I Know I Can Do It, But Do I Want To?
Posted January 31, 2014

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A career or job change is both exciting and frightening. A lot depends on the circumstances: Was I fired? Did I want to leave? Am I headed to a great new opportunity? Am I a serial job searcher?

No matter where you are in a search, there are filters you use to make that next decision: money, title, location, role, degree of challenge, company prestige, etc.

During my recent seismic career shift, a phrase popped into my head and became my mantra as I spent almost two years deciding what was next. Those simple but powerful words were, “I know I can do it, but do I want to do it?”

This phrase became my filter as I considered everything from staying in my current corporate role, to finding similar roles in another company, to returning to academia, or maybe even buying a franchise. As I considered options I kept asking myself, “I know I can do it but do I want to do it?”

I realized this sentence also served as a tool to reflect back on job and career choices I had made in the past, and was helpful to uncover prior motivations and implications. Being a reasonably capable person I realized there are lots of things I can do by tapping into my skill set or gaining additional learning; I kept asking myself in my gut, but do I want to do it.

As I work with clients looking at career shifts this phrase has become a simple yet impactful way for them to uncover where their energy really is for their next move. Is the move back to a prior industry a safe move but not inspiring? Are your concerns with the corporate culture legitimate but you’re telling yourself “I can make myself fit in?” Are you staying where you’re at because it’s easier than the challenge of acquiring new skills?

Doing things you “want” or “choose” to do shifts you in a positive direction and makes satisfaction, productivity and happiness way more likely. It’s just as much hard work, but that effort is directed toward something you’re excited about and you’re not expending energy just to show up each day.

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