The Job of Your Life with Karen Schaffer

Get out of your rut and find your passion

Posts Tagged ‘self-trust’

Self Trust is about Trusting Yourself to Change your Plan (if it isn’t working)

Posted by Karen on March 16, 2011

I found this unpublished thought in my drafts and finished it…thought it might feed the ongoing conversation on Self Trust a bit more.

Comments seem to prompt me to write more…so keep ’em coming!

On a comment from an earlier post, Carly said about her shift from full-time job to self employed coach:  “…if the day came that ceased to be true, I trusted that I could (and would) find a new path to reclaim that success”.

Self Trust doesn’t mean trusting that You’re 100% Right

We must have trust in ourselves to know what’s best for us in the moment.

 The goal is not to make the “perfect” choice and then must stick to it at all costs.  – or we have failed. (So many people function like this is the truth so no wonder people are so “indecisive” about deciding. Hint: you’re not indecisive, you’re anxious).

The goal is to know – know at all levels – that we’ve made a good choice, that feels right, right now with all the information we have…and we have the power to change it at any time, with more information and insight.

Too many people I talk to are in a place of absolute “I cannot fail at this choice” space. How can you possibly move forward if what you’re asking of yourself is the power to predict the future? You are not Sylvia Browne or Nostrodamus. You are you. Here today. With the best information you’ve got.

So take a deep breath. This is not about perfection, this is about trust. The trust that you will work it out, whatever happens. The trust that you’ve thought the decision out enough to know that you’ll gain something from the experience that is valuable to you – be it a new skill, more experience, new knowledge that is interesting to you or new connections for future work oppportunities. And ultimately, the trust that you can handle the situation if what you realize is that this choice is not the right thing for for you.

So here’s a question to explore about your feelings of indecisiveness: “Do I trust myself to handle the outcome if this path turns out to be different than I thought?”

Posted in Career Exploration, Emotional Life as connected to Career, Self Trust - I trust myself | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Practice of Self-Trust – For Rida

Posted by Karen on March 10, 2011

First, I would like to thank you for your post, it’s really interesting. The questions at the end are very amazing. But I’m still wondering how can I practice such things in my life? Rida

Rida asked a great question, enough to stir me out of my blog abandonment to write another post on self trust (thanks Rida!).

What I think she’s asking, if I’m right, is while the idea of “self trust” is all well and good, how do I hold on to such an intangible, wispy idea in this busy, meaty, demanding LIFE that really doesn’t give a rat’s behind if you’re trusting yourself or not?

The practice of self-trust is the practice of learning how it FEELS when you are truly and actually trusting yourself from the top of your head to the tips of your soul. The goal is FEELING coherence – so that you mentally and logically trust your choice, you emotionally trust your choice and you spiritually trust your choice.

To do THAT you must get in tune with what you think about the situation, what emotions you feel about the situation and how connected you feel overall to the “highest and best” you.

Let’s tackle each part separately. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Emotional Life as connected to Career, Self Trust - I trust myself, Yoga and Career Exploration | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Follow up thoughts on Self Trust and the WORST Case Scenario

Posted by Karen on February 17, 2010

I got a great comment on the Self Trust post I put up yesterday, and I started writing a comment response. By the end of three paragraphs it occurred to me it was a post in itself…

So here’s Caryn Reddick’s comment:

Related to #1-4 above, I also recommended that you consider whether or not you are prepared to handle the “worst case scenario”. In other words, if you take a risk, and it doesn’t pan out, would you be willing to accept the worst thing that could happen. If so, the risk might seem less risky. Often the worst case scenario isn’t as bad as you think, once you really give yourself time to consider it. Again, great post.

Thank you Caryn for adding in that thought about the “worst case scenario” (for a related post by Caryn on her Original Success blog, click here it’s a very thoughtful corollary article that has great suggestions on how to deal with career-related fear).

Here was my “reply” comment that I’ve posted here instead.

A lot of people can’t even stand the thought of, say “wasting” money on a degree or further education or taking all these risks to put themselves out there and changing their mind. There are all kinds of obstacles that come out of, as you point out, fear. And fear is a very normal part of taking a risk into a new territory.

People often talk about “money” and “time” being the obstacles but there are others, such as wanting to get it “right” or being afraid you won’t really be passionate about it once you get there. In my book The Job of your Life I devoted an entire chapter on “Stories That Can Stop You” and how to think about them differently, including money & time.

Still, at the bottom of all these fears around making a decision is self trust. And Caryn draws attention to an important aspect of a big decision: can you trust yourself to handle the worst case scenario?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Career Exploration, Emotional Life as connected to Career, Questions For Exploration | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

How Do I Trust Myself? Let Me Count the Ways

Posted by Karen on February 16, 2010

Last November I wrote a post on the importance of self trust (which begs the question: where does the time go?).

