Recently, I’ve seen a theme among some of my clients. That theme is that they are disenchanted with where they are. It comes across as, “Somehow I thought when I achieved this point in my career, I’d be happier,” or “As I’ve begun to settle into this new company, unfortunately, I am seeing more and more signs that it’s not so different from the company I left.”
As we’ve explored what sits underneath their current angst, what has become evident is that they’ve lost sight of what is important to them and why. I often use an analogy to help explain this. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is clear that her vision is to get back home to Kansas. It is not to get to the Emerald City. The Emerald City is simply a means of accomplishing her vision.
In speaking with the person who had become frustrated with her role, it became apparent that somewhere along the way she’d forgotten why she wanted to reach certain levels of authority to begin with. For her, the vision was to be able to have greater impact and influence. Unfortunately, the “politics’ she had encountered along her path to this role had made her more and more reluctant to try new things. As she put it, she’d gotten to where she was by being a “yes man.” The reason she was unhappy was that she’d mistaken the title as the goal, rather than a means of accomplishing her vision.
Likewise, the person who left one job only to find himself in a similar situation in his new company had focused on what he didn’t want, rather than getting clear on what he did want. He was so anxious to get out of the company that he was with that he took the first offer he got thinking, “it’s gotta be better than where I am now.” Because he didn’t do his due diligence – to get clear about the type of environment, the work, and the team that would bring out the best in him, he ended up right back where he’d started.
If you find yourself dissatisfied with your current situation, I would encourage you to take the time to get clear on your vision – understanding both what your vision is and why this is important to you. Like Dorothy, this clarity will enable you to not allow the beautiful poppy fields to distract you, or the flying monkeys to deter you, you will remain focused on finding your way home by achieving your vision.