There are occasions when a potential client or even current client looking to change careers might say to me: “Becky, I don’t know if I am worthy of being happy.”

Worthy? That’s a tough issue; it borders on the psychological realm, not just business. The issue of “worthy” or “unworthy,” is a complex mixture that can encompass much more than satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a job.

I do know that within the context of the job or career change discussion or happiness in general, our past does not have to define us. We can develop whole new careers. If we want to move out of our ruts, we can do so. If we need the courage to change, we can change.

We must be aware that a lot of times past angers and frustrations and disappointments carry directly over into our careers. Indeed, we may find ourselves working in careers where we are trying to make others happy and not ourselves.

Prior to writing Designing Your Ideal Life, I had come out of life experiences where I had been successful but unhappy and realized I needed much more out of life. I had to reach a certain point where I needed to look for something better. These realizations take hard work and personal inner examination.

Not always apparent

I eventually came to realize that for many people in unsatisfying jobs or unrewarding professions, their unhappiness may not even seem apparent to them on a day-to-day basis. We go through our days being distant and disengaged. We may do just enough, but not much more. In those situations, we often keep silent especially to our bosses or co-workers because we are afraid to express our feelings. Our loss of motivation begins to burn us out. Even though we may not be cognizant of what we are feeling, we know that something is wrong. We carry our dissatisfaction around with us like a massive weight on our shoulders.

Unfortunately, our “release” is often taken out on others who have nothing at all to do with the situation. We may blame our unhappiness on our spouses or our children or our dear friends – even our pets.

Over time, our dissatisfaction even though unspoken, may surface in negative performance reviews. We can only fake our discontent for so long.

I know a woman who is one of those dramatic types. She always tells people in her workplace how overworked she is, how much she sacrifices and how she should be happier in her job. Not long ago, I visited her at her workplace and in the space of an hour, she managed to tell four people how unhappy she was.

It is apparent that she doesn’t know how to change. She is in a state of limbo. I have known people who have been in that state for 10 years or 20 years or even longer. We can get back many things in life, but time is not refundable.

Eventually, unhappy employees self-destruct. In the case of this employee, one or more of the co-workers will make a comment to a supervisor or her work will badly deteriorate, or she will do something to undermine herself.

Are we worthy of happiness? Perhaps that is not the important question. Can we change if we truly want to do so? Yes – and that is why I wrote my book; to help you with that change.

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