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Are you becoming your parents career wise?

career direction tips career mindset Jun 09, 2022

There are a lot of funny memes and jokes about becoming your parents. I met up with my mom yesterday to find that we wore similar outfits. This is just one example in which I’m like her — I also followed in her footsteps of starting a business when I turned 28.


I’ve been studying family systems therapy recently and I’ve been thinking about how we turn into our parents regarding our careers. It would make sense that our parents influence our career because they were essential in forming our beliefs about ourselves and cultivating our talents as children.


In my experience exploring  behavioral patterns as they relate to career, here is what I’ve learned:


Your Parents Influence Your Beliefs for Better and for Worse- Your parents fostered your beliefs about worthiness, safety, security, money, risk, work ethic and more. There are some of your parent’s beliefs that serve you, while others hold you back in your career — some that you’ve taken on as your own, while there are others you let go.


I worked with a nurse who loved her field but disliked how her company evolved over the years. As a boomer who grew up poor, she valued job security, which is why she stayed at her company longer than it served her. She realized her beliefs about scarcity and security instilled by her parents who survived the Great Depression and WWII  were no longer serving her career, and a big part of her journey was letting go.


Your Parents Cultivate or Stifle Your Innate Gifts- There are some parents who recognize their children’s innate gifts, and they harness them from a young age. And for those who are lucky enough to have parents who do this, they might pursue a path that allows them to develop expertise using their gifts. It doesn’t mean they don’t hit hiccups or feel the need for support along the way. It usually means they make career pivots instead of overhauls.


On the flip side, some parents believe that certain innate gifts are not valuable, and therefore, their children only use them in their free time or not at all, and their children learn to believe there is no value in them either. For these future adults, they often pursue careers that are a poor fit. Even if the career is an alright fit, they felt a lack of choice in their past and they need a reflection process to reclaim their choices.


We worked with a client who was an incredible illustrator but took the path of computer science because their parents believed that computer science was lucrative and would provide job security. My client hated computer science and his journey with us was in the discovery that he could turn his talent for illustration into a lucrative path.


You Might Share the Same Innate Gifts as Your Parents- If you look at your parents/guardians, what were/are their innate talents- creative, artistic, strategic, analytical, or something else? You might find that your talents are similar, and pursuing a career path that allows you to use those underlying talents is your best option.


We worked with a client who was a retail store manager who felt they were in the wrong career. When we explored their innate gifts, we learned they were analytical and good at making sense of contrasting information just like their dad. They pursued a career in data science, and interestingly, their dad's career had a lot of overlap with data science.


There’s merit in reflecting your family's beliefs about life and career because you might find that certain beliefs allow your career to thrive, while other beliefs will hold your career back. You might realize your parents harnessed certain gifts and repressed others. The gift of being an adult is that you can choose the beliefs that work for you and let go of those that don’t. You can also make career decisions that allow you to spend more time using your innate gifts. And for those who are parents (or future parents), this exploration can lead to making fulfilling changes, correcting the past, and being a more aligned role model for future generations to come.


If you want support in this reflection process, check out my book, The Inner Compass Process on Amazon here, or schedule a complimentary consultation here so you can learn how you can use your childhood memories to guide your career change. 

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