Unveiling Your Career Sweet Spot: Mastering the Art of Passion and Practicality

April 21, 2024

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We’re not taught at school how to think about our careers, or even the importance of taking the time to get to know ourselves.


To me, this is a foundational skill that is overlooked until we’re out in the workforce feeling overwhelmed trying to balance our passion and what makes us feel connected alongside the practical components of our career, like financial stability.


This intersection is what I like to refer to as the career sweet spot.


The intersection between passion and practicality that works for you.


If you’re feeling disconnected in your current role, unsure of your next steps or if you feel like you’ve been self-sabotaging and making things harder than they need to be in your career and need a path to feel good again, I’ve got you covered.


In this week’s episode of The Aligned Achiever Podcast, I’m sharing with you the 6 core elements that are required for you to build a roadmap that directs you towards your unique career sweet spot and the 5 steps you can take to step out of the confusion and overwhelm and dealing with your inner critic.

In this Episode We Explore:

  • The internal conflict between passion and practicality in our careers and the challenge of finding harmony between the two
  • The 6 core elements to building your unique roadmap to your career sweet spot
  • 5 steps to moving away from a downward spiral of negativity
  • Support options for when your inner critic is taking over


Resources Mentioned:

Get Unstuck Call

My calendar is currently open for Get Unstuck Calls!

These free 45 minute calls are designed to give you the space to share your unique situation, to help you understand yourself and your current operating system so that you can set goals that are in tune with finding your own career sweet spot.

If you’re feeling stuck in your career, know that what you’re currently doing is unsustainable but don’t know where to start moving in the direction you want again, this is your starting point. 


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Hello, and welcome to the aligned achiever podcast. I’m your host, Siobhan Barnes. And today we are diving into the topic of unveiling your career sweetspot. Mastering the Art of passion and practicality. We are not taught at school, how to think about our careers and what we want to “be” when we grow up.

One of my kids is starting secondary school next year, and I was having a conversation with them about school and how secondary school is not just about studying subjects, and making sure you do all your homework, of course, that’s really important, but how it’s really about learning about yourself, how you learn what makes you tick, what interests you and what your strengths are. 

 I wanted to speak today about how to find your career sweetspot, and more specifically, how to master the art of passion and practicality because I believe that we are not taught the foundational skills we need growing up to figure that out for ourselves. And I have the great privilege of supporting individuals who are grownups right in their 30s 40s 50s and beyond who are in careers, and are asking themselves the question of, is this the right path for me? Am I in the right place? Should I be doing something else? Is there something else or more out there for me?

I believe that there’s no one set path to success. And that what we really want at the end of the day is both the passion and the practicality, right? 

We want the passion to feel like we’re connected and enjoying what we’re doing. But we also want to be practical to be able to afford the things that we need to create, like our lives, right. And so we want both meaning and fulfillment, but also financial stability and depths. 


This Podcast Episode Is For You If You’re:


1) Feeling disconnected from your current role, and you’re unsure of your next steps, and you want to do something to find your career sweet spot. 

2) Actually enjoying your work, but you find that you’re sabotaging yourself and making things harder than they need to be, well, maybe you’re just burned out and need a path to feel good. Again, beyond just the burnout stuff, but actually getting clear on your career as well.


When you’re navigating life and work, there are times when it can feel hard, where we feel like we’re lost. If this is you, I want to assure you that this is normal. If this is you don’t worry, nothing has gone wrong. My intention with this episode is to support you with a roadmap to get back on track and to get unstuck. So this is one that you might want to grab a notebook and a pen for. So get that ready if you’d like you can hit pause if you want to. Or you can come on over to the show notes for all the key links and information that you need. But with that, let’s dive in.


How to Decide Between Passion vs. Practicality?


So often when I work with my clients, what’s at the heart of their “stuckness”. I know it’s not the correct word, but I’ll use it here. But what’s at the heart of it is this internal conflict between passion and practicality. We want to do work that we’re passionate about. But sometimes it just doesn’t pay enough or cover our bills. And so we suck up less than ideal work scenarios. And whilst this can happen, it’s typical, I would say we’ve all being early on in your career, what can happen is that we stick to the same path, we follow the path that’s been set for us and decades later, we wake up and go, Hey, hang on a minute, how did I get here.

