Push yourself, but not in the wrong direction

One of my clients is at a crossroads.  She dedicated the past 5 months of her life to developing a skill she no longer enjoys.  In the beginning, she was excited by the prospect of working in this particular industry.  She put a tremendous amount of effort towards becoming an expert, only to reach the summit feeling empty.  I doubt her experience is uncommon.

This sort of experience happens often because people rightly recognize the need to work hard to achieve their goals.  They understand that passion isn’t always fun or easy.  Sometimes we must force ourselves to do difficult things, because we know it’ll help us realize our objective.  But what if we push ourselves in the wrong direction?  What if we toil in discomfort only to find that we don’t want whatever it is we’ve been working for?

The best way to prevent yourself from making this mistake is to first determine your personal values.  Personal values are the overarching qualities that drive you.  I recommend using your personal values to write a manifesto.  The document should be short enough to read in a few minutes.  Read it regularly to remind yourself of your goals.  

Write your goals out, and determine a time to review them every week.  Set annual goals, and then breaking those goals into supporting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.  During your weekly check-in you can determine whether or not you need a course correction.  The worst thing you can do is to put your head down and push through adversity, only to find that you’ve been wasting your time.