One of my clients was feeling stuck in her career. She was in her mid 30's and had been working as an employment lawyer for almost 10 years. But for the last four years, she had been dreaming about doing something else. Unfortunately, she had no idea what she wanted to do next and was afraid to make the wrong choice and waste more time in a job she wouldn't love.
When I asked her why she became a lawyer she said she did it because she thought it would be a good career path but admitted she didn't have a burning desire to be a lawyer. When I asked what other career paths she was considering she mentioned a few but immediately gave me reasons why it would be difficult to make a change.
I could sense in her voice that she was feeling down and was hesitant about her future prospects. She didn't seem to believe that it was possible for her to get what she wanted. Her whole outlook on her career prospects seemed bleak. What was stopping her?
Think Of Yourself As A Character In Your Own Story
Every classic story has a hero, a victim, and a perpetrator as the main characters. The perpetrator causes all the problems, the victim suffers at the hands of the perpetrator, and the hero stops the perpetrator and saves the victim.
In the story of our lives, we play all three characters. Each character has a way of being and speaking that is distinct to each of us. For example, my perpetrator is the bad guy. He is mean and judgmental and constantly tells me that "I'm not good enough." My victim feels helpless and he says things like, "I can't do this" or I don't know what to do." My hero is confident and brave and walks around saying, "I got this" or "I can do this". During any given situation in my life, one of these characters is influencing how I feel, what I think, and what I say. The point is that I'm always coming from one of these empowering or disempowering perspectives. And by consciously choosing to come from a more powerful perspective I am able to make better decisions aligned with what I really want.
Step Into The Hero Role
In the case of my client, I could hear her perpetrator and victim loud and clear. All she could see were the challenges ahead of her which prevented her from taking any action. This left her trapped in her comfort zone of her old job even though she didn't want to be there anymore.
As her coach, I was also listening for the parts of her story where she embodied the Hero character. Even though she was struggling in the context of making a career change there were also moments in her life where she was decisive and had made bold moves just based on her intuition. Several years ago she had moved from Boston to Chicago without having a job lined up. She had just visited, loved the city, and felt it was important for her personal growth to leave her hometown and experience something new.
I asked her to tap into her Hero self again, the part of her that was able to make a bold decision without needing to have all the answers. When she did, her perspective shifted. Instead of seeing challenges, she saw what was possible if she started exploring a new career. She went from feeling scared that she would make a mistake to confident about being able to figure out her next steps.
The Power Of Perspective
As a coach, I'm trained to help people shift their perspectives so that they come from a more empowered place. I already know that the answers are within my clients. I just need to get them to a place where they can access those answers.
If you are feeling stuck, it is more than likely you are being influenced by your own Victim and Perpetrator. The trick is to be aware of what is going on and have the ability to step into the Hero role. It is easily one of the most effective coaching exercises I use to help my clients.
Download the Be Your Own Hero Guide and help yourself get unstuck and step into a more powerful perspective!
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