So sometimes just sticking to what’s practical, is a necessary phase of life. Sometimes we don’t have a choice when you know, you’re just trying to get by or get yourself established, or if you’re part of a group where opportunities are limited due to systemic imbalances and access to education, equality and resources. 


Two Important Mindsets Frames To Hold


There are two mindsets to hold when you’re stuck in the passion versus practicality debate. 


#1:  Remember that it’s not an either or proposition.


Rather than viewing passion and practicality as opposing forces. I encourage you to strive to find harmony between the two. Spoiler alert when I work with my clients. Sometimes they actually find that making micro changes in their personal life and setting better boundaries can create a lot more joy and fulfillment because there are things in their career that they do enjoy. For others are bigger changes required. 


#2: There is power in incremental shifts


There is power in making small changes to make things better. And we can do this bit by bit. When we try and pendulum swing, that’s when things can feel risky. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had potential clients come on a phone with me, working in high stress, high anxiety, high money making industries. And they approached me feeling disillusioned wanting to transition into working for the non-profit sector, NGOs or charities so that they can find more meaning purpose and do more good.


The challenge in that becomes super stark and highly activating when you want to make a pendulum swing like that. But because of course, it feels risky to forego a lifestyle and perks with all the trimmings to something more beneficial to humanity. But that requires a complete overhaul in your personal lifestyle. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with working in the not for profit sector, charity, or NGO space at all. I have so much respect and admiration for anyone working in this space.


I’m simply highlighting here that where the challenge lies is going from one to the other and doing that huge pendulum swing, it doesn’t have to be that big. Which begs the next question…


What Do You Need To Consider To Find Your Career Sweet Spot?


The answer to finding your career sweet spot lies and finding the elusive kind of intersection of where passion and practicality intersect.


By understanding and harnessing the six core elements, which I’ll talk you through in a moment, you can navigate this intersection with competence and clarity. By the way, what I’m about to share with you is the foundation of all the work I do with my clients to create aligned achievement, we start with you first because I believe that you are your best mentor, you have the answers inside of you. It’s just that you’ve been, perhaps so used to working and showing up in a certain way, or perhaps a conditioned way that you can’t access who you really are what you really want and see a pathway forward. And my intention in sharing these six core areas with you these six core elements is that you can begin to build a roadmap to see what you need to focus on when you’re feeling stuck, and you’re not sure how to find your sweet spot.

I’m going to share with you the six elements now, in no particular order. Because the reality is they intersect. There’s a bit of a Venn diagram going on. So I wanted to speak to it here. And I’m just speaking to it in no particular order. But there’s a power in understanding this so that you know how to get unstuck and find your career sweetspot. 


Element #1: Your Mind 


The first element that I’m going to start with is understanding your mind. Your mind is a powerful tool in shaping your career path. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, individuals who set specific and challenging goals are 90% more likely to achieve them. So when you can take the time to clarify your career objectives and visualize your desired outcomes and develop a strategic plan to reach them, then that’s when things are going to really work for you. 


However, when you are just focusing on your mind alone, we can get really stuck in just the practical element, we can get stuck in habitual ways of thinking and not see different opportunities and different ways of working that are available to us. So that’s why that’s one element that we need on board. And this is why when I work with my clients, it’s really about the practical element for sure. 

But we need to bring all of you online, which brings me to the second part that is really important


Element #2: Your Body  


Your body is important for a number of different reasons. 


Firstly, you need your physical well being it’s foundational to career success, you really have nothing if you don’t have any, your health or any energy to be able to do the things you want to do. 


Research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine shows that employees who engage in regular physical activity experience higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction. And so when we’re looking at the career sweetspot that’s important, right? We want you to be productive. We want you to have career satisfaction, your body’s needs are really, really important.

By the way on this point, as I mentioned on last week’s podcast episode, I’ve been using a new product called Magic Mind to help boost my energy and get my body on board. I’ve been experimenting with how to keep my energy levels steady throughout the day. And I’ve started drinking magic mind and it’s quickly become my best friend to keep me energized throughout the day. 


