Dear Dr. Norquist:
I’m trying to get my career going and having a hard time of it. I majored in business but it doesn’t interest me much. It seemed like the safest major (according to my dad anyway). I’ve always been interested in people but I don’t know how to support myself with that! Right now I’m working retail. It’s OK but it doesn’t hold much promise as a career path. I’m already 28 and I want to be able to support a family someday. What can I do to get ahead?
Dr. Norquist responds:
Contrary to popular opinion, there is no one right way for everyone to progress through life. What matters is what is right for you – and you are the sole expert on that!
The right path for you is the one that excites you, peaks your interest and your curiosity, gets your creative juices flowing, and brings you a sense of satisfaction. If you listen for these inner emotional sign posts you will know which direction to take. Your path is the one that best develops your skills, allows you opportunities to offer your talents to the world and provides you with satisfaction and personal growth (emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually). For some, the work-world is their major growth path. For others, it may be family, creativity, service, or any of a multitude of options. For most people it is some combination of these venues.
Many people farther along life’s journey (50’s, 60’s) would say that they remember having felt as you do when they were in their late 20’s. Try asking some of them how they made their way. Usually it’s a combination of coincidence, luck, hard work, and an inner sense of what felt right to them. Often all anyone knows is the next step.
My suggestion to you is to practice listening inside to that still place that senses what is right for you. For any given decision, turn your attention inward and sense that place that “knows” when something rings true for you. Listen for an inner response. It could be a sense of excitement, an image, a clear “no”, or anything. You will find the answer comes not from your head, but from somewhere in the core of your body. The more you develop this practice of inner listening, the easier it will be for you to find your own path. You will discover that outer doors will open with ease when you are following your own inner guidance!
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2014 Chaitanya Counseling Services