Finding Your True Calling
Still Don't Know What They Want To Be "When They Grow Up" But Can't Wait To Find Out The Handbook For People Who
Finding Your Calling©
Table of Contents
Before You Begin: How to Make the Most From This Book ...............................1 Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts ...........................................6 How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time..............................................8 Discovering Your Life’s Purpose ............................................................... 12 Finding Hidden Talents: Who Do You Think You Are? ................................... 15 5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling ............................................................ 20 Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion ............................................... 25 Family Career Clashes: “You Want To Do What?” ......................................... 29 Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion.............................................................. 33 Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path ............................................. 35 How to Create the Ideal Job ................................................................... 40 Finding Right Livelihood: A Lesson in Contrasts ............................................ 44 Wellness Begins Within: Living the Theory ................................................... 46 You Say You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star? Why Not!................................ 49 Taking the Leap.................................................................................. 52 From There To Here: How We Escaped Corporate America ............................ 55 Chucking It All: Some Do ...................................................................... 59 Having It Your Way.............................................................................. 61 Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden ............................................................................................ 63
Finding Your Calling©
Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits: For This Couple, Work Feels Like Play ............. 66 Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: A New Business and a New Beginning............ 68 Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss. 70 On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant ......................................... 73 Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter”......................................................... 75 Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation ..................................................... 77 Creative Hookey: Or Five Ways to Learn and Earn By Staying Out of School ....... 81 No McJobs....................................................................................... 85 Focus on Essence ............................................................................... 89 Five Lives – And How to Live Them All ...................................................... 91 Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling ...................... 95 Barbara Blossom Ashmun .....................................................................103 Mike Bellah ......................................................................................103 Paige G Blomgren ..............................................................................103 Frank Burge .....................................................................................104 Patrick Combs ...................................................................................104 Jane Groft.......................................................................................104 Susan Holliday..................................................................................104 Nicholas Lore....................................................................................105 Courtney Rice ...................................................................................105 Bill Robertson ...................................................................................105
....................................107 James Welch................................................................................108 Valerie Young...109
Finding Your Calling©
Beth Schimel ....107 Debbie Windoloski................................107 Bradford Swift............................................................................106 Sally Silagy ..............................................107 Barbara Winter....................................................................................105 Barbara Sher ..............................................ChangingCourse.........................................................................................................................................106 Ryan Speakman ................108 Neil Yeager ...................................................................................................................................................
Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. founding director of the Life on Purpose Institute Nicholas Lore. get ready to be wowed! I have been a fan of Barbara’s books for many years. head of the Rockport Institute and author of Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success Author and mid-life change expert. My first introduction to this extraordinary career counselor and best-selling author was through her first book (and still my personal favorite). If you aren’t familiar with Barbara’s work.” Now I am living my dream doing exactly what I love and I’d like to show you how you can too. Barbara Blossom You’ll be treated to not one.ChangingCourse. but six of Barbara Sher’s inspiring and utterly on-target articles on what it takes to create work you can love. Just because you are an adult that doesn’t mean you know any more about what you want to be “when you grow up” now than you did when you were a kid. Since then I’ve devoured each and every one of Barbara’s mind expanding books including: I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What Your Really Want and How to Get It It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life After Forty
©www. To jumpstart the discovery process you’ll be learning from such top work/life experts as: Brad Swift. Mike Bellah. and Planter of gardens and dreams.com
Finding Your Calling©
Before You Begin:
How to Make the Most From This Book
.com. author and career catalyst teacher. My name is Valerie Young and I am the Dreamer-in-Residence at ChangingCourse. At least I didn’t! For most of my life I kind of “fell into” things from college majors to jobs.ChangingCourse. It wasn’t until I was forty-years-old that I finally figured out what I wanted to “be. not two.
ChangingCourse. so what if after you’ve devoured the collective wisdom of all of these people who answered their own individual callings and you still haven’t come up with a plan for tuning into your own dream? Never fear! At the end of any good meal comes dessert! You’ll get a chance to meet a very creative guy named Patrick Combs. If you’re not a college student. don’t let the title throw you. Mike. If you’ve been operating under the misguided assumption that you have to have a J-O-B to make money – then you’ll love meeting another favorite Barbara of mine – Barbara Winter. Early on you’ll be treated to Barbara’s Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion. and Get a Very Cool Job. Each author will share his or her own unique spin on the process of selfdiscovery as well as some concrete exercises and other techniques to uncover those long-hidden passions. Next. I can honestly say. Nicholas. Virgin Islands to bake cookies – and is making a darned good living doing it. Nights and weekends Steve is fulfilling a life long dream – writing music and performing in his own rock n’ roll band. This homemaker moved her family to the U. The name of the book is Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work That You Love and Barbara has generously allowed me to share some excerpts from this amazing book with you here.ChangingCourse.S. Tony and Nancy left their jobs in the advertising and music industries to go off on a decade-long adventure sailing and biking around Europe and the Greek Islands. The article comes complete with a checklist to help you.com 2002
. and both Barbara’s are going to walk you through a series of exercises designed to help you put your ear to the ground so you start to hear your inner calling. as Barbara puts it.com
Finding Your Calling©
Live the Life You Love In Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons But that’s not all. Ok. I happened upon Patrick’s work a few years back when he was speaking at a nearby university. Debbie Windoloski. I’ve seen a lot of exercises on finding your calling. in her words.
©www. you’ll meet twenty ordinary people doing some pretty extraordinary things. this guy has come up with some of the most creative approaches I’ve seen and fortunately for you. “tap into your reservoir of passion.” Brad. After. Barbara is the author of the book that literally changed my life. For his day job in the insurance industry Steve dons a suit and tie. “a 25-year detour. People like: Steve Wyrostek. Vicki Phelps.” this former marketing manager realized her dream of becoming a professional gardener. Patrick wrote a book called Major in Success: Make College Easier. Fire Up Your Dreams. Tony and Nancy Roberts.
If there is one “must do” exercise. When the person does manage to get the words out. You’ve gotten this far – so why not turn off the TV a couple nights a week and instead use the time to do the exercises here. three dreams.” My question to them is always the same: “Did you do the exercises?” The question is usually met with a long pause. or even five dreams – you really can live them all! Ok.9% of the time the answer is a sheepish. 99. I think you’ll be glad you did.com 2002
Finding Your Calling©
he’s allowed me to share them with you here. When I finally realized this and started actually doing the exercises. Now it’s time to talk about you. So for the longest time I was one of those people who glossed over the exercises hoping instead that the magic answer would somehow leap from the pages without my ever having to fully immerse myself in the discovery process. Those of you who “want it all” will be thrilled to hear Barbara explode another myth – namely. That tells me that you really do want to find your true calling. But you’ve already invested your hard-earned money to purchase this book. This is also where you’ll discover Barbara Winter’s winning formula for finding your true calling – focusing on the essence of what it is you want. “No. “you realize it can come in many ways – opening your options and alternatives.
A Lesson on Letting Your Heart Lead the Way
My first personal connection with Barbara Sher happened about nine years ago. Occasionally I hear from someone who tells me they’ve read all the career change books out there but nothing has “worked. When you consider that the reward could be nothing short of a lifetime of happiness. Doing the exercises takes time and let’s face it. “When you know the essence of what you want.” Speaking of options… Your journey will end as it began – with practical yet incredibly inspiring advice from Barbara Sher. the myth that you need to find your one true calling and stick with that. This is so important because. From Barbara Sher you’ll learn some pretty creative ways to change your career without going back to school. it’s Patrick’s Super Simple. our entire advertising-driven culture is based on the promise of instant gratification. Unique & Weird Job Idea Jogger! Finally. you’ll once again get to learn from career gurus Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter.ChangingCourse. Not only do you not have to limit yourself to one dream.” Barbara says. I was desperate to leave my corporate job and had come up with the idea to launch a
©www.” Truth be known. a magic answer did appear – but it was the kind that can only come from within. The decision of course is yours.ChangingCourse. enough about all the experts. I’ve been as guilty as the next person of wanting a quick fix to complex issues. but Barbara will show you how even if you two dreams.
It was not enough to pay the grocery bill never mind the mortgage. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. Then I remember thinking. coming home too exhausted to do little more than plop yourself down in front of the television. you don’t know me but I’m a big fan of your work and I’m trying to start a newsletter for people who want to find their life mission and live it. “If we listened to our intellect. First. So.ChangingCourse. like me. but I wondered if you would be willing to contribute an article or two?” Then I waited. After a few rings.” “It will never work.ChangingCourse. And waited. maybe it’s time to get “unreal.” Well. dreams are almost always a group effort. We’d never go into business because we’d be cynical. We’d never have a friendship. sometimes we need to lead with our heart’s desire because too often our “logical. you just might find that you get what you need. I know you’re really busy.com
Finding Your Calling©
newsletter for people who. At first I was taken aback. And waited. wanted to create more satisfying and balanced lives doing work they love. Of course.” The other thing I re-learned is that.” We have been taught all our lives to “get real.” I stumbled nervously through my message: “Hi Barbara. You may be the head coach and the sole player but there are always people out there who are willing to help groom the field. At that point I had a grand total of 31 subscribers. I tracked Barbara’s phone number down through her publisher. if “real” means spending your entire adult life working at a job you hate. It was Barbara Sher! I nearly broke a leg lunging for the phone! Barbara went on to explain that she’d been crisscrossing the country on a book tour and was just getting caught up on her messages. I decided to seek contributors who know a thing or two about chasing down a dream. It was one of those days when my head was giving my heart a good talking to: “What a dumb idea. her answering machine kicked in telling me to leave a message for Barbara after the tone. practical” self doesn’t always know what the heck it’s talking about. then getting up the next day to do it all over again.” says Ray Bradbury “we’d never have a love affair.com 2002
. ask for it. or just cheer you on from the sidelines. well.”
©www. “Of course a big successful author doesn’t have time to answer her own phone. but as the Rolling Stones reminded my generation. That’s when I heard the cheery voice of someone named Barbara apologizing for the long delay in responding. sell tickets to your game. I was in no mood to talk so I let the answering machine screen the call. she’d be thrilled to contribute to my newsletter. if you need some help jump starting your dream. officiate. I recall standing in my kitchen feeling terribly discouraged and quite literally in tears.” “Who would want your newsletter anyway?” Suddenly the phone rang. Fast forward six weeks to a rainy Sunday afternoon. This experience taught me two things. My heart was pounding as I dialed the number. “If you try sometime. Knowing that the newsletter needed more voices than mine. You may not always get what you want. Barbara was the first person who came to mind.
I’d rather see you as a happy UPS driver enjoying your customers than a miserable senior accountant at a Fortune 500 company making $75. fret over. Disney offered Diana a position as managing instructor in charge of the institute ’s genealogy classes! Finding your true calling may not happen overnight.ChangingCourse. must give this whole discovery process the time and attention it deserves. Former ad agency account manager Diana Fiedotin discovered what she enjoyed only after quite a few weeks spent in a career assessment seminar offered by the Highland Program in Westport. if you’re ready.000 a year. let’s begin the incredibly exciting journey of finding your true calling!
©www. I am going to ask you to do yourself a BIG favor. especially tracing family histories. Through a series of assessments and exercises. So. for now. and get excited about money later. let’s further assume that management expert Tom Peters’ was right when he said: “You’ve got to get a kick out of whatever you’re doing. you must. At the same time. Until you have finished reading this book – and doing all of the exercises – abide by what I call the “Changing Course Money Rule. You only get one trip around so you’ve got to enjoy what you do and whom you do it with. One of the participants was from the Disney Institute.ChangingCourse. Diana was able to tap into her love of history and research. plan around.
A Final Note
If you are serious about finding your passion. Connecticut.” There will be plenty of time to think about. Let’s assume. But.com
Finding Your Calling©
You can’t talk about finding your passion without talking about the money part. just for the sake of argument that it is better to be happy than to be rich. I repeat.” Simply stated. the Changing Course Money Rule says: Thou shall not get hung up on the earning potential of a given calling.com 2002
. It wasn ’t for a full two years later that Diana volunteered to teach a weekend workshop on genealogy. So. Within a few weeks. if you are determined – and are willing to invest the time to do some serious digging – sooner or later you are bound to stumble upon a gem. nothing can kill a dream faster than worrying about how much money you can earn at your newly found passion. Okay.
you yearn to find the place where you can make your mark. catch a moving bus with my arms full of laundry.ChangingCourse.com
Finding Your Calling©
Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts
Adapted from I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How To Discover What You Really Want and How To Get It You want a life you will love. They had only two things in common: They knew exactly what they wanted and they felt they were moving toward getting it. A friend’s father got it right when he said.” Is that you? Or does the idea of the good life sound like an unreachable paradise? If you aren’t the kind of person who jumps out of bed every morning excited about the day ahead. I don’t really care what your skills are. And what did happy people have in common? Money? Success? Health? Love? None of these things. They believed in what they were doing with all their hearts. you can see the intensity on their faces.com 2002
. so did Golda Meir. Life is just too short to live without that kind of focus. two Harvard psychologists completed a study of people who called themselves happy. “The good life is when you get up in the morning and can’t wait to start all over again. and so did the kid next door who practiced guitar day and night. In the early 1980s. When you get near people who are pursuing their heart’s desire. And I mean love. you know what my skills were? I could clean a house like a demon.ChangingCourse. Albert Schweitzer found his place. I don’t mean what you’re skilled at.
©www. They knew how to live. That’s what makes life feel good: when it has direction. when you are heading straight for what you love. I know you desperately long to find a goal that will spark excitement and energy. They knew their work was important. When I was a single working mother with two babies.
and originality always needs to express itself. That’s the way really big things get accomplished in this world – by people no different than you and I who know what they want and put everything they’ve got behind it. you live it by doing what you want to do. Recent figures show that as many as 98 percent of Americans are unhappy with their jobs. and you need to follow your original vision. All of us are good at things we’re not madly in love with. they simply don’t know what to do instead. “The universe is not going to see someone like you again in the entire history of creation.
. But you’re not alone. I don’t even think your greatest talents necessarily show up in your skills.ChangingCourse. And it isn’t only financial considerations that keep them where they are. I don’t believe you live the good life by doing what you can do. I have a surprise for you. Every living person has a completely original way of looking at the world. You should be doing what you love. Harriet Tubman needed to guide people to freedom. What you love is what you are gifted at. And you’re right. You do know what you want. What you may have thought was your private little nightmare turns out to be heart-breakingly common.” Each of us is one of a kind. Relying on your skills to guide you is simply unacceptable.ChangingCourse. You sense there’s some particular work you are meant to be doing. Only love will give you the drive to stick to something until you develop your gift. I do not want the career that uses those skills. If you don’t know what you want. and kids.com
Finding Your Calling©
groceries. Einstein needed to formulate theories of physics. Well. thank you. As Vartan Gregorian said. I know what you should be doing. Everybody does. That’s why I don’t [give] personality tests or skills assessments to find out what you should be doing. And all of us have talents we’ve never used. and squeeze a dollar until the picture of George Washington screamed for mercy. That’s why you feel so restless when you can’t find the right track. you can’t get out of the starting gate – and that’s discouraging.
1980. In 1999 I branched out from garden writing to new genres. and to enhance what I already love to do – meet interesting.com
Finding Your Calling©
How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time
Barbara Blossom Ashmun
In the sixties I sat in a small windowless New York City room counseling young men recently released from prison on how to improve their lives.ChangingCourse. adventurous risk-takers who bless the world with their art.
Pay Attention to Your Daydreams
When I was a medical social worker I would look out the window longingly at the gardeners in yellow slickers and green rain boots. not because I lacked gardening skills. After I quit that job and jumped off cold turkey. but because they thought I wouldn’t last – the wages were minimal and the men on the crew liked to swear freely. Each year I make small but significant changes to continue growing my life. and this has deepened my love and appreciation for the creative spirit. I rented a classroom in a neighborhood community center that could seat 40-50 students. I reminded them that I had worked around very colorful language as a counselor in an early release
©www. I gained confidence and decided to try out teaching privately for higher rates. The living room overflowed.
Start Small and Build Up
I began teaching garden classes for modest hourly wages at community colleges to get some experience under my belt. raking leaves. Now I want to profile these unique individuals in both local and national magazines. As a woman who has shifted gears numerous times. I took a part time summer job maintaining the grounds for the City of Beaverton here in Oregon.com 2002
. when I quit my medical social work job and never looked back. and began making a satisfying profit. not sure if enough people would come. After several years. In the last few years I’ve invited garden artists to show their paintings. In the seventies I spent my days in hospital rooms helping patients to redesign their lives after strokes and burns. wrought iron trellises and ceramic sculpture in my two-thirds acre country cottage garden. I’d like to share my top ten tips with you to encourage you to go forward. Now I sit in my own home office looking out on a beautiful garden and writing garden books. to promote their work. I began redesigning my own life on the first day of spring. I had to persuade them to hire me.ChangingCourse. I taught the first class in my living room.
higher interest rates would shoot my payments sky high. and the garden was much too small.ChangingCourse.
Follow Your Heart
I was raised to believe that life is hard work and that struggling and suffering are normal.
Acknowledge Your Fears and Deal With Them
Most of us fear change and the unknown. After a divorce. how I could get a private contract. and where to look for reasonable property. and figure out solutions. I learned to turn the phones off when I wrote and save gardening and paperwork until the afternoons. Eventually I sought and found work tending three estate gardens at quadruple the money. “they’re very friendly to new writers. a retired sportswriter who had developed a second career as a garden writer and tour guide. I was afraid to sell my familiar four-bedroom house even though it was much too big for me.” Bill said. I was invited to become one of their first contributing regional editors. When I first decided to write professionally I quizzed the leader of our New Zealand garden tour. The best people to approach for help are those who are successful and secure in their work. we feel at peace with our inner selves. This led me to knock on the wrong doors and pound on them until they
©www. after writing many more articles and faithfully meeting my deadlines. and that I was willing to work for low pay one summer to get experience.” He even gave me an editor’s name and her 800 number. We all get the same 24 hours each day. and five years later. who helped me find a smaller house on 2/3 of an acre with an owner-held contract that resulted in the same low house payments I’d been making on the first house. Network. I saved my mornings for writing. “Try Fine Gardening.com 2002
. Friends who were used to going out to breakfast with me were disappointed.
Finding Your Calling©
program for men on parole in New York City. I called. was accepted to write a feature. By talking it over with friends I learned about the realities: how much equity I held in that first house.
Do What’s Important First
When I decided that I wanted to write for a living. Network
We are all in this together. By clearly facing fears we can separate unrealistic from realistic fear. A friend referred me to a very creative realtor. and when we spend that time doing what’s most important to our hearts and souls. but I had to stick to my guns – mornings were for writing because that’s when my imagination is fresh and juicy. I had a low-interest loan acquired in the seventies and was sure that no bank would loan money to a self-employed gardener – and that even if they would. When I was a medical social worker I met so many elderly people who regretted not having done what they wanted that I became determined to take charge of my time while I was still healthy and capable.ChangingCourse.
my creative spirit needed to stretch its wings and turn to writing. I made the shift gradually. After I’d shown The Garden Design Primer to an agent I met at a writing conference. events will unfold with a natural grace. Sometimes I even felt sorry for myself digging in the dirt while I watched them leave for appointments in Armani suits. art and music – so I decided I would have to be practical and aim to work in a lab. This is not without effort. interviewing an agent for compatibility. I was too naive to notice that the advance was low and the deadline short. Once a task is mastered. Once I quit and followed my heart by pursuing my love for growing plants.com
Finding Your Calling©
Pay Attention to Green Lights
You will notice that once you point yourself in the direction to which you are suited.ChangingCourse. a small New York publisher asked me to write a garden design book in six months. For example.
Keep Moving On
Most of us who are especially creative grow and develop without end. she helped me sign on for another book with a larger publisher. But each step bore fruit and led me further along my path. but that was good – a year later I was a published author. All this took effort – writing a book. But when I asked myself. and a strong inner voice is urging me on. let the sap rise. We’re just like a tree putting out new branches and growing taller – all we have to do is listen to the inner core. More will follow. and managing three households and staffs of
Examine Your Desires and Make Sure They’re Your Own
When I designed gardens for affluent customers I experienced pangs of envy. did I really want to spend my days grooming myself to the nines. I earned a degree in science even though I’m an artist by temperament and talent. the inner creative urge longs for a new challenge. work became joyful. and our energy looks for new expression. following old “shoulds” – you should help other people and do good deeds – instead of paying attention to what I really wanted. going to writing conferences.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. I didn’t have faith that I could possibly earn a living through what I loved – literature. but the effort will pay off and one thing will lead to another. and unfold leaf by leaf. and helpful people will appear out of the blue to encourage and mentor you. Our natural talents are easiest to develop. following through. after my first magazine article was published. Now I long to write more personal pieces about interesting personalities. Even though I loved designing and installing gardens for others for about six years. and thrive on change. Just as good gardeners plant ferns in the shade and roses in the sun. giving up one garden at a time as I wrote more and more. we must plant ourselves in the climate that agrees with our inborn natures. Later on I completed a master’s in social work. My old Toyota wagon looked awfully shabby beside their gleaming Mercedes and Jaguars. All you have to do is keep going through the green lights. saying yes to every opportunity that looks promising. My response was an immediate “Yes!” In truth.
