Randall was ten years into a job that he thought he’d retire from. Everything was perfect . . . except for the past six years, when he’d been miserable. He’d finally come to grips with his dissatisfaction on his most recent birthday, one with a zero on the end. He’d realized it was easy to stay put in a job he didn’t like anymore.
Easy, except for all the complaining to his wife and friends.
Easy, except for his irritability that showed up in how he treated his kids.
Easy, except for the impact on his health: high blood pressure, weight gain and disturbed sleep.
Not so easy to stay put after all.
So, Randall started applying for jobs, a daunting task, given he’d not updated his resume in a decade. After numerous false starts in his job search, he found his groove. He was networking, interviewing and growing hopeful.
The perfect opportunity emerged. It felt like the job description had been crafted expressly for him. Randall applied, was invited to interview, and knocked it out of the park. After three rounds of interviews, where he shined, he was convinced the job was his.
Until he found out that it wasn’t.
He rationalized that he didn’t want it anyway, the commute was too long, the industry wasn’t a perfect fit, and that he’d be better off without that job.
In fact, he thought, his current job wasn’t so bad after all.
Randall was full out compensating for the cognitive dissonance he felt. His desired state (new job) didn’t match his current reality (no job offer). And his brain did what our brains are programmed to do: protect us. Except denying Randall a career where he can feel fulfilled and one that doesn’t compromise his health isn’t really what is the best for him.
Many of us, like Randall, follow our instincts to avoid similar situations.
We deny ourselves the opportunity to want what we want, to go after our dreams, and stay where it is safe.
Big dreams don’t always come to fruition the first time at bat. Or the second or the tenth.
Connect with your dreams and don’t let the inevitable setbacks hold you back.