Ooooooh…. what’s in the box?

It was absolutely not the right moment to slow down and give a memorable life lesson to my daughter, but that’s how things happen, isn’t it?

We were running on time, but just barely. If we kept exactly on pace, then we wouldn’t be late for carpool and the day would run like clockwork from there.

That’s when my daughter walked up to me with a look of excitement and childlike wonder holding a little pink box with a bow.

“What do you have there?” I asked her, knowing full well what was in the box.

“Is it a present for me?” she asked with excitement.

When you have a parent who is a therapist or a coach life just isn’t as easy as it would be otherwise during a situation like this. Any other mom would have only answered the question.

I’m not just any other mom, though. Lucky kid!

“It could be… if it were a present for you, what would you wish is in the box?” I asked.

“Oh… I don’t know! It’s a small box…” she replied.

“If I were holding something in my hand that you could see… a gift you know you want, and told you that you could either have it or what’s in that box… which would you choose?” I asked her.

“Um… how badly do I want what’s in your hand?” she challenged.

“It’s not your deepest desire but is something you’ve wanted for a while,” I clarified.

“I think I’d go for the box,” she concluded.

The excitement of the unknown is something that intrigues each of us.

Whether it strikes curiosity, desire, anxiety, or fear… it’s definitely something that gets our blood pumping.

Many times when I meet a new client for the first time, it’s because he or she is in a job that’s just “not doing it for” him or her. Sometimes there are obstacles to overcome such as poor communication habits or general lack of self-awareness. Usually, one of the first suggestions the new client makes as a possibility on his list of options is “look for a new job.”

It’s intriguing. It’s that nicely wrapped box… the fresh start. It’s a new place with new people and new chances to succeed.

It’s also nearly effortless for the person to “go there” – get a new job – and end up in precisely the same spot where he started: trouble or unhappiness.

What’s the best course of action?

Cut and run?

Dig in and work to improve?

Arguments can be made for both, however; I encourage everyone to start with the second option.

The problem with cutting & running is that your habits don’t stay in the old workplace. Your personal attributes that contributed to the work environment you’re leaving are unique to you.

Everyone can change (absolutely, yes, everyone.); the problem is a very few will put in the work to actually change. That’s the difference between the 3% of people who make up the most successful people in the world… and the rest of them.

Sometimes it is the right move to get a fresh start, but not if you’re going to take all of your bad habits with you. I work with clients every day who are working on figuring out which of these will win their attention. Some do advance to different positions with a new employer, but here is where we start 100% of the time:

• Assess your actions to make sure they’re in line with your values
• Confirm what you actually want; develop official goals
• Discover and overcome your obstacles
• Form your decision from a healthier & better-informed standpoint

Will you put in the work?

Do you have the guts to dig in and discover your next space of growth?

Or will you give up on the gifts that investing in your own self-improvement will bring for the instant gratification & allure of whatever is in the box?


Get started on your self-improvement with a free breakthrough session courtesy of The Career Doctor.

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