Your life will become simpler and more satisfying. informal lifestyle and flexible time.
©www. I learned by watching that even though it might be nice to have three homes and a vehicle for every purpose.ChangingCourse. Whether it’s time or money. time to create. Discover what it is for you and choose what you love. the answer was “NO!” I like my casual clothes. each possession requires tending. and time to spend with those I love are at the top of my list. For me.ChangingCourse. time to garden. there’s a price for everything and we make choices about what’s of greatest value.com 2002
Finding Your Calling©
it’s not necessary to spend one or more lifetimes in the “search mode.com 2002
. What if we didn’t even need to worry about looking for the keys to our life. What. not within waiting to be discovered. When people first start working with me as their life purpose coach.com
Finding Your Calling©
Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
Adapted from The Human Doing Manual: Designing a Life of Purpose and Service Who are you and what is your life for? Age-old questions that have haunted many of us for years. not to discover them. the lighting is much better here. In other words. But again. but to invent them. necessarily. One of the greatest gifts given to each of us is the gift of choice. invent answers? Isn’t that cheating? Well. the gift may feel like the boobie prize. he paused from his task long enough to point down the dark alley.ChangingCourse. it’s really a powerful treasure to be able to choose at any given moment what our life can become. “What is a life purpose?” I’m not asking them to tell me what their purpose is but how do they view or think about the concept of life purpose. not even wrong. Your life purpose then becomes the context
©www. What if your life purpose isn’t what you’re meant to do but instead it’s who you are. Well. Not a bad reply. because that’s not where it is. there’s a different way to view a life purpose that gets more to the heart of the matter. I ask them.” Joe replied. It’s within each of us. but when you consider the alternatives. Sure. Most people reply that it’s something one is meant to do in their life that gives them a sense of meaning and fulfillment. sometimes there are so many choices.” His two friends looked at each other’s confused expressions before one of them asked. why are you looking for them here under the street lamp?” “Oh. When they asked him what he was doing. as in the values and vision you stand for? And it’s this sense of “whoyou-are” that then shapes what you do.” trying to discover our life purpose out there somewhere in the world. this is your year. “If you lost your keys down in the alley. because we can create them instead? Another common error that can keep people stuck not knowing their life purpose is asking the wrong question. it may be cheating in most schools but not in the school of life.ChangingCourse. “I lost my car keys down there and I’m trying to find them. And the gift of choice extends to our having the freedom to choose our life purpose. Searching for our life purpose out in the world is like the old joke about Joe. but waiting to be created. However. perhaps much of our life. Two of Joe’s friends found him one night under the street lamp on the corner on his hands and knees. if you’ve yearned to know the answers.
as in the types of people you enjoy. and then write some more.ChangingCourse. he feels his life is over because he has no sense of purpose.” it’s time to find the common thread or threads that will point you towards your life purpose. time. family members. The following exercise will get you started. Not the year of discovering your life purpose.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. despite having many good years ahead of him. What do you love to do? Look at times in your life when you were most alive. Write your responses to these questions. 3.com
Finding Your Calling©
for your life or the container into which to pour your life. begin to
©www.” 1. you are no longer limited by the careers or roles you play in life. Your life and your day-byday and moment-by-moment actions are the liquid within that is shaped by the outer container or context of your life purpose. friends or fictitious characters. excited. Now. He had misidentified his career as his reason for living. but the year to create it with the help of your inner guidance system. When you view your life purpose in this way. Go through your notes with different color markers and circle repetitive words. What were you doing during those moments? 2. energy. in love with life. declare this as your year. what would you do with your life and who would you be? 4. What values are most important to you? It’s important to distinguish between the values that you think you should feel are important. What is it about these people that you admire? Is it a way of being.
Prime Your Passion Pump
Clarifying your life purpose is a team effort between the rational mind and the intuitive mind or inner guidance system. or a set of values. Who do you greatly admire? They may be celebrities. After collecting the “data. rather than realizing it was only one way in which to express his life purpose. What kind of people do you love being around? Answer this both specifically. If money. Now. You won’t have to worry about becoming like the elderly man I recently spoke with who has been a physician for over 35 years but has been forced into retirement because of his health. or what they are up to in life? 5. and in general. and the ones you choose of your own free will. people from history. as in the specific people you love to be with. or ideas. if you yearn to know your life purpose. The following exercise is an effective way to combine these two powerful resources to help you move forward along the pathway of a “life on purpose. and talent were unlimited. talk with others about them. phrases. So.
Finding Your Calling©
create a “rough draft” purpose statement. There’s power in brevity. Then.com 2002
. Is stated as a vision or values you stand for. or setting your attention to dream your life purpose.
©www. It may be meditating. to add even more power. Is based in pure possibility. You aren’t stuck with any life purpose. Keep it short. Read through your journal material one last time.ChangingCourse. there’s nothing wrong. a life on purpose is a life of. prayer. shape it to fit these criteria. From these free flowing sentences compile one that inspires you. erased. Isn’t just about you but includes you.ChangingCourse. Isn’t about fixing anything because. or rewritten. then seek guidance from within. taking a long walk.. Then complete this sentence four or five times with some free writing: For me. It: Inspires and turns you on. whatever you create today can be changed. in possibility. It’s not about what you’ll be doing.. Pick your favorite way to access your inner guidance. run or drive.
humanitarian.you name it. So that’s the place to start your search for the lost treasure map of your talents: in the first five precious and mysterious years of your life – the greatest learning period you ever had. We confer the honorific title “genius” only on those very rare people who we believe were born with a mysterious something extra: great brilliance. Big “G” genius. OK. the sculptor Louise Nevelson. or a dozen other kinds of vision we have or haven’t discovered yet: political.
Your Original Genius
Now you’re probably laughing. You had original vision when you were two years old. but that’s because it’s always difficult to remember things we don’t have words for. incredible determination.Q. I don’t care what you’ve accomplished in your life or what your I. Not genius with a small ‘g’ as opposed to Albert Einstein. But even if we could.” Those are geniuses. So we’d better call “great brilliance” a special case of “original vision”: intellectual vision. And we believe that “something extra” cannot help but express itself with such force that it overpowers the most difficult circumstances.com 2002
. “Great brilliance” is a little hard to define. We’ve found out now that we can’t test I. incredible determination – and see whether you had them when you were two years old. it only measures one very narrow range of knowing and doing. And I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. Look at Mozart.ChangingCourse. Born overflowing with music. athletic. emotional.ChangingCourse. as opposed to the artistic or musical kind.com
Finding Your Calling©
Finding Hidden Talents:
Who Do You Think You Are?
Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want Who are you really? You’ve forgotten – but you knew once – when you were a very small child. original vision. I’ll tell you one thing about who you were then. You may not remember. Or so the standard reasoning goes.Q. like Albert Einstein. not you and I. Look at Picasso – another genius. let’s take the three characteristics I named as defining genius – great brilliance. You were a genius. says Picasso was “drawing like an angel in the crib.. but I’m serious. The
©www. very reliably after all. is – you were born with your own unique kind of genius.. original vision.
and opinions were of zero value. You also had “incredible determination. they are designed to teach you. Notice that you don’t need “self-confidence” when you’re like that. in those early years you were seeing the world in such an original way that no one around you could give you the words for it. All they saw was a blank board that they were going to fill up with everything worth knowing. tastes. and changed the subject. And you cried. and you did everything you could think of to get that cookie. But schools are not designed to learn from you.com
Finding Your Calling©
fact is. you wheedled. they didn’t ask you. That is because they are trying to tell us what the world looks like. and loving things. but we all had it once. took a nap.ChangingCourse. Those. You had it. Where did they go? As long as you were too young to listen to reason or to be trained to do anything “useful. You have probably forgotten what it was like to walk into the first grade. or draw. “Can I get it? Do I deserve it? Will I make a fool of myself? Am I procrastinating again?” You thought. If you didn’t get it. feeling. You were very busy when you were two. And you went after it without the slightest hesitation or self-doubt. or daydream.” you had a marvelous freedom to be who you were. usually no one could understand them! If you’ve ever listened to a very small child – if you’re a mother. you made a fuss. and they were doing multiplication tables. You’d just had five years of solid experiences – seeing things. the honeymoon was over. So you had that: original vision. “rare” and “special” qualities we think distinguish geniuses from all the rest of us? You had them. as a physicist friend of mine told me. knowing things. You were not only reinventing the English language for your own purposes. from a point of view that has never existed before! Great poets are people who have held on to that ability to see things new and say what they see. By the time you were five or six. you didn’t think. And if you found the words for it. If you happened to know how to talk to plants and plants talked back to you.ChangingCourse. As soon as you were old enough to control yourself and sit still in school. And it didn’t stop you in the least from going right for the next wonderful thing you saw. if not even sooner.” You knew perfectly well what you loved and what you wanted. If you saw a cookie on the table. Just by ignoring who you were. or did you have something else in
©www. “Do you want to learn how to spell. You climbed. The word has no meaning. you were. doing original research into the nature of the universe. You’re completely focused on the thing you’re after. hating. you got punished. Cookie. they cancelled the whole rich inner world you had brought in with you.com 2002
. A new way of seeing the world that was all your own. when you were two. seen for the first time. Inadvertently. the precious right to make choices based on your own wishes began to be taken away. If it was important to you to talk to your best friend. they probably gave the impression that your knowledge. you crawled. I had them. You’re not even aware of yourself. for instance – you know that they say some pretty strange and amazing things. you piled boxes up on the floor.
ChangingCourse.” meaning “Nothing that anyone would consider important. or if you made sculptures out of mud. and see how much you can remember that might point to your own special kind of genius. remembers.com 2002
. and I think I understand what makes them happy. And so. You developed amnesia about it. Her father said. or if you talked to dogs. you know.” If you talked to plants. in her memoir Dawns & Dusks. So let’s go back and try to get a look at the genius you were.. and the kinds of lives that are works of art almost always have their roots in childhood. earliest childhood I knew I was going to be an artist.As a young child I could go into a room and remember everything I saw. I’m good at math. “From earliest. little by little. He was able to make great discoveries precisely because he kept alive the originality and delight of a small child exploring its universe for the first time. “Well. “You aren’t singing the melody. “Get away from the plants and let’s see how fast you can learn the alphabet. Albert Einstein was playing. they devoted their lives to equipping that child with the tools and skills it needed to do its playing on an adult level.ChangingCourse.. We’re going to go to work to reestablish that continuity for you. I felt like an artist. Ask any famous woman or man.” It would never occur to you to say. “Nothing.” All the people we call “geniuses” are men and women who somehow escaped having to put that curious. “I know. A Redbook magazine article about singer Linda Ronstadt says her first memory is of saying to her parents. I drew in childhood. It’s true that original achievements. a palm tree or a rose. The first thing you will need to do is reawaken those child qualities in yourself. “I love plants. great works of art.com
Finding Your Calling©
mind?” They said. I can remember all their names. So I’d like you to think back to your childhood. you forgot it. or if you were going to be a movie star or ice skate to Eskimo land.” She said. I’d take one glance and know everything I saw. “What are you good at?” you could easily say. and you will probably find that they remember having a very clear sense of what they were meant to do at a very early age. you understood very quickly that that didn’t count for much. and went on painting daily. wondering child in themselves to sleep. That’s a visual mind.” She was four years old and singing with them one evening when she began to harmonize. like the genes in a seed that say its going to become a tomato plant. Instead. That is the first important clue to your life design – to the discovery of what you’ll be happiest doing and what you’ll be best at. “Play me some music.” or “I can type.
©www. But first we need to know: who was that child? What did she or he love? The design of your life path is right there in miniature.” Or you might say.” The only real difference between these people and you is that there is an unbroken continuity between the children they were and the adults they have become.” And the sculptor Louise Nevelson. Now if you walked out into the world and somebody asked.
” Bill. And I mean that in both senses of the word “original”: “there from the beginning” and “unique. I was always patting out private little riffs on the dinner table. on a fresh sheet of paper. but I never realized my first five years were so good. try to answer these questions: What especially attracted and fascinated you when you were a child? What sense – sight. 32. 35: “I was nutty about rhythm.’ It has a
Finding Your Calling©
Or. lofty balsams/Comes the beer refreshing. new. or did you enjoy them all equally? What did you love to do. I covered sheets of paper. 54: “I remember I had this thing about trees.” Anna. answered this question very poignantly: “I actually went back to what I’d experienced in the first five years of my life. This exercise was very emotional for me. touch – did you live most through. or daydream about. no matter how “silly” or unimportant it may seem to you now? What were the secret fantasies and games that you never told anybody? Does it feel like there’s still a part of you that loves those things? What talents or abilities might those early interest and dreams point to? Marcia.ChangingCourse. 44: “I loved color. Nobody could eat their dinner.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. Let’s call it your original self. the pages of books and the wall next to my bed with brightly colored scribbles.” John. 29: “This will sound ridiculous. They had this little song – I can still remember the words and the tune: ‘From the land of sky-blue waters/From the land of pines. Since then it’s been downhill.”
Exercise Your Original Self
Let your mind wander back through your childhood memories – especially the private. I think I knew what it felt like to be one. I’ve had a lot of therapy. never seen in the world before. since that word still sounds presumptuous to our ears. I know I was drawing from the time I was old enough to clutch a crayon. I’ve got an even better name for it. hearing.”
Here are some other answers:
Ellen. special times when you were allowed to play or daydream or do whatever you wanted to do. Now. I used to stand and stare up at them and put my arms around their trunks. but there was a commercial on TV in the Midwest for a beer called Hamms that was made in Minnesota.
. He doesn’t know much about music. or even a psychotherapist. but he could have been – and still could be – a fine jazz drummer or dancer. the kind of imagination it takes to be a writer or film director or an editor-in.ChangingCourse.. Well. What was your answer? What does it tell you about what you want and what you could be good at?
©www. Bill is a lawyer. a painter. congratulations.” If you didn’t have a goal when you started out.at night in bed I used to put my head under the covers and pretend I was an Indian princess in the Land of Sky-Blue Waters. and Ellen is looking for a career. John is a skilled machinist.chief. She had.com
Finding Your Calling©
haunting sound and Indian tom-toms and they showed a lake sparkling in the moonlight. a gardener. She could have been – and still could be – a botanist. but you have just taken your first step toward choosing one. You may not believe it. Ellen’s youngest daughter just left for college. He makes a good living and he likes his work OK – but he has a gifted artist or interior decorator hiding inside just waiting to be discovered. like his father.ChangingCourse. a forester. Anna is an editorial secretary in a publishing house. and still has.
It worked! Here I am seven years and here I am living that very life! By clarifying your ideal life first. you will automatically eliminate many potential career missteps. for example. “you’ll never have to work a day in your life.com. don’t confuse making a living with making a life. and that I wanted to have the flexibility to work from a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire or on a tropical island. and Creating the Life You Really Want. The biggest thing keeping me from leaving wasn’t money – although that was definitely in the mix. a part. Start With Your Life. I decided to start with what I knew – not what I didn’t know. The career part of things is just that.
Too many people make the same mistake I almost did. that I wanted to work for myself. Instead I encourage them to think long and hard about what they want their LIFE to look like. another life and career changing eBook from Changing Course. I spent eight years working in an unfulfilling corporate job with a 90-mile-a-day commute. was a pretty good idea of the kind of LIFE I’d love.ChangingCourse. Before I will even talk about careers with a client. So.” says author Harvey McKay. After all. that I wanted to work at home.” If you aren’t really sure what you want to be “when you grow up. what sense does it make to go out and open a bookstore and THEN realize you don’t really like being limited by the need to show up at the same time each morning to open shop? The point is. Far more important was the fact that I didn’t have a clue as to my ideal type of work. I knew. Not Your Work. Making Money Doing What You Love. take out a piece of paper and find a quiet spot. I tell them to backburner the work part. Write down your answers to the question: “What do I want my life to look like?”
©www. What I did have though.ChangingCourse. They start by trying to figure out the work part of the work/life equation first.” here are five ways to get help you figure it out!
1. So. “When you love what you do.com
Finding Your Calling©
5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling
This article was adapted from There’s Got to Be More to Life Than This! 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World.com 2002
. that I wanted to go to bed and wake up when I wanted.
not just thrilled. practice is the key. Once you do figure out your calling. Instead he looked for a way to pursue his two passions – baseball and working with kids.
In an interview with Bill Moyer.ChangingCourse. But. just as with the game of baseball. but have the drive.com
Finding Your Calling©
3. Instead of thinking skills. “effort is the great equalizer. The kids love something else. don’t get hung up on the fact that you haven’t yet mastered the necessary skills.ChangingCourse. the renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell said. D. And conversely. Tune In Then Listen Up. But aptitude and even previous experience reveal little about what you would be truly happy doing. if you lack certain skills or abilities. remembering to thank others. When John was cut from the minor league Orioles team he could have easily found a high paying job. John and his coaching staff constantly remind the kids that each of them has different skills and abilities.C.
Skills assessment tools are great for telling you what you can do.” What Campbell is telling us is we must pay attention to the clues that lie within you. The way to make up for most deficits is to apply yourself. I have seen many a dream lie dormant because someone got hung up on whatever skills or knowledge they hadn’t yet mastered when the simple fact of the matter is the most talented person in the world who fails to put in the effort will still come up short. cooking or computer programming. What kinds of things happily grab and keep your attention to the point where you scarcely notice the time? Is it while studying a map? Gardening? Tinkering with a broken toaster? Playing a video game? Playing with children? Surfing the Web? Surfing
©www. but deeply happy. think effort! I’d like to introduce you to a guy who’s living his dream – John McCarthy. Work with someone else who balances your skill sets. Take a class. Whether it is writing. Not Skills. He’s also someone who very much understands this all-important distinction between effort and skill.” His campers learn that. Think Effort. Today John runs a hugely successful baseball camp for boys and girls in Washington. “The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you are happy – not excited. reading.” Why is McCarthy’s message so important to tuning into your calling? Well. as McCarthy puts it. John and the other coaches also mix in lessons about such things as responsibility. That’s because the parents love the fact that along with teaching the skills and strategy of baseball. effort is what you give. Today his camp has a long waiting list. good nutrition. For a long time John’s work was purely volunteer.com 2002
. “Talent is what you have. you've got a far better shot at success. and the virtues of hard work.
or your sense of adventure. see if anything gets sparked when you read National Geographic. astronomer. If you usually stick to news or sports publications. astronomy. Antiques Monthly. you tell it so much better than I do.com 2002
. Even when it’s their story. fixtures. you’ll have gained valuable insight into both who you are and just how many fascinating possibilities for making a living there are in the world! Remember the Changing Course Money Rule! Don’t get hung up right now on how this passion might generate income. Visitors to Susan’s house were forever complimenting her knack for transforming scavenged furniture. even total strangers – see your gifts long before you do. My friends seem to think I tell a good story. You will probably find that when it comes to seeing your gifts. or your homemade tomato sauce. look around. or creative writing. get out a piece of paper and make two columns. Take my friend Susan. If you can’t think of anything gather up your courage and ask the people who really know you. Start reading magazines outside of your typical areas of expertise or interest. others often know you better than you know yourself!
©www. or Down Beat. Label the left side. attractive home furnishings. Don’t just think of the obvious ones like good looks or humor. For now.” I hadn’t thought much about my gift for storytelling until my friends made me aware of it.ChangingCourse. Now it’s your turn. or your ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. Susan paid attention and now her passion has evolved into an enjoyable way to earn money. they’ll say. coworkers. Things I love to do. or your way of working with animals. When I finally “got it. archeologist. and fabric into creative.” I put my ability to use as a professional speaker. It could be that you are a good listener. Discovering what you love to do also requires you opening your mind to the outside world. “No. Take classes on bookbinding. or music critic is not for you. Some even asked if they could buy her handiwork. antique dealer. or your knack at solving puzzles. or your sense of style. Do the People Around You Know Something You Don’t? Yes! Oftentimes other people – friends.ChangingCourse. You’ll find out what to put on the right side soon enough. Even if what you discover is that being a bookbinder. family. you tell it.com
Finding Your Calling©
the ocean? Exploring a museum? Helping a friend work through a problem? Watching sports? Talking about sports? Playing sports? Cooking? Shopping for bargains? After you’ve looked within. If you come to one of my presentations you’ll hear me teach by using lots of stories and anecdotes. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of the kinds of things other people compliment you on. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.
Let’s say that deep down inside of you lies a pent up actor who longs to leap to the stage to thank the academy for your award? If this were true. Whom Do You Envy?
