Can you imagine if at all times, we acted in such a way that was always in our best interests? We’d have enough self discipline to only eat food that was good for us, we’d never make ‘impulse’ purchases, we’d make sure we exercised 30 minutes per-day, we’d make sure to save for retirement, we’d always listen to our ‘good angels’ and make wise decisions about health, relationships, spending, savings and yes, smart choices about our careers and jobs.

I’ve met so many professionals who feel stuck in their careers and jobs.

I patiently listen to them describe their frustrations, their fears and their anxiety. And yet, when the question is asked, “What are you willing to do about it to make it better? What are you willing to do to change your situation?” there is hesitation.

There might be misery in their lives, but at least it is misery with a paycheck. At least it’s misery with a job title and some responsibilities. At least their misery makes the mortgage payment. At least there’s no risk with my unhappiness….it’s what I know and I’ve learned to manage it. God forbid if I chased happiness and it didn’t work out.

Imagine if instead of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” our Declaration of Independence stated, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Misery!” NO! Misery is not a normal pursuit! It should never get to a point that our unhappiness is defined as our comfort zone!

And that is the crux of the challenge: becoming so used to your misery, that misery IS your comfort zone. Misery is your normal. Would you be willing to trade misery for all that is possible: happiness? Job satisfaction? Doing what you really want to do? Finding a job where you feel respected? A job where you feel your true talents can shine and you can spread your wings?

I’ve gone through life changes….I mean true life-transforming changes. Changes that required intentionally changing behaviors and decision making routines that were NOT in my best interest. It was not easy. It required being honest with myself – why was I used to making bad decisions? What were the triggers that led me to make “easy path” choices as opposed to getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to go the extra mile for higher rewards? Why did I allow misery to be a normal part of my personal and professional life?

And I will tell you based on my own experience. It is absolutely possible to be happy. It is not easy; it does not happen overnight and requires an absolute willingness and courage to change your situation including changing behaviors, routines, habits and even your thinking. But each of us has the power to change a miserable situation: a job, a relationship, a financial situation.

First, imagine your happiness. What do you want from life? What will give you deep, intense satisfaction? And then get to work. Listen to and learn from others who have changed their situations. Start understanding the triggers that seem to force you to make choices that aren’t in your best interest. What will help you to make better choices on a regular basis? Is it simply self discipline? Or is it something deeper that requires some courageous, honest and bold self introspection to face those personal gremlins that are holding you back.

There are numerous books, coaches, online resources and other self help guidance that can be of benefit. Everyone has to follow their own path that works for them.

But I leave you with this: Be hopeful. Be brave and courageous. Be willing to take the leap and do the hard work that is necessary for life-long happiness and joy. It is absolutely possible to change your situation and your life.

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