One of the primary complaints I hear from my coaching clients is that they are unhappy in their professions. Too often, after further exploration of the source of this unhappiness, it is revealed that these individuals did not pursue their current career paths by their own conscious choice but rather to appease their parents. It seems that parental influence plays a major role in whether or not one is capable of pursuing their dreams.

This is not a phenomenon unique to life coaching clients. My mother, an esthetics and cosmetology instructor, is often surprised by the varying backgrounds that make up her class compositions. She ponders why at least half of her students possess experience and post-doctoral degrees in the fields of Computer Science, Healthcare or Law and yet are so eager to start up vocational training in the beauty field. The answer is almost always the same; the parents are to blame.

Socioeconomic concerns make it easy for parents to reinforce traditionally accepted ideals of success. Your parents want the best for you and so offer up strong advice in regards to your future. From the time we are first conceived, our parents begin to map out our lives. They dream about the people we will become and they set certain expectations on how we will fulfill those dreams. Then as we grow, our parents teach us the values and belief systems they hope will be instrumental in pushing us toward achieving success. The problem with this well-meaning effort is that success may have a different definition for you than for your parents.

How you define success is a very personal journey. While societal norms may define success in terms of monetary gain and glorified professions such as doctor, lawyer, or IT professional; one can choose to define success as simply having a healthy family. For the purpose of this article, I define success as what makes you feel fulfilled or happy.

Success, by this definition, can only be attained if one is walking within their own purpose. This means that you must set aside parental influences to tap into what your unique strengths and desires are. Go on a journey of self-discovery and explore the possibilities within your distinct purpose. Never mind how passionate your parents’ dreams are for your future. You must embrace your own destiny by deciding your path based upon your individual success definition.

Don’t beat yourself up if it has taken you 20 years to realize that you are not doing what you truly love with your life. It is never too late to go on the exploratory journey to self-discovery. The hardest step is to decide to start performing within your own purpose rather than under the cloud of your parents’ passion.

Author's Bio: 

© 2007 by Niquenya D. Fulbright-All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:
Niquenya D. Fulbright is a Chicago area executive life coach, professional speaker and corporate trainer with over 10 years experience specializing in business, career, life and relationship coaching. She uses the principles of the laws of attraction, the teachings of the Bible and the theories behind client-centered therapy as her guide in helping clients. For more information, to book Ms. Fulbright as a guest speaker or to schedule a complimentary coaching session, visit, send inquiry to or call 773-368-3575. Most coaching sessions are performed via telephone. Other services include management consulting and mediation.