On Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the Battle Between the Head and the Heart

This is NOT a political post.

I promise you that.

I am simply going to use the current battle to be the Democratic party nominee for President of the United States to illustrate a point.

A point related to career choice.

So, here goes…

If you pay attention to politics in the United States, then you know that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in a fierce battle to win the nomination of the Democratic party.

They both want to be President of the United States but only one of them can be the nominee of the Democratic party.

Whoever wins the nomination will then face off against the candidate from the Republican party to become the next President of the United States.

The battle between Hillary and Bernie has taken some nasty turns, not so much between the candidates themselves, but between supporters of the two candidates.

This, despite the fact that they both espouse many of the same values, goals, and ideals.

The difference between the two often comes down to the degree and speed of change that they advocate.

Bernie Sanders advocates big, rapid changes and is the preferred candidate of the dreamers, of the idealists, of the heart-centered.

Hillary Clinton advocates smaller, incremental changes and is the preferred candidate of the realists, of the pragmatic, of the head-centered.

The battle between Hillary and Bernie and their supporters is a battle between the head and the heart.

I’m oversimplifying things of course.

But I think the general idea holds true.

And…here’s the thing about voting.

You can only chose one candidate.

You can’t chose both of them, even when even when you can see both sides, even when you can resonate with both of their messages, even when you want to say yes to your head and to your heart.

You have to make a choice, a choice between the head and the heart.

Now, let’s talk about career choice.

Because we face this same battle when we chose a career.

The battle between the head and the heart.

We have one voice whispering in our ear: “Go for it. Go big. Go bold. Follow your heart, follow your dreams, follow your passions.

And then we have another voice whispering: “Be reasonable. Be realistic. Be safe. Protect yourself, protect your family, protect what you already have.

Now, here’s where making a career choice is different from voting in a political race.

When making a career choice, you have to honor both sides, you have to honor both voices, you have to honor both the head and the heart.

In fact, I think that many of the mistakes that people make it choosing a career can be traced to the failure to honor both their head and their heart.

Here’s what can happen when you only honor your heart or when you only honor your head.

If you make career choice that only honors your head, that solely focuses on your material needs, then you will very likely end up in a soul-sucking, meaningless job.

You will make a choice that it based almost entirely on the material benefits of the job (salary, pension, vacation, etc.) all the while ignoring that little voice that keeps telling you that you want to be doing something very different.

And the next thing you know, you’re stuck and not sure how to get out.

Stuck in a job that robs you of your energy, robs you of your life force, robs you of your spirit.

Now, let’s look at what can happen when you only honor your heart.

If you make a career choice that only honors your heart, that solely focuses on doing what you love, then you may be setting yourself up for financial ruin or a life of poverty.

Like it or not, the world is completely indifferent to your dreams and passions.

You may succeed if you make a 100% heart based choice.

But there’s absolutely no guarantee that you will.

And the consequences of failure could be pretty large.

The truth is that your heart matters AND your head matters.

Both are important when making a career choice and both need to be honored.

Where you decide to put the emphasis between your head and heart is up to you.

A young, single person with few commitments may make a choice that is 80% heart based and 20% head based.

Someone who is older and maybe has children and a mortgage may make a choice that is 20% heart based and 80% head based.

Those are both valid decisions.

What matters isn’t what other people decide.

What matters is that you make a choice that works for you, one that honors both your heart and your head!

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I am definitely more of a head person. :-) I think this was helpful to anyone who is trying to decide what their career will be and those who are thinking about switching careers. You have discussed your career change in the past, leaving behind a good paying government job to follow your heart. It would be interesting to hear what percentage of head and heart your decision was based on, how you balanced both, and challenges and successes in doing so.

    1. Hi Lisa – Thanks for sharing and for your questions! As you know, I’m a definite heart person. But living outside of the US definitely limited my career choices. So there was probably more “head” in my career choice than if I had been living in the US.

  2. Sensible thoughts about choosing a career.
    The role “head and heart” can be applied to other decisions.

    1. Thanks Cliff! And great point about how the head and the heart can be applied to other decisions as well!

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