I talk to lots of people who are really dissatisfied with their careers. It seems the numbers of unhappy workers have gone up lately—and I can understand why. A recent Harvard Business School survey indicates that we have a 23-year low in job satisfaction and 84% of Americans say they want a new job.
Odds are good that a couple of people in your life don’t like their job.
Who is standing in their way? The answer could be simple: they are.
For many of us, our job defines who we are, and if it’s not aligned with our true nature, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to find satisfaction in it.
I’m drawn to spiritual development because it is inseparable from the type of psychological work that really transforms the soul. Unless we dig down, we can’t uncover what makes us tick.
The Importance of Digging A Good Ditch
Digging is hard work. I’ve dug lots of irrigation ditches and post holes while growing up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming. It’s dirty work because the only way to clear a clogged ditch is to get in the muck and shovel out heavy, sodden clumps of crap so the water can run smoothly on down the ditch.
Often, the stuff clogging the system is not visible from the top because irrigation water tends to be muddy. It’s only after you start that your shovel finds more mass to the blockage. I hate digging out irrigation ditches because there’s always something more to be dug out.
Whether it’s shoveling out the crap from an irrigation ditch or from our life experiences, nothing moves forward until the deed is done. Tamping it down may take care of the clutter, but only for a while, and it will eventually clog the entire system.
No Skimming, Please
Digging down in our own lives means more than skimming the surface. Our society would lead us to believe that peeling back the surface layers is all that is needed to understand ourselves. Not true, but I suspect you already know this.
Deep down, I mean.
Because deep down is where our true nature emerges. The further down we go, the more transparent we become, and more importantly, the more authentic we become.
What does authentic look like? It’s the personality we were born with—before life knocked us around and left us with bruises. We get a glimpse of it now and then, and when we do, we feel understood and safe. It’s home. It’s a place we’re all yearning to get back to.
Follow That Dream
As an FBI agent, I found it was essential to probe beneath the surface and uncover the true nature of people. I always started by looking for the answer to a very specific question: What is their true desire?
Your longings hold the key to uncovering your true nature.
- Show up in your gifts and talents
- Persist in your heart
- Lead to your best self
Here are some simple ways to dig down and uncover your true nature:
What activities and situations from your past have led to true satisfaction?
- Start a log.
- Jot down activities, people, circumstances, and experiences from your day.
- Notice when and how your attitude changes.
- Look for patterns.
What are you enthusiastic about?
- Make a list of what you’d do if money weren’t an issue.
- Remember what brought you joy as a child.
- Enjoy those memories for a few moments.
- Reflect on what brings a smile to your face today.
What is driving your restlessness?
- Pinpoint your attitudes and habits of behavior.
- Acknowledge your fears.
- Accept your strengths.
- Identify your desires.
As the psalmist says, “Search your own heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life.”
What is standing in your way of job satisfaction? How can being authentic help you be a better leader? How have you found your true nature?
LaRae Quy is former FBI Agent and Founder at Your Best Adventure
She helps clients explore the unknown and discover the hidden truth in self & others
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