Why Letting Go Of What You Hate Is Essential To Building A Career You Love

By on March 15, 2014

I spent 18 years in a corporate career that, for the most part, wasn’t a good fit with what I love to do and am truly good at. Despite that fact, I was outwardly “successful” at my work. Throughout those years, I received successive promotions, managed larger staffs and projects, and earned more responsibility and money. By the time I hit 40, none of that felt good or positive, and my professional life and career just didn’t work.

I now know that loving your career, and building a successful, satisfying and rewarding professional life, means doing work you love, that you’re also good at and have mastery in, all of which brings meaning and purpose to your life.

What kept me stuck for so many years doing work I disliked?  There are numerous factors, but I’d say that money was the primary motivator for staying stuck and miserable, followed by an underlying fear that I couldn’t do without the self-esteem and “security and stability” I believed my high-level positions afforded me.

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In researching how women overcome professional crisis and move out of work they hate towards work they love, I’ve observed that letting go – of the thinking, patterns and behaviors that keep you stuck and of performing functions and roles you dislike intensely — is essential.

How can we let go of work we dislike? Many say, “Sure Kathy, that idea is all well and good, but I have three mouths to feed and I can’t just quit this job.”

The vast majority of us can’t “just quit” our jobs or careers, and I’m not suggesting leaping. But we CAN look at our jobs, work and careers in a fresh new ways. We can begin to understand what we do fantastically well, and love engaging in, and identify new opportunities to be of use in ways we love — even at our current jobs. I know this – you’re not meant to hate what you do for a living each and every day, and if you think you have to, you’re sabotaging your own happiness.

Below are 4 key steps to letting go of what you hate, in order to build a career you love:

Determine what you want to let go of, specifically.

Dedicate time this month to gaining clarity about everything you are doing (and have done) in your career/job – all the tasks, functions, projects, responsibilities and activities, from large to small. Break them down into three categories – what you love, what you loathe, and what you’re OK continuing to do. Then, place a check mark next to all of those tasks and responsibilities that are not a natural fit to who you are. Identify the projects you dread, the functions that make you feel like an imposter, the roles that are misaligned with your values, interests and what you care most about. Make a promise to yourself that you will do everything in your power to shift away from work you hate.

Identify what you want to do more of – what you love.

Now, identify the opposite. What roles, responsibilities and functions have you performed (now and in the past) that you absolutely love? Where are you doing them, and why do you love them? What skills and talents are you able to draw on that make these tasks so enjoyable? What part of your personality, values, standards of integrity, and passions do these enjoyable activities play off of? How long have you loved doing these things? (I’d venture a guess that you loved these activities since your teen years and even earlier.)

Commit yourself to creating new opportunities to do what you love.

Thirdly, commit yourself 100% to finding new opportunities to be of service in ways you love. Perhaps you see a gap or void in your current department that you could fill using the talents you love to draw on. Maybe there’s a project in another division that you’d be excited to participate in but were afraid to ask. Perhaps you can make time this year to start that blog you’ve been longing to write.  Go for that open job you’ve been procrastinating about.  Ask your mentors and sponsors for help. Every day, open your eyes and ask yourself – “Where can I apply the talents I love to use in new, better ways?”

Be open – don’t overly-attach to what it has to look like.

Finally, this “letting go” strategy is successful only when you avoid overly-attaching to what the outcome has to look like. New, amazing opportunities are all around us, but most of us simply don’t recognize them. Every day we miss the chance to move in an exciting new direction because we’re stuck resenting the old direction or too firmly attached to what “success” has to look like before we budge. Believe in the importance of your talents, ask for help to utilize these gifts in new, more rewarding ways, and be open to what comes.

For a personal story on how letting go of work I disliked in 2013 positively impacted my life, check this out.

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Remember, if your plate is overly full with work you hate, you’ll never do work you love. Be brave — let go.

What work do you hate doing today and how can you move away from it this year?

(For more about achieving greater success and happiness in your career, join me in my free teleclass Breakthrough to Your BOLD Plan for More Happiness, Success and Reward on February 11th, and visit www.elliacommunications.com)


Originally posted on Forbes.

About Kathy Caprino

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is a nationally-recognized women’s career coach and work-life expert, executive trainer, Forbes contributor, writer and speaker dedicated to the advancement of women in business. Author of Breakdown, Breakthrough, and Founder of The Amazing Career Project, Kathy is President of Ellia Communications, Inc. -- a leading career and executive coaching and training firm helping professional women build successful and fulfilling careers of significance, and reach their highest potential. For more information, visit kathycaprino.com or write to [email protected] Connect with Kathy on: Twitter, FB, LinkedIn.

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Why Letting Go Of What You Hate Is Essential To Building A Career You Love