Let's have a quick pop quiz.
How many of you are living the life you have always wanted? Come on put those hands up, don't be shy.
Okay I can't see you but I can probably guess that not many of you did.
For most of us we end up living in our own personal Groundhog Day, and like Bill Murray's character, we cannot seem to break the cycle. We then switch genres and end up social zombies without the mental strength or even the insight to see how far down the wrong path we have traveled.
I recently managed to get out of the daily 9-5 grind and I wish to share some of the trigger signs I noticed that helped me to break free of the shackles and hopefully set me on the path to the life I truly want.
1. You dread getting out of bed in the mornings
The alarm clock screams its horrendous tone and your first thoughts are that of utter despair and dread. It is so warm under there, why should you have to move? Yet you know deep down that you have no choice in the matter. You reach over, turn the alarm clock off, lie back and wonder if this is what everyone else feels when woken at this ungodly hour.
Honestly it shouldn't have to be like this. Dreading the day ahead is a sure sign that you are spending your time doing something you really dislike. You don't have to jump out of bed like a lunatic but to look ahead with purpose and passion surely has to be the goal.
2. You start to resent your colleagues
You're sat in the office, looking around trying to remember a time when the little things didn't annoy you. Nobody seems to be working as hard as you today yet you're the one who's getting the blame. The constant chatter and banality of your co-workers weekend exploits is getting you down and you're just counting down the hours until you can escape.
As someone who recently worked in what I considered to be a toxic environment, I realized how stressful it is working around these people. The longer you stay the more they will affect your own productivity and moral. If you're unhappy in your workplace, then please look into doing something about it.
3. Your physical or mental health takes a downturn
The mirror never lies. You start to notice the kind of person that looks back at you. The tired eyes and extra weight under the chin is a sure fire sign you are neglecting your diet and your sleep. Your clothes are getting tighter and your energy levels are getting lower. Your self-esteem takes a hit and you begin to worry whether your partner still finds you attractive. Reality dawns on you and you just don't resemble the person you thought you were.
Neglecting the way we eat and how much sleep we get will create havoc in the long run, so it is very important that we don't allow this to happen. The way I like to think of it is that the mind is the guard dog for the body and the body itself is the house the dog resides in. If you think that your dietary habits need changing then start today, not tomorrow. Your health is the most important thing you will ever have.
4. You are constantly thinking about doing other things
You're trying to focus on the task at hand but there is something nagging away at you. A feeling that you could be anywhere but here doing whatever you want. You can't though, you're stuck right where you are and you have no way of escaping, in the short term at least. You're like the kid that hasn't been picked for the team, looking in from afar at everyone else having fun and enjoying themselves.
If there is one trigger that should sound the alarm bells then it's this one. If you want to do something other than what you currently do, then for the love of God do something about it NOW! You're the only one responsible for your actions, so go for it. Follow that passion of yours and live the life you truly deserve.
5. You are drifting apart from those close to you
The phone rings, your heart skips a beat and you hold your breath before you look at the dialer. Yes it's your boss and you know that means overtime yet again, for the third weekend running. You vaguely remember being married, but you can't be sure it actually happened. You're sure you had kids too but it's not like you ever get to see them. Well at least it's quieter, right?
If you feel like your life is driving a wedge between your family and friends then you have to nip this in the bud before any long term damage sets in. For me time will always prevail over money and nothing will ever change my mind. You didn't marry your job so don't act like you owe it any favors.
6. Your ideal future seems further away than ever
Congratulations you've just secured that promotion you've been working so hard for. You're now officially the senior technical analyst retention something or other. How exciting right? Okay you don't get to travel the world or work for yourself but the pensions good. That's what counts.
Sometimes we can become so focused on following the paths that society sets out for us that we can lose sight of who we really are and what we really want. We get told from an early age that we should finish college/university, get a safe secure job, get married and have kids and then retire at 65 to play Bingo for the rest of our days!
It really doesn't have to be that way.
We all have dreams and we all deep down know what we really want, so if you feel any of the trigger signs I have mentioned above then you are probably in the wrong job, and quite possibly the wrong life.
Recognize the signs and change your world.