March 16, 2022

Why You Don’t Know What You Want

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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On this episode of the podcast, I am solving the mystery of why you don’t know what you want in your career.  I get asked all the time – how can you know what I want if I don’t?

In this episode, I’m sharing the simple steps to get to your next level and some immediate action you can take to answer this question for yourself.

You’re invited to learn these steps in more detail and create your own action plan at my new training – 5 Steps to Knowing Your Next Career Move. Register for the training and share it with a friend who needs it. This problem is 100% solvable.

What You’ll Learn

The 3 steps I teach my clients to get to their next level

Why you don’t know what you want your next move to be

What you have to do to answer this question

Featured in This Episode

Register for the new training: 5 Steps to Knowing Your Next Career Move at

Get Your Voice Heard at Work – FREE GUIDE:

1-1 Career & Leadership Coaching –
Schedule a consultation here:

Career Path Navigator: If what you really want is to know what career or role would be the best fit for you and allow you to have the impact you want to – this is the program for you.  Save the date – doors open March 29th.   Learn more at

Career Quiz: Are you in the right career? Get your answer and a free guide of next steps in less than 2 minutes.

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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills, and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started.

Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I’m so happy to be here with you today. Now, if you’ve been listening for a while, you know that I just love to help you get happy at work and know what you want and see what’s possible for you. Get promoted, all of the things. And I want to shout out two of my clients this week that got into new roles and earned $20,000 or more in salary increases.

What? Yes. Now at the time that I’m recording this, they are in the midst of the transition. So I’m not going to shout out their names. But you know who you are.

And this is more than just a $20,000 bump in your salary. I mean, that’s amazing. And hello, talk about a literal return on investment. It’s like a magic ATM. You input the cost of coaching and output 234-5678 times what you put in.

But it’s more than that. I want you to think about it this way. If you’ve ever been in a space that you dreaded going to work or even didn’t dread it, but just felt like it was just a routine, you’re not energized. You don’t feel you’re contributing or making a real difference, like you could leave and no one would really notice, they would just backfill you. You’re just there filling the role and working in this industry on top of it.

It can be very demanding. So if you already feel like you’re not really making a difference, not using your skills, but then you’re working all hours and taking time away from your family or your hobbies or the things that you love to do, spending your time complaining to your partner and friends about how you wish it could be different. All of that, changing all of that is to me, just worth so much more than a monetary gain. So there’s the change from that to then going to knowing exactly who you are, knowing yourself on a whole new level, understanding what you like, what you don’t like, the skills you want to use, your strengths, what lights you up, what really makes you feel passionate about your work, figuring all of that out, knowing without a shadow of a doubt what you want to do, being able to make clear decisions at work because you know what you want. It isn’t about the political game of what you should do because you know what you want.

So those shoulds just aren’t even relevant to you. Then you have the flexibility that you want. On top of that, you negotiate doing the work you love on your terms. So you have all of this. You go from feeling stuck, unsure what to do, no clear growth in your future, feeling drained to being lit up, knowing what you want, excited for your work, making a difference, feeling present at home, and then on top of that, making $20,000 more a year.

Come on. And in some cases, you get the satisfaction of having a role created for you. And that seems to be a sweet spot that I have. I’ve had so many clients do this where I’ve positioned them to know what they want. It doesn’t exactly exist.

And so we make the business case. We position them to be the no brainer fit for this if the company needs it. And then the company offers them the role tailor made to them, where they pretty much wrote the job description, in some cases, literally wrote the job description and then give you more money on top of it. Like talk about a before and after. And the process for doing this, it’s relatively simple.

You know what you want. Convince your company that they need the work that you want to do. They create the role for you or offer what you want as a role to you with more money. So let me say that again. It’s three things.

These two clients, three things know what you want. Convince your company they need the work that you want to do, and then they create the role for you or offer your best role to you, often with more money. And so if you think of those two clients, I’m celebrating, those were those simple steps. If I were to just break it down as simple as I possibly could. So imagine the help that you get on this podcast and my free trainings, which I have another one coming up that I’m going to be telling you about.

And then what it would be like when you invest in yourself, when you put your money toward your goal to hire an expert with a proven process and solid strategy that guarantees your results. You become unstoppable. You stop wishing and hoping, and you make it happen. And so the focus of today is why you don’t know what you want. So we’re going to get into that, into a lot of detail.

And so you might think, if only I knew. If I could figure this out, if I knew what I wanted, then I would be able to take these steps to make it happen. I’d know what roles to apply for, what positions to strategically go for, who to network with. It would all fall into place if I only knew. So why don’t you know?

Why is it that I can work with people and help them know exactly what they want when they don’t know themselves?

If the first step to getting these results that I’ve shared with you is knowing what you want, why don’t you know? Here is the reason. Here is the why you were never taught to consider what you wanted. Let me say that again. You were never taught to consider what you wanted.