As a coach, trainer facilitator and a mom of three kids, it helps me stay sharp and focused when I need it the most. And it really gives me that mental energy and focus. It’s the drink I need for my lined and I feel way better in the mornings and I’m happier through the day. Because of it. It’s made of all natural ingredients source from the best suppliers that magic mine could find. So there’s no sugar, it’s not free, it’s vegan keto paleo friendly, all the bums will be familiar with these terms. 


I’ve been really trying to reduce my coffee intake and I’m loving. This drink is a bit of a substitute to help me I still drink my coffee. But you know, magic mind has matcher in it, which is nature’s extended release caffeine and the caffeine from matcher takes longer to release and helps to reduce stress, which I love. There’s also Lion’s Mane mushrooms, which are a nootropic and adaptogen. That helps to reduce anxiety and inflammation while supporting cognition. And it helps to prevent neural degeneration and stimulates neural regeneration plus a whole heap of other ingredients that I won’t go into detail here. 


Now, I wouldn’t be talking about it on the podcast if I didn’t believe in it, so I’m happy to share it here. And if you’re feeling low on energy, I encourage you to give it a try so that you can see if it works for you. Magic Mind is one of the few companies with a 100% money back guarantee, no questions asked. So there’s really no risk. And if you don’t like it, they refund you in like three to four hours. 


If you’d like to give it a try, then you can check it out over at my special link, which is magicmind.com/siobhan spelled S I O B H A N. And if you use the discount code SIOBHAN20, that’s all caps, S I O B H A N 20, that’s to zero, you’ll get 56% off your subscription for the next 10 days with my code. And if I was you, I’d get the 30 pack. It’s the best value you can give it a try for a month and see how you feel. But little digression on the body part because I wanted to give you a quick hack. 


Your physical well being is so fundamental to career success, not only for your health, but also in terms of managing your nervous system, right and actually being able to handle the stresses that come your way. Building resilience is really important on this journey. And so understanding when you’re in fight flight freeze, that’s another element of the body that I think is really important to address when you’re figuring out your career sweet spot. 


Element #3: Your Heart (and Your Emotions)


The other core element that you need to find your career sweetspot is your heart. As cheesy as it sounds, your heart and your emotions matter. Passion fuels motivation, inspiration and perseverance on your career journey. 


A Gallup study found that employees who are emotionally connected to their work are 21% more productive. Emotional Intelligence also plays a crucial role here. It enables you to understand and manage your own emotions while empathizing with others. If you can learn to understand your emotions through self awareness, self regulation, empathy, you can build stronger relationships, navigate conflicts effectively, which is what can cause us a lot of stress and inspire others with your passion and enthusiasm. So I’ll talk more about that in a moment. But I just want you to know that your heart and your emotions matter. And if you think they don’t matter, think again because our behaviours are so driven by how we feel.


Element #4: Intuition


The fourth core element to finding your career sweet spot is your intuition. Your intuition is like this guiding compass. I call it your Chief Soul Officer. And that’s what we want to get online when it comes to making career decisions. 


Research conducted at Rice University suggests that intuitive decision making can lead to better outcomes, particularly in complex and uncertain situations, which applies here in the case of your career. So how we access our intuition is through mindfulness and practices like meditation and journaling, or working with a coach who can support you to hear your inner voice and gain clarity on your career path.


Element #5: Mood & Story


You could call it like your mindset. The mood and the narrative you tell yourself about your career significantly influences your mindset and your behaviour. 


Studies in positive psychology demonstrate that practicing gratitude and reframing negative thoughts can actually enhance resilience and well being. So if you take ownership of your career story, and you highlight your strengths, your achievements, your growth opportunities, and you cultivate a positive mindset that will empower you to overcome challenges and seize opportunities. And like I said before, help you see perhaps different opportunities that you didn’t know were possible for you because you you know you might be limiting yourself.


Element #6: Aligned Action


Ultimately achieving your career sweetspot it requires taking purposeful aligned action research from the University of Southern California suggests that individuals who set specific actionable goals are more likely to succeed in their endeavours. But what happens when we’re stuck and confused is that we don’t set any goals. We don’t know which way we’re going. We rely on our employers, we rely on the economy to dictate where we’re going to go. And this is really about taking ownership and stewarding your energy and focus back towards more of what you do enjoy. 


