There are probably only two things that determine whether or not you are happy in your career;
1. Are you able to be yourself, or
2. Are you continually seeking the approval of others?
If you are doing the latter, then it is not really your career and you probably won’t ever be happy in it because you will constantly be feeling bad about the things that you have not achieved.
So why won’t you be happy? Because your ego will always be craving the praise of others and you will never be able to get enough of it. The chances are that if your focus is on the praise and not on what you are doing, then you may have lost the point of your work and when the praise doesn’t come, you’ll start questioning how good you are at your work. This obsession with praise, or the outcomes of what you are doing, distracts from the task in hand and very often leads to us making comparisons with others who we believe to be better or more successful than ourselves.
Our egos probably started to kick in when we were teenagers; “How do I look?” “What do people say about me when I’m not there?” “Do I fit in?”
Later we start asking ourselves questions like;
“Will my parents be proud of me?”
“Am I being paid the same as others with the same experience and qualifications?”
“Am I an underachiever?”
“Should I be doing better?
“In what ways have I let others, and myself, down?”
And if you are excessively ego driven, you will hear yourself saying things like,
“When I reach/have X, only then will I be happy.”
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
The thing about this type of questioning is that it is entirely invented, and even encouraged, by your own mind!
If you have asked yourself any of these questions, then I think that your ego deserves a well earned rest!
“What was it that I originally liked about this work?”
“Why do I do what I do?” (Other than to earn a living or be perceived as successful)
“Can I stop this need for approval?”
Remember that you are unique with your own talents, skills, achievements and qualities.
Be yourself. Nobody else qualifies. – Dick Bolles