What do you do when you spend a chunk of your life working toward securing a spot in the “job of your dreams?” You know, the one that promises top-notch experience to gain, high-level coworkers to learn from, and (hopefully) the financial stability we are all desperately looking for these days.

You land this dream job only to realize that you’re drowning in demands and the people surrounding you are in a constant state of stress. You don’t see promise for making the impact you always dreamed of making. Because that, of course, doesn’t seem to have made the to-do list.

Let’s face it, employee burnout is on the rise; a recent Gallup study shows that 67% of $7,500 surveyed employees report feeling burnt out sometimes, very often, or always.

Sometimes our job expectations don’t align with the expectations we have for ourselves and the impact we hope to have on others’ lives.

So here are three big questions that have the potential to give you the clarity your looking for if you’re so-called “dream job” just doesn’t seem to be working for you.

1. Are you in your Zone of Excellence or Zone of Genius?

Our society is conditioned to reward people for what they’re good at. It’s very easy for us to invest in getting better at something, get rewarded for being good at it, and then find that it isn’t fulfilling us, despite our success.

In his book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks uncovered an important distinction between two different ways that we may function in our lives when in productive or creative environments: the Zone of Excellence or the Zone of Genius.

The Zone of Excellence is where you are doing something you are highly skilled at and are rewarded for, as you continue to cultivate the skills needed to succeed in your environment.

The Zone of Genius is where you are doing something that taps into your innate, natural abilities in combination with what you are passionate about, which stimulates a flow of limitless inspiration, creativity, and achievement that is unique to you.

People often operate in their Zone of Excellence as they get better at skills required of their job; and yet, they are not fulfilled. Sound familiar?

Ask yourself: does your “dream job” simply provide an opportunity to become excellent in something you’ve spent time learning thus far or are you actually able to find boundless inspiration and passion in what you’re doing?

2. Are you feeling your intuition or a sense of resistance?

Steven Pressfield is an American author, whose acclaimed books The War of Art and Do the Work have taught hundreds of thousands of people how to gain control over our efforts and thoughts in the creative process. On an episode of Marie Forleo’s MarieTV, Pressfield says that “the ability to overcome resistance, self-sabotage, and self-doubt is way more important than talent.”

When we have a big project or opportunity in front of us, there is this “diabolical force” (as Pressfield puts it) that tries to keep us within our comfort zone. This force is also known as resistance. It is built on fear and self-doubt and tries to make us question if we should be doing what we are setting out to do.

So ask yourself, are you feeling “off” in your dream job because it is stretching you beyond your comfort zone? Or are you experiencing a deep intuitive feeling that you are meant to do different work, that’s making you feel restless with where you are?

Consider which feels more aligned with the thoughts that have been running through your mind. And be careful. If you’re feeling like it is time to move on and pursue another career path, resistance may pop up in that situation too to stop you, even if it’s what is right for you.

3. Are you clear on what your priorities are?

Stressful environment. Working overtime. Limited upward mobility. Financial stagnation. Unattainable expectations.

There are few, if any, people who would list the above job qualities as priorities for what they want our of their career.

Sometimes in the pursuit of earning a degree or following a set career path, we forget to step back and prioritize what we want from our job. Or we brush off negative aspects of a job that can have rippling implications (as listed above) by focusing on the benefits that we can find instead.

So let’s get clear. What is most important to you right now?

Financial stability or financial freedom? Independent work or group collaboration? Slow-paced or fast-paced environment? Precise structure or creative freedom? Flexible or consistent expectations?

It’s not always one or the other. But what are you gravitating more toward right now?

That “dream job” of yours just might not be meeting your needs. And don’t be fooled by your coworker, Kathy, over there who is happy as a clam. Just because it is meeting her needs doesn’t mean it is meant to meet yours. You may just have different priorities.

Use these three questions as a starting point to get clarity on what your next best step is. And if you’re looking for more support, don’t hesitate to reach out at www.chrissypapetti.com or [email protected] to get even clearer on where you’re meant to be.