Another way to tap into your true desires is to think about whom you envy.” and “Slow is beautiful”! What most appealed to me back then was that Linda’s life and work was centered largely around the home. In many ways. In the summer she runs classes for kids in her studio. it was my envy of the simple pace of Linda’s life that first got me thinking about creating my own home-based business. They belong to a local food coop. In the spring and fall she teaches pottery classes at a local college two days a week.ChangingCourse. Once again. then feeling envious of a Tom Hanks or a Julia Roberts might actually be a clue to that long buried dream! This kind of envy can sometimes be a pretty accurate barometer of what’s missing in your own life.com 2002
Finding Your Calling©
4. she doesn’t own a computer. Be sure to note what it is about what this person has that speaks to your true desires. Linda was working from home fifteen years before it became a trend. Yet she also is very intentional about keeping both her life and her business simple. and a peaceful view from the deck of their simple but comfortable home. What I’m talking about is what I think of as healthy envy – the kind where you see something that makes you sigh with longing. I’m not talking about jealousy. Linda isn’t the least bit interested in selling her pottery over the Web. When I was making the 90-mile-a-day commute to my corporate job. Linda feels pressured by the seasonal demands for her work. At least it was for me. Get out a piece of paper and write down anyone and everyone whose work or lifestyle you envy. Ever since I've known her. the person I envied most was a friend and potter named Linda Siska. And being overly envious of people who have money. Linda lives by two mottos: “Small is beautiful. it’s your turn. how can you get more of what they have into your life?
©www. Linda and her partner of 20 years. rows and rows of raspberry bushes. have a huge vegetable garden.ChangingCourse. Linda has thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. like everyone else. raise chickens for the eggs. Waino Tueminin live in one of the rural “hill towns” as they are known here in western Massachusetts. Is it a friend who writes for a living? Someone with a glamorous or high-powered job? A family member who went back to college later in life? Someone whose work allows them to travel the world? A stay-athome Mom or Dad? A movie star? Now. Come to think of it. In fact. There are times when. or physical beauty is neither healthy nor a good use of time and energy.
or both. it comes from the interaction of fire (passion) and water (persistence) brought together in the right circumstance.
Okay. For each of the things you really enjoy doing ask yourself the question: How can I make money doing this thing that I love? Let’s say you love birds. “Money is like steam. the engine.com 2002
. create products about birds..ChangingCourse.. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
©www. I’m going to let you break the Changing Course Money Rule for just a minute to answer the question. You could make t-shirts featuring birds. on-line. You could open a bird-sitting business. As a boy VanderPluym loved to make sand castles. How could you get paid to share what you know about birds with others.com
Finding Your Calling©
5. You could write about birds.” This is where you put on your creative thinking cap. Guess what he does for a living now? He runs a company that travels the globe making elaborate sand sculptures for special events. Living proof that you may not have to grow up to work at your heart’s content after all! A good way to start your right livelihood engine is by returning to the Things I Love to Do list you created earlier.” In her book. You could design a new line of bird toys or houses. You could have a radio show about birds. You could photograph birds. or provide a service related to your passion for birds? For example: You could teach others about birds. You could organize local bird watching contests around the country. You could consult about birds. Barbara Winters tells the story of Todd VanderPluym. Phillips explains that. Why? Because. and ways I could get paid to do it. Brainstorm Ways To Make Money Doing What You Love.” Using the forward motion of a steam engine as an analogy.ChangingCourse. he believes that “money will come when you are doing the right thing. Now I want you to label the right column: “. what should you do if the career of your dreams comes with no financial guarantees? The answer says Michael Phillips in The Seven Laws of Money is simple: Do it. You could open a bird store – locally. You could create a CD of bird songs. You could paint pictures of birds. Making a Living Without a Job.
that we have more value as a person. If you’ve never given much thought to this. select every item that appeals to you. Rent the video and watch how passion plays an important role in Salvatore’s life. Sitting quietly for several minutes every day. At the top of the first sheet write. Read through the checklist and. who falls in love with the movies as a child and nurtures that love throughout life. on the second write “Love to Have”.ChangingCourse. is delightful. even the ones that seem silly. “There is an unconscious reasoning that if we allow ourselves to have pleasure. etc. frivolous. Give yourself some uninterrupted time. Bring along three or more sheets of paper and your favorite pen. “Love to Do”.. On the list you will find a number of activities.com
Finding Your Calling©
Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion
A wonderful film which demonstrates how a childhood passion can lead to adult happiness is Cinema Paradiso. a better outlook on life. Yes. that you might like to incorporate into your ideal way of making a living. and clearing the mind. Salvatore. go to a place where you can be alone and comfortable.com 2002
. Following is a checklist that encourages you to stretch your imagination a bit. qualities. Turn on your answering machine. Meditation has other benefits. relaxing the body.” Number each sheet from 1 to 100 and list every single thing you can think of that you currently love to do. Many people find meditation a useful technique for tapping into buried dreams. turn off your television. Although the main theme of this film is friendship. and a greater ability to enjoy. Add to your list every time another pleasurable idea or experience comes along. you may have a hard time coming up with 300 wonderful things on your first try. the story of the little Italian boy. have and be.ChangingCourse. on the third write “Love to Be. Write as much as you can and don’t edit out any thoughts. without thinking too much about it. an increased ability to feel pleasure will make our inner selves stronger.” writes Julius Fast in The Pleasure Book. You have higher self-esteem. or out of reach. can lead to brave new insights. such as stress reduction.” That’s a lot of benefit from a simple exercise. you automatically think more of yourself. you may find yourself checking items that seem to
©www. If you have this outlook. which can ultimately result in more clarity. How can this help? “Ultimately.
Finding Your Calling©
contradict one another. ____ Lets me work alone ____ Lets me work with a team ____ Is physical ____ Is idea-oriented ____ Allows me to work at home ____ Pays me to travel ____ Is seasonal ____ Is people-driven ____ Is product-driven ____ Allows me to use my expertise ____ Constantly teaches me new things ____ Lets me get a great suntan ____ Is portable ____ Is very part-time ____ Involves several diverse activities ____ Lets me be silly ____ Makes a difference in people’s lives ____ Comes from my personal values ____ Is personally satisfying ____ Makes me wealthy ____ Contributes to my mental health ____ Lets me work at my peak times ____ Serves a few happy clients
. That’s perfectly okay. There are no right or wrong answers to this and no scientific interpretation for the exercise. It’s another method of tapping into your reservoir of passion.
.ChangingCourse. including my own ____ Is innovative ____ Takes an existing idea and improves on it ____ Fires my creativity ____ Adds to my self-esteem ____ Gives me a sense of purpose ____ Lets me manufacture a product I’ve invented ____ Is sales-oriented ____ Lets me discover things I didn’t know I could do
©www.ChangingCourse.com ____ Serves the general population ____ Is different every day ____ Is unlike anything I’ve done so far ____ Feels like not working ____ Lets me grow personally and financially ____ Makes me famous ____ Draws on my education and skills ____ Involves my family ____ Brings new people into my life ____ Sometimes scares me ____ Seems natural for me
Finding Your Calling©
____ Lets me work hard for several months with long periods of time off ____ Surprises my friends ____ Can be done on an island ____ Can be done outdoors ____ Involves partners ____ Enriches lives.
com ____ Makes me exited to get out of bed in the morning ____ Is national in scope ____ Lets me wear a costume
Finding Your Calling©
____ Combines many talents and skills I’ve acquired in a fresh way ____ Leads to financial independence ____ Has global potential ____ Improves the environment ____ Heals others ____ Is uniquely mine
was neither a duckling nor ugly. and he wrote about it in his famous story about the ugly duckling. a college professor. The Wallenda children. many people feel like they were born into the wrong tribe. That’s why a family of singers can have a child who loves farming.” I developed some exercises to help people claim with pride their valuable differences from their tribe.” So what kind of egg were you hatched from? What kind of animal are you? In the course of working with Marnie and other “ugly ducklings. It happens all the time. These values have been instilled in us since infancy and seem secured with the unbreakable bonds of love. like a chest of buried treasures. In no other way can we discover the life that’s really right for us. Jane Fonda was lucky. cosmic or clerical. The first of these exercises is to stage a debate.
Finding Your Calling©
Family Career Clashes:
“You Want To Do What?”
Adapted from I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How To Discover What You Really Want and How To Get It Maybe the nurses in the maternity ward made a mistake. But many of us are not so lucky. just as Marnie. “Being born in a duck yard does not matter. Whatever reason. Every human being is carrying genes from unknown ancestors. maybe the stork got his delivery orders crossed. “if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg. which. Rejecting the values of your family – your tribe – is one of the most difficult things a person can do. But heredity is just as strong as environment in determining who you are. a family of judges and lawyers can have a child who is a gifted actor. But sooner or later every one of us has to find our own values.com 2002
. And as in the fairy tale.ChangingCourse. members of the famous trapeze act The Flying Wallendas.ChangingCourse. He was raised by ducks. she liked acting. you will remember. was raised by bar owners. to cover our ears and stop listening to family instructions and start listening only to ourselves. liked to fly. Hans Christian Anderson knew all about this problem. this little swan’s family thought she was a very peculiar kind of duck.” Anderson concludes.
her personal voice answered: “You’re not impressed? That doesn’t prove anything? You’re wrong! The Earthwatch scientists are world famous. what I call the “tribal voice. It came to her immediately. who you really are. and defending.” told her she would be wasting her life to walk away from her beloved school. I want you to make those debaters in your head go on record. so label this column “Personal. the “personal voice. We’re not impressed. your tribal voice cannot remain silent when provoked by a strong personal statement.” Belinda didn’t have to wait for a negative. This should not be hard. or even consider leaving your tribe.ChangingCourse. Divide a piece of paper into two columns. you’ve made one enormous change: You have sorted out your voice from your tribal voice. and should be labeled “Tribal. Here’s how to do it.com
Finding Your Calling©
Exercise 1: The Great Debate
Whenever you leave your tribe. this is a debate. If you’re like Marnie. everyone was impressed with my work. When she tried to give up academia.” You can decorate the columns with appropriate signs. and before she was even finished writing. When I went to Alaska with Earthwatch. Marnie wrote “The Battle for My Dream” on top of her paper. tribal response.com 2002
. Write it down in the personal column and wait a moment. That doesn’t prove anything!” She started to record this statement in the tribal column. Even if you didn’t win the debate. One surefire way to start an argument in your head is to make a strong positive statement about yourself and your heart’s desire. the tribal voice. and I know I’ll be good at it. Now all you have to do is start the debate. triggered her debate by writing in her personal column: “It’s a very good idea for me to be an arctic explorer because I want to do it. This awareness means you have already taken a big step toward defining. so keep those rebuttals coming – tribal and personal alternating until both columns are full. a woman in one of my workshops. Belinda.” Got the picture? Remember. In one column I want you to record assertions of the personal voice.ChangingCourse. you set off a debate in your mind between two skilled and ruthless teams of debaters. When Marnie decided to become a college professor. After you’ve completed this first exercise and you’ve given those tribal voices a good battle.” immediately began to shout her down. The debate in her head was unending. They’re impressed. the debate team that represented her family. If you’re in a tribal conflict.
©www. each of which claims to represent you. Their arguments contain important information for you and you need to get it onto paper where you can take a good look at it.” The other column is for voices of conformity. like smiling and frowning faces. they will never again have the same power over you. the team on the other side. loud and clear: “Big deal.
Had Marnie grown up in a family of scholars she would have begun leading the life of the mind while still in her crib. I’m just out of college and I’ve just announced that I want to visit the Himalayas instead of looking for a job. make them happy. The next exercise is designed to help you invent a new personal history for yourself. a high school teacher: My mother isn’t at all worried. imagine them as patient and kind. And once you’ve imagined a different past for yourself.com
Finding Your Calling©
Exercise 2: Design Your Perfect Family
You have now convinced yourself that you are not an ugly duckling after all. The problem is. Version 2: The psychological makeover. With such a childhood. Version 1: The famous family. and for you. Bill. historical or fictitious – who are completely knowledgeable in the area of your dream.com 2002
. I have a much more important purpose. you’ll change the way you feel about yourself. begin the fantasy. make them brave – and if they were critical.ChangingCourse. Whoever you choose. Maybe we could think up some kind of work that would help you pay your rent without cutting into your acting. 29. You’re at dinner. What’s the purpose of creating such a fantasy? Certainly not to make you bitter about what you didn’t have. Here’s how two people imagined such a scene: Joe. you’ll be ready for a different kind of present – and future. If they were angry. He even tries to help me figure out how to make my dream practical. you still do not know much about being a swan. You like acting? Why not choose Sarah Bernhardt and Robert DeNiro as your parents. McCauley Culkin for your little brother? You might pick filmmakers. make them supportive. And I don’t believe for a moment that you can or should replace your real history with a fantasy. 23. You present your family with your current goal and get the most delightful response possible. Because once you allow yourself a glimpse of what your family life could have been. You can’t change the past. She says. Imagine you’re all sitting outside on a summer’s day. painters or paleontologists. Marnie would have found it easy to live like a true member of her tribe. acting is it. In this version of the ideal family. in your imagination. My dad. a student in graduate school: We’re at dinner. I want you to experience the best support situation you’re capable of imagining. if they were fearful. Take some time to imagine each member of your family energetically encouraging you. “Okay. Books would have been stacked everywhere. financiers or farmers. Create a family full of people – real or imaginary. get Stephen Hawking in there. make sure they have the deepest respect for your goal. If you love physics. you are a swan who grew up in a duck pond. is interested in everything I say. but I’m going to ask you to imagine what your life could have been like if you’d had tribal support from the start. All right. Write out what your family says about your wishes. Augustine over breakfast and debated issues of epistemology at bedtime. Her family would have discussed St. He listens intently and even says he might like to go to the Himalayas sometime himself.ChangingCourse. instead of exploding. if they were sad.”
©www. I want you to walk through it and see how it makes you feel. you start with your real family and totally reverse their negative attitudes.
Like the exercise about the other ideal family this can be an emotional experience. these faces are familiar ones. people who understand the part of you that baffled your family.com 2002
. this exercise will start to heal some of the hurt your family has caused you. available people who can help you do what you’re here to do. you did not have an ideal family. You now have a sense of how ideal families can allow themselves to enjoy and encourage the personal visions of each of their members. You’ve stretched your experience to include what your family should have been.ChangingCourse. It’s time to find the people who will have no trouble accepting your dream – real. Not only that. Of course. and neither did your parents for that matter. No act of imagination can change that. But with a clearer idea of who your ideal family could be. You’ve imagined two ideal families. Imagining your own family without their fears or their resistance presents you with faces you have always loved giving you the respect you always longed for. but seeing your family as they probably wish they could be will soften your feelings toward them. Instead of giving back your self. but it has different results. and this is essential to you.
©www. Only their difficult characteristics have changed. you can go out and look for them.ChangingCourse. This is an important vision you have just had. You need to feel affection for your family or you’ll be handicapped when you strike out on your own. Unlike version one.com
Finding Your Calling©
Version two is a very different experience from version one.
“why do we create music or climb mountains?” Herein lies our true passion. It should make the world a better place. A life passion should also transcend mere personal pleasure. I love communication.com 2002
. So reflect and experiment. but my passion in life is to bring hope to people. It should do something for others. playing music. a mountain climber might desire to motivate others to reach for their dreams.com
Finding Your Calling©
Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion
What is it that keeps midlifers from premature aging and unnecessary illness? What keeps us from becoming sour.” “What activity do you do where time goes by without your even knowing it?” she asks. Similarly. or mountain climbing. sarcastic. or boss – they have no idea what really gives them pleasure.ChangingCourse. The question is. resentful. “Passion is allowing yourself to get lost in something.
The Pleasure Test
Sheehy calls it the “Time Flies Test.” What is it that gives you so much pleasure that you are oblivious to everything else? Some people will not find the question easy to answer.
©www. too. and a cyclist might love the camaraderie of friends on the road. Having spent the first half of life trying only to live up to the expectations of others – a parent. children. disparaging. fearful. If you learn the answer to this question.ChangingCourse. Sheehy quotes a 50-year-old grandmother who adds.” says author Mildred Witkin. Both writing and speaking activities I can get lost in. Probably it’s because I have always struggled with disappointment myself. and isolated? “A midlife passion. a musician might have the passion to inspire others by bringing beauty and joy into the world. But I don’t write just for me. it transcends our activities. especially those who feel most discouraged. What were the daydreams of your youth? What have you always wanted to do but were afraid to try? So what’s stopping you?
The Transcendence Test
Some authors see a midlife passion as a physical activity like bicycling. Do you have a life passion? How can you identify this all-consuming desire that midlife authority Gail Sheehy says is the source for continuing aliveness in one’s second adulthood? Following are some simple tests that will help. you can pursue your passion even if you temporarily lose the ability or opportunity for your activity. dependent. spouse. But a true passion is more than that.
What career will best allow you to follow your heart’s desire? What leisure will fuel this same fire? What location will best facilitate it? Do you have a passion in life? If you’re not sure. What career should you pursue in your second half of life? What will you do with your leisure time? Where will you live? All of these questions can be answered best in light of your passion. Identifying our midlife passion will help us make the big decisions facing us.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. pursue it with a whole heart and experience a midlife robustness unknown to your youth.
©www.” This is probably the most practically helpful aspect of our passion. take time today to begin identifying it.com
Finding Your Calling©
The Meaning Test
Author Ross Goldstein says that our midlife passion will energize and motivate us and “serve as a guiding force around which to organize our lives. Then.ChangingCourse.
But if you
©www. pride. They may have seen their pet experience joy. perhaps you are living in a dream world. no set of step-by-step instructions.com
Finding Your Calling©
Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path
Adapted from The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success At the heart of any process you can discover basic principles that are the foundation of that process.ChangingCourse. categorizing. not the past. If it is important to you to have a great career. It just runs a program. or a sense of humor. It’s not easy t• own up to being an automaton. A computer doesn’t make choices. embarrassment. Even though they may seem like philosophical abstracts to some readers. unclouded by prejudgment or analysis. Create your future from the present. We are so transfixed by the endless webs of words our minds spin that even great experts often miss simple.
Designing the perfect career is like creating a painting that expresses you fully and completely. Consider everything very carefully before including it in the final picture. We don’t even notice the most basic truth about our lives: that our lives are operated by internal software that we allow to run the show while we pretend we are making the decisions and authoring the direction of our lives. To begin to practice them. we are so busy thinking.
1. you might take a little peek at just how much free choice is actually expressed in the decisions you make. Whatever “decisions” it seems to make are no more than the automated processing of data through a set of rules built into the program. This is your opportunity to have your life be exactly the way you want it to be. Most of the time. If you think that you actively make your decisions. and comparing that we don’t pay attention to what is actually happening in and around us. Their direct insight is on target. Take your time. there is no way to learn how. and necessary as the floor beneath you.ChangingCourse. You just have to jump in and begin. they are as real. Sorry. obvious truths.com 2002
. Rather than add dabs of paint to something you painted years ago. most scientists firmly believe that animals don’t experience the more complex emotions. These seven keys unlock the door to transforming your ability to generate a new future that goes far beyond what has been previously possible. start at the beginning with a blank canvas. begin to practice them. practical. But every child with a dog or cat knows better. For example.
two cars. kids. It’s a saucer. you may have to make some compromises along the way. Most of the time. to justify.”
Imagine sitting on a rural hilltop at night. you have to face up to the fact that sometimes (or. In the sky you notice a blinking light that slowly circles overhead. Each of us has an unexamined collection of beliefs.
3. We all tend to hold on to our pet notions about life the way some people save National Geographics in the attic. Embrace “not knowing. It’s a helicopter. and the media.ChangingCourse. You are mystified.
I know it’s difficult to throw anything away. friends. That commitment is the key to creating new possibilities and extraordinary results may take you beyond the world you already know. The bottom-line question is: Are you going to design your future. and a mortgage doesn’t mean you cannot be a wandering Taoist priest. Just because you have a 2. We live by a rulebook we wrote but have never read. You will be able to choose them consciously. As you go through this process. It’s not easy to allow the light to remain a total mystery. Think about it.com
Finding Your Calling©
want to truly think for yourself. rather than assuming there is no other possibility. perhaps. opinions. It takes a commitment to make your own choices as independent as possible from all the voices of your past: your memories. Make a promise to yourself that you will determine your future as free as possible from the domination of your past. failures. automatically following this internal rule book works just fine. Just because we can think doesn’t mean we usually do it. If you are like me. We think we know what we cannot do and what it would be like to do things we have never done. they tell a story about a learned professor who hears about the wisdom of the local Zen master. it pays to rewrite a few of the rules. Just because you are a middle manager with a wife. Wouldn’t you rather be thought of as someone who knows than someone who doesn’t? In Japan. I’m hallucinating. Our nature is to explain. your mind immediately and automatically comes up with explanations about the source of the light. if any. It’s something the government isn’t telling us about. and points of view about how life works that we trust blindly and completely.0 average doesn’t mean it is impossible to become a doctor. Throw away your assumptions. you will have plenty of chances to decide what compromises you are willing to make. Just because we are the most intelligent of living creatures doesn’t mean that most of our decisions stem from exercising this marvelous gift. He becomes more and more curious until finally. successes. even more often) we don’t.com 2002
. or is your past going to keep doing it for you?
