How to Find Your Dream Job as a Chronic Warrior Worker
It’s hard enough to work out what you want from life, what you want your career to be, whether to change it when you already have one… but it’s even harder still when you have a chronic illness. Because surely jobs that work around your health are rare, right? Surely a boss who knows how to support and bring out the best in you is rare too?
They are valid questions, but the thing is, they aren’t the right questions and it’s not the right time. Because as much as you are going to have to think about the impact of your illness, when you start thinking about those worries right now you have already put up the barriers before you even got to explore your ideas. And that’s why the number of people who decide to go for their dreams are so rare, because so many people let what seems like the cold light of day into their dreaming space before that seed had time to grow roots.
My business symbol is a lotus emerging from the dark because I believe there is beauty in retreat, in darkness, in the nutrient-rich dirt of dream space where we allow ourselves to think of all the possibilities. That time in reflection is what allows us to emerge into the light and be our best self. As warriors we are often given a lot of time to ourselves, time to heal, recover, rest. It’s also rarely the peaceful opportunity many people think it is because either our bodies aren’t playing ball or mentally we just wish we could be doing something else… but loathe it as we might, that time to ourselves affords us the opportunity to know ourselves better and to explore more about what we really want.
I don’t know about you, but illness gave me an opportunity to understand what makes me tick so much more, I appreciated things I didn’t before and my priorities changed. I talk to a lot of people who are lost… completely healthy people who don’t know how they ended up where they are now. Who don’t know what’s important to them, who don’t know their warrior story of what they stand for and what makes them strong. And so I see firsthand the life experience that illness has gifted people like me because I do know my warrior story and I do know what matters to me most because I had to fight to keep the things that mattered and let go of those that didn’t.
So why does that matter? It matters because people get this all backwards and start looking for a solution before they know the real problem, the real reason. They start looking for a job, any job, but do you even know what your why is? What is it that you are doing it all for? What is it that lights you up? How can you find a solution that fits if you don’t know how to answer that first?
If you are happy to take any job going, to accept that you don’t get to choose, that’s OK, that’s your prerogative – not everybody wants more. But if you want something more, something different and you’re willing to put aside the cold daylight and the reality for a while to explore what you really want, you might just learn things about yourself you didn’t know you knew!
I created a free workbook recently and one of the prompts I ask is to think about when on this life journey you’ve been on did you feel the most happiness and why…
…and as an illness warrior many of you are probably thinking “when I wasn’t ill, doh!!” and maybe that’s true! But the why is the most important thing here. Being well didn’t automatically equate to happiness. More likely certain things you could do, see, feel, experience because of being well made you feel happy.
We can’t wave a magic wand and physically heal you, but feelings are different, we can change feelings and we can get to those feelings in alternate ways. When we dig into why it was we felt happy, we get clues about what makes us unique and what lights you up. Whether it’s a feeling of helping others, of being in control, creating something, expressing yourself… whatever it is, there are other ways to get to those feelings and sometimes they are totally unexpected and surprising to us.
If I could give an illness warrior in the workplace or looking for a workplace one tip it would be to ask yourself when you were happiest, ask yourself why and then think about what other things you are capable of that could still bring about those same great feelings. I would ask you to give yourself permission to stop saying “but” just for a little while and allow yourself to dream uninterrupted.
Even the craziest ideas can lead to the “not-quite-as-crazy” and then even to the “actually that makes a lot of sense, why did I never think of that before” ideas, if you trust yourself to dream a little.
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Stay classy, warrior workers.
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Thinkstock photo via jacoblund.