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In Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, Michelle shared a thought that I think hits home for a lot of women: “One day I made note of a New York Times article I read that reported widespread fatigue, stress and unhappiness among American lawyers – most especially females ones.” This is not just an issue for female lawyers, but for many women. Despite how successful you are in your profession, if you find yourself lacking fulfillment and meaning you can easily fall down the rabbit hole of depression.
According to Gallup, the happiness levels of Americans are at a four-year high. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. And If you work 5 out of 7 days a week, you essentially live 80% of your life unhealthy, plus unhappy in dread and regret. Is that any way to live?
Nicole Roberts Jones is a veteran of the entertainment industry. Nicole worked in Talent Management and Casting before shifting her talents to become the Founder & CEO of FIERCE Factor Lab. She now works with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of income from what they already know in order to build an empire from their expertise. Nicole is also a nationally recognized transformational speaker, purpose to paycheck expert and best-selling author of four books, the most recent being Find Your Fierce. Below, she discusses her own career change, why doing what you love is so important to one’s well-being and how to make a career transformation.
You left a successful career in casting to follow your passion. Why did you make this decision and how did you go about making such a scary change?
I left my career in the entertainment industry because in the middle of living out my dream, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Now don’t get me wrong, Hollywood was GREAT! It was the career I had dreamed about since I was a little girl, but for some reason in the dark of the night I found myself tormented by what I was doing because I felt like something was missing. And every time I talked to one of my friends about this, they all kept saying things to me like: have you lost your mind?! Didn’t we just go to the so and so red carpet event and the such and such premier party?!
What I realized is that this was not my friends’ dream. It was not their baby to push out, so I found myself confronted. Confronted with everything I was and everything I had not done yet. So I had a decision to make. I had to decide between the thing that was speaking to my soul vs. everyone’s perception of me and what I should be doing.
And in that moment, in 1993, knees knocking and teeth chattering I decided to stand in the full power of the gift inside of me. I call that moment the moment I found my FIERCE! I transitioned to start the work I am doing now, working with women to align their purpose with their paycheck.
What are some of the major causes of unhappiness and stress at work?
I think the biggest cause of unhappiness and stress at work is living in perception. What I found in my own journey, as well as with the countless number of women that I am blessed to coach and teach, is that we spend years playing small, compromising our joy and not really utilizing our true gifts because we are so worried about what people will think or say. As a matter of fact, we focus so much on who we “should be” that we work at jobs that look good on paper – we have the title, the corner office, the expense account – but we hate it! Even Michelle Obama talked about this in her book Becoming as she shares, “really, it was simple: I hated being a lawyer! I wasn’t suited for the work. I felt empty doing it even if I was plenty good at it. This was a distressing thing to admit, given how hard I’d worked and how in debt I was. In my blinding drive to excel, in my need to do things perfectly, I’d missed the signs and taken the wrong road” And if you work 5 out of 7 days a week, that means you are basically living 80% of your life unhappy in dread and regret. Is that any way to live? It is in the land of perception that makes us compromise living as our greatest self. We can become so comfortable in our own discomfort that we begin to accept it as our life’s destiny. So what I say to that is, it’s time to let go of who you “should” be, so you can become who you are meant to be.
Why is career satisfaction so important to one’s well-being?
Career satisfaction is important because loving what you do allows you to add value not just to your life, but to the role you play at work. When you are happy you excel at work, which carries a ripple effect on your career. It also allows others who are around you, at work and at home, to experience a happy more fulfilled YOU.
How can people identify careers that will bring satisfaction?
To define the work that will bring you meaning and fulfillment is in doing what I call, “Finding Your Fierce.”
First, let me explain why I use the word ‘Fierce’. Fierce is my word for purpose on fire. I believe it’s that inner flame that drives your motivation and, in order to find the work that will make your heart soar and find your fierce, you must start with identifying 2 things:
- What do you love?
- What are you great at?
Once you identify these answers and understand where they intersect, you have found what I call your fierce. But, why is this so important?
In a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it was found that over half of employees say that they’re not satisfied with their jobs. Even further, an article in The New York Times titled, “Why You Hate Work,” a survey from the Energy Project, an engagement and performance firm that focuses on workplace fulfillment, found that as many as 50% of people lack a level of meaning and significance at work. The 36% of individuals who did derive meaning from their work were more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations, reported higher job satisfaction and were more engaged.
What is the best way to start transitioning into a better career?
Deciding to align what you love with your greatest gifts and talents allows you to focus on what matters most to you. When you do what sets your soul on fire, opportunities for advancements will find you, as opposed to you looking for them. By shifting your focus and aligning your purpose with your paycheck, you can profoundly shift the trajectory of your life both personally & professional. No matter what you do, you draw greater meaning and fulfillment when you focus on aligning your purpose with your paycheck.
About Nicole Roberts Jones
Nicole Roberts Jones is uniquely gifted at one thing – drawing out what’s best in YOU and helping you take your Brilliance to The Bank. A veteran of the entertainment industry, Nicole worked in Talent Management and Casting before shifting her talents to become the Founder & CEO of FIERCE Factor Lab. She now works with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of income from what they already know in order to build an empire from their expertise. Additionally, Nicole works with corporations to assure their executives and middle managers push their internal edge, and step into the true power of their gifts and talents at work. Her clients have included Steve Harvey World Group, Dell EMC, McDonalds, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Lisa Nichols and Motivating the Masses, Coach Diversity Institute, the BOSS Network and Working Mother Magazine to name a few.
Nicole is also a nationally recognized transformational speaker, purpose to paycheck expert and best-selling author of four books, the most recent being Find Your Fierce. She lives with her husband in a suburb of Boston, MA, consulting, writing and creating breakthroughs for her clients.