharing his story had two wonderful career opportunities arise. He needed to make a decision within a few days' time. One option was a definite move up the ladder with more direct reports and a higher salary. It would look good on his resume—but it might dead-end him in administration, too (OK if you love administrative work). The other option meant stepping back to a place from which he'd just been promoted—but in a different area of the company. It was a step down and a lateral move from there. However, that latter option also kept this man in the area of work for which he has a strong passion! So there could be more possibilities for advancement down the road, depending on how that job developed.

What a choice, right? A smart career move up the ladder toward what society calls success. Or more of a lateral and slightly downward move toward what jazzes him and gives him purpose. When we talked, he was leaning heavily toward following his heart. Although such decisions can only be made by the one most directly affected, I did encourage him to follow his heart (especially since that's where he seemed headed). So often I've heard someone voice regrets. For example, a nurse comes to mind. She moved up into a high administrative position with a good salary—and much later, deeply regretted that she no longer had the direct patient contact that she so loved and which was the reason she chose that career in the first place.

Have you ever faced such a choice? Are you facing one now? It's always important to put out on the table all the logical reasons you should choose one or the other. It's equally important to list for yourself the reasons you should go with your deepest desire. Sit quietly. Meditate. Reflect. Journal. Talk over the choices with others. Then sit quietly some more—and listen. Listen to your head and to your heart. What has most resonance for you? Although we can never know exactly what lies ahead on any of the paths we choose, you can play "let's pretend" and do some imagining. See yourself having made one choice. How does that feel? Then see yourself with another choice. How does that feel? Then move ahead in confidence, knowing you have done your homework!

As always, if you would like coaching around such a decision, please contact me.

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