The 5 key points Harold makes in this video are:

1. Your psyche has a head cold
2. Be the driver on your career path
3. Know yourself
4. Learn more about options
5. Build a plan and take action

Ask your question: http://www.drharoldhillman.com/ask-harold-show.html

YouTube Link: How to Deal with an Existential Crisis | Episode 9

Ask Harold Episode 9 Transript:

Today I’ll answer a question from someone who has come to one of those crossroads in his career path. He’s looking for some advice on which direction to turn. So let’s get in to it.

Hi everybody, Harold Hillman here. And thank you for joining me on episode 9 of Ask Harold. Today’s question is from Rob. Rob is stuck in the middle of some very deep thinking about what he is going to do with the rest of his life. A good dilemma to have. Here is Rob’s question:

Hello Harold,

Lately I wake up each day wondering what I am doing with my career. To give some brief context about myself: I’ve been very successful at climbing the corporate ladder in a couple of global accounting firms. By successful I mean: in terms of seniority, influence and being able to live a lifestyle that my family has grown comfortable with.

However, more and more I wonder if all this really matters. Finance is my thing. People know me as the Finance Guy. I don’t know if I should continue on the path that I’ve been successful at for the past two decades, or try something totally different. I don’t even know what that “different” would be. It could be to do something that I feel more passionate about, away from anything corporate, I really don’t know – I just want more clarity on where I am going.

Thanks in advance for your advice,


Hey Rob, thanks for that great example of an “existential” question. I use that word to describe the state of mind when any path is a viable option, but which one you choose will have different and equally important consequences on your life. That’s why it’s important to stop in your boots every now and then and just stand still long enough to hear what your brain is trying to tell you.

So Rob, there are 5 things that I’d like for you to think about here:

1. The first one is: your psyche has a head cold. Back in the old days what you’re going through used to be called a mid-life crisis. It’s more hip now to say “existential crisis”. This is like when your psyche has a head cold – it gets your attention because this has big impact on who you are, how you spend your time, who you spend your time with (socially and professionally), and whether your life has a bigger sense of purpose beyond getting a weekly or a fortnightly paycheck.

So this may be time for you to turn the chapter and start to push in to some other things that are equally fulfilling, Rob.

2. Secondly: be the driver on your career path. Some people go through their careers almost if they are sitting in the backseat of their own life: choosing to be passive at critical turns, or letting the car turn randomly in different directions.

I recommend that you think about it the same way as with a car, Rob: get in the front seat, put your hands on the steering wheel, your foot on the accelerator, and start to drive your career in the direction that you believe will give you the most benefit. For you that may be something completely different from finance.

3. Thirdly: know yourself. Self-awareness helps. What really drives you? Is it working for a particular brand, or something that you want to take on, stand on something important – like the environment, or giving back to the community, or a social cause? Maybe even a hobby that is so energizing for you that you decide to turn it into a full-time job.

A good friend of mine once left a high-paying corporate job to go run a vineyard with his wife on New Zealand’s South Island. People thought he was crazy for stepping away from a high-paying job, but he knew himself well enough to know what would keep him more energized for the long game.

4. The fourth thing, Rob, is: learn more about your options. Once you start to tease out what really appeals to you, take the next step to read more, or get more hands-on or close-up experience, or network with other people who’ve done the same thing.

The point here is to stimulate your thinking. It’s about allowing your mind to diverge into what’s possible. Before you put any constraints on anything, allow yourself to really dream about what you want to do with no constraints, where there’s a real source of joy that resides somewhere right there in the middle of that dream.

So Rob, keep pushing through and learn more about the options that sit in front of you.

5. Finally: build a plan and take action. And this is where the rubber hits the road. Building a plan and taking action is what separates dreamers from those who actually live their dreams.

If you back yourself, other people, like your family and friends, are more likely to back you as well. Stepping away from certainty can be scary but equally rewarding and beneficial if it takes you to a better role with new challenges and lots of things to learn.

Bottom line, Rob, is: you’ll never really know unless you try. So put your hands on the steering wheel and decide where to turn.

Thanks for that question, it was an important one and thank you all for watching Ask Harold. On the next episode I’ll answer a question from a viewer who knows they need to give up some of their control and to delegate more, but is unsure how to do this. This is a very common issue, so I look forward to giving some guidance on this one.

Remember, if you like this video, tell others about it and subscribe to Sigmoid’s YouTube channel. And if you have a question of your own, or want to see my other videos and articles, go to my blog at www.drharoldhillman.com

Take good care and see you all soon.