This element is about breaking down your career objectives into manageable steps, prioritizing those tasks based on their impact and alignment with your goals and to hold yourself accountable for progress.


In Summary…


Your career sweetspot is a dynamic and ongoing journey. It requires this holistic approach. And I’ve been doing this for 10 years now 11 years at this as the time of this recording, and I have been so focused on how can I support my clients the most? How can I help them in the best way, and using this holistic Mind Body heart approach in integrating the six core elements of mind, body, heart, intuition, mood and story and aligned action.


That is what I see helps my clients to get unstuck and back on track to that career spot and a path of purpose, not just just to tick a box, but actually, as a home coming back to who you really are, what you’re really meant to do in the world and how you’re going to be best served to show up. So that’s the six step kind of roadmap, you might be asking, that’s all very well, but where do I start, if I’m feeling confused, overwhelmed, or just in this downward spiral of negativity, as I said, your emotions and your heart they matter. Understanding how you feel like that’s the key to behaviour change and doing something about your situation.


Where Do I Start If I’m In a Funk? 


If you’re confused, overwhelmed, and in this downward, downward spiral of negativity, first know that that’s okay. There’s a reason why you’re in this space, something is clearly not working. And that’s just evidence that something needs to change. Nothing’s gone wrong. It’s just a bit of feedback.

So there are five steps to be able to work with this confusion, this overwhelm and this downward spiral of negativity.


Step #1: Admit that something isn’t working


If we keep ignoring the problem, pretend like everything’s okay and live in LA Heartland or stick our necks in the sand, nothing is going to change.


Step #2: Let Yourself Feel It 


I know that feeling your feelings is scary. Many of us worry that we’re going to get stuck in feeling, stay lost and confused and in our sadness, but I promise you after being an embodiment coach for all these years, and being an embodiment coach, trainer with other coaches learning this modality, you don’t get stuck in those emotions. 


Once you unhook from those emotions and understand them you free up vital life force energy. 


The analogy I often give to my clients is like a river. Imagine your life force is the water in a river. What can happen is that we have boulders, debris, twigs, branches, the plastic bottles that are stuck in the river. These are past from past experiences, past traumas, maybe negative events, or their beliefs about how we feel their feelings about how we feel about ourselves and our situation. When we let ourselves feel when we meet the mindset challenges and just let ourselves be where we are, and flow through them. We can remove those blocks, we can remove the things that are holding back our life force energy.


Step #3: Meet The Dissonance.


When you feel and you get your fulfillment of that discomfort, then you meet that dissonance. You meet that dissonance that disconnect between what’s happening, what you want to happen, and what’s really happening. And often that means meeting the unknown, because it’s scary, right? Like, if it’s not the way it’s going to be now, then what next and that can bring up fear, terror in our bodies and our nervous systems. But if you hang in there long enough, sorry, that was step number three, you meet the dissonance, then things can start to shift. 


Step #4: Insight


If you hang in the dissonance for long enough, an insight is going to drop, you will get clarity on what needs to shift

Step #5: Action


Then you’ll be open to taking the next step.


An Example of How This Works With My Clients


When I work with my clients, they’re ready to admit that something’s not aligned and need changing. My work is about supporting them on that fulfillment, dissonance, insight, openness, journey, bringing the mind body heart along for the journey. People when they work with me meet deep truths that they’ve been avoiding. And from that clarity comes it just can’t help itself.


So I’ll give you an example of how this works for this, this five step process works with a recent client that I worked with. 


So one of my clients came to me and she was working a really busy job with a really long commute. She was working really crazy hours and in three sessions she admitted At that she didn’t love her job and that she wanted to be her own boss. But naturally, if she’s our own boss, all the negative mindset stuff came up. By accessing the discomfort and truth, the insight and the openness on next steps became clear. 


Now, I don’t want to share too much of this client’s journey. But I’m pleased to report that now, she’s working as a freelance consultant working with one main dream client that she’s loved, she loves, and she’s working on products that she enjoys, she’s enjoying the experience using her expertise, and working in a way that gives her time to be present as a mum and a wife. So those feelings, those clues if you’re unstuck, they are there to be met, not ignored or made wrong.


Let’s Also Address The Inner Critic…


So I want to touch on one other thing, because, as I mentioned with my client, what naturally comes up when you’re trying to find your creative career sweet spot, as you can continually bump up against that inner critic in your head. 


