Existential career counseling assists and supports clients in exploring and reflecting upon the direction, purpose and meaning of their lives and their work.
Existential career counseling helps clients to deepen their awareness and perspective, to feel more connected to their experiences, their emotions, and their relationships.
Existential career counseling guides clients towards being more fully present in their daily lives and to feel more authentic and confident in their decisions, choices and actions.
How well do we lead our lives?
In the many conversations I have with clients, I frequently hear them express some of the following: “I do not feel any joy in my work”, “I cannot relate to my work”, "I feel like I am pretending to like what I do", “I do not feel like I have any mastery over what I am doing”, “What I am doing is meaningless”, “I am never asked for my opinion, input or perspective”, “this job loss makes me feel as though I have no say in my life, no control over my life”.
These feelings and experiences can cause us to feel alienated from our work and disconnected from our personal capacity to direct, decide, and lead our lives. When we feel disconnected from the work we do, when we no longer feel a personal connection to our work, and when we do not feel the purpose and value of what we are doing, we can feel frustrated. This frustration can in turn exhaust us. Increasing stress and burnout are two examples of the trajectory from disconnection to frustration to exhaustion. Job loss and career/life transitions are equally challenging experiences where we may feel that we have little or no control over our lives. We do not feel that we are personally leading our lives.
Our internal compass - leading our lives with Inner Consent
In Existential Coaching we speak of Inner Consent. Inner Consent simply put is a personally felt “yes”! Inner Consent is an internal affirmation or experienced “rightness” (not perfection!). “I can stand behind this decision I have made, this direction I have chosen to take in my life". "This activity that I am engaged in corresponds with me, it resonates with me, with my capacities, it resonates with my internal compass". "I am the one behind my decisions and actions". “I am leading my decisions and actions”.
When we feel more fully present, when we feel more connected to and engaged with our actions, when we feel we can stand behind our choices and decisions, we experience this internal "yes". When we feel we are in concert with our sense of self, with our feelings, with our experiences and our values, we experience this internal "yes". Inner Consent is being mindful of what resonates within “me”: “I feel the value of the work I do”, "I feel connected to my capacities and skills and feel the value of how I work“, "I feel myself present and engaged in my life, in my relationships and in my work”, "I fully accept the choices and decisions I have made". “I am the primary leader of my life”.
Inner Consent is an important area to explore with clients, especially those experiencing the challenges of a career transition, those feeling disconnected from their work and careers, and those experiencing daily, unmanageable stress. Exploratory, reflective and compassionate conversation helps clients to deepen both their awareness of and their perspective on what they are currently experiencing in their lives. This supportive process opens-up possibilities for a client. Empowered by possibilities that resonate specifically with their lives, clients are able to identify and re-connect with those areas, both big or small, where they do experience Inner Consent. “I do lead my life in these areas…”
Experiencing Inner Consent
When we experience Inner Consent, we feel connected to the decisions we make, the actions we take and the commitments we make to others and to our work. “I lead my life through my convictions, my capacities and my commitments”.
When we experience Inner Consent, we have the capacity to look both reflectively and realistically at our expectations, our beliefs, our behaviour, and our choices: “I accept that I cannot do everything”. We may, for example, feel tired or disappointed with our work: “I had a heavy work load today, but I feel good about the work I accomplished”, “I did what was possible at work today and I feel good about that”. “I lead my life with perspective and self-compassion”.
When we experience inner consent, we are both open to and accepting of our own limitations or the limitations of a specific situation/context at work. But we can also put these limitations in perspective, we can contemplate and put into action alternate possibilities, outright change, even attitudinal shifts. All of this exercises our capacity to better attune to our experiences, really feel our "personal position". This helps us participate more openly with the world around us, contribute our unique abilities. “I lead my life with acceptance and openness”.
Living with Inner Consent enables us to lead our lives with personally constructed and appropriate decisions and actions. This is especially important during periods of great change, transition, stress or uncertainty. To know that we still lead our lives, that we still decide for our lives, can help to guide us through uncertain transitions.
Inner consent enables us to feel more grounded in ourselves. We recognize ourselves. We feel authentic. We experience a sense of personal integrity. We feel more fully present in our lives, in our relationships, and the wider world around us. We feel and can identify the meaning, purpose and value of our work.
When we live with Inner Consent, we experience fulfillment in our lives.
“I lead my life”.
How well do you lead your life? I help my clients discover inner consent and create personally empowered approaches to career transition, stress and burnout, and the building of resilient career paths. To book a consultation call please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to hearing from you.