2. As they sit face to face. Yes. We like quick answers because we are uncomfortable with uncertainty. But don’t start off assuming you will have to make them. the professor explains at great length all he has
©www.ChangingCourse. but in regard to choosing one’s life’s work. he goes to visit the master. It makes no sound and offers no clues to its origin.
Finding Your Calling©
learned during his lifelong scholarly study of Buddhism. As he rattles on and on, the master begins to pour him a cup of tea. The professor is startled when the master continues to pour even after the cup is full. Tea spills over the tabletop. Still, the master continues to pour. Finally, the professor sees himself for the first time. He realizes that you can’t put any more tea in a cup that is full. If you go through this career-choice process as a beginner and remain a beginner until the end of your days, no matter how well you know yourself, your work, and your world, you will be able to keep pouring tea into your new cup of wisdom. The difference between a master and a know-it-all is that the master, in any field, brings a beginner’s mind, fresh and open to unlimited possibilities, to each new workday.
4. Since you may never discover the truth, invent it.
Most of us are very fixated on what everything around us signifies. We want to understand the “real meaning” of events, concepts, and our lives. What did it really mean when he didn’t call? What did it really mean when Napoleon put his hand in his coat? We habitually jump to conclusions and instantly assign meaning to everything. Once we know what something “really means,” we will gladly die defending our point of view. It never occurs to us that, to someone else, it could mean something entirely different. Or it might mean absolutely nothing. If something can mean completely different things to different people who may be even smarter or more experienced than you, then meaning might be flexible. That opens up the possibility that you could get creative about what various things mean to you. In any endeavor that takes you, the explorer, into new territory, it is enormously useful to keep reminding yourself that all your definitions and judgments are only one point of view. Remember that they seem to be the one and only truth because you are a human being. And almost all human beings think that our opinions and beliefs are the “real” truth. Since you will never actually see the inside of the watch, you will never know if there is any “real” truth. Even your belief that there is any such thing as “real” truth may be nothing more than your opinion, your own personal interpretation. Once you can accept that all there is, is interpretation, you are free to invent other possible points of view and go with the ones that are most useful, the ones that most powerfully support you to be all that you can be, and more. Since we have so much difficulty in allowing anything to be completely devoid of meaning, the next best strategy is to become creative in transforming what things mean to you. Instead of trying to figure out the “real” truth, you might ask, “What possible interpretation would give me a great life? Which is more fun?” Albert Einstein once said, “Physical concepts are the creation of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, determined by our external world. In our endeavor to understand reality, we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch.” If you will never know the “real” significance of anything anyway, lighten up, trust that Einstein knows what he is talking about and light up your life instead of worrying about what it all means!
Finding Your Calling©
5. Get to know the realm of possibility.
There is a big difference between “options” and “possibilities.” Everyone has options. Your options consist of a fixed set of predetermined scenarios, points of view, perceived limitations that already reside in your inner data bank. They are the different things you could do and remain in the same box you live in now. When you ask, “What are my options?” you are really asking “What are the contents of my box?” You are taking inventory of your internal stockroom. If you depend on your options to formulate your future, that future will be no more than a rearrangement of your past. Possibilities are completely different. When you ask, “What is possible?” you must stretch your imagination out of the confines of the familiar. You have to stretch your wings, get out of the box, and look around. Possibility is the great motivator. A prevailing condition of no possibility is, I believe, more directly the cause of the persistence of our inner-city social problems than is lack of opportunity. To have a life beyond the mediocre, ask not “What are my options?” but “What is possible?”
6. Learn to separate Yeahbuts from original thoughts.
For anyone who is committed to having their dreams come true, this is, by far, the one most important skill to master. The natural law that operates and controls the lives of all biological organisms is the law of homeostasis. Your body and mind contain thousands of little switches, like thermostats, that control your perceptions and actions. When you exercise, your body heats up above 98.6 degrees. That throws a switch that produces a whole range of actions designed to get you cooled back down to the temperature you are set for, 98.6 degrees. When your temperature returns to equilibrium, all the machinery working to cool you down stops. What most people do not usually realize is that the same kind of mechanism makes their decisions for them. Your “comfort zone” is the range of thoughts and actions you can get away with without triggering one of these mechanisms. The internal survival machinery compares what you are doing or thinking of doing with its database of what you have done before. It assumes that whatever you have done, day after day is “safe.” Anything outside the comfort zone is perceived as a threat to your survival. It can’t distinguish real dangers from personal growth. When you seek to increase the quality of your life in ways that require you to step out of the safety zone farther than you usually do, these systems react with everything they have to return you to good old familiar equilibrium. They use as their tool a special category of thoughts: Yeahbuts, which are thoughts brought to your consciousness by internal survival mechanisms. For example, when you could think, “If I become a doctor, I know I’ll be happy,” it is automatically followed by Yeahbuts such as, “Yeahbut, I’ll carry a huge amount of student loan debt.” Their design is to return you to equilibrium as fast as possible. Their power comes from the fact that
Finding Your Calling©
they are so convincing. They speak with your voice. They have many years of practice in finding the weakest links in your resolve and exploiting the places where you are most vulnerable. When you learn to distinguish Yeahbuts from other thoughts, they lose their power over you. You recognize that what your Yeahbuts consider to be dangerous, and react to so strongly, is actually a great opportunity to step into some new shoes.
7. Dance on the edge of the sword.
One needs to master two completely different realms in order to live fully. On the one hand, you must learn to live in the realm of possibility and invention, or your life will be nothing more than a clock works of gears turning predictably and automatically. On the other hand, having your feet firmly planted on terra firma is the bottom line of actualizing your dreams. If you live mainly in the realm of possibility, you will become a dreamer who does not get much accomplished. Dancing on the edge of the sword is the art of living in both realms at once, perfectly balanced between them. When you lean too far to one side, get your balance back as soon as possible. With practice you will find that you can be present to both at the same moment. Which side do you usually live on?
start with Part A. If you can. and give yourself the gift of designing the world’s most perfect job. or “right hand” helper – or competitor. designing or building or ice-skating or saving somebody? Would you be singing bass in Boris Godunov.
Part A: The Job from Heaven
Let your imagination run free. and makes documentary films on winter vacation. it has to have tasks in it. business partner. Don’t limit yourself with reality or practicality. Remember this is a job. where.com 2002
. and so little of that time seems
©www. That is. and some kind of remuneration. because this is Fantasy Time. Go to that secret comer of your brain where you are a femme-fatale star-quarterback mom. hours to keep. coworker. So much of our time is spent at work. employee. Remember to include those important categories: what. funniest. And don’t forget to say who would be with you. making sure your fabrics are being woven to perfection? Where would you be doing this job? Describe the environment – Would you prefer a cozy cottage with a roaring fireplace. You can decide that you want to be a cowhand during the week. or the rain-forest-saving gardener of the planet. most cooperative teammates imaginable to work with you on a project? This exercise usually causes an explosion of enthusiasm when I assign it in my workshops. It doesn’t matter which part you do first. or a huge Kentucky farm where you’re breeding Arabian horses? You’ve had enough jobs that didn’t satisfy or please you. you can run wild. smartest. your own activities. for that matter. from my book. so you need to imagine all the people you’d love to be working with – your boss. midtown Manhattan. and with whom? What would you be doing all day? Would you be shouting through a bullhorn on a movie set.ChangingCourse. Would you like to have a team of assistants who carry out every wish perfectly and pick up after you without a complaint? Or a genius coach or mentor who wouldn’t let you rest until you’d given your very best? Or the best. Now let yourself go. I Could Do Anything If Only Knew What It Was. not a life.ChangingCourse. or giving a speech to thousands of cheering people? Would you have a clipboard and be walking around your own factory.com
Finding Your Calling©
How to Create the Ideal Job
This is a two-part exercise. The only limitation is this: It must be a job. who gets picked up each weekend by a helicopter and taken to a luxurious spa. After that. and your most desirable environment. Antarctica. Create your own hours. hiking or bargaining.
Finding Your Calling©
gratifying. “I’m the baby-sitter for an incredibly rich. you might want to try this exercise for fun. in detail.)
Part B: Creating a Negative Picture: The Job from Hell
Don’t ask me why. an ex-ballplayer said. I’d do it!” “You don’t understand. I’ve seen people make awful faces.com 2002
. whose Job from Heaven is to be a mail carrier.ChangingCourse. Most groups I work with spill over with “Thank God It’s Friday”-type relief when they get to do this exercise.” Chris a stagehand told me. Here’s what came up in a group I recently ran: Louisa. forty-four. If you had trouble doing the Job from Heaven. you probably will do just fine describing the Job from Hell. spoiled. and with whom. There’s a horrible kind of glee that comes with doing this exercise. (I hate clothes shopping.”
©www. That’s my whole problem!” Do Bill and Chris seem to speak for you? Then do the other part of the exercise: “The Job from Hell” (I haven’t met the person who couldn’t do this one. and game shows. I have to live in the maid’s room of her high-rise apartment in the middle of a big city. a lawyer for a corporation: “I want cameras and a first-rate crew and lots of money at my beck and call. while they wrote about every conceivable dreadful aspect of their personal Job from Hell – but I couldn’t get them to stop! They always wanted to write down just one more horrifying detail. where you spur each other on and get reminded of horrible details you may have left out. and I’m never allowed to read. but everyone knows what he or she doesn't want. “I never get that enthusiastic about anything. where you’d be doing it. If the devil himself took the time to design a job for you that was guaranteed to make you miserable. I have to do all the food and clothes shopping. Put in everything you hate about every job you ever had or can imagine. If I could.) The building staff is ice-cold and refuses to talk to me. I have to sit and watch soap operas all day. Adrienne. I always get a kick out of their responses and I think you will too.ChangingCourse. I have to wear a chartreuse uniform with hideous glass and gold buttons. Incidentally. said. “I can’t think of a great job.” Bill. even if you did the Job from Heaven very easily. and I’d document everything up and down the entire length of the Amazon River – and then move up to the highlands of Peru!” What about your job from heaven? Was it fun to invent it? Or were you unable to do it at all? “You’ve got the wrong guy. squinting and grimacing. what kind of job would that be? Remember to include what kind of activity you’d be doing. I have no time to myself because she calls me at any time of the day or night. I like to do this exercise in a group. angry movie star.
like Louisa. and write down the exact reverse of it on a blank piece of paper. negatively creative.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. I’d have to do exactly what I’m doing. “I have my Job from Hell. this last exercise showed off your ability to be wildly. Oh. I have to work with figures. like Louisa. Lots of reports. said. and she only eats frozen dinners. If you said that you’re commuting. one week at a time so I can’t really go anywhere. was about to speak. And I have to eat with her. and she could fire me at any time. change it to “I work out of my own home.” Elliot said. I commute for four hours a day in traffic. Exactly. with no notice. That’s the Job from Hell. And her microwave doesn’t work so they’re always cold in the middle. do budgets.” Get the idea? Then pick up your pencil. a banker. I really love negativity. There are no windows. considerate. “Oh. I’d have to give speeches with slides about investment opportunities. It’s funny and it’s useful: being negative is often the best way to sneak around a stubborn strain of resistance that’s blocking your imagination. I have to listen to him and smile! I’m on a big floor with a hundred desks and a hundred people typing and talking on the phone and we’re not allowed to talk to each other.
Exercise: Job Rewrite. the environment. Now you’ll be able to relax and use your energies elsewhere. Let me show you how: Take every detail of your Job from Hell – the hours. and especially the feelings you’re having – and reverse them exactly. that in your Job from Hell you’re working for a spoiled celebrity.
Flipping the Negative
If you were one of those people who couldn’t imagine a Job from Heaven.
©www. Every day forever and ever. Find their exact opposites. when she started again. “I work nine to five every day and get two weeks for vacation. even the weather. an attack of negativity is very good for you any time you’re under pressure. the activities. change her to a wise.com
Finding Your Calling©
She stopped and Elliott.ChangingCourse. It allows the side of you that is secretly. an MBA currently driving a taxi. My boss is the owner’s son and he’s younger than I am and stupid and a real punk. If you hate living in a high-rise apartment in the middle of a city. If you said. For one thing.” Juan. stubbornly refusing to cooperate with “pie in the sky” dreaming to have a small tantrum. the attitudes of coworkers. which will show you exactly how to design a heavenly one! This nightmare job will be the map that guides you straight to your deepest wishes and needs – those wishes and needs you thought you couldn’t remember. Now you have invented a perfect nightmare of a job. And I have somewhere specific I want you to use them. And write reports. or One Negative Makes a Positive
Take your Job from Hell. I can’t stand this. obscure philosopher.” What’s the purpose of all this silliness? It has a very important purpose.
You’ve exposed what is most important to you.” or whatever the opposite is to you. by drawing up the negative and then printing it.ChangingCourse. write. like a photograph. put yourself in the middle of London or Paris and go dancing or eat great food.com 2002
.” If your Job from Hell has you isolated in a desert trailer court. you’ve created a picture that proves you know more about what you want than you ever realized.ChangingCourse. you now have a picture of a dream job. figure out what would be a wonderful contrast. to see its opposite! There it is. Would it be designing clothes? Writing about Costa Rica? Producing plays? Helping people? Just figure out the reverse of everything you said – and watch the outlines of a Job from Heaven emerge! You see.
©www. “I work only six months a year. If you’re like Elliot and to you Hell equals no time off. you’ve done much more than let off a little steam. Regardless of whether you started with a positive image or a negative one.com
Finding Your Calling©
write. If you hate typing and filing. “I live in a wonderful cottage in the countryside.
” I was once again reminded of this distinction on a recent trip to Washington. D. to local baseball trivia – all the while polishing my shoes with a single-minded determination and keen attention to detail. It’s this spiritual component that makes right livelihood a sort of occupational “coming home. personal level. I thought. a beaming Grace presented her handiwork to me with the pride of a true artisan. Besides. Grace easily drew me into a spirited dialogue on everything from the Internet. she proceeded to breath new life into the dull. With time to spare. As I made my way to the cabstand.” before proceeding to launch into a litany of complaints. When she was done. worn leather. I decided to treat myself to a professional shine. right livelihood is present when one’s work brings genuine satisfaction. Half kidding.C. whose I. As I made my way through the airport I noticed a woman whistling gaily as she polished the brass railing running alongside her shoeshine stand. the lousy potholes and.com 2002
. to film. And that was in just the first five miles!
©www. Max grumbled something about the air conditioning being “on the fritz. In other words. what matters to them. Little did I know I was having my shoes shined by an engaging conversationalist named Grace. When people find their right livelihood. this will give me a chance to think of a good right livelihood example for my speech.D. and speaks to them on a deep. and the cab driver. It was an unusually hot April day. I asked Grace if she saw any hope for my travel weary briefcase. to international politics. tag said was named Max. where I was to address a group of career development professionals on the topic of career satisfaction. of course.ChangingCourse. was perspiring profusely.com
Finding Your Calling©
Finding Right Livelihood: A Lesson in Contrasts
There is more to working at one’s “right livelihood” than merely having a “good” (read high-paying) job. but also acknowledges who the person is. I heard about the lousy D. With what can only be described as zeal. they often experience a spiritual connection to their work. drivers. A person arrives at right livelihood by finding a means of financial support that not only recognizes the value and importance of making money.ChangingCourse. I couldn’t help but smile at the gods for delivering the perfect right livelihood story – literally at my feet. the lousy mechanics out to make a fast buck. the lousy weather.C.
rewarding work. finding our own right livelihood requires us to suspend our assumptions about “good work” and “bad work.com 2002
.ChangingCourse. worse. I explained.ChangingCourse. Arriving at the conference center just moments before my scheduled speech.
Finding Your Calling©
As we got closer to the city.” Instead we must focus on the kinds of activities that satisfy and enliven our spirit. the man had a job that left him utterly depleted. Her enthusiasm and pride had transformed a job that most people would consider mere toil into enjoyable. Max. on the other hand. Max wiped his brow and apologized sheepishly. was not merely in an unsatisfying job calling for skills and temperament he obviously did not possess. “Lousy sense of direction. Grace. A perfect illustration of “wrong livelihood” in action. While neither shining shoes nor driving a cab are high paying or high powered. This was no gouge-the-unwitting-out-of-towner scam.” Max tossed back by way of explanation. Max was the first cabbie I’d ever seen consult a street map. Staying attuned to what you like to do and what you are good at is the first step to finding your own right livelihood. I realized we were driving by the same landmarks we’d passed earlier. seemed to derive genuine pleasure from making old things new again while conversing with travelers from all over the world. This guy couldn’t have found his way to the Washington Monument! The contrasts between Grace and Max made a perfect introduction to my presentation.
We can shake our limbs and remove or rearrange our burdens. Turn the notebook sideways and draw a horizontal line across the page. like the added weight of the ice. And.com
Finding Your Calling©
Wellness Begins Within: Living the Theory
One day last winter I found myself housebound by an ice storm. The icy rain might have come and gone with little notice. and our careers. mark a notch for when you were born. sudden and unexpected pressure.ChangingCourse. giving little attention to assessing and nurturing our own roots.com 2002
. and the impact of their collapse reverberated throughout the area. And so it becomes clear that caring for the wellness of our souls is at the heart of caring for our bodies. throws our lives out of balance without warning. But it didn’t. That’s because. our own foundation becomes dangerously weakened. This is your Success Timeline. What can we do that trees cannot? We can pause occasionally to assess our foundations and make adjustments. each unattended dream gradually. we can ask ourselves a few all-important questions. such as a job loss. Or. our families. Surveying the iceencased world outside my window gave me unexpected time to reflect and to observe an important life lesson. Many of us rush through life. our own souls. Create a peaceful atmosphere in whatever way feels right for you. that we missed the chance to grow to our full and glorious height. Bring along a notebook or a journal and a pen that you like. thousands of trees buckled under the weight of this sparkling ice. We risk reaching the end of our lives only to realize that our growth has been stunted by this undernourished core.ChangingCourse. We can look up to check the direction in which we are growing. each new compromise. Here is one simple way you can start this process for yourself: Set aside some quiet time. Add notches for each of the times in your life when you felt happy and
©www. like: What is my purpose here? What is my passion in life? How can I do the things I feel are important? Without pausing occasionally to shore up our core by reflecting on these questions. with weakness at their core and branches under-supported. Despite an outer image of strength and beauty. imperceptibly brings us closer to the breaking point. At the far left.
these things could not be packaged together into one job. When you’ve written as many as you can remember. interviewing people in the field of life and career counseling. this theory of wellness was put to the test in my own life. on one of my sunset strolls on the beach. Career counselor Carol Landry and I joined forces in 1996 to work toward this vision. where my daughter was attending college. I began to retreat regularly in small ways. usually walking on the beach considering my passions and my strengths.ChangingCourse. Look for consistencies and similarities. Surely. I had not only made the transition to a new career – I excelled in this new role. dig deep.com
Finding Your Calling©
successful. positive guidance and encouragement. take a mental step back from the page. the Soularium was born!
©www. I was in my element. This would be my passion. As happens with many people. I wanted to see the bigger picture in life. It grew over the years to include working with corporations. This was my mission. then a successful marketing executive with Coca Cola. From here. I was a retail manager in Florida for a multi-billiondollar corporation. It was. A place enabling people to make sensible. your foundation. I kept researching and jotting down ideas. government and military agencies and thousands of individuals hoping to make changes in their lives. and I wanted a more cosmopolitan setting. Pause regularly to nurture your core. About this time my daughter Michelle. Our efforts intensified and took form in early 1997. your soul..com 2002
. informed decisions as well as manageable plans to achieve their dreams. Are you helping others in each success? Is there a pattern of showcasing your artistic abilities? These are clues to those allimportant questions about passion and purpose. I wanted to use my training skills and keen perception. Wellness begins within. How about when you pulled the newsletter together with no budget. I was packing up my things and heading off to Washington. the wishful thinking crystallized. I wanted to help people more directly and more regularly. at last. or the time you taught your child to read? Think carefully. In what now seems like a previous life. A place that would provide an atmosphere of quiet. And so I began my own life transition. And before long. the rumblings of my discontent grew louder and louder over time. taking classes. During these years I never forgot that vision on the beach. My new career was launched with a part-time contract facilitating government Transition Assistance workshops. I thought.ChangingCourse. I thought. It would be a center.C. Never doubt that you have it in you to grow to a glorious height!
Teacher as Student
Some years ago. D. a place where men and women would come to explore their lives’ potentials and possibilities. networking like mad. one lifestyle. just wishful thinking. decided to join us. it seemed. But then.
inspiration and sanctuary to empower people to realize their souls’ full potential.ChangingCourse. I am happy to report. Looking back. The Washington. I can see a pattern of small.com
Finding Your Calling©
The name came to us in a flash of inspiration. by continuing to practice the theory that wellness truly does begin within. a lavish yet cozy Victorian house with a walled garden offering a sanctuary from city life. While the actual center I pictured that day on the beach is still in the imagining stage.ChangingCourse. so am I. D. and. And. Just as a solarium provides a nourishing. The Soularium provides a “possibility planning environment” including guidance.C. fertile environment for plants. we are able to provide wonderful temporary retreats.
