Helping executive assistants break through the limitations of their role and advance to their next level with confidence

Kate Minogue, Executive Assistant Career Strategist
Executive Assistant Career Strategist

Why Not Knowing What You Want as an Executive Assistant is Actually a Good Thing

So you’re an Executive Assistant who wants to do something else… but you don’t know what.

If you’ve been feeling that uncomfortable sensation of yearning for something more that you can’t define, lucky you!!

It may not feel like it right now, but it’s actually an incredibly exciting place to be. Let me tell you why.

Restlessness Looking For A Release

If you’re like a lot of Executive Assistants, you took the job thinking it would be a stepping stone to something else. And it’s an awesome job for a while, right? You get exposed to a ton of parts of the business, you meet lots of people, you do all kinds of things to support your team.

But after a while, the feeling starts to build: something isn’t working anymore. It starts like a restlessness – a mixture of boredom and an itch to explore. And then it builds to something like a quiet hunger. If you’re like me, it can make you feel actually downright snacky!

It’s almost like a feeling of steam building inside – but with no place for the pressure to release! It’s highly uncomfortable, especially when you have no idea what direction you should turn for relief.

But here’s why not knowing what you want is actually A Really Good Thing.

1. It’s where you are.

This may seem obvious, but here’s why it matters.

It’s SO easy to get caught up in thoughts of how we’re not enough of this or that. Or that we should be farther along, making progress faster. Or that we SHOULD know what we want.

The common thread between all these thoughts is that they all say things should be different than they actually are. They are arguments with reality.

Fighting against reality only makes you miserable.

Accepting the reality of a situation is NOT sitting back and doing nothing. This absolutely DOES NOT mean that you should spend the next 10 years in an executive assistant role that isn’t giving you joy!

What is DOES mean is that you fully embrace where you are. It means that everything is right – and nothing is wrong – with you for not knowing what you want at this moment.  Saying that things should be different – that YOU should be different – only makes you feel crappy and down on yourself.

Feeling crappy and down on yourself is not an ideal state in which to fire up your creativity, courage, and perseverance. In essence, saying that you should know what you want is actually counterproductive to finding out what you want.

Instead, try telling yourself “I’m at the perfect place at the perfect time.” Even if you can’t see the path forward now, trust that you’ll find it. 

2. It’s the Start of Finding Out What You Want

Here’s what’s cool about knowing what you want. It means you actually want something!

It means you have desires and dreams. It means you have places to go. People to meet. Something to become.

Desire – wanting to do something – is really the starting place for any book, invention, international travel, feat of physical fitness – name something cool, and it starts with the desire to make it happen.

This is actually not something that everyone has. Not having it is equally as cool for a whole host of other reasons. But since you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you DO, so I’m not getting into those today!

Even if you don’t know what it is yet, simply having the feeling of wanting something is the place where all the magic starts.

3. It’s the Call to Major Adventure

If you do have the desire to do more than you’re currently doing in your Executive Assistant job, you have been blessed with a spark. If you choose to feed that spark and grow it into a fire, it that will drive you further and into more weird, cool, unexpected places than you ever thought you could go.

Figuring out what you want is an adventure. Going after what you want is an even bigger adventure.

For example: my desire to figure out what I want has taken me to the following weird, unexpected, and cool places along the way:

  1. Amazing back country road trips through the American West help take water meter readings for a freelance consulting job
  2. Traveling to London to learn how to create killer presentations
  3. Becoming certified to teach yoga and holding regular classes in Boston

And so much more.

Going after what I wanted has led me to:

  1. Meeting some of the dearest friends of my life.
  2. Life in a new country I love, with a man I love.
  3. Working freelance for people I admire and respect
  4. Setting my own schedule and owning my time
  5. Having the chance to grow in ways I didn’t even realize I wanted to grow…

And so much more.

After the adventure of figuring out what you want, you may choose to keep your Executive Assistant role. You may find that what you want is actually perfectly supported by your current job.

But if you want something – buckle up. The journey of uncovering what it is, and then the journey of going for it – is going to knock your socks off. You’ll be delighted, amazed, challenged, and called to become what you didn’t even know you could be.

4. It’s the invitation to rediscover who you are.

Here’s a secret.

You actually already know what you want.

Understanding what you want is actually more a process of uncovering what’s already there, rather than trying to arrive at a new conclusion.

Yup. The answer is already inside of you.

 As humans, what we truly desire, in our heart of hearts, often scares the living daylights out of us.

Your mind is designed to keep you safe from threats. When what your heart truly desires could threaten you in some way – a chance of failure, a financial cost, the approval of your family, friends, partner – yikes!! Your mind will find it safer to not know what you want, than to face the risks of wanting it.

If you’re feeling an unnamed, murky desire to do something else, it’s a nudge from the deepest ground of your being. 

It’s time to come closer to what you really want. And it’s time to be more of who you really are.

Are you in that uncomfortable place of wanting something, but not knowing what? I’d love to hear more about where you’re coming from and help you start uncovering where you’re going!


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