About the silent wish not to arrive
Having arrived at your destination after a long effort: what do you experience then? A feeling of satisfaction or standstill and stagnation? It can be both …
Which career path we take and how we shape it depends on our personality and the associated – often unconscious – wishes, needs, ideas and motives. Many questions that we ask ourselves again and again in the course of our professional orientation, such as
“What purpose does my work serve?” or “What actually motivates me to work?”
define not only our work, but also ourselves as a person. In order to approach our own ideas and wishes, we constantly set new goals and adjust the orientation of our compass. On the journey of our own professional self-discovery, we dream of the next stopovers, all the adventures that still await us. Our inner compass drives us to move on, to set ourselves new goals and look for new experiences. We enjoy the euphoria of the high phases when everything seems to go exactly as planned. We wallow briefly in the setbacks of the low phases before we push forward again with new energy and new intermediate goals. This time we are supposedly prepared for everything. With the big goal in mind. But the closer we get to our destination, the louder the voice becomes: what comes after we arrive? What happens if the goal that motivated and spurred us on suddenly breaks away? And thought further at this point: do we even want to arrive?
The fear of arriving: A psychodynamic view
From a psychodynamic point of view, setting new (higher) goals seems to fulfil an important function. And not only in the sense of self-discovery. On the way to our goal, we feel full of energy and anticipation. Our desire to move something great, to create something grandiose, puts us into a kind of intoxication. We feel big, powerful and indispensable. When a long-awaited goal is achieved, all the things we have been working towards for years, it can lead to a big hole after a short period of euphoria and celebration of our own grandiosity: a feeling of inner emptiness. Aging and illness, which reduce our professional success and signal to us that we should set ourselves other – private – goals, can also trigger such a depressive mood. According to the psychoanalyst Alice Miller, grandiosity and depression are “two sides of the same coin”. As long as we are on the side of grandiosity, “in the intoxication of success”, we can deny old wounds. Only when this defence mechanism, which made us so powerful, no longer works, do we find ourselves on the other side of the coin. Depression brings us “close to the wound” – this may be painful, but it is the only way to start a healing process.
Sometimes a travel companion helps
Not everyone who achieves a lot has fantasies of greatness and grandiosity. Not everyone who reaches their long-awaited goal falls into a hole afterwards. And yet these are phenomena that occur frequently. There are wounds that sooner or later speak up again. The depressive mood can be an important signal here, because it leads us to our suppressed desires and feelings, which seem to stem from early (painful) relationship experiences. In our hectic everyday working life, however, we are hardly aware of the fact that our excessive performance demands, our enormous work commitment and our self-imposed, often exaggerated goals serve as a way of compensating for old wounds. Psychoanalytic business coaching can be a way to address these old wounds, to understand our own unconscious motives behind our behavior and to put a plaster on the old wounds. Through self-reflection and the reactivation of one’s own resources from different areas of life, a more stable foundation for one’s own psychological well-being can be created. Also, the examination of our wishes, needs, but also feelings of fear and shame, can pave the way for coming into contact with our true self. This includes being able to perceive, allow and express our own feelings – if it succeeds, we feel increasingly alive. Please feel free to contact us if we can accompany you on this journey. We coach in our offices in Berlin-Mitte or via video call.