©www. I can see that my vision is evolving in the right direction.com 2002
. manageable steps leading toward my vision. sessions meet at The Mansion on O Street. Participants in the weekend workshops are transported to a simpler era at a lovely historic country estate in nearby Maryland.
job disenchantment. is writing original pop rock music for. though.” Steve dubbed this new genre of music “baby-boomer rock. and all the other trials and tribulations of the baby boom generation. when he wasn’t performing with The Houndz. But still.” and for the next two years he wrote songs at “a furious pace. it was as if a light turned on. on the air. performs a combination of original music and covers. the question remained: how could this passion be turned into a livelihood? The answer came a few months later while attending a seminar on how to break into the music business at the House of Blues Club in nearby Chicago – a seminar he learned about from one of the many industry publications he keeps in his briefcase.com 2002
. Steve’s band. Despite the late nights and the occasional drunk who insists on singing American Pie – a capella – Steve says performing is “a blast. you would never know he leads a double life.” What he loves even more. Nights and weekends. mid-life dreams. that’s the point. he and the four other “40 plus” members of the band have played in dives and at dinner-dances. you’ll find Steve either on stage. What the mostly young. illuminating something I’d known deep down all along. Steve learned that of all the demos and press kits
©www. The Houndz. Today.ChangingCourse. 35-to50 year olds. Five days a week for the past 18 years. he says. Not exactly the stuff my teenager step children listen to – but then. Among other things.” Even after finally tuning into his heart’s desire. That’s because Steve is pursuing a childhood dream of being a songwriter and member of a rock ‘n roll band. and very eager audience wanted to hear from the panel of record industry executives and attorneys was how to get “signed” by a record label. “When I read these words. and in backyards. Steve was absorbing everything he could about the music industry. this 44-year-old has donned a suit and tie and headed off to his job as an operations manager in the staid world of insurance. Over the last few years. Although “all the signs were there.” And. Steve says it took another two years to act on this dream.” Steve says he didn’t recognize this interest in writing and performing music as his true work/life passion until reading Gail Sheehy’s book New Passages. though. “My songs are about second loves.ChangingCourse. hip. in a recording studio or. the panelists gave the audience a powerful dose of reality. about. Sheehy says you know you’ve uncovered your passion if it is something that stands the test of time or which causes you to lose all track of time – or both. he never looked back. and dedicated to a very specific audience.com
Finding Your Calling©
You Say You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star? Why Not!
If you saw Steve Wyrostek at the office. on boats. But once he took that first step. Instead of contract offers. though.
Songs like Natural Born Renegade. discouraged and feeling. The Businessman.” A bolt.” This year.. he says. you have a good product and a decent fan base – and your band hasn’t crumbled – maybe. Making it in this business. he interviews guest experts on a variety of topics of interest to baby boomers.” Then there was the day Steve arrived home from a long business trip tired. paying for – your own CD. When I needed a fresh view.3). and establishing a reputation as accomplished players who are willing to work like dogs. It was a newspaper reporter seeking an interview – the first of four he would give over the next two months. Only one small detail remained: where and how to find the resources necessary to make a serious run at his dream? The first thing Steve did was to stop thinking of resources in purely financial terms. If.” To help get the word out in the greater Chicago area. just maybe.
Where There’s a Will. the phone rang. the resources will be there. I’m happy to be living a thirty-year-old dream. takes: performing regularly. Interspersed with cuts from 2nd Adulthood.” he says. “It was one of many reminders. When The Houndz got our first bad review. Here’s what a reviewer for In the Mix magazine had to say about the CD: “The Houndz fall somewhere between Steely Dan and Jackson Browne with some Frank Zappa humor thrown in. “I came to realize that resources are about more than just money.” host of his own hour-long radio program: The Mid-Life Crisis Show airing on WJKL (94. Steve remains confident that all his hard work and determination will pay off. my brother came on board as a partner. pull out all the stops to get the word out about baby-boomer rock. after all of this. maintaining your own mailing list. they said.” Steve says.com 2002
..8% get tossed. that filled his dream with fire. promoting the heck out of it. Boomer Music & Records. making – meaning. and I Am a Warrior are camp views of boomer life. building a loyal following. though. and humor cuts in at every corner with style and grace.” As he walked in the door. the industry bigwigs will talk to you. it suddenly hit him: if I have to do all that. Steve’s company. The lucky few that do get signed can look forward to their CD joining a glut of others on the market.. To have rekindled and then actually pursued this passion is itself tremendously satisfying. make his own CD.”
©www. produced The Houndz debut CD 2nd Adulthood. Steve recently debuted as “Steve Mayfield. what would I need them for? In that instant he decided to form his own record company. 26. “that if I just stay true to my dream.. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy. “If this part-time passion becomes my full-time job – great. and then. “In the meantime. but I’d been hit by a bolt of determination. “like a fool for even attempting such an ambitious venture.com
Finding Your Calling©
record companies receive.ChangingCourse. my wife lifted me out of my self-pitying funk with just the right words.
As Steve sat listening to these experts.ChangingCourse.000 releases in 1996 alone. 99.
PO Box 1933.ChangingCourse.
©www. The Houndz debut CD.com 2002
. In addition.net.houndz.com
Finding Your Calling©
George Elliot once wrote. The Promise should have been history. Nothing out of the ordinary about that.
Want to jump start your own music career? How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording by Diane Sward Rapaport ($39. IL 60017. The 5th edition has been updated to address what the Internet revolution means to you. To sample the CD. 2nd Adulthood. had only begun taking piano lessons six years prior to the break up of her marriage. at the most devastating period of her life. And now. You can listen to and read more about ‘The Promise’ at www. The Promise has been taken to every continent with the exception of Antarctica. To order.ChangingCourse. Lorraine has successfully placed 13. She. forgotten and buried. without the benefit of commercial advertisement or the backing of a major label. Des Plaines.com. these are words to live by.000 copies of her music in over 450 accounts throughout the US and Canada. call (877) 298-9953 or write to Dreamworthy Productions. independent recording label for promoting and marketing one or many titles.
Another Success Story
After listening to the album The Promise most people would be flabbergasted to learn that Lorraine Doan was an ordinary homemaker. is available for $13. along with her children.thepromise.” To Steve Wyrostek. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been. she started to compose music. visit www.99. Since August of 1998. but produce an album and sell it? Without any previous business experience or computer skills or knowledge of the music industry? Not even a financial backer? Most professional business experts would have predicted a doomsday failure. and how to use the Internet’s unprecedented power to market and promote your own music. raising two teenagers when her marriage of 23 years came to a sudden and unexpected end. or to order online.95) gives you step-by-step instructions on how to set up a small. This former elementary education teacher and homemaker demonstrates that personal and financial upheaval can be transformed into something of value and beauty.
which enables me to pay the bills. So we decided to change the name to Heavily Medicated Faerie Tales. led to a great deal of resentment. in turn. the group transformed itself so that our comedy became more “absurd” driven. I was getting more and more obsessed with material things and feeling increasingly trapped by the proverbial “golden handcuffs.ChangingCourse. After completing several off-the-wall shorts and receiving some notoriety.com. Soon we were doing shows in New York City as well.” Since I was responsible for my own production levels. or shut up. I didn’t want to be 75 years-old and saying. one to Chicago. As I started to focus on my real dream. I can’t say I hated my job. A friend of mine was opening a job posting and resume service called BostonSearch.com
Finding Your Calling©
Taking the Leap
For 13 years I worked in the financial district of Boston as a “headhunter” for a large financial institution. “I wish I had taken more chances when I was younger. making money seemed to be my main purpose in life. Back then. my cast started to disperse. I had been involved with the arts from early on but still somehow believed I wasn’t “successful” unless I was earning six figures. Some moving to Los Angeles. I was contacted by a woman who needed assistance in raising money for a feature film being produced out of Hollywood. I now work 20 hours a week for him as a consultant.” That’s when I decided to leave the financial institution to write a screenplay for a feature length film. I started a sketch comedy show in the Boston area called “The Act. things started to happen almost immediately. The time had finally come to either put up. I discussed with him my ultimate goal and he was extremely understanding.” We traveled with an R & B band. Along the way. but I found myself blaming my inability to make a living in the arts on my employers which. He had worked with me when I was a headhunter and knew I could handle the resume research part of the business.com 2002
. ABC came to see us at the Duplex in the Village for a television pilot and Saturday Night Live scouted us as well. As long as I was billing each month my boss was happy. It was hard to work the full-time jobs and keep the show on the path it deserved and so. I felt it was time to really get serious. the headhunting allowed me to work on my artistic endeavors on the side.ChangingCourse. were regulars at Cambridge’s Catch a Rising Star and played other clubs and local colleges in Massachusetts. The comedy scene in Boston started to fall off and some core members of the group and myself started to write and produce short films. Ten years ago. I spent years bitching about other friends who had moved into writing and acting careers. She thought my background in the financial world
We’re in the process of raising capital and hope to go into pre-production within the next few months. I had to believe I wasn’t going it alone. For me. I need to walk through the fears on a daily basis. but at least I’m getting a chance to play. Know what you want and then figure out how to get it. The nice thing is.com 2002
. and prayer for guidance and strength to reach my dreams will give me a life second to none. I ended up connecting with a venture capital firm whom I then hooked up with the Los Angeles Production Company. project.ChangingCourse. I had to change several old behaviors that had been holding me back. My advice to other people looking to live their dream is this: Realize that working toward your dream is the real success. I guess what I am saying is that you are not alone. I have not fully reached my goals. Now. If we don’t appreciate the ride. As I started to work with her and the Production Company out of Los Angeles. because that’s all we really have. The production firm was happy with my work and continued to send me scripts to read for potential other investors. the destination will be meaningless. I had to learn to live one day at a time. Give your life over to a “higher power. I had to decide on what I wanted my life to be. I have a great deal of work ahead of me but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. This gave me experience I’d need to construct my own screenplay. all this exploration led me to another. And. the energy of the universe. I have had so many things happen once I decided to get honest with myself. Last November. Even though my original screenplay deal fell apart. an issue of National Lampoon magazine hit the stands with my name as the Associate Editor. Self-examination. I’ve chosen that bumpy ride. the solution was to create a new strategy by flip-
©www. more lucrative.ChangingCourse. They recently signed a four-picture deal for which I will receive a finder’s fee as well as an Associate Producer credit. It is a very scary thing to take that leap. I realize that this is going to be a bumpy ride at times.com
Finding Your Calling©
would be helpful in identifying prospective investors. The mystery of life is what makes it all so interesting. My writing partner and I recently finished our script and have been approached by a local film producer. My faith in my Higher Power was instrumental in my being able to do this. meditation on my day. You must live in the moment in order to make the move.” That could be God. but it worked for me. We were also asked to write a pilot for television which will be produced in Toronto and are now waiting to hear about another series being done out of New York. I have to remind myself of this every day. I had worked in a job that was paying the bills full-time and doing what I really liked. or your family and friends. part-time. First off. I have truly come to believe that there’s no such thing as coincidences. If you worry too much about the future then you won’t be able to see the opportunities that are in front of you. this may not work for everyone. I was inundated with information regarding the film industry.
.” The key is to believe that you deserve to have happiness in your life. Like me.ChangingCourse. you’ll probably need to have some type of income coming in while you are pursuing your dream.” I decided to instead put my energy into moving full steam ahead on what really mattered.
©www. but what really made the difference was being able to turn my career into a consulting gig.com
Finding Your Calling©
flopping the two. Instead of working full time trying to “keep up with the Jones’s. I did save some money in the beginning. Everyone has his or her own version of “getting by.ChangingCourse.
Each new morning brings both a child-like anticipation of what the day will hold – in season and not – and allows us a visceral crispness of spirit previously unknown. took two years of hard planning preceded by four years of aimless wandering in a 22-foot. which we assumed in 1994. Then in 1988. I left my fast track job to start my own company.” the seasonal. “Here.” as near as I can tell. From our present perspective. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches “There” for my wife Cynthia and me was corporate jail – high pressure jobs. is also a state of mind. A mistake changed our lives. At the time. which include writing. though. The position is fulfilling and rewarding because we have the autonomy to manage this million-dollar business and its 25-staff members as if it were our own. We live free of charge on the sea in a neighborhood of million-dollar homes left vacant by owners too busy to enjoy them and we have five months of the year to pursue our own unique interests. He absconded with it and I went broke – financially and emotionally. silversmithing. 20-year-old motor home. possessions and status – had locked us in careers as surely as any jail keeper would have locked us in a cell.ChangingCourse. performed after miserable commutes to our high-rise offices to work at high-paying jobs that led us nowhere near fulfillment. We were corporate burnout zombies. A former ad agency VP.ChangingCourse. lapidary and rock sculpture. Cynthia and I now know this financial disaster couldn’t have occurred at a more opportune time. The journey to our present position. Cape Cod oceanfront resort we manage together. Our lifestyle – the avid pursuit of money. so preoccupied with our rote existence we simply didn’t realize it.com 2002
. within a month of that shameful day in 1988 – shameful because of my selfpitying behavior. in fact. But we never lost
©www. I foolishly loaned a client-relative a great deal of my net worth. After several months of useless self-pity. At 39 I was running two successful ventures employing 17 people and poised to enter the so-called millionaires club. not because of mere possessions lost – Cynthia and I set out on a course that would eventually take us “here.com
Finding Your Calling©
From There To Here:
How We Escaped Corporate America
Adapted from There To Here. we realized a tremendous opportunity had presented itself. But. no one could have convinced us Armageddon hadn’t arrived as we were evicted from our 13-room house and forced to move to a three-room shack.
the dream we shared – perhaps the most important ingredient of all.000 feet high in the Smokey Mountains in a blizzard. Within six months. Between all the jobs I was making decent money. with but $20 to our name – the very nadir of our existence together.ChangingCourse. We owned two cars and lived in a beautiful condominium in a Boston suburb – once again the picture of middle-class success. “Jim. The roads we traveled in reaching this point were as varied and rich as they were filled with blockades and dead-ends. We left all of this three years ago. reasoned. waited tables and otherwise “moonlighted” in between running my own commercial cleaning business. worked evenings caring for a municipal golf course. I had no job to go to. I made sandwiches in a delicatessen. but we survived and. served to open doors to hotel jobs for both of us in the Smokies. in the spring of 1992 we moved to Ireland. we found ourselves 4. though. earning enough money to survive. Why are we doing it again?” Her objections and questions shook me back to reality and on Monday morning I walked into the office and quit on the spot. and were once again working jobs that paid us well enough to live comfortably. her homeland and the place where all her relatives still lived. The money soon flowed in. A letter I carried from my mentor and friend. the perspective we wanted.com 2002
. The Times of London and The Boston Globe. among others. I had left the rat race for good and proved to myself once again that financial survival can be a very simple
©www. Cynthia became pregnant and wanted our child born in Ireland. We immediately washed windows and cleaned restaurants in exchange for food.com
Finding Your Calling©
sight of the freedom we sought. not ostentatiously. but after a year decided we wanted more from life and so returned to the opportunities the United States provides. in a place most people paid thousands of dollars simply to visit. On a Friday night in October 1993. to realize the successful trappings had a flip side – an ugly specter. we once again shared a life. We enjoyed Ireland’s laid-back lifestyle. planned and made lists. I took a position selling insurance in Massachusetts and did so well that within two months was promoted to district manager. Only 70 miles from Boston and the office buildings that once confined us. While overseas I carried foreign press credentials from The Boston Herald and wrote freelance for. Cynthia was growing tired of my constant absence and the late nights I worked when I was home. We did what we’ve always done in dire circumstances and in clover alike – we talked. Mexico and Canada. Don Forst. had purchased a small house trailer in Florida’s Everglades Gulf Coast. we now enjoy a lifestyle that might as well be worlds away from our previous expectations and shattered dreams. we had money in the bank. having fun and spending a good deal more time with my family. she told me of her unhappiness. more importantly. today editor of The Village Voice.ChangingCourse. we’re right back into it again. So after traveling and working our way through 42 states. Only four months from Massachusetts. We had been independent long enough.
“Oh. seasonal place we can manage together?” she asked me one Sunday morning in January 1994. sending brochures and returning calls left queued for months on the resort’s answering machine. “Why not look for a small. In fact. immediately!” His frustration is not unique. really. but not as General Manager of a four-star property as she had once been. I can’t help but think back to a conversation I had with a customer while waiting tables three years earlier. Who needed a title? Who needed to wear a jacket and tie? Who needed to manage? Not me.
©www. “I earn $800.” As God is my witness. Alice asked Cheshire Cat which road she should take. hard work too. best of all. There we saw our present job staring us in the face. would love to do what we’ve done. “Where do you want to go?” he asked in return. By that I mean you must know in the deepest recesses of your being that change is required. too. The customer.” he declared. any old place. If you want to get to any old place. then do what Cynthia and I did initially and set out without a plan. Quite simply.com 2002
.ChangingCourse. we immediately set about marketing the resort. My research shows that 65% of 25-to 49-year-olds in this country earning more than $40. our guests tell us all the time that they.ChangingCourse. Our response is always the same. How did you come to wait on tables?” I gave him a brief version of our story. You already know marketing and advertising from your agency days. Cynthia was the catalyst for our next adventure. a neurosurgeon.” she responded. Last. have a house most people dream about. “You seem educated and professional. that goes into managing an upscale resort property. You must have a clear picture of it in your mind. you must plan your path to get there. that same morning we drove to Cape Cod. You know the cleaning business and you know how to manage people.000 a year. First. Exciting and romantic as it may sound. but I’m so busy making money to pay for it that I don’t have time to live in it. yes. said to me. “You know horticulture from the golf course job. No longer. A few weeks later we moved into our two-bedroom quarters 40 yards from the beach and where we enjoy all the fun. “right now. you could wind up as we did – stranded on the proverbial mountaintop. While in Wonderland. excitement and. I take great joy in my wife and son. I would gladly trade places with you. She wanted to get back into the hotel business.” “How?” you ask.000 would like to quit their jobs and “do something else” just as Cynthia and I did. “And. you must get your mind straight. “Then any old road will do. had an interview the next Friday and assumed the job the following Monday morning! Working initially out of our condo back in Boston. bought a Cape Cod Times and perused the “help wanted” ads over sandwiches. I can teach you hotel reservations “ she said. “we can work together. Next. He responded without hesitation.” the cat answered wisely. “Then do it.” she added. The price to be paid for such things was far too high. We called the number listed.com
Finding Your Calling©
matter once ego is placed aside. but have to travel out of state to see them. you must envision your new lifestyle – any way you wish it to be.
Say. “Just do it!” All the best of luck. like the Nike commercial says. Then create another list of what you really want to do. you want to carve wooden ducks. Use your common sense.com 2002
. take stock of your professional and personal strengths and weaknesses and put them to paper.ChangingCourse. for example. you’ll need to supplement your wood duck income. Cynthia and I assure you. the effort you make to reach whatever goal you set for yourself will be well worth it!
Finding Your Calling©
First.ChangingCourse. And. If the numbers don’t pan out. Dream the dream. Determine next whether you can earn enough money carving wooden ducks to survive. Consider what kind of part-time job you might enjoy or how you might use your professional expertise to earn money working at home.
or buy an RV and become a full-time traveler? Sweet dreams. sell everything and take your Harley on the road. Tony’s assignment was to take the products of the previous evening’s sweat. how does one ever know? The client wondered why Tony thought an egg would help sell conveyors. thought provoking. Later. meanwhile Tony ought to think about bathing suits. often nutso world.ChangingCourse. This is the first time I have ever recommended a book. eye-catching. to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. And then the idea of chucking it all became an obsession. it led him to renovate a medieval farmhouse high on a hill in the French Dordogne. Tony Roberts’ story did something for my soul. His fascination took him through six years as a live-aboard sailor cruising European waters. It set him down for five years in a beach cottage on a Greek island. Tony Roberts had already had a career in journalism and another in corporate marketing and advertising.com
Finding Your Calling©
Chucking It All: Some Do
Reprinted from Electronic Engineering Times Ever have one of those days when you feel like chucking it all and getting into some other line of work? Or doing something now that you’ve always wanted to do but have been putting off until retirement – like move to a farm and raise goats. Tony’s mind was filled with compulsions: the need to keep the client happy. and the compulsion to create advertising that would make conveyor customers call. It came to a head on a midwinter day in Cleveland with what started out as just another business crisis. On the way back to the agency. who had a 30-minute stopover. a satchel full of advertising layouts and proposed copy. and convince him the proposals were the most creative. Tony Roberts did what most of us only dare to dream. A few weeks ago. Mission successful? In the ad business.ChangingCourse. the need to get ads OK’d and ready for the trade magazine’s deadlines. He was to meet the client. At age 53. But in today’s fast track. effective and sales producing he’d ever seen. Tony Roberts tossed away a perfectly good position. What did he think of the bathing suit ads the competition had started? The client promised to go over the proposal and get back with an answer.
. my friend Chuck Roberts sent me a book written by his older brother Tony: Against the Grain. the Consequences of Chucking it All. Then something happened. open a restaurant. which had a lot to do with the agency’s viability. and never returned to a regular job. with a good income.
