Discerning Between Your Head and Your Heart
Question from a reader:
Your feelings are always real. The question you’re really asking is who do you listen to, your heart or your head? Because your head is telling you that you shouldn’t listen to your heart. It’s your head that is telling you that you need this job to support your family. It’s your heart that’s telling you that you’re missing something.
“I’m a paralegal in a high-paying job which demands long hours and lots of concentration. And as much as I like connecting the dots and solving puzzles, most of the time I hate the fact that it keeps me from my family and things that I love. So I’m stuck, I feel like I can’t leave because this job supports my family, and at the same time I don’t feel right inside. I don’t feel like this is right for me. How do I know if this feeling is real? How do I know if I should move on? And if so, to what? It’s scary.”
A couple of years ago, when I was working for myself as a consultant, I was approached by a company who wanted to hire me full time as their chief marketing officer. They were a startup who had already gotten $1 Million in funding and while they weren’t going to pay me as much as I was currently making in salary, they would give me equity in the company. I’ve never been pursued so fervently by a potential employer.
My husband was all for it, but I wasn’t. I had just gotten out of a five year stint of working at jobs I hated. What if this one was no different? What if the company never took off? It was certainly a huge risk.
While logically, it seemed like a good option–I’d at least have a guaranteed salary, health insurance, and the possibility that I could make a lot of money if the company did take off–no matter how much I tried to convince myself, no matter how much my husband tried to convince me, every fiber of my physical being was telling me no.
I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that just didn’t feel good about it at all. The idea of taking the job made me feel like I was trying to run through molasses.
Needless to say, I didn’t take it. I ended up just consulting for them for nine months or so. It’s not that it was a bad place to work, it just wasn’t for me. And because I didn’t take it, I ended up with a much better situation just six months later.
You should weigh your career like this: what feeling does my job give me the majority of the time? Is it joy? Or is it stress, frustration, etc.? If the negative outweighs the positive, there’s something better out there for you. Trust what your heart is telling you.
Sometimes trusting your heart requires taking a risk. And almost all of the time, that risk is terrifying. But always remember, everything you want is on the other side of fear…
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