How did I get here???

A client asked in a recent conversation. As a career strategy and burnout coach, I hear this question ALOT. Usually prefaced by statements such as:

My life is not my own.

My heart isn’t in this.

I don’t feel like I’m living the life I am meant to live.

Fresh off a holiday weekend, dedicated to the celebration of our country’s freedom, it seems like a perfect time to talk about liberation. 

…So let’s do that.

You’re well aware of the Golden Handcuffs phenomenon, right?  Perhaps you’re even rubbing your wrists right now resisting the just too tight bind of metal on your skin.

When it emerged to popular vernacular, the term described the very real shackles companies used to keep high-performing/ desirable employees from job hopping.  Everything from deferred bonuses, to stock options, to extra vacation days – whatever would get the employee to pledge their commitment.

The obvious benefit for the organization was that keeping these desirable employees around longer, improved their chances of realizing a return on the investment they made in hiring the employee.

And because the financial upside could be big, professionals willingly slapped them on.

Seriously,  can you blame them? Of course not.  Money is a very real need.

Trouble is, handcuffs don’t only limit your freedom, they keep you from going after what you want.  And they restrict your success by:

  • disempowering you to do what you are great at
  • decreasing your motivation to show up for or do the work
  • limiting your willingness to speak up and share your ideas
  • threatening retribution for stepping out of line, going on vacation or taking care of your personal needs
  • encouraging over-rationalizing staying put for the pay or benefits

The other problem of course is that wearing handcuffs is freaking uncomfortable.  Whether you’re hands are cuffed together or to a pole – it doesn’t matter – you’ll find a way to limit your movements to minimize the discomfort.

And when you’re wearing illusory cuffs – you’ll avoid discomfort by restricting, discounting or even compromising your own truth.  Which means you learn to be really good at not hearing or acknowledging all of the warning signs that you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Simply, removing the cuffs will not secure your freedom, but changing your story will.

That’s because you can’t find career freedom if you are still hanging onto the stories that led you to become a prisoner in the first place.

We’ve all got them, stories about what success looks like…about the right way to provide for ourselves and our families… about the place we need to take in society. Most of our stories are inherited or placed on us by other people, and when subscribed to, drive feelings like:

My life is not my own.

My heart isn’t in this.

I don’t feel like I’m living the life I am meant to live.

The path to liberation is paved through deep and constant listening.

It requires that you acknowledge those internal calls for action, and consciously choose to meet their demands. And that you touchbase regularly to understand where, how and why you are allowing yourself to be held captive.

Career freedom is about taking your power back.

Freedom isn’t about never having to report to a boss again, or collect a pay check; rather it’s about bringing your definition of success to life. It demands that you take control and give everything you’ve got to achieving what’s most important to you.

If you’re seeking real freedom, if you’re ready to ditch the golden handcuffs, then  it’s time to choose and live YOUR STORY.

I’m here to help you do just that.

I would love to hear from you.  Have you escaped from golden handcuffs? I would love to hear how!