Is your job killing you? Worse still, is it keeping you stuck in a rut? Don’t take it into 2016, try this.

I would sit there early each morning, watching the sun rise over Golden Gate Park as I mused of the stories of the people on the 8 o’clock pain train. That’s what I decided to call it one morning as I watched the N Judah BART train stop opposite the coffee shop where I would sit to write, read and ponder.

Never in my life to that point did I have time to sit in the mornings to sip chai, read, write and ponder. And looking around, nor did many other people, In fact most of the neighborhood seemed to sitting on that 8 o’clock pain train. I could relate, I always had an office to be at, meetings to attend, and always more work waiting to be done than seemed possible in the course of a day’s work, that’s why there are 24 hours in a day, who needs sleep anyway?

Looking at the people boarding and those already on board, they too were feeling it, all I could see was pain in myriad forms. Seems I wasn’t alone, what a revelation! I knew I was miserable in the dream life I had chosen, but I had never really realized how many others might not feel as happy on the inside as they looked successful on the outside.

The challenge is that success is a myth and love is the only currency. What can look successful will never make us whole if all we seek is outer success without inner peace and joy being cultivated at the same time.

So what about you? How do you like the life you are creating and investing in every day? There are a million and one questions I could ask you about your job to see whether it’s a good fit for who you are now, as opposed to who you thought you might be now. The answers would tell the tale of how much you like it, and whether it is killing you, stifling you into a rut, or encouraging you to expand and spread your wings. Indeed, do a google search and there are a gazillion articles that will take you through such questions. And I too will be covering them in future posts, but for now I want to talk about THE question that precedes all others.

Indeed, for me there are no other questions until this pivotal question is answered, which may, or may not, be easy to answer but most likely will take time to unravel the solution, neither of which become important until the question is asked and thus allowing the mind to ponder the possibilities outside of what you might have imagined.

And don’t get me wrong, the other questions are valid, in fact they too need to be asked and answered, but they are not the starting point.  Think of the other questions as the flesh and muscles, and the pivotal question as the backbone and frame for the muscle to hang on and make a human body. Yet, so often, we jump right to the questions and miss out asking the biggest one of all, the one question that can change the hue of any other questions asked after it. What good is a body of flesh without a backbone and frame?

It is when we skip the big question and dive straight into the other questions that we find ourselves back in the same place, different day, different desk, same old feeling, and not wanting to get up in the morning. And you drag yourself through the day counting down the hours until you can be home and in bed.

Have you ever had that feeling? I know I have and if you have too, it turns out we are not alone.

According to studies, between 70-80% of U.S. workers are unhappy in their jobs. That translates to 7-8 out of 10 people don’t like what they do on a daily basis. That’s me and you in those numbers, and most of our friends and coworkers. Think about it, even without a scientific study, how many friends do you have, and how many can you count that love what they do and who they do it with and for? I know all too well how it felt to be in a job that looked amazing on the outside but was slowly yet surely killing me from the inside. And like most people I thought I had no choice but to continue in a life that was wearing me down, making me sick and putting weight on my little frame like never before. For too long I thought that I had made my bed  and now I had to lie in it. It wasn’t like I knew a bunch of happy people, I didn’t, did anyone, who’s really happy anyway?

BOOM! That’s the question right there, who’s really happy anyway? We are led to believe that happiness, if any is to be had, is found within the accolades received at work with the remainder somewhere outside of our daily work life. Success is not for wimps we are told, suck it up, that’s why we pay you the big bucks.

And I will be the first to admit I bought front row tickets.  I was all in. I didn’t need to be happy, What did being happy really mean anyway, wasn’t that just success in a different wrapper? I just needed to excel-aren’t they one and the same anyway? Or at least that is what I told myself as I hurtled through my 30’s feeling with the theme, “it wasn’t meant to feel this way but there’s nothing I can do about it now” running through my life. This wild success I had just didn’t feel so good.

Of course looking around, it would seem quite the opposite. When I asked colleagues and friends, and just seeing the blank faces of strangers on their way to work, it looked like it was meant to feel this way, I didn’t know anyone who really liked what they were doing, let alone loving it.  Most were just trying to get through the day, pay the bills, blow off a little steam when they could, and roll everything else into their 401K for retirement when life really happens.

FUCK THAT! STOP THE WORLD, I WANT TO GET OFF. NOW.

I don’t know about you but I have never felt comfortable with real life starting at retirement. What about all those years before when we have our health, not to mention who knows how long we are here for, No, no, no, retirement is no way to wait for life, but how does one get off the pain train you might ask?

If you are asking how to get off your own pain train, simply answer this question over the holidays, stop worrying about resolutions, they will only distract you back to the pain train. Clear your mind and ask this one question, listen to your body as it answers before your thoughts can assemble themselves.

The question that precedes all questions is, How do you FEEL when the alarm goes off in the morning to go to work? Of course we all have mornings that we don’t feel like getting out of bed, but you know if you regularly have discomfort thinking about work, perhaps you don’t sleep well, or maybe you’re checking your emails constantly, worrying about the meeting or review coming up with your boss who doesn’t seem to like you, though you have no idea why not. Perhaps you are at the office all your waking life and plain dog tired. Maybe just the sheer volume of work you have to do overwhelms you into a paralytic state.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

And though it may not seem like it, you do have a choice, every time. First get honest with yourself, don’t ask if you can change jobs or what that would look like. The answer will be no. Simply check in with yourself and ask how your body feels about the work you do, the place you do it, the people you do it with and the impact it has on the world around you.

It can be scary to come home to the truth of this seemingly simple question because your mind likely wants you to answer the next question, what are you going to do about it anyway?

Remember this is the question that precedes all others, so don’t get ahead of yourself, let the question float around your mind and get honest with how your work makes you feel, it might not feel like it but this is your place of opportunity, it starts with the unknown and tapping into the truth of where you are and where you want to be.

All I know is that 70-80% of the workforce is unhappy and I used to be one of them, and it took me nearly burning in my own bed to wake up to the truth of my own daily life, I was beyond miserable and couldn’t find a way out until life was nearly pulled away from me.

As we near the end of another year perhaps this could be your end of year gift to yourself, to get to the truth of what you want and who you are, even if it scares the shit out of you, consider the alternative, sitting here next year, 12 months deeper into the job and life you don’t love. That is if we are here next year to have the conversation. Life is happening today, when you confront the truth you will find the solutions. just let the question float and marinate, you might be surprised how relieved you are to be truthful about how you feel about your job, after all who cares about how you feel other than you?

How you feel is how you deal, the more in tune you get with how you feel the more your life will bloom, What does your gut tell you in answer to the question is your job killing you softly but surely? Are you ready to get honest with yourself about what you deserve? I would love to know how this question has popped up for you. And together over the next few months we will dive into the other questions so you can have a different conversation with yourself about your job this time next year.

Change might not always be easy, but then again, how difficult is it to stay the same? There is a revolution inside of you, have you tapped into your power?

Sending love from me.

Sat nam

PS If you are ready to dive into these questions come and join us for the Winter Solstice/New Year session of Get Your Happy Back 40 Day Reset for Body, Mind + Spirit. We are creating a movement for change that meets FOUR times a year and we would love to have you join our Forever Family. Use coupon code BeTheChange to grab your spot for $47. Your time is now.