At 70. I learned from his brother. Later he busted his butt in marketing and advertising while his two girls grew up in upstate New York. Although Against the Grain is no longer in print. The book may well have been the final straw that also gets me out of the rat race of running my own agency. Chuck published his manuscript in memorial. Nancy. A year and a half before my brother died. I thought you might like to hear Tony’s story in his brother’s words: In the early 1980s. Instead. Tony planned to write a book. I wrote him a letter about what he meant to me. Some five or six months before Tony died. I emulated him by going into writing and advertising and only dream about such an adventure (although I’ve had a few of my own for sure). What I learned about life from my brother is – it’s short. Being 15 years younger. From here he decided to backpack through Albania to satisfy his fascination with the regime that had held that country in irons since WW II.com 2002
. they provided special sea-based room and board they called “boat guesting” for scores of travelers.com
Finding Your Calling©
And. I never really knew my brother growing up. may Tony be your inspiration.
©www. During that time. Lee. and I traveled to the Mediterranean and visited France a number of times to temporarily live their experiences. Tony and his wife. Chuck that Tony had passed away. Publishing this book meant a great deal to me. And there is only one. “chucked” their advertising and music careers to go off on a decade-long sailing adventure on the canals and waterways of Europe. he spent three years researching and completing a guidebook. My wife. Tony returned to Greece to check on old friends. Purely coincidentally. Bicycling Along the Water Roads of France (Bicycle Books publishers). I couldn’t do it. the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean. he had a remarkable recovery for a few months before the inevitable came. Nancy and Tony had lived on Paxos. He married upon his return from WW II and became a writer and feature reporter for the Gannett chain. for those of you who are thinking about chucking it all. So live it now. bicycles shops and restaurants along the way. Later. Within the next 3-5 years I plan on emulating Tony once more. On that trip he did some 500 miles on bicycle along three different canal systems in France dictating into a tape recorder noting pensions (small hotels). they restored a 16th-century farmhouse which has become a bed and breakfast refuge for visiting Americans in France. He went in the Marines right out of high school.ChangingCourse. the island just north of Corfu for a number of years. Paxos is just across the Ionian Sea from Albania.ChangingCourse. our sister called and asked me to write his obituary as he was failing fast.
its seasonal nature is not making Tom rich – at least not monetarily. Virgin Islands to bake cookies. What he most loves about his work is living close to the land. where you can leave your front door open without worrying about someone stealing your wallet. it was time to complete the “what” part of the equation. To borrow from a popular expression. Vicki Phelps proved that you can have your cookies and enjoy where you eat them.com 2002
. VA to the U.ChangingCourse. and clear blue waters. he and his wife Elli knew they wanted to live in the country.
On an Island
Think warm sea breezes. One of his reindeer even appeared in the remake of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. white sand. Seeing an opportunity to relocate herself and her family to paradise. Vicki noticed how few gift products were actually made on the islands. Tom is one of only a handful of reindeer ranchers in the United States. To be able to see a flock of 300
©www.” They found it on a pond-dotted piece of land in Finland. a homemaker who had been working part-time in her husband Chet’s computer software business. They wanted the kind of a life. Although reindeer ranching is a year round labor of love. Tom says.ChangingCourse. too!
In the Country
When Tom Scheib left the Marines in the early seventies. Tom was stationed in Europe.S. After numerous vacations to the Caribbean.000) and commercials. Working the holiday festival circuit brings in several hundred dollars a day. but the real money comes from lending his reindeer to big-time shows (rental fee to the Bronx Zoo – $10. With the “where” part settled. That’s what Vicki Phelps. “where people say hello when you’re walking down the street. Today. While in the military. Here from the pages of Entrepreneur. Vicki decided to make good use of the island’s own fruits and spices by launching The Original Caribbean Cookie Company. The cookies were an immediate hit with tourists – so much so that Chet was able to close his business after only seven months and join her full time. MN.com
Finding Your Calling©
Having It Your Way
It’s been said that the only real success is to live your life your own way. where he had the chance to see reindeer on the northern Norwegian tundra. and elsewhere are the stories of three enterprising people who had the courage to go after a livelihood that spoke to their spirit in a place that fed their souls. swaying palm trees. Minnesota Monthly. pictured when she decided to move from Virginia Beach.
ChangingCourse. Jonni and her family have since moved to Colorado Springs where she is happy to write.ChangingCourse. you too can create the life you really want!
©www. But how could the family survive on one income while living in an expensive area like the Silicon Valley? When she began to research how to make their money go farther. acted on their belief.com 2002
. a second job can end up costing more than it brings in! With a little imagination and determination. believed it was possible and two. These three people are living their dreams because they: one. is for Tom. when you add up the cost of paid childcare. conduct seminars.
Jonni McCoy knew she wanted to quit her job as a senior buyer for Apple Computer to become a full-time at-home mom.com
Finding Your Calling©
geese rise up into the sky and to be his own boss. and home school her children. then act and one day at a time. Jonni began keeping a journal of the strategies she used to cut the monthly grocery bill from $500 to $160. Jonni was surprised to learn that some financial experts have calculated that. Gradually she began organizing her helpful hints into a how-to book called Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income World. work attire and the like. Believe. she knew her family could survive on one income and save money at the same time. what successful living is all about. commuting.
Yet. I had always loved gardening and for years have been creating beautiful gardens for myself.” It always seemed like something was missing. it seemed too late. I could get the formal education I felt I needed while still working. That’s when I came across ChangingCourse. So. Ten Steps to Redesigning Your Life. I had lots of practical experience but no formal training. My high school guidance counselors didn’t guide me to go after those things I was passionate about. friends and family. mid-life crisis was setting in with a vengeance and job-related stress was taking its toll.ChangingCourse. was born. I ended up taking business classes and entered the job world as a secretary.com. we knew what we loved and what we wanted. But what? By late 1998. Marsha Sinetar and others. I loved to create things. Early last year it dawned on me – why not make a business out of something that seemed so natural? That’s when the idea for Gardenscapes. and by the time many of us realized we were heading down the wrong road. the first thing I did was enroll in a home study Master Horticulturist course. too difficult. I progressed up the corporate ladder to managementlevel positions in the field of marketing-communications. Talking with other women my age who were making similar changes made me realize that changing careers might not be so difficult after all. So. too scary or too expensive to change course. Unfortunately.ChangingCourse. I began to read books by Barbara Sher. I also remember having a special appreciation for nature. a garden design and tutoring business.com
Finding Your Calling©
Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden
As a child. was just the incentive I needed to get moving. Barbara Sher says that as children. I was miserable.com 2002
. In her book Wishcraft. I was never truly happy or satisfied with the career path I had “chosen. One particular article.
©www. our early passions and interests weren’t always developed. Determined to find a new career – not more ways to relax and reduce stress – I began to surf the net for advice on career change. Through hard work. That way. by garden designer and author Barbara Blossom Ashmun.
From here.ChangingCourse. constantly absorbing and learning. I began walking or using the treadmill 30 minutes a day. with the help of a supportive husband. Resolution 4: Network and gain visibility for my new business. It wasn’t always easy. I visited local garden centers and nurseries. I visited public gardens and flower shows. using free weights to strengthen my upper body and eating healthier. promote the business. With my corporate life now behind me. camera and notebook with me wherever I go. I took a week off to relax and readjust my mind to a new beginning. Ten pounds lighter.com 2002
. I did marketing consulting part-time while working on my plans for Gardenscapes. I feel great. rejoined the local chapter of Women Business Owners Alliance and attended free workshops and lectures. I’m happy to report I’ve adhered to every one! Resolution 1: Simplify my life. getting visibility for your business doesn’t have to be expensive. I had no choice but to stick to this resolution. I bartered garden design services for a logo design for my business cards and letterhead. Doing so helped me to focus my energies in support of my dream. got the word out via postings on garden center bulletin boards and
©www. To keep some money flowing in. my site was up and running on schedule.com
Finding Your Calling©
Trying to work full-time and plan a business proved difficult. Resolution 6: Market the business on a shoestring budget. By the end of that year. Resolution 3: Increase my gardening knowledge. So last summer. and therefore. Fortunately. I also knew that if I was going to be a professional gardener I had to get in good physical condition (stress did a number on my weight). but I learned to say no to demands on my time that did not help with my new business. With the assistance of a local web designer. I even wrote to Barbara Blossom Ashmun. the author of the article I mentioned. I knew I needed to eliminate distractions so I could focus. took pictures and started an idea book of garden styles I liked. Resolution 2: Get in shape. talk about Gardenscapes and pass out business cards. I felt I was ready to go solo. Resolution 5: Develop a website and have it online by January 31. I made a list of resolutions and goals for the New Year. I still carry a tape recorder. Being on the web seemed like a great way to showcase some of my designs.ChangingCourse. I was able to resign from my full-time position. I purchased the software and taught myself how to create the web site. I knew that constant exposure was the key. I looked for every opportunity to network. and gave up my part-time work as well. With income not coming in very readily. I read and watched anything and everything garden-related. I also sent emails to garden writers and authors asking for advice. I got on a local gardening talk show and conducted a workshop on garden planning.
©www. I had 200 people visit in one day! I handed out brochures and had visitors sign up to be on my mailing list. I am convinced I would have still reached my destination. a sense of accomplishment and happiness has been my greatest joy.ChangingCourse. (My very first customer was a garden tour visitor who has since hired me as her “personal gardener. Learning that money can never buy personal satisfaction.com 2002
.ChangingCourse. Yet. birds singing in the background and my hands in the dirt. Sending out press releases to the local media was free and also gained visibility. and I already feel like a new person. Readjusting to a scaled-back lifestyle has not always been easy. and I send quarterly mailings. Doing what I was truly meant to do made me happier than I’ve ever been. As I work in a garden with the blue sky overhead. I no longer have the big paychecks or the promise of stock options.”) My mailing list continues to grow. I also publish a newsletter. For that I am grateful. the joy far outweighs the compromise. I am constantly reminded of how glad I am to have made the choices I did. It’s only been a year since I made the decision to change course. Changing careers did not come without its challenges. My big break came when my gardens were included on a local garden tour.com
Finding Your Calling©
volunteered to landscape my local post office in exchange for a sign promoting my business. whether it took one year or three. There is no denying that having another income to fall back on while building my business made my trip from the corporate world to the garden considerably shorter and smoother. The most important thing is to start the journey. with passion and a clear vision to propel me.
the Jacobsons would invite Arlene and Reg to their house for lunch and they would spend the entire afternoon going over the proof and revising the layout for the magazine. SCORE matched new business owners with experienced consultants. Motivated by their love of horses. They would also speak on the phone whenever something important came up.” They met with Arlene and Reg frequently to work on editorial improvements and format and layout changes. a pamphlet-sized publication of about 20 pages. such as tack and feed stores. Twice a month. The Jacobsons also
©www. they began to write the Virginia Horse Journal. Work Feels Like Play
When Dean and Darlene Jacobson moved from Philadelphia to Charlottesville. both former McCraw Hill publishing executives. they were anxious to become involved in Virginia’s horse community. It is available for free in over 500 locations throughout Virginia.com
Finding Your Calling©
Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits: For This Couple. from their home. the Virginia Horse Journal has grown to 80 pages of content.com 2002
. Dean sent over 100 letters to advertisers and received an overwhelming response. North Carolina.ChangingCourse. They searched for a local horse publication that included information about upcoming events. Without prior publishing experience. “It was like an angel was watching out for us. the Jacobsons set out to create it themselves. Virginia four years ago. West Virginia. The journal offered an ideal forum for retail horse businesses and horse owners to exchange information about the trade. Darlene thought that there must be someone with experience who would be willing to help them avoid the common pitfalls. classified ads and horse news. Reg and Arlene also offered advice on circulation and advertising sales. they struggled to produce two issues and then reevaluated their enterprise. when the issues were ready to go to the printer. To develop a circulation base.000 readers find it informative. as well as personable and entertaining. We knew nothing about publishing – we couldn’t have found two more perfect people. the Jacobsons began delivering copies of the journal to local retail horse businesses. Maryland and Pennsylvania and over 1. The best part? SCORE services are free! Darlene and Dean met with SCORE counselors Reg Hubley and Arlene Anns.ChangingCourse.000 loyal readers subscribe to the publication. When they couldn’t find such a publication. A friend immediately suggested the Service Core of Retired Executives or SCORE.000. In three years. The journal’s 30. A part of the Small Business Administration. This year’s revenue is expected to top $100.
Darlene says their combined income has dropped about $100. SCORE provides small business owners with individual counseling from an executive with expertise in their field. ‘I think we’re working. about every six weeks or when a problem arises.ChangingCourse. SCORE is a resource partner with the U. Dean worked in federal law enforcement while Darlene commuted three hours a day to her paralegal job in the city. That’s when Darlene and Dean moved to a farm in Virginia. They will meet with their SCORE counselors frequently. counseling and other free resources.ChangingCourse. You can also receive counseling via email on anything from bookkeeping to wholesale foods to import/export.000 but they’re not complaining.com) that posts current horse news.org. As a niche publication. contact the International Executive Service Corps at 800-243-4372 or www.S. they are always right about everything!” Editors Note: I called the Jacobsons and learned that while in Philadelphia. Sometimes we are scared to move forward and make a decision. Experiencing great success today.” Dean forfeited a good deal of money to take early retirement at 50.iesc. Small Business Administration.. “Every so often I ask Dean. the Jacobsons’ SCORE counselors provided solid information on how to make a very targeted publication a profitable business venture. but we are more scared to not listen to them. or to find an office near you call 800-634-0245 or visit www. booklets. The journal was recently named the Official Horse Publication of the Virginia Horse Council and the Virginia Horse Industry Board.virginiahorse.com
Finding Your Calling©
created a web site (www. Dean got the publication up and running while Darlene continued to work.’” This article was reprinted with permission from SCORE.. events and classified ads. Both Reg and Arlene were able to assist the budding publishers with developing rate schedules. Specific industry expertise made SCORE a valuable resource to the Jacobsons.com 2002
. The site got over 100.000 hits its first year. “They keep us in line.
©www. If you live outside the US. For more information about workshops. Fearing they were both “heading for a heart attack.score. ‘Are we working or are we having fun?’ and he says. the Jacobsons have not had much time to rest lately.org. ad sales strategies and planning for how to balance the volume of editorial and advertising content in the publication. She quit eight months later to join him full-time.
I decided I needed to work at home. drew up a business plan. I secured my business name using the Trade Name Registration form and got the necessary home-occupation permits. my husband and I moved from California to Colorado in hopes of a new beginning. Next. I had a certain character in mind and Lynn turned my visions of “The Garden Lady” into reality. I find that my special numbering system is a great comfort to me throughout my workday. Two years after Scott died.ChangingCourse. A final step was to develop a numerical tracking system for my cards. I had been searching for some kind of business I could operate from home. after many years of employment in administration. I thoroughly researched the industry. card number 625 reflects the June 25th anniversary of Scott’s passing. a fresh start. I found myself drawn to the idea of using gardening as the overall theme for my cards. In 1995 our youngest son Scott died at age 15 following complications from surgery for a mild heart condition. You see. but our relationship is growing into a special friendship as well. you feel as if you’ve been shifted into a different class. I am a bereaved parent. but that would also fill an enormous void in my life. Instead of randomly selected numbers. Not only do Lynn and I work well together.ChangingCourse. The new environment proved to be just what we were looking for.com
Finding Your Calling©
Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart:
A New Business and a New Beginning
Before owning my own greeting card company.
©www. I found a wonderful local artist named Lynn Petersen. Many parents who have lost a child will tell you. I then came up with a name for my new business: Gardening Greetings. You can’t help but feel that somehow you just don’t fit in anywhere. With my husband’s total support and encouragement. I acquired the copyrights. As a garden-lover. and established a daily work routine. the last three numbers on my cards were intentionally chosen in memory of my beloved son Scott. and with our older children out on their own. I decided to start my own greeting card business. I thought finding an illustrator would be my biggest challenge. But something felt “off. So. and card number 015 signifies his age. February 22nd.com 2002
. In order to survive this tragic and profoundly life-altering loss. But to my good fortune.” I realized I no longer felt I belonged in the 9-to-5 world. After Lynn had drawn up my images for twelve Garden Lady cards. I wanted to do something I would not only enjoy. Shortly after settling into our new home. new surroundings and new careers were a must. I began to scan the job listings. Card number 222 honors his birthday.
florists. Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he’d learned about life in three words: “It goes on. It’s also given my life a renewed sense of purpose.ChangingCourse. Between the colorful Garden Lady character and an attractive point of purchase display.
©www. Today the Gardening Greetings line is displayed at over 30 local nurseries. The Garden Lady cards are also available for Christmas and Mother’s Day. homey look by using black ink on ivory paper. and garden gift shops with 14 distributors generating out-of-state sales. So I wanted to give the cards a distinctive.” I hope I can be an inspiration to others who may need a reminder of this simple but important message as well.com 2002
.ChangingCourse. friendship. In addition to traditional birthday. get well and blank notes cards. I’m told my line offers a fresh alternative to slick competitors. thank you. Starting this business has helped to fill the emptiness in my life left by the loss of my son.com
Finding Your Calling©
Gardening Greetings is a newcomer to a large market.
what’s left will be you.com 2002
. I say that not just because 75% of my wardrobe is black. but when you apply it to your own life. It was probably something black. it feels as if you yourself invented it. well-respected business.. but because I felt like a shadow of myself sitting at the head of the conference table telling people I cherished. Eliminate what you’re not. Though simplifying one’s life has become the new national yearning.” you see. indeed. I knew I was on the right track. that is what you must do. I blinked one day and saw my little girl all grown up. simplify your needs for
©www.. The meaning of the word “all.. Or five years ago when I carved out even more time to devote to my newborn daughter. project deadlines. Katherine. But why? What opportunity could be so grand to entice me. rid yourself of clutter not used in the past year.ChangingCourse. Now that I have a second daughter. my passion for writing nudged at me constantly. the more it seemed I was on to something. A friend clipped a quote from The New York Times and sent it to me: “It takes courage to carve out a life you say you want. Plus. and briefcases bulging with last month’s management reports.ChangingCourse.com
Finding Your Calling©
Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss
I cannot remember what I was wearing the day I announced my resignation from the advertising agency I’d founded seventeen years earlier. is in the heart of the beholder. people who were like family to me. Simplification is happening everywhere. away from a well-established. my sharply honed mothering instincts urged me to slow down and pull up a closer seat. at age 46. Page through the books on how to simplify your life and you will discover helpful hints for shaping up and shipping out such as: clean out the closets. When acquaintances asserted I was crazy to give it all up.” Courage.” I finally concluded there was one place I needed to be: home. the trend was barely in the making eight years ago when I lopped twenty hours off my harried workweek to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts degree and write. In a sense. that I would be leaving them. a career once as much a part of my life as those black A-line skirts were a part of my wardrobe? The explanation is simple. Amidst the continuing onslaught of client meetings. she never quite found the time or the energy to write. I feared the epitaph on my tombstone someday: “Gee. The more I jockeyed my time to match my ultimate life priorities. seventeen years younger than the first.
he started accompanying me to meet Katherine at the school bus stop. Randy – now “at home” full-time – was the one to provide it.” There were computers with disturbing diseases. doing things that we neither want
©www. I have a husband who. A friend. Thankfully.ChangingCourse. is essentially laid back. and 5. is anything but simple. and to boot. it was gratification of the noblest sort for all of us. Undoing one’s ties to a business hardly compares to cleaning out the closet. “I now only do what I want to do and what I have to do. even a small one. First comes the intense period of pre-simplification – call it complication. As he traded his morning drive to the office for playing a video game or two with our five. time-consuming entertaining.com 2002
. the planner. labor-intensive living quarters. after she’d sold her business and had children. more peaceful existence. It is an effort to enrich the quality of our lives. The first sign that we were on the road to simplification was a noticeable shift in pace. accountant telephone calls.m. For me. at 3:45 p. I needed training to pull it off. fax machines in a constant state of “error. you survive the jungle. printers on the blink. But what happens when – in midlife – you clear out a whole career. and trying to do what matters most. after all. that is what this movement toward simplification is all about. you will keep your sights on that vision.com
Finding Your Calling©
high-maintenance vehicles. the word “productive” began to take on new meaning. rid yourself of an entire business? Oh. although an extremely hard worker. said. only so many days in a lifetime. telephones that came with operating manuals (“Can’t we just pick it up and dial it?”). But again. but how often do we walk around. am the worrier. on the other hand.643 pages of documents arriving daily on the fax. Although I longed for a calmer.year-old. when your husband gives up his fulltime job (as mine did) to launch a graphic design business at home? Choosing the simpler life involves far more than kicking off the Joan & David’s for a pair of flip-flops and a sweat suit.” Simplifying a business nowadays. I realized this was not simply simplification. the agonizer. I. though both render moments of nostalgia. And as it turned out. But if the life you’ve planned for yourself is worth the trouble. the organizer. which is how I got through the emotional upheavals of selling a business – the flurry of attorney meetings. the driven one who always fills my plate too full. It means acknowledging that there are only so many hours in a day. electronic or otherwise. And perhaps.” That may sound obvious. The most notable of my husband Randy’s pre-simplification complications – setting up a business at home – involved what I lovingly refer to as “machine hell. And when. as if on automatic pilot.ChangingCourse. each workday. it calmed down to a point that made it seem I’d been hyperventilating before. then wonders why I’m feeling pushed to the hilt. by keeping your sights on the goal. internet lines that refused to connect.
