Our columnist Grace Victory gets candid about feeling lost in her career. For anyone feeling the same way, she shares her insight to help guide you back on course…
As a little girl I always knew what I wanted to be – ‘someone’.
I wanted my everyday existence to be full of glitz, glam, and the the thrill that being on stage or in front of a camera gave me. I wanted to feel like I was making a difference in the world, because in my childhood I often felt the opposite.
So, I worked hard. Extremely hard. And from the age of 10 I was making money, and enjoying the process of creating a life for myself. I knew exactly what I wanted, so I worked on making it my reality. I had a burning feeling inside me, telling me that I needed to escape my hometown to chase my dreams – and I dreamed big.
My career has always been my thing, which is a positive and a negative. On the one hand it kept me focused, taught me discipline, and allowed me to grow in confidence and ability. But it also enabled me to base my self-worth on my career, and choose working over pretty much everything else.
In 2017, I released my debut book No Filter. I had eight book offers from various publishers with decent advances, and my ego was being well and truly stroked – honesty is the best policy. People in the industry were excited, I was excited, and then the sales figures came in and the book, in my words, “had bombed”.
I was devastated.
Sometimes the things that don’t make sense now, will make sense in a few months, or a few years. Keep your faith
I felt my desire to create a Sunday Times best-seller with 50,000+ copies had been the driving force behind the entire process of creating the book. I constantly felt like I wasn’t enough, and when it finally came out, I felt like such a failure.
After No Filter, my confidence plummeted, and I began to question my purpose. Suddenly at 27, I had no idea what I wanted, and it was scary.
I had hit a brick wall, and up until very recently I couldn’t see a way out. I was bored, unmotivated, and uninspired. Would a 9–5 bring me more contentment? Should I just get rid of all my possessions, move away, and live in a hut?
At the beginning of my ‘career breakdown’, I resisted the shame and confusion. I didn’t want to feel those difficult feelings, so I pretended everything was great – and that added to my dread. I cried every week, I moaned about it, I screamed about it, and eventually I got myself into a really negative headspace about the entire thing.
But while I was wallowing in my sadness, this showed me I did know what I wanted, I was just scared of it. Scared of the change, scared of this new direction, scared I was going to fail, scared because I needed to make big decisions.
So I stopped resisting and found comfort in my truth of ‘I don’t really know what’s next for me, so I’m enjoying the ride until the lightbulb moment happens.’ And of course, the lightbulb did happen. It just took patience.
From 2017 to 2019 I felt like a lost puppy. I tried a podcast, which didn’t go as planned. I changed my blog content, which over time became boring, and I even tried a guest radio show on BBC5 LIVE, which I ended up hating. From the outside I may have looked all over the place, and internally that’s how I felt, too, but looking back, what is so wrong with trying new things? What’s so wrong with not knowing what you want to do?
Then one day last August, I woke up and had a million and one ideas of what I wanted to do for 2020. It was as if during the night my higher self had decided on my future. Creative flow started pouring out of me, and the Grace I knew was back.
I’ve learnt so much from failure and confusion, so I thought I’d share, in case any of you can relate to a career rut, and need a little support in finding your way again. Love Grace x
It’s normal to feel lost
With age, experience, and personal development, we change internally, and with that brings external change. It’s perfectly normal to feel lost and confused at times. It’s only taboo and lonely because people are too proud to talk about it. Embrace being off-track, and look for the lessons and blessings in it.
Wait it out
Being lost is the only way to be found, and it won’t last forever.
Find life in other things
If, like me, your self-worth and identity is deeply rooted in your career, it’s so important to find life in other things. Give energy to a new hobby, nurture old friendships and make new ones, volunteer, pick up a book, start a new exercise class. Remember you are so much more than a job.
Write a list of things you enjoy and why
I like tangible and practical steps to get myself back into alignment, and while I believe in surrendering, I also believe in lists and figuring things out. Sometimes we’ve forgotten what we enjoy doing, or what we enjoy has now changed. Everyone has something they love, even if they haven’t found it yet.
Believe in your journey and life plan. Sometimes the things that don’t make sense now, will make sense in a few months, or a few years. Keep your faith.
There will be a time where your lightbulb moments happen, and you’re suddenly up at 2am because you’re too excited to sleep. You have ideas swirling around in your head, and your dreams are suddenly so big they’re scaring you. This is the perfect time to jot everything down and make a plan. Speak to your boss, a coach, or Google ‘how to make a strategy plan’. Putting pen to paper will give you clarity and focus, so you know what you’re working towards.
Come back next month for more from Grace!