So often, we don’t know who we are or what we want, because we’re clouded by other people’s voices, and we can’t hear ourselves think sometimes it’s the voice of a parent, or it might be a societal norm. But these voices can stop you from getting unclear.


Those voices might say:


+ Money doesn’t grow on trees

+ You can’t make money doing what you love

+ You can’t have your cake and eat it

+ You’re not that smart, you need to work harder than everyone else. 


Those are some examples of some of the things that we can bump up against. 


If you have an inner critic, PS, we all have one. Just know that you’re not alone and seek some support to unhook from its grip on you. 


This voice coupled with what you feel drives your behaviour. And so often we don’t realize that we’re beholden to it, which is why seeking external support can be super, super helpful. 


How to Know What Support You Need


There are many different types of support out there. And I want to share with you the main ones so that you could start to get clear on okay, what support do you need to find your career sweet spot, and maybe you don’t even get to the career sweetspot yet, you just think, okay, I need to work with my inner critic as a first step.




Obviously friends are usually the first port of call, right? It’s super important to have friends who can help and encourage you. But a friend has their own perceptions of you and their own stuff. So I don’t think we can expect our friends to fix our life. That’s not their role. There are professionals who can help, therapists.




A therapist is a generic term for any professional who is trained to provide treatment for people to improve some aspect of their health or mental health. It can be really helpful to understand why you’re the way you are, why you’re stuck in certain behaviours, and to receive support to change behaviours, and have some coping strategies for different scenarios. 




Psychologists, they can use very similar methods to therapists, but they focus they can also focus on research and work in academic government or government or clinical healthcare settings as well. So their expertise is more in depth record. Their expertise is more in depth in regard to severe mental health disorders and clinical psychologist who develop a speciality in neuropsychological evaluations can also provide diagnostic assessment and testing. 




A psychiatrist is licensed to prescribe medication if required, whereas a psychologist and a therapist is not. Then you’ve got counselors, they tend to work on a shorter term basis, they’re more goal oriented to address something specific, such as grief, marriage abuse, addiction, which is contrasted to therapy, which can be a little bit more long term, exploratory and holistic.  




Coaches are really there to strengthen mental fitness and proactively ignite well being performance and growth and focused on forward moving goals and desires. Coaches don’t give advice rather, they’re guides to show you your own answers and access different perspectives. 




Then finally, we have a mentor. A mentor is someone who is knowledgeable in a field and able to provide specific guidance, recommendations and expertise based on their experience.


Clarifying Your Next Step


What you need really depends on what you feel is lacking to find your career sweet spot. 


Now I’m gonna give myself a plug here because personally, I am a coach and I do that forward goal setting with my clients. But I’m also a trained RTT practitioner and embodiment coach. So I do both the forward thinking and also the understanding of yourself and past behaviours and looking at your operating system, whilst also understanding somatically how to work with the nervous system at the body. And I have to tell you, it’s a super powerful mix that delivers great transformation and results for my clients. So if you want my support to find your career sweet spot, come on over and book completely complimentary get unstuck call with me, and I’ll support you with what your best next steps might be. Whether that is working with me or if I think you’re best suited to start somewhere else. 


If you want to book one of your free calls, come on over to siobhanbarnes.com/get-unstuck-call. And I’ll put a link to that at the show notes over at siobhanbarnes.com/106.


In Conclusion…


All right, we covered a lot today. Today we spoke about how to unveil your career sweet spot and how to master the art of passion and practicality. We covered off on how to decide between passion and practicality, what you need to consider to find your career sweet spot that was where those six elements where to start, if you’re feeling confused, overwhelmed, and in a downward spiral of negativity, it was those five steps I shared, how to deal with the inner critic that’s inside and how to know what support you need. And I shared with you the different types of support that are available to you.


And of course if you need my support, or you’d like some support to figure out what your next steps are, come on over and book your Get Unstuck Call with me over at the shownotes siobhanbarnes.com/106.


Thank you so much for tuning in. Please remember before we go that your career sweetspot is out there. The journey there might be long it might be short, but what matters most is getting started today. You are here for a reason. beyond merely hustling, grinding and merely surviving. You matter.

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