rubbing the gross-grain ribbon against her upper lip as she sucks her thumb of the same hand.com 2002
©www. onto a photo of my parents when they were in their twenties. there are temptations to complicate our lives again: stores full of enticements to clutter our closets and our lifestyles. briefly rubs my shoulders. has joined me. My husband stops by my writing room. but it is mine. “snipping” as she calls it. hardly the experts. But at this moment I am sitting at my writing table with the early morning sunlight streaming across the clock on my bookshelf. And thus we will stray occasionally. It’s that simple. committees beckoning our involvement. This may not be anyone else’s idea of heaven on earth. Katherine. simply because we are human. which means she has her little finger through the hoop of her red teddy bear.ChangingCourse. onto another of my dear writer friends beaming with contentment at Montpelier’s Horn of the Moon cafe. and then heads off to work in his studio downstairs. direct mail catalogues begging to have their page corners turned down. and I have worked hard for it. nothing else I’d rather be doing. who has recently awakened sleepy-eyed. There is no place else I’d rather be. social invitations ready to whittle away at our weekends.com
Finding Your Calling©
nor have to do – because of a bad case of the “shoulds” or the inability to say “no” – all to the detriment of the things in life that mean the most to us? Randy and I are still pretty new at this simplification business. She sits curled in the chair in the corner. He kisses the back of my neck. I am sure. a converted storage closet tucked behind our bedroom. At every turn.ChangingCourse. even business opportunities that might take us on tangents away from what we’re truly good at or interested in doing.
it is (except. of course on demand for my services.com 2002
.” I made it a point at the start to establish a cellular phone number. mailing and email address that remain the same regardless of my locale du jour.com
Finding Your Calling©
On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant
As I type this. cable. working away on my souped-up. billiards. And my home office is the dinette area of a 32-foot 1998 Rexhall Rose Air Class A motor home. Meanwhile. and library comprise the clubhouse of the RV resort in which we currently reside. perhaps. I also happen to be a full-time RVer. My wife and I are living out our dream of “living on the open road” and my career has by no means suffered as a result. So that my clients remain confident I am always “on hand. I market my services the same way I always have. Pamela.T. We’ve just returned from a leisurely hour of unwinding in the hot tub. so it also means that. The truth is. the RVing lifestyle has prompted me to invent what is turning out to be a rather effective (and lucrative) position: The Traveling I. state-of-the-art computer. It is the technical challenges that have turned out to be more
©www. the “average” part). on the contrary. Does this sound like the life of your average well-to-do professional? Well. here I sit in my home office. I have met few people along the way who are not at least a little inspired by my lifestyle.ChangingCourse. The computer is a laptop and slips conveniently into a cupboard when not in use. my wife. Most projects don’t last longer than a few months. to a large extent. Being mobile means I am able to move to where the best opportunities are and to remain as long as necessary. Consultant. but this seems to be quite widespread). I am a very well compensated information technology consultant with a master’s degree from the top-rated international business school in the world. by direct email or other personal contact. Living as a professional developer while staying temporarily in RV parks is not without its challenges. Interestingly. it’s flourishing. I make it a selling point of sorts by perpetuating the notion that I’m good enough at what I do to be able to enjoy the luxury of living life how I want to.ChangingCourse. prepares dinner in our full kitchen while a favorite cable TV show plays on our 21” television. we are able to enjoy a change of scenery on a fairly regular basis (dependent. The hot tub. Perhaps later we’ll play a game of billiards or retire to the library.
©www. life on the open road can actually benefit your career – not to mention your finances. in many ways gives me an advantage over my rooted colleagues. For lots of great resources for working RVers visit them on-line at www. but it does limit our freedom of movement more than we’d like. neither one of us would have it any other way.ChangingCourse. better by far.com
Finding Your Calling©
formidable. We’re patiently waiting for the day when a cellular connection will be quality and inexpensive enough to work for us or. Since we plan to spend 99% of our time in Arizona. Life feels more like an adventure than like “real life. Full-time RVing encourages and perpetuates entrepreneurship. This is not a major inconvenience. Today.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. relationships and soul! This article was adapted with permission from Workers on Wheels. so for the most part we’re compelled to stay for at least a month or more in a park and to simply go through the local phone company for our service. Living full-rime in an RV allows us a degree of freedom we could never have been living in a fixed dwelling. on-site phone connections.com. we weren’t sure how well it would work for us. and the only reasonable way to achieve this at this time is with a standard phone line.workersonwheels. My work requires a constant Internet connection. When we began this lifestyle. I needed only to find an Internet service provider that covers most parts of the state.” Being mobile has encouraged me to brainstorm ways to exploit this lifestyle which. when satellite Internet access (two-way) becomes available. With some imagination and a little resolve. Most parks don’t offer short-term.
Finding Your Calling©
Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter”
Paige G. The article was accompanied by an illustration.ChangingCourse. You know the ones that hold your credit cards. Jeremy Rifkin. rather than simply looking for the next job. the internal culture only confirmed my suspicion that I was meant for a less traditional work life. Wouldn’t it be great. I got promoted. In the May/June 1995 issue of Utne Reader. Blomgren
About six years ago.com 2002
. Though the organization’s work was intriguing and the external people and issues stimulating. it wasn’t to jump off the roller coaster. and Matthew Fox. names and addresses of hundreds of friends and business associates. leather-bound system. but to follow the rules and make a smart career move. I spent the next year and a half developing a marketing and fund raising program for a non-profit journalistic think tank housed at the University of Missouri. It showed a page from one of the popular timemanagement calendar books that we all clutch in our arms constantly. I thought. several clues surfaced. a piece from the British magazine The Idler discussed how today’s young workers are searching for a “life friendly” work culture and suggested that sabbaticals may be a human rights demand in the 21st century. In that same Utne Reader series. author of The Reinvention of Work.ChangingCourse. president of the Foundation on Economic Trends. I didn’t quit that job. I began cutting out their words. two short words were written across the 24 hours of to-do lines on the calendar page: “Quit Job. ecology. New Age Journal profiled five people who. and urban teaching. And five years later. timelines and life goals all in a single. even if we are just going down the hall to the rest room. which was in the Administration Office at Stephens College. wrote about new visions of livelihood and entrepreneurial approaches to the changing marketplace. several of us who were desperately trying to “find ourselves” routed a magazine article about the importance of fulfilling work. In the illustration. ditched traditional careers (and sometimes entire ways of life) to train for new ones that better reflected their passions in areas such as natural gourmet cooking. tacking them up on my bulletin board and repeating them like mantras in the shower.” Well. bulging. when I resigned as Director of Alumnae Programs and Volunteer Activities at Stephens (a 24-hour-a-day. seven-days-a-week job I loved but had become restless in). project tracking. if I had even a clue as to what that alternative career would be (not to mention a healthy stash of capital to underwrite it)? Before long. They talked about combining new skills into “mosaic” careers. Soon after.
I’m subsidizing my exploration with some changes in lifestyle. I now find myself quoting verbatim from all those books and magazine articles I’m still reading each time I (still pretty awkwardly) try to explain to people at cocktail parties what it is I “do. But I really knew I was not just on some touchy-feely tangent when the nationallysyndicated Cathy cartoon featured co-workers one-upping each other with their plans to “reinvent themselves as free-range chicken farmers in Montana and purge urban stress in tepees in New Mexico.com
Finding Your Calling©
I started copying lists of book titles at the ends of magazine articles and bibliographies of suggested readings from the addendums of books. a dream of a stop-gap job handling marketing for a gourmet wine and cheese shop. The date came and went with much stress but also an overriding gut instinct that I had made the right decision.” My problem was not a problem: it was a movement with press coverage. and Making a Living Without a Job. conscious choices about those entries and. Right now. But I’m on my way toward making much more thoughtful. I admit I still carry a time-management calendar and. A couple of freelance possibilities with some local businesses and institutions have magically appeared and. The page from my calendar is preserved in my scrapbook. especially at a time when others live in daily fear of having joblessness thrust upon them. I am met with a lot of glazed-over stares when I say that I’m finally figuring out what I want to be – and that I trust the how will be a natural out-growth of the process.com 2002
.” I imagine quitting a “great” job without concrete plans sounds mighty flaky to most. a name and personification through cartoon characters. Create the Work You Love.ChangingCourse. and the most supportive husband in the world. the entire calendar seems to be getting lighter by the day. I kept my local library busy with regular inter-library loan requests for titles such as To Build the Life You Want. as fragments of possibilities began to crystallize. most days have more entries than ever before. What a relief! In the midst of all this. though I can’t even zip the zipper around this month’s overflowing pages. in fact.
©www.ChangingCourse.” Cathy dubbed them the “new generation of overachiever quitters. while I work to develop those and others. I became convinced that the big blank calendar page with the two liberating words on it was looming in my immediate future. I’m in heaven in the role of part-time student.
No interview. Although Lissa had a clear vision for the organization and she knew there was nothing similar in the Philadelphia area. access to phones. and show up to volunteer. With the donated services of an attorney who liked what they were doing. sign up for a project. coordinate special days of service. This model would allow individuals to browse a monthly menu of coordinated two to three hour volunteer projects. Philadelphia Cares would grow to create tailored community service opportunities for companies and groups. I contacted a billion people to say. no eight month commitment. and helped them file for 501c3 status. community agencies and companies. Lissa was ready for a new challenge: she wanted to bring an innovative model of community service from the DC area to Philadelphia. Lissa met Ralph Fox. and develop civic involvement through volunteering.ChangingCourse. The event was a way to enlist support and involvement of local businesses as well as the mayor who was called upon to speak on the topic of community service. I lined up people to be project coordinators (the volunteers in charge of running the actual project and making sure it goes smoothly). she still had her work cut out for her. she spent the first year setting up projects and finding materials like art supplies or books. there are similar programs around the country. Philadelphia Cares began in a room in Lissa’s grandmother’s house.ChangingCourse.” Along the way.com
Finding Your Calling©
Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation
Have you wondered what it would take to transform your convictions into your own nonprofit organization? Executive Directors Lissa Hilsee of Philadelphia Cares and Joyce Burd of ARTREACH share their insider views on the challenges and satisfaction of turning a passion into a working reality. Then they found out about a special program that helped new nonprofits by supplying furnished office space. ‘Hi. The two of them merged their organizations and became co-founders. “I knew it was very important to build relationships and get a support base from individuals. just the opportunity to volunteer for a good cause – from reading to children whose parents are at a life skills class to sorting food for the food bank. can we set up a community service project for your club or your company?’” Often working 70-to-80 hour weeks. they obtained the special tax-exempt status granted to nonprofit charities. a journalist who was also trying to bring this model of service to Philadelphia. Lissa explained. accounting services and other start-up assistance. “It was really no different from starting a business. After spending 14 years as a stockbroker.com 2002
. Over time Lissa and Ralph met people they invited to become board members. Although this program is no longer taking new applications.
©www. One of their first events was the Corporate Leadership Breakfast.
but wouldn’t that money be better spent directly supporting the organization?” The strategy worked. “That was the first time we ever said we cannot do this service if you don’t pay us. Philadelphia Cares is now part of the City Cares of America network. Joyce worked two or
©www. “It’s extremely difficult. Then. two-year old organization had reached one of its lowest points: There was just no way to pay the bills and continue. We had to do a 990 (a professional audit). Like Lissa. the program expanded to bring the arts to the people. Although they never thought about quitting. With seven staff members. due partly to bills. That’s when they came up with the idea for a fund-raising strategy called the “nonevent” gala.” says Joyce. You have to be able to network with the constituencies that you want to serve.ChangingCourse. During the year and a half it took for her organization to get its first grant. partly to salary deferment. a group of 24 similar volunteer organizations.000 and did it.” ARTREACH also began under the same nonprofit start-up program that helped Philadelphia Cares.” For the first few years. in January ‘96.ChangingCourse. how to get free or discounted tickets. the then. she and her husband lived on one income. We also had to learn how to go about doing it.” There were a few more financial problems on the way. the organization worked with community agencies to provide access to free or discounted performances. saying that we could put on a gala for which people would buy tickets. Eventually. Originally. we serve both the arts and the social service communities. For at least two years Philadelphia Cares ran at a $60. ARTREACH may coordinate productions to come to people in nursing homes. In our case. Lissa counts herself lucky to have had some savings to support her since in the beginning. Joyce Burd of ARTREACH has a different story to tell. enabling it to provide assistance to emerging organizations who want to spread this model of service. We received a check for $6.com 2002
. she says. how to coordinate with community agencies. “We created a special fund-raising piece. “We should have planned for that.000 deficit.” They asked board members to write checks to cover some of the costs until the organization could pay them back. Lissa admits that they didn’t know how to take care of the books.” But the organization kept going – and growing. For example. That allowed Joyce to focus on further refining her vision and on program development. and it was horrible. ARTREACH helps make the arts more accessible to disadvantaged populations. Her advice to those just getting started: “You have to have direction. Lissa recalls.com
Finding Your Calling©
Neither Lissa nor Ralph were in this for the money. Joyce feels grateful to have been in a financial position to pursue her goal. Currently the organization is creating an accessibility guide to area cultural institutions for people with disabilities. “to start a nonprofit for anyone who doesn’t have their own source of income. “there was no way to pay ourselves and the bills. or bring in a visual artist to create a workshop for a community agency. Philadelphia Cares was asked to organize service projects for Martin Luther King Day. When the organization became independent.
Expanding the public’s awareness was very difficult.ChangingCourse. It took at least six months to see the organization begin to take shape. Three good sites to start with are: www. You will need to map out the programs or services you are providing. Can you get your programs started even before having official nonprofit status? Do you have a clear vision? Can you really see what this organization will do? How is its vision and program different from similar nonprofits? How will you support yourself during the start-up phase? Don’t expect to rely on grants in the beginning they require time. especially fund raising and public relations.org www. she says. Are you still ready to create your own nonprofit? If so. Having seen many other organizations rise and fall. But in the beginning. Are you willing to network all the time? Are you able to convince people – most of them complete strangers – of your energy and belief in your organization? Can you solicit people to help you. or otherwise generate money-raising activities? If your answers to these questions were a resounding “yes.com
Finding Your Calling©
three days a week.nonprofits.org
©www. and eventually moved to full time. “It took time to get people to join the board.com 2002
. a vision and some form of financial support. takes four things: time. and develop a strategy to bring in money. create events to raise money. there were some major obstacles. Joyce is still very much aware of the pitfalls in establishing a nonprofit organization. effort.fdncenter.” Today ARTREACH is a highly successful organization. serve on your board.org http://not-for-profit. It was also difficult to get publicity in the press. here are some more points to consider: Are you motivated to really see this through? Do you have the time and commitment to firmly establish your nonprofit? This process could take years. and credibility (often proof of the viability of your nonprofit’s programs). estimate expenses. though. Joyce has added more staff and enlarged and changed the mission to include coordinating on-site productions and workshops. During the 13 years ARTREACH has grown. energy. To start a nonprofit.” then what are you waiting for? You’ll find lots of great advice on starting a nonprofit on the Web. Do you like fund raising? Are you willing to ask people for money. and provide resources or information? Do you have a realistic plan for your nonprofit’s operations? Creating a nonprofit is similar to creating a business.ChangingCourse.
This single step led to another and another. these worthy organizations weren’t built in a day. Like Rome. see if your local colleges and universities have a nonprofit management center or know of additional resources in your area. They began with a simple idea followed by a single step. What’s your next step?
©www. you too can turn your vision into your vocation.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. With determination and action.com
Finding Your Calling©
A. It happened because I found the right swimming pool. And then four of us split off from him and started Group Laboratories. If you know what you’d be good at. and jumped in. in anthropology. I knew I hadn’t been wrong. and I got invited to speak and give creativity workshops all over the country. The job was a counselor in a drug program. I was a consultant at three medical schools. teaching their psychiatrists and psychologists.
©www. Now there is nothing on earth more useless for getting a job than anthropology. and I talked my way into it – probably because they needed manpower as badly as I needed the job. Over the next eleven years I made a tidy living doing group and individual counseling.A. When I came to New York. I might be green. in anthropology. “Wanted: B. and I was naive enough to hope for one that wouldn’t starve my soul. I started group therapy. Within a year I became an assistant-trainee of the head therapist. but I was in my element. I had the intuitive feeling that I would probably be good at working with people.com
Finding Your Calling©
Or Five Ways to Learn and Earn By Staying Out of School
Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want
1. one thing led to another.” I’d like to see it. I walked in there at nine in the morning with my knees shaking. cheek.ChangingCourse. None of this happened because I had a piece of paper.com 2002
. and desperation. You find me an ad that says.M. So I screwed up my small supply of courage and answered one of those ads that said “Experience preferred. I was what you might call highly unemployable. But I had to find a job that would feed my kids. While I was still working at that job. This is the way my own career got started.” I noticed that it didn’t say “Required. I had a B. From there. By 5:00 P.ChangingCourse. squeezed my eyes shut. Nerve
Otherwise known as talking your way through a door with nothing going for you but talent. there’s nothing lost – and often much to gain – by walking into wherever you want to be and presenting yourself.” and anyway I figured that the experience of walking around on earth for thirty years ought to count for something.
That’s a pretty staggering list of obstacles. and in any case. in nothing special. Or – if you’re trying out a tentative goal – it lets you get the living feel of a profession before you commit yourself to full-time work or training. And it equips you with experience. She was totally unqualified. contacts. not hiring them. And by the time she finished her Master’s. she was hired into a teaching assistantship that paid her way. She was so outspoken and enthusiastic in those meetings that within a few months everyone from block association leaders to city councilmen was calling her for ideas and advice. and references that will be useful if and when you do decide to make that commitment. the sort of half-committed play-at-work that society matrons do on alternate Tuesdays. and for free: take part in the local planning-board meetings. her contacts and reputation were so widespread that she was offered a job in the first corporation she walked into. or family farm.ChangingCourse. She loved to walk around and savor the flavors of the different neighborhoods. even if it’s only once a week. New York City happened to be going broke just then. How did she do it? In a brainstorming session. in city planning and a high-paying job with a major corporation.
©www. Diane came up with something she could do right away. She works for the relocation office. she knew most of the people who really make things happen in the city. It’s supposed to be amateurish. a neighborhood newspaper. Diane was now not only studying and teaching city planning – she was already doing it every week on those local committees. Volunteering
In a world of professionalism. You don’t need credentials or prior experience. a school. Even night-school classes were beyond her pocketbook. she couldn’t afford to quit her job and study full-time. Diane was a 24-year-old secretary with a B.com
Finding Your Calling©
2. For the clincher. Three years ago. dilettantish. I want to set the record straight right now. a political campaign office. By the time she felt ready to apply for school. Volunteer work is one of the best ways there is to get your feet wet and gain experience in a new field – whether it’s the zoo. introducing recently transferred executives and their families to the resources and delights of their new home.A.com 2002
. But what’s best is that volunteering gets you started doing what you love right away. You don’t have to pay them a cent for your training. today Diane has an M. all she had going for her was a passionate love for New York City. and the city planning department was firing people. Nonetheless. But that special quality of vision wasn’t going to get her into graduate school. and she wished everyone could see and appreciate the city the way she did. Her secret dream was to be a city planner.ChangingCourse. and they all wrote her recommendations.A. where money is the measure of seriousness. a museum. a hospital. She was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Hunter College! After one semester. volunteering has gotten something of a bad name.
who pioneered the soap opera form. reigning queen of soaps and creator of (among others) All My Children and Another World.
The most ancient and natural way to acquire skills and knowledge is by hanging out with someone who’s got them – watching. A young potter named Juan Hamilton became the assistant and close companion of the great painter Georgia O’Keefe. remember that the key to survival and success for any independent program is an angle.ChangingCourse. I won’t cause you any trouble. counselors – and mothers! Jake. Agnes Nixon.” It’s a rare curmudgeon who wouldn’t be flattered and receptive.
4. lawyers. What you’ve got to do is find and fill a specific need that nobody else has thought of filling. I’ll clean your workshop. draw up a plan for a mime class. I’ll empty your wastebaskets. It’s how I learned to be a therapist. because your resources are really inside yourself. She designed a package for other people like herself and turned it into a multimilliondollar business. All you need is talent. art-therapy group. or program design. She was a lady who wanted to be thin. That’s what Jean Nidetch did.
