Have I started doing my job on autopilot? Have I started taking my relationships for granted, not giving them my full attention? I applied it to my eating habits, my exercise, my sleep... even the way I clean my house. I realized that unless we get scared into paying attention to what we're doing, we often think we are committing 100 per cent to a task when we are not.
There comes a point in your career when you may want to flex your persuasive muscle, it could be the quest for a promotion or establishing your public brand. Whether you're a student or a senior level executive, competition is fierce and there's never been a greater time to get noticed and be heard.
You can always be fired, downsized, or replaced. Your company could fold. The economy could tank. Depressing, I know. But, oddly enough, it's also empowering. Knowing there's no 100% guarantee frees you from pressure fall in line, fly under the radar, cave to the pressure, and suck it up, all for the sake of "security."
Instead of thinking about what physical goals you want to reach (lose 20 pounds, make six figures, buy a house), you think about the why of these things. How do you think they're going to make you feel (maybe sexy, wealthy, secure)? You'll discover a whole bunch of other ways to achieve those feelings.
Getting exactly what we want is rare. Usually it's give and take. Conflicting interests make it necessary to bargain constantly. However, we also haggle with ourselves when no one else is around to limit our options -- often unconsciously. As behavioral scientists tell us, even under the best of circumstances, smart and regrettable choices balance each other out over time.
I've found that once I've made a major decision, it wasn't as scary as I thought it was, and I wonder what too me so long. When you step outside your unhappiness, you find that there is a life and it is there for the taking. It is just getting over that first hurdle of making a move and once you've jumped that... you can win. You can get ahead.
It's exhausting, this constant pressure that exists in the "real world." We're making decisions today that outline the rest of our lives. The choices we make now help us discover who we are, what we want in life, where we live and what people we want to spend our time with. How do you know which path is best? The truth is, you don't.