How to Find Your True Potential and Live the Life You Want

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Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

The last few years have been difficult, to say the least. Just as we were feeling more positive about the pandemic, we’re inundated with more negative news. From concerns about new COVID variants, to shootings, inflation, rising interest rates, the mid-term Elections, the effects of climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, and supply chain issues it’s understandable that  “Mental Health Replaces COVID as the top health concern among Americans,” reported IPSOS in September 2022. 

Employees are also fed up with their jobs, being overworked and underappreciated. In fact, the number one reason people leave their jobs is toxic workplaces. The Great Resignation and “quiet quitting” (not going over and beyond the job requirements) are continuing as a by-product of the pandemic.

According to a Flexjobs survey, people are quitting for these reasons:

  • No remote work options (43%)
  • Burnout (42%)
  • Not allowing flexible schedules (41%)
  • Limited advancement opportunities or career progression (37%)
  • Lack of or poor benefits (i.e., not offering health insurance or 401(k) benefits) (31%)
  • Limited PTO or sick time (27%)
  • Poor mental health support (22%)
  • Long-term job stability (21%)
  • Amount of travel required (19%)
  • Not having diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in place (19%)
  • Lack of connection to the company’s mission (18%)
  • Concerns over COVID-19 vaccine requirements (17%)

More than half of workers plan to pursue new opportunities in 2023; a 2022 working paper by Brookings showed that relationships are, in fact, the most important determinant of meaningfulness at work. And those who feel a strong sense of relatedness, and thus get greater meaning from their jobs, are likely to put in more effort, according to the research.

So how can you discover what to do next? My 30-year marketing career has had many twists and turns. For example, I majored in Acting for two years but my professors said I was too dramatic, so I switched to Communications. 

I wanted to be an attorney like my dad and took the LSAT’s, but my dad said, “You’ll never win your case until you can see the other side; you’re more of an advocate.” After graduating, I was only allowed to live at-home for one month, so I took the first job I was offered working as a Communications Specialist at General Electric. 

Unbeknownst to me, being surrounded by engineers, scientists and technologists helped me learn how to decipher complex technical terms. When I got my first agency job, I was given a division of Du Pont because I was perceived as a technology specialist. Later, I went on to work for Burson-Marsteller (now, Burson Cohn and Wolfe), managing a division of IBM.

As for acting, I use the skills I acquired in school like public speaking, improvisation, and nonverbal communication during podcasts, events, interviews and more. Studying the characters I played helped me to see things from different perspectives.  

I share these examples with you to illustrate how we can use the past to build on our strengths. Each of us has our own unique stories. Decades ago, I could have never imagined that I’d learn topics like blockchain, AI, FinTech, financial services, mobile apps, and more. Instead of focusing on external events which we can’t control, look back to uncover your life skills. 

If you’ve followed my articles on Decode Your Value, you know the process entails looking back at your core values, background, experiences, relationships, and interests. To make it easier for you, my team and I created a PDF of a Life Skills Tree for you to download and create your digital tree. Here’s my first article on the method. Since October is Depression and Health Awareness Month, learn more about yourself and what you want moving forward.

Here are 20 questions to get you started:

  1. Think about what you loved as a child
  2. Did you have a passion (s) that you pursued? If not, why not?
  3. What is your background (parents, siblings, children, etc.)?
  4. What life experiences were significant to you?
  5. Were your parents supportive?
  6. Did you take a job (or jobs) just because you needed money? 
  7. What are some of your hobbies?
  8. What relationships are (were) most important to you?
  9. Are you an introvert, extravert, or ambivert? How has your personality impacted your career decisions?
  10. What do you like to read?
  11. If you want to change jobs or are looking for a new career, what are some of the things you enjoy doing as an adult?
  12. Do you have a learning mindset?  
  13. What are your core values?
  14. Will the new job or career change make you happy?
  15. How can you use your social media networks to further your goals?
  16. Do you want to start your own business? If so, does your product or service  solve a problem for the customer?
  17. Do you feel your work is meaningful?
  18. What are your hard and soft skills?
  19. Have you considered taking a course to learn something new?
  20. Do you have self-limiting beliefs? (i.e., I’m too old, I’m too young, I don’t have enough experience, etc.)

Since remote work is not going away, you can run a small business from your home. Beyond having a strong online presence, you need to identify your target audience and have a documented marketing, PR, digital media, and financial plan. If you need to hire people with specific skills, it’s easy to find freelancers. 

The Great Resignation spurred by 4.3 million people who quit their jobs in January 2022, “Has caused a lot of people to rethink their professional life. A lot of good talent would otherwise be unavailable is now on the market. Many adequate workers are looking for new prospects. Many adequate workers are looking for new prospects, many of which are shifting industries. The pandemic has made a lot of people want to live instead of living to work.” – Entrepreneur, September 2022.

If you’re open to learning, you will. If you do in-depth research on the sectors in which you want to work, you can move into a new career pathway. Once you uncover your life skills, you’ll identify transferrable skills and new opportunities. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best, “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or in my case too early to be whoever you want to be. There is no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. 

We can make the best of it. We can make the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”


Wendy GlavinAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com