Focus on Your Journey, Not the Outcome

Did you know that over half of Americans are currently unhappy at work? (The Conference Board, 2018).

The quest for more joy and meaning in our careers is causing many of us to push ourselves to make serious changes.

I still can’t fully grasp the fact that I recently made one of those BIG changes. I’m taking my life in a new direction and I don’t know how the story will end. And for a woman who loves herself a good plan, you better believe this is scary! Gulp.

That’s right, after twelve years as vice president at a Fortune 500 company, I said goodbye to my steady paycheck and strong career identity to pursue a new career dream. The only thing is – my dream isn’t fully defined yet. While I know I want to help people live more joyful and meaningful lives and help companies deepen relationships with customers and employees, I don’t completely know what that looks like. And that’s ok.

How I Got Here

For years I’ve focused on achieving specific goals. I went to business school to work in management consulting. I took various professional roles as a stepping stone to the next. But once I achieved those goals, the result wasn’t exactly what I imagined. I was still yearning for more joy and meaning, more purpose and passion. So, then I was on to the next goal, leading to endless cycle of accomplishment without fulfillment.

To break the cycle of not feeling fulfilled professionally once my goal was achieved, I met with a career coach. While I thought maybe I needed a new job or a new industry to be happy, what I really needed was a “mind redesign.” My career coach reassured me it’s okay to not know what my professional end game is and encouraged me to not focus on the outcome. She said, “You don’t have to know, but you do have to do.”

In other words, to find professional happiness, I needed to start doing the things that bring me joy as well as help others to eventually turn into a career I love. Also, by doing (vs thinking and planning) I will do the learning and adapting along the way needed to get clarity on what a fulfilling career looks like for me.

Based on this new direction, I started curating creative ways to bring people together (e.g. brunches, girl trips, family outings) just because I enjoyed it and because others valued those experiences. Eventually I decided to quit my job to focus on that full time. While I don’t know how the story will end, I’m enjoying the journey and feeling more fulfilled professionally than I have in years.

Tips to Find Professional Joy and Meaning

Ready to focus on your professional journey? Here are some tips to find more joy in the process:

  • Identify what brings you joy.Pay attention to how you use your free time or what you are doing when you are in the “zone.” Ask yourself “what makes time fly by?” Is doing what you enjoy also something that can benefit others? How can you share these passions with others? How can you turn them into an income generator?
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Often we don’t know what we like or are capable of until we try something for the first time. Challenge yourself to try one new thing a week as a way to learn and grow and discover new interests and possibilities. Read more at How to Improve Your Mindset at Work.
  • Reflect on what you’ve learned by doing. Do you like doing what brings you joy as a hobby and not a career? What works/what doesn’t when you imagine your ideal life?
  • Make sure you’re enjoying the journey. If you are not having fun, stop and do something else.

Even though I’m scared about this risk I’m taking, I’m so excited to follow this path and promise to keep you updated along the way. It’s all about living a life filled with joy and meaning – let’s pursue it together! Visit my website at The Brimful Life for more ideas on how to revitalize your routine and find joy, adventure and meaning in your everyday life.

 What could you do to take more risks and embark on a professional journey that’s authentically you? Post a comment below and let me know.

Let's Connect

Beth Ridley is an entrepreneur, speaker and author who believes life is short, so we should live it fully. That’s why she created The Brimful Life, a content and consulting company that helps individuals fill life with joy and meaning and helps companies deepen relationships with customers and employees. Beth is also best-selling author of 365 Ways to Ask, “How Was Your Day?” – Questions That Don’t Suck to Get Kids Talking, a book of creative queries she wrote with her children that are guaranteed to spark interesting conversations and get kids talking in complete sentences!

In her quest to fill life with adventure, not things and to have stories to tell, not things to show, Beth has lived and traveled across Europe, Africa and Asia. She’s a certified mindfulness coach, a former Booz Allen management consultant and a former Fortune 500 company corporate executive who’s led Marketing, Diversity and Inclusion and Client Experience teams.

Beth has a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia, an MA in International Relations from Tufts University and an MBA from Columbia University. Beth lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She recharges with running, speedskating and watching cooking competition shows on TV which is ironic because she really hates to cook.

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3 thoughts on “Focus on Your Journey, Not the Outcome”

  1. Avatar

    An attention-grabbing Com SB dialogue is value comment. SB Com I feel that it’s best to write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo topic however usually people are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

    1. Beth Ridley

      Thank you for your feedback. I agree this topic is important. I will certainly write more as my journey unfolds. I invite others to share perspectives as well.

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