I had some interesting responses to that post, with some follow up questions along the lines of “How do I trust myself if I don’t trust myself”? Good question.

Trust is this really quirky little quality that requires you to do something before you get something back… i.e. to trust before knowing if the other person or the path is trustworthy – and if you can trust yourself to handle what happens if you choose to go forward. Moving forward safely takes courage and practice. It takes a high degree of relatedness with your “inner knowing signals” – that is with your body’s feelings when you are grounded in your decision at all levels.

It is something you can get related to by observing and practicing everyday. Start by learning to trust yourself on the smallest decisions, such as what to focus on in your day or what you eat for lunch. By feeling the small wins when you know you chose the right thing for you, you will become more familiar with your process to know when you’re ready to make a decision and if it’s the right one.

And I certainly didn’t learn to trust myself all by myself. I had some excellent coaches and friends who listened deeply to me when I was trying to decide something (big or small) and reflected what they heard both in the content of what I was trying to decide and also an “emotional” read of where I was: when I sounded scattered, anxious and frightened versus when I sounded grounded, coherent and calm (sometimes all in the same phone call!). Having a “mirror” to my inner state helped me to hear myself in new ways and to begin to recognize when my decisions became settled and certain.

So how do you know that you are “self-trusting”? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you “tune in” to where you are in the process:

1. Do I trust myself to handle what might come up in a new career path? Such as new information…unexpected detours…or fearful feelings about starting something new?

2. Do I trust myself to gently pull myself back if I go too far beyond my comfort zone? Do I know what it feels like to be “comfortably” outside my comfort zone?

3. Do I trust myself to recognize the signs when something is “off” or wrong for me at this time? Can I name the feeling in my body when this occurs?

4. Do I trust myself to get out of what is not right for me once I recognize it? Do I know my blind spots around letting go of something that isn’t working?

5. Do I trust my decision-making process? Do I give myself time to process emotions as well as thoughts? Do I recognize when “information” comes with an emotional undercurrent that needs to be understood and processed? Do I give myself the time and space to visualize myself fulfilling on the decision and experiencing the resulting feelings to see if I’m in tune with my decisions?

6. Do I recognize the feeling in my body when something is “right” for me? Can I identify other times I’ve known that in my life and regularly recreated that feeling for myself so it’s familiar?

7. Can I let things unfold organically or do I often try to force outcomes?

8. Can I trust myself to listen to another point of view with an open mind, knowing that I will make the final decision that is right for me?

9. Do I find smaller and less “high stakes” times to trust myself first before tackling bigger life choices like my career?

Posted in Career Exploration, Emotional Life as connected to Career, Questions For Exploration, Yoga and Career Exploration | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The Importance of Self-Trust

Posted by Karen on November 26, 2009

Consider this a follow-up to the “Spaciousness or Just Drifting” post 

#8 of that post said this: Ask Yourself – You Know the Truth Without This List Anyway: We have a deep knowing as human beings if we are doing something for the “right” or the “wrong” reasons – we just keep ourselves from knowing that truth by keeping ourselves busy and on the surface of our minds. If you have the courage to look inside deeply, you’ll know if you’re creating spaciousness or if you’re merely using the idea to keep you stuck.

What if  you really don’t know – like #8 suggests you really should – when you look inside yourself …because you don’t know if you know anything “true” about yourself anymore?

One of my readers emailed me that question. She pointed out that once you get into this career exploration thing – letting go with who you thought you were and what you thought you wanted and in the vacuum-like state of trying to discover what you DO want – you can often feel more lost and confused than you have in your entire life.

When you’re in that state, not only do you doubt yourself, you tend to also doubt yourself self-doubt and then second guess your second guess doubting. Head spins ensue. Lying on the floor in the fetal position begins to look like an appealing life choice.

My reader is right – and good to remind me – that the great unknown of searching for your passion can make you feel much more vulnerable when being told you should “know” whether or not something is true for you.

And that’s where Self-Trust comes in.

Self-Trust is the unsung, oft-missed and yet vital element of a transformative career search. What I’ve come to learn…though it’s really rather obvious when you think about it logically…is that if you don’t trust yourself, no matter what possibilities open themselves to you, you won’t take them – or often won’t even see them – because you don’t trust yourself enough to make the right choice.

I find this often happens particularly later in someone’s career, when they’ve been around the proverbial block enough times to have been “burned” by their decisions (even if they couldn’t have foreseen the consequences of the decision, such as a workplace environment going toxically sour). Even if there was no way of knowing the outcome, they begin to question and doubt their choices. They get stuck. “I don’t want to choose that direction if it’s only going to end up the same way”. There’s no way out of that one with certainty. No one knows how it will end up.

