A fish may consider itself a failure if it can’t climb a tree. But it wasn’t wired that way, so why would it hold itself to a completely unreasonable standard? It was never meant to be a tree climber!
Many years ago my pastor said something to this effect and it really opened my eyes to the fact that we’re all wired or designed for a specific purpose. Much like how hammers are designed to drive nails into the wall, we have a reason to be here. And just because a hammer also happens to be a good paperweight…that’s not what it was built for.
I think about how difficult it was for me to fit into my role as an engineer. Don’t get me wrong, I did my job well but it did not feel effortless. I always had to ask questions, do significant research, and review my notes; I often second-guessed myself. It didn’t seem intuitive to me. Then once I was laid off and I had quiet time to reflect on what I should be doing (vs. what I had been doing out of sheer habit), I realized I was doing the wrong work. Now that I’m in the career management space, things just come naturally. I tend to just know what to do even without reading a lot of heavy textbooks. You could say I’m a natural. And I believe this is what it’s supposed to feel like when we’re doing the work we were wired to do. Even normal activities, things like (classes, sermons, reading books), I hear messages in the context of careers. It’s kind of scary actually but it’s more validation of my wiring.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m good at many things…but I strive to be excellent. Just because I’m good at washing dishes, doesn’t mean I should be a dishwasher. Just because I’m good at arguing my point, doesn’t mean I should be a lawyer. And just because you’re good at what you’ve been doing, doesn’t mean it’s what you should continue to do. (Although, sometimes you should).
Consider this an encouragement to not beat yourself up for not being the best at the work you do. Instead, honestly ask yourself if you’re doing the right work. Back to the fish… I’ll bet if you put it in the ocean, it would show you all the wonderful things it was capable of. Are you where you’re supposed to be?
Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation. pushcareermanagement.com