As the year comes to an end, many of us reflect on where we stand in life – and work specifically – and what hopes and dreams should come true in the New Year.

Ever since I quit my work at Microsoft 10 years ago to travel the world and understand what “meaningful work” could really be, these annual reviews have become a loved ritual that helps me stay close to what I really care about. And we all know that it’s not that easy.

Over the years and based on hundreds of career profiles and interviews I found out that there are always good reasons not to pursue a path of values in your work, to act beyond money and status, to seek true satisfaction. I struggle with them as much as everyone else. Or are they just excuses?

Here are some of the main reasons why people avoid the transition towards a more meaningful career. Let’s not give them another chance!

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Dismantling the 5 main excuses as barriers to pursuing a career with purpose

  1. ‘I don’t have the right professional background’

What skills are really required to create social change? You don’t have to be a doctor, lawyer or finance expert to make things happen. Each individual has a unique set of experiences, values, skills and talents, which when used in the right way, can create change and impact.

  1. ‘I’m too young or too old’

Can a graduate contribute as much as a business leader? Whether you have just finished studying, are yet to develop your networks or skills or are facing peer-pressure to take the corporate route, don’t be put off by the need to be ‘realistic’ with your dreams.

By the same token, if you’re nearing the end of your career and are just looking for a rest – you’d be surprised by what you can offer on a flexible basis.

  1. ‘I am not financially secure’

Do you need money to create impact? You’re maybe used to having nothing and thinking that means you have nothing to offer, or you are used to a high standard of living and not sure if you can or want to change that. Would it be worth it, for that sense of purpose?

  1. ‘I am already successful in what I’m doing’

Can I give up the career I’ve worked so hard at? You’ve probably already invested a lot in your professional and personal development, skills and network and feel that would be wasted. You might be surprised by how you can extend those networks and skills and still work in a similar capacity or space.

  1. ‘What will others think of me?’

Well, what will they think? You probably feel like you don’t care much about others’ opinions but still, your peers may make a lot of money and live a great lifestyle. You don’t want to look like a failure. Or maybe you have responsibilities to provide for your family. Explore your options even though it takes a lot of self-confidence and resilience to pursue a path that sits outside others’ ideas of ‘normal’.

Success is more than just outcome, it’s living your personal values and making a difference along the way. Sometimes you just need the right tools to see your world through new eyes.



If you feel like making a step in 2016, come join us in one of the upcoming workshops:

15./16. Januar 2016: Karriere mit Sinn – Workshop “Von heute in die Zukunft”, 2 Tage auf deutsch in Bern

22./23. January 2016: Meaningful careers – workshop “From Today into the Future”, 2 days in English in Zurich

For inspiration over the Holidays, you may want to read “The Futuremakers