You have gone through life making decisions based on someone else’s measurement, someone else deciding what good looks like, what success looks like, what good grades look like, what professional looks like, what enough education is, what it takes to be a good leader, what you should be grateful for, what is enough. You were taught to answer the question of what you want by looking to other people, what your caretakers thought, your parents, what society thought, what your teachers thought, what your friends did. Now that you’re in a professional setting, it’s what your boss thinks, what your colleagues are doing, what makes sense, what looks good on LinkedIn, what will get you published, what will help you stand out, what’s reasonable for your gender, your age, your experience. What will other people look up to? What will other people think?

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Along the way, when you were striving for those A’s and exceeds on your performance reviews, you lost who you are a little bit. You lost what you really want. You may have never even considered it, so you don’t know. What you do know is how you got to where you are, how you created, the success that you already have.

When I work with people, I never look at your resume. You can tell me what parts of your past are important to take with you, to your future. My clients never end up making less money or giving up their success. So you don’t have to be afraid that that would happen. When you go toward this future of being happy in your career and looking at who you really are to make that decision, I don’t need to see what decisions you’ve made before to know what is possible for you now and in the future.

Because what is possible for you is based on who you really are. And that isn’t on your resume. Your resume tells a story, but it doesn’t tell the story of who you can be. The life you can have, the impact you can have, the work you want to do. It only tells me what you’ve done already.

So yes, your experience, your education, they are valid. They are important and considered, but they aren’t the measure for my PhD clients or those invested a lot in their education. They can hear this and freak out a little bit, right? Maybe that’s you working so hard, getting to this level, this level of success, the marker that you were taught, is so important. That should be the goal.

And then you get there and look around and wonder why you’re not happier because you’ve made it. You’ve done all the right things. But it’s because in the case of my clients, they lost what they wanted. They never considered at a very deep level what it is that they really wanted because they were never taught to. None of us are.

So I was just talking to a client earlier today on the day that I’m recording this, and I was giving her some caution about her default to go to do more certifications and pad her resume with more things because that’s what she’s taught. She has a PhD. She is used to getting all of this education, having a very impressive resume instead of focusing on what she really wants, the experience she wants to have in her life, gaining that experience, taking on new assignments or stretch assignments, projects, things that are going to really light her up and help her get where she wants to be in the long term. So you have to kind of take your nose out of the book, so to speak, and look at things a little bit differently. But that can be an adjustment because we’re taught to go and achieve all of these things outside of us and then get Pats on the back for doing it.

And it’s very impressive. I’m not saying it’s not. I value education very much. It’s just when it comes to looking at what you really want for your career, how you want to spend your days in your life, it’s more than that education. It’s more than the degree.

You have to look more at who you are. So the magic wand, the wizardry that some in my circle refer to me as is really in teaching you to consider yourself to uncover the things that you forgot about, to know the why behind all of your decisions, to understand who you really are, what you really want your legacy to be, the work you really love to do. Then we get to translating that into a role that makes sense for you that is going to light you up, that your company needs. But you have to start with knowing who you are to know what you want. And you don’t know what you want because you were never taught to know.

You were taught to get a good job, good education, to have a family, to put some money in savings, and the rest is icing. But let’s give you the freaking icing, because who wants just the cake, just the foundation. The icing is what makes it special. So there you have it. This is just one of my favorite topics that I could talk forever about.

And I mentioned I have a brand new live training coming up, and you, my friend, are invited. So the new training is five steps to knowing your next career move. Yeah. If you listen to this and thought, I don’t know exactly what I want my next move to be, I don’t know what I really want. I am going to dig even deeper into why you don’t know and give you five tangible steps that you can use right after the training to discover this for yourself so you can know what your next career move is.

You aren’t going to want to miss this because I am teaching you my steps in philosophy in a way that I never have before here on the podcast or in any other training or on LinkedIn or social media or anywhere. So the training will be March 29 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern on Zoom. You have to register to register. All you do is go to my website: 

I will put a link in the show notes. Let me know that you’re coming and if you have a colleague or friend who you know could use this to that’s also struggling with really understanding why they don’t know what they want or what it is they want their next move to be. Should they stay in their company? Should they not send them the link and forward it along? Because I’m on a mission to help 10,000 people in this industry get happy at work and it starts with knowing what your unique best career move is and that is what I’m going to be teaching you.

And one final note, I know some of you have been waiting for a career path Navigator to open up again so I’m also going to share those details in this upcoming training. Cpn as we lovingly call it inside the program is opening up again March 29 to April 15 so Mark your calendars. Until then, I will see you on the podcast on LinkedIn and in the training on March 29. All right, that is all for this episode. Have an amazing week and I will talk to you soon.

Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. I truly hope you enjoyed it. If this episode resonated with you or helped you in any way, please share it on your social media and tag me. I love seeing what you’re up to. Also please make sure to subscribe and leave a review and until till next time have fun navigating your career knowing the life you want is totally possible.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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