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I went to the Career Development Center at my alma mater, and I can’t believe I’m asking that question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

But that’s what it comes down to.

I discovered I have no career goals. I never did.

My priorities are putting my daughter through high scholl and college, then having a farm someday. The former is emotionally charged for me, not because the clock is ticking away, but because it’s what I expect myself to do to be a good father. It’s trying to fill my own father’s shoes, but also a reopening of old wounds where I was made to feel I was inadequate as a father years ago. But I now realize that I have to blame myself FOR BLAMING MYSELF. I have been unsupportive, unforgiving, and ever-critical of the one person that counts in all of this — ME.

Guilt is the mind-killer.

Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a guiltaholic.

And I have made excuses for not yet moving on to another path to reach my goals. My old-fasioned Polish “tenacity” wouldn’t let me do anything that would mean giving up. I can be more bold than anyone, yet I have a fear of failure. I can play the part of king in my kingdom to the rest of the world, but part of me cannot truly believe in myself. I do whatever I want in spite of what other people think, yet crave reassurance and acceptance. I’ve done what I feel is right, and have done my best in all things, yet wish for approval and accept (or even expect) judgement from others. I really thought I was over a lot of this, but I’m not.

What I know and what I believe are two different things.

I know that business ventures that ended were lessons to be proud of, yet still label them “failures.” I know I don’t need a degree to be an expert or master at anything I set my mind to, but I beleive I am lacking because I don’t have the right piece of paper. I know I can help my clients in amazing ways, yet hear the voice saying, “Who do you think you are giving advice to people older than you, when you haven’t succeded yet in your own business?” I awlays waste mental energy on defending what I do, what I know, and who I am, knowing I am right, but inside always wondering if I am kidding myself. I buy into the lie. I am embarassed to say that even what people COULD think of me matters to me, and I never wanted to live that way.

A lack of specific skill sets is just an excuse to not succeed. I was afraid to do the harsh realities of business, so I end up with friends instead of billable clients. I feel guilt over making money in anything I truly enjoy or believe in, beacuse I should help others for free, right? Or do I not truly believe in the value of what I do or even myself? And being afraid of a success I could not believe I deserved, though I know I did, was a self-fulfilling prophesy. And I cry over spilled milk. And never let myself forget. Is it the sometimes harsh criticism I suffered as a child now internalized?

I have intelligence. I have experience. I have an amazing plethora of transferable skills. I can be or do anything I want. Except believe in myself. What is missing? I am the ox whose tail is stuck in the pen’s open gate, unable to go back, unable to go forward and escape the butcher.

And his lunch hour is almost over.