Or, another version of the Self-Trust shake up: losing one’s certainty of life purpose that comes from knowing what you do. That can seriously mess you up. I knew a guy who loved his marketing job so much he’d named his cats Trix and Snap after the brands he worked on. But when he didn’t love the job anymore he got severely depressed…who was he if not a marketing guy? Trust goes out the window because you begin to wonder “Did I know myself at all? And if I don’t know myself, how do I know if my new ideas are the right ones?”

So we could actually say that self-doubt is an integral part of career exploration. And Self needs Trust in order to move forward. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Career Exploration, Emotional Life as connected to Career, Yoga and Career Exploration | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

A Magical Skill That Is Available To You…With Conscious Awareness Of Course

Posted by Karen on February 3, 2009

To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful “magic skills” that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition.  Elizabeth Gilbert

Thanks to Kelly for the quote.

Posted in Career Exploration | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Yoga of Career Exploration

Posted by Karen on February 3, 2009

Spent this past Sunday giving a workshop on how the practice of yoga can support your career exploration. It’s a workshop I have held before, in the fall of 2006, and holding it again allowed me to observe how much I have integrated the learning from the principles for myself. The workshop was blogged about, which is a first for me. So…in all…awesome.

To give you a taste…I took four principles from yoga practice – Playful Exploration, Spaciousness, Self-Trust and Acceptance, and looked at the ways that this can form a new way to approach Career Exploration.

Playful Exploration: In the practice of yoga, we explore postures and movement. We see what is possible in our bodies, without striving. We hear something new a teacher says about the posture (or hear something we’ve heard a million times and suddenly “feel” it in our bodies) and we play with that direction to see what that does to our experience of the posture. I add the word playful because playful to me conveys the lightness of the exploration. It’s not heavy and full of judgment and assessment. We aren’t commenting on where we can go or how far we come or where we are compared to where we should be. We’re in it. We’re being the posture.

Spaciousness: I’ve written more about this now in The Job of Your Life 10th Anniversary Edition. In yoga, spaciousness conveys our experience of the whole yoga. Often people relate the most strongly with the “strong” postures – the downward dog, the warrior – when they are sweating and energetically holding. Then when they get to a counter posture, like child’s pose, they just relax without awareness. We dismiss it as “easy”, as the holding place between the more important postures that are really “doing something”. I invited the class to really experience the spaciousness, to honour it and recognize it’s importance. Even the spaces between the postures can be full of awareness and experience. Spaciousness allows us to savour and release the energy we create, to fully experience it. Without spaciousness, there is no awareness.

Self-Trust: Yoga allows us to explore and observe how much we trust ourselves. Are we willing to move slowly and with awareness in new ways? Do we hold ourselves stiff because we are afraid of getting hurt, or we have an unshakable belief that our “shoulders will always be tight” or “I can’t touch my toes”? Can we not do a posture that everyone else is doing because we know that it’s not right for us today? Self-trust is how to move safely in yoga. One trusts the instructor, and yet each class is a co-creation with your inner teacher. Self-trust allows us to make the decision to go forward because we trust ourselves to take care of ourselves when something isn’t right.

Acceptance: I accept where my body is. I accept where my body is in this class. I accept where my body is in this posture. I accept where my body is in this moment. Learning how to accept ourselves, have compassion for where we are at every moment…this is the practice of yoga.

My breakthrough has been in seeing how these areas apply so powerfully to a Career Exploration.

Most people come into a career exploration feeling heavy, serious, action-oriented, pushing for the answers and yet not trusting themselves to know if it’s really the right answer. As human beings we are generally not very good at being compassionate at the best of times. We get even harder on ourselves when we don’t have what seem like things that should be important or “simple”. Of course what we’re asking to be clear about is only the most profound life questions of “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” “What are my unique gifts and how can I serve the world with them in a way that bring me joy?”. It’s not like ordering off a McDonald’s menu.

Of course society at large doesn’t help because we are not, as good North Americans, very tolerant of unanswered questions or anything that appears as indecisiveness. Hence the non-compassionate attitudes that often surround career exploration (as one person in the seminar said, “I don’t want to be running around “chasing my bliss” while telling my partner he has to do things he doesn’t like in the meantime”). We don’t want to be irresponsible in the exploration…we still need to keep up our end of the practical necessities of life.

And at the same time make space for a delicious, open, playful exploration.

Using the practice of yoga to learn through the body what the exploration of Self is…it’s a great way to find new avenues and secret pathways to your inner “answer”. And to have a much more peaceful and joyful experience while you’re at it.

Posted in Career Exploration | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »