"One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead"
Although I work chiefly with professional creatives, from time to time a client is referred to me from a more corporate background. They usually come to me because they have a creative project they want to pursue - their starting point is often, "should I leave my job to write a novel, become a painter, become an actor....?"
When we start talking, I find that although they have had successful careers as accountants, lawyers, administrators, etc., they only started out in these careers because it was expected of them by their families. They were encouraged to get "sensible" steady jobs which would set them up for life. This is usually at expense of their "silly dream" of being creative. This, it is thought, can be a nice little hobby on the side.
Of course, I realise that families, parents, always want the best for their children, a best which often comes from their own experience or expectations. I know, for instance, that my Father was thrilled when I got my first job working in a government department. "You've got a job for life", he said, seeing security, job progression and a regular salary.
"Please God, let me die next Tuesday", was my only thought of a job I disliked and left after a year (for art college - my poor old Dad nearly had the vapours!). My logical head could see where he was coming from - which parent wouldn't want to see their child in a "proper" job that would put food on the table? I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew that for me, working in a benefits office wasn't it. (Apologies to anyone who works in a benefits office - this was not a comment about the job, simply my suitability for it!)
In later life, as I careered "from career to career" (apologies to Stephen Sondheim), I was never out of work even for a week, so my parents relaxed and took comfort from the fact that I was happy.
Today, people are expected to have more than 1 (indeed several) careers during their working lives. Even so, I am still finding people who are living their lives to other peoples' expectations rather than their own. Which is fine if you want to measure your success against someone else's values. It can be destructive though if you want to measure it against your own feelings, values and self worth.
So, what would your real life look like?
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