©www. There’s an element of apprenticeship in any good education – but in many fields you can set up an apprenticeship for yourself. My feeling is that there’s hardly a person on this planet you couldn’t walk up to and say. You don’t even have to go in cold with a letter that may or may not be answered. and great painters all learned their trades this way.com 2002
. political seminar. walking tour. But you don’t need a formal program to put you in touch with someone whose work you love. asking. helping. Most highly accomplished people want to share what they know with other great minds. Psychoanalysts and carpenters still do. a marine biology freak who didn’t want to go to grad school. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That’s the wonderful thing about doing what you love: you can do it wherever you are. or editing service. and put your ad in your local paper. and I’d really like to learn from you.com
Finding Your Calling©
3. I’ll carry your gear. Before schools were invented. love – and a carefully worked-out idea. personal experience. started a seaside nature museum for kids and got a grant from his city. Seriousness of interest and a willingness to help out are the only real qualifications.ChangingCourse. “I’ve followed your work for a long time. Whether what you want to be is rich and nationally known or just to hold weekly discussion groups in your living room. There are formal programs that have been set up to connect willing “masters” with would-be apprentices. Start From Scratch: The Independent Alternative
Another way to start out on your path without a degree is to simply sit down. I just want to be near your mind. got her start sharpening pencils for Irma Phillips. A therapist I know designed a series of seminars called “Who Takes Care of the Caretakers?” for therapists. How do you think Weight Watchers got started? Jean Nidetch wasn’t a doctor or a nutritionist. doctors.
A 20-year old college English major who wanted to be a member of the first space colony decided to start by doing magazine interviews with scientists like Carl Sagan and Gerard O’Neill. The Generalist/Popularizer
I wish I could think of a better name for this one – maybe “the go-between. starting a specialized newsletter or cableTV talk show – any of these could be wonderful ways to gain admission to a world you love without the expensive ticket of a Ph.” It’s a strategy for anyone who’s fascinated by the poetry of a technical field but hasn’t got the knack or the patience for technical training. editing. Writing.ChangingCourse. If you can write. Many professional people can use help communicating their ideas to the public. you can get up to your ears in any field without a degree.D.ChangingCourse. interviewing.com 2002
Finding Your Calling©
5. Those are just a few examples of the kind of direct. ingenious routes to your goal you can dream up if you take conventional “wisdom” as a challenge instead of a finality.
©www. not in the graceful use of the English language. They’re specialists in physics or nutrition or international law. or even just organize ideas. A housewife interested in nutrition developed a newsletter for the food industry on federal labeling regulations.
reading science fiction. which they publish from their RV. and playing video games. wellness teacher. The content of the magazine is basically their travelogue. landscape photographer. 2000 by Patrick Combs. etc.com. There are many job options for a person interested in traveling: travel writer. entertaining. There are many job options for a person with an interest in science fiction and rockets: science fiction writer. She loved to exercise and stay healthy.tenspeed. sales representative.com
Finding Your Calling©
Reprinted with permission from Major in Success: Make College Easier. Now he’s traveling to Europe three to four times each year to find new products. 1998. Michael Lane loved most of all to go on road trips so he and friend James Crotty launched a magazine called Monk. There are many job options for a person interested in fitness: nutritionist. personal trainer. read the following stories about people whose true interests were as “impractical” as road-tripping. so she took that interest and established herself as fitness director of a large fitness center. professional bodybuilder. Lisa Miller played volleyball for four years during college. rocket scientist. etc. and managing daily operations. overseeing special events. experiential education trainer. He was also able to apply his interests to a previous job as a science fiction illustrator for magazines and books. Ten Speed Press. Their circulation is national and it makes enough money to support their lifestyle.ChangingCourse. exercising. pilot. Fire Up Your Dreams.
©www. and Get a Very Cool Job by Patrick Combs. Gene Hovis loved cooking and entertaining and he turned that interest into a job as vice-president and creative food director of a major department store chain’s Marketplace section and restaurants. etc. or by visiting www.com 2002
. Available from your local bookseller. If you think that your interests just aren’t practical enough. Rick Sternbach loved model rockets and science fiction when he was young and got a job designing the ships and gadgets you see on Star Trek: The Next Generation.ChangingCourse. computer graphics designer. Copyright © 1994. CA. Berkeley. by calling 800-841-2665.
Here’s how it works. food stylist. test guides. handbooks. virtual reality ride designer. For each profession it lists multiple career guidebooks. books. but once you know the kind of work that is possible.
Try the Job Idea Generator
You can also get a real-world idea of possible careers by running your idea through something I developed call the JOB IDEA GENERATOR. I love this book! (Another book that is quite
©www. or computer bulletin boards. arcade owner. professional meetings. Or you can go straight to an INCREDIBLE book: Professional Careers Sourcebook: Where to Find Help Planning Careers That Require College or Technical Degrees.ChangingCourse. This book makes figuring out where to get important how-to information about your career so easy to find that you might as well be taking cuts to the front of the line. It may not give you the job specifics. Savage and Annette Novallo and learn about the 118 professions. etc.ChangingCourse. TV. Gene’s interests led him to jobs as a caterer. and even annual conventions. There are many job options for a person interested in video games: game tester. magazines. newsletters.com 2002
. It gives you a picture of the jobs that are possible for you. speaking.) How could I be paid to provide other people with a service related to this interest? How could I be paid to perform this interest for other people? How could I be paid to create products related to this interest? How could I be paid to assist people who are focused on this interest? How could I be paid to learn more about this interest? If you did the JOB IDEA GENERATOR you might be ready to call the career center or other knowledgeable professionals and ask them to help you with the specific job title/job description/salary range or the kinds of work that you identified as attractive. shows. game programmer. lectures. educational programs. edited by Kathleen M. Simply take what really interests you and ask yourself these questions: How could I be paid to inform people about this interest? (Perhaps through writing. newsletters. consulting. you can easily look up the job title and company address on your own. game designer. restaurant consultant. Chris Lindquist loved to play video games and after college he got a job as a game reviewer for Electronic Entertainment magazine. corporate chef. and food editor at HG magazine. professional associations.com
Finding Your Calling©
There are many job options for a person interested in cooking.
ChangingCourse. I have no dreams about any of those careers.) Need some more ideas? Try the SUPER-SIMPLE. Hawes. get passed over for promotions. college makes it seem like you should only aim for a career that fits into
©www. I’m really good at running. Fill in the blanks of the following sentence: A great job would be (verb) in the (your interest) field. Which one do you think is most likely to succeed? And which one do you think is most likely to stagnate. Start from what activities you’d enjoy doing regularly and go get the skills required.com 2002
. You might be surprised at the unique and weird job ideas it jogs in your mind. and feel like a failure? Somehow. UNIQUE & WEIRD JOB IDEA JOGGER! It couldn’t be simpler. or an administrative assistant.com
Finding Your Calling©
good is The Encyclopedia of Second Careers by Gene R. a valet parking attendant. But I wouldn’t enjoy being a marathon runner. and skill requirements for over 200 careers. and typing. parallel parking. Picture this: Two people working side by side. People will also encourage you to choose a boring. Reading in the astronomy field? What jobs does that make you think of? Hmmmm…Editor of an astronomy magazine? Researcher for NASA? Author of books about the latest astronomy developments? Now change the verb to drawing and see what happens: A great job would be drawing in the astronomy field. dislike the job. salaries. I caution you about choosing a career by asking the question “What am I best at?” You may happen to be good at something you don’t necessarily enjoy. association phone numbers. It contains career descriptions. What ideas does that jog? Hmmmm…Illustrating astronomy books? Architecturally designing observatories? Mapping star systems? Science fiction paintings? Try this technique out with your own interests and choice of verbs. if you're interested in astronomy and you like to read you get the sentence: A great job would be reading in the astronomy field. one from obligation and one from enthusiasm. But remember this: Failure is a lot more likely when you’re trying for a career that you don’t enjoy.
Enjoy Yourself as Much as Possible
A lot of people might suggest that you choose a career based on your strongest talents. For example. ordinary. safe job because they don’t want you to fail.ChangingCourse.
Just in case you can’t think of many fun jobs. Many people. That’s fine if at heart you are a serious and practical person.com
Finding Your Calling©
the category of Very Serious & Practical Work. and OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN that the job gives you are the best ways to determine which job will truly make you the happiest.
©www. Joy took a low paying job with the agency and has enjoyed her work so much that she’s passed up opportunities to move up in her organization where she would get paid more. Do you identify with a job that probably doesn’t pay much? Then remember this: Nothing will kill a dream faster than the question “How much will it pay?” Unless your dream is specifically to make hordes of money. a field director for a nonprofit agency that helps destitute children. SATISFACTION. life starts to get really great. Not only does it expand your awareness of the kind of jobs that exist out there. As a guideline. don’t let college erase your memory of all the jobs that fall into the category of Very Seriously Fun Work. including myself have found that the amount of ENJOYMENT. College is for developing your talents to learn and do. money doesn’t have to be your criteria for whether or not a job is good. “What can I say? It’s been a wonderful life. you are very serious about having fun. check out the list of over 50+ unusual jobs that I’ve included in my book. But beyond not being able to make a living. Consider the true-life story of Joy Greenidge. When you start to focus in on what you like. so that you learn and do anything you like. don’t let money be your first consideration—or your last. money has very little to do with happiness.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. And also remember that college isn’t necessarily for getting an intellectual career. But if deep down inside.com 2002
. A lot of people turn their back on the career of their dreams because they think that a low salary will make them unhappy." Remember. but it also lists a professional association that can give you information on how to get started.” she says. It isn’t necessarily for getting a high paying career. don’t feel you have to choose a career that offers an impressive salary. no day is the same as any other. What is her reward since it’s not monetary? “In this job.
she planned to move from Utah to New York. “I’d be so much happier if I could do something with art. I determined that my business would motivate others to actualize their potential while making me feel satisfied and causing me to keep improving myself. Ruth returned to Provo. “My work feels natural and easy. Since we had met at a bed-and. while others were immediately eliminated.ChangingCourse. it didn’t “feel” right as a home. the transformation in my new friend was visible. her opportunities seemed limited.com
Finding Your Calling©
Focus on Essence
Reprinted with permission from Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work That You Love Another block to uncovering our passion is trying to find the specific form our work will take before we’ve identified the essence of that work. Once there. One of the first things my friend Ruth told me when we met was that she hated her career as a nurse and longed to do something that involved art and artists.” she’d declare. Long before I knew precisely what products and services I wanted to market. we decided to visit the Courtauld Gallery together. you realize it can come in many ways – opening your options and alternatives. “I am tired of working around blood and burning flesh. an abundance of possible avenues of action became available.ChangingCourse.” When you know the essence of what you want. With no formal training in art history or the like. but her initial explorations were not encouraging.” We continued to brainstorm possibilities. Think of the essence of your work as the emotional and psychic rewards it will produce.com 2002
. Knowing that. The essence of something is simply the feeling it produces and the function it performs. We kept focused on the essence of what she longed for: to share her love of art with others. and we had many discussions about her work. It was apparent that she saw and felt a great deal more than the average museumgoer. As much as she liked being there.
©www.breakfast hotel in London where we were both staying. Provo didn’t seem to be brimming with the sort of work she craved. a favorite city. At the same time. It puts me in touch with a small group of people whom I serve on a regular basis. That could be something like. Utah. Several trips there proved disappointing. For a while. Being in an artistic atmosphere seemed to awaken her spirit.
She gathered her ideas and courage and called on them once more.ChangingCourse. etc. What is the essence of your ideal work? What specific feelings will it produce? What intangible rewards and satisfactions? Write a two-or three-sentence description. they said they were planning an expansion and were going to open galleries of their own in several cities. She has ideas galore and sees this as her apprenticeship.ChangingCourse. it’s the beginning. And it started in Provo.. She left the frame shop wondering how she could be of value to them. Ruth accomplished the seemingly impossible! This isn’t the end of her goal. around the country. Maybe she could travel around the country and market their work to galleries.com
Finding Your Calling©
Eventually. galleries. starting with Salt Lake. One day she mentioned a small company in her area that made custom picture frames. To her amazement. which were sold to art collectors. They employed a number of artisans who produced the frames. We agreed that somehow she needed to let them know that she wanted to be involved with their work. Although she now has a long commute. she reports arriving home with plenty of energy – and enthusiasm for returning the next day. By identifying the essence of what she wanted. Her passion had been apparent! Their first shop has opened and Ruth is happily involved in several capacities.com 2002
. Or exhibit at trade shows. “We’ve already talked about hiring you. Ruth had taken several pieces of art to them for framing and said she could hardly tear herself away – she loved talking to them and seeing their magnificent frames. she quit her nursing job and spent a couple of months working on her serenity.
©www.” one of the partners confessed. We brainstormed more ideas.
In another I’d be a theoretical physicist. Even Einstein loved music as much as he loved physics. help yourself. If you have to choose just one of your “lives. If you need ten. If you could manage nicely with three lives. My writer friend Julia says that she would be: 1) A writer. study ballet – and be an editor. something a little less intense and tragic: a musical-comedy star! In my fifth. I’d miss the other one!” That’s just it. my editor. biking. It’s a flexible exercise − so tailor it to you. 4) A naturalist or marine biologist. Amanda. I’d still be Judy Garland − no. 3) A linguist and world traveler. In one I’d be a nineteenth-century botanist and spend all of my time painting flowers. Most genius is multifaceted. go to museums. In one of my lives. you’re going to long for all the rest of them. “Would you rather we cut off your right hand or your left?” And it’s the same with you. 3) A novelist. “whichever life I was in. I’d be exactly what I am. I have not decided yet what I am going to be when I grow up. In each of your “lives” is something you love very. take three. To ask him to choose between Bach and relativity would have been like asking. concerts. The saddest phrase we ever got drummed into our heads was “Make up your mind!” There are people in this world who seem to be born for one single purpose. I’d be a hermit and live alone on an island and write. said she’d only need two lives. gardening and “putting up. and I promise you that when I’m 80 I still won’t have decided. but they’re the rare exceptions.com
Finding Your Calling©
Five Lives – And How to Live Them All
Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want Think about it: if you had five lives. what would you do with each one? I don’t mean if you were five different people. What I plan to do is as many things as I can. and theater and give wonderful parties. I just picked five because it’s a nice round number. and explore a different talent. (As a little girl she wanted to be a racehorse trainer. or lifestyle to the fullest each time.” Amanda said. Take a moment to do this exercise. In one.
©www. 2) A professional musician. Because they are all vital parts of you.” even if it’s the one you love the best.ChangingCourse. very dearly and need to get into your own life – and you can.) In the other life. In my fourth. a 47-year-old mortgage banker in a real estate firm. wanted four lives: 1) Head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The only trouble is. I mean if you could be you five times over. she’d spend a lot of her time outdoors.ChangingCourse. 2) A fishing guide. riding. interest. 4) A radio announcer for major league baseball. Gene.com 2002
. 5) A wife/mother/farmer.” surrounded by animals of all kinds. she’d live in New York City.
Finding Your Calling©
What I plan to get is whatever I can get my hands on. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one answer to the question, “What do you want?” and that is, “Everything!” In Mexico they have a wonderful saying: “La vida es corta, pero ancha.” Life is short, but it is wide. I’m not even so sure about the “short” part; have you really grasped the fact that you’ll probably have twenty or thirty or forty more years to fill? In any case, there’s a lot more room in your life than you think – room for everything in your “five lives” and then some. Finding that room is simply a matter of making effective use of time, and that means planning. Once you know how to use your days and weeks as the stepping-stones to a goal, you will realize that time doesn’t have to be a boat that you’re adrift in, or a treadmill you’re running on. It’s a raw material you can use the way a sculptor uses clay, and out of it you can shape not just one goal, but many. So the first target you choose for yourself is just that: the first. As your total life design unfolds, it will include many goals of different kinds, sizes and shapes – from building your own dream house to block printing this year’s holiday cards. Anything you want can come true if you cast it in the form of a concrete goal. And since the ultimate goal is a wonderful life, one that includes some of everything you love, I’d like you to try your hand at designing a life plan – a larger pattern of multiple goals that works in everything in your five (or three, or ten) “lives.” Before I show you some of the ways you can fit many goals into one life plan, I want to remind you that you’re not signing any contracts in blood. As you move through your life, your perspective and priorities will change; new interests will appear on your horizon, and some of the old ones may fade. Your life plan five or ten years from now may not bear much resemblance to the one you draw up today. But it’s always a good idea to have one. It’s a way of reminding yourself that the time ahead of you is yours to create in your own image, however that image may change.
Sequential Goals: Switching Horses in Midstream
The most obvious way to fit more than one major interest into your life is to concentrate on one at a time and do them one after the other. People who change careers in mid-life – say, giving up an executive job to open a bookstore in Vermont – are following this kind of life plan. We are surprised and impressed when someone does that only because we’ve bought the fool notion that it is “normal” for people to make up their minds once and for a lifetime. There are many people for whom switching horses midstream comes much more naturally. Like me: my lifestyle is to change goals every five or ten years. I can’t think of a better way to live than to do something till I’m satisfied or bored with it and then do something else. Sequential planning is a good way for a woman or a man to combine intense involvements with family and career, or for a couple to alternate breadwinning and nurturing responsibilities and periods of study or creative work. A woman might decide to have her children early, and go back to work or school when they have reached school age. Or, she might decide to achieve a certain level in her career
Finding Your Calling©
before having her first child in her 30s. Travel is another goal it often makes sense to plan for after a professional or financial goal has been met. Julia’s life plan for the next ten years includes all three: to write a book of her own, travel for a year or two and learn languages (one of her five lives was “linguist and world traveler”), then settle in the country and have a child (“wife/mother/farmer”). The advantage of sequential goals is knowing the next juicy one is there, and waiting spurs you on to meet the target dates for your first goal. The pitfall of this kind of planning is that it can be used to postpone the goal you want – and fear – the most. And if you use it that way, it won’t work, because you can put that goal off indefinitely. So it’s a good rule of thumb to rank your Five Lives in order of importance to you – and then go for the most important one first, even if it’s not the one you’re living now.
Simultaneous Goals: Moonlighting
But what if two or more of your “lives” are equally important to you? Suppose you’re a happily split personality like Amanda, who is half Kentucky bluegrass racehorse breeder and half cosmopolitan New York editor? Then you go for both at once! You become an editor moonlighting as a racehorse breeder, and vice versa. Amanda has pictures of thoroughbreds all over her office bulletin board, including one of her “godchild” – a young filly owned by friends. She spends vacations and frequent weekends at the races in Saratoga or at Belmont. Like Clark Kent shucking his business suit for Superman leotards, she can switch from stockings and earrings to jeans and boots and back again with equal agility. The only way she feels she could improve on her double life is “more of both” – permanent dwellings in both city and country and an even deeper involvement in both her worlds. My guess is that simultaneous goals work best when the two (or more) “lives” you’re living are very different – because then each provides a refreshing change from the other. The “moonlighting” plan can also be a way of resolving the conflict between two touchstones that are notoriously hard to get together: financial security and creative satisfaction. In New York City there’s a group of excellent jazz goals musicians who play club dates on weekends and some evenings. On weekdays, they are Wall Street stockbrokers!
Alternating Goals: Patchwork Quilt
A variation on the “simultaneous” plan is to arrange your life so that you can devote alternating blocks of time to the pursuit of different goals. This comes very naturally to teachers, who have long summer vacations for traveling or mountain-climbing or creative projects or leading student tours; university types even get a whole sabbatical year off for research or writing. But you don’t have to be an academic to plan your life in this pleasant patchwork fashion. Margaret, a nurse-midwife, works and saves money for two years at a stretch and then spends six months traveling through Europe or Asia. And Gene, the mortgage banker whose four lives included
Finding Your Calling©
fishing, writing, and baseball, has invented what he calls a “businessman’s sabbatical.” Every few years he takes from two to five months without pay and spends them tracking down fish in a quiet Florida backwater.
Another way to have all of your “lives” in one is to combine two or three interests. Julia, who would have given one of her lives to marine biology, writes about whales; Gene plans to devote his next sabbatical to writing about baseball; and Margaret could combine her profession with her love for travel by offering her much needed nursing skills in different parts of the world. Multimedia goals can make you extra happy, because several of your talents are active at once, and no really important part of you has to wait on the sidelines. I’ll go further, and say that if you want to get the maximum joy and energy out of your life, nothing you love should ever be left sitting on the shelf. Everything you put down in your imaginary “lives” should be actively present in your life at all times, because you put it on that list for a reason. A talent or interest is a living part of you – like a hand or an ear or an eye. It needs to be used, it needs to be fed, or it will atrophy – and you will be less than you’re meant to be.
Main Dishes and Side Dishes
The answer to the dilemma of finding the time and energy to keep five or six interests going at once is: whichever interests are not included in your current main goal (or goals), make them “side dishes” – things you do every now and then just for pleasure. “Side dishes” are delicious in their own right. They can also be the seeds of future goals, a way to keep something gently simmering on the back burner until you can move it up front. There’s always room for them in your life, because they can be things you do once a week, once a month, once a year, or even just once. It might be a weekly dance class, the history books you read in the evenings, a picture of a horse on your bulletin board, or even just the promise of a month on the beach compressed into one beautiful shell on your desk. It’s a living reminder that life is not a miser, and you have the right to everything you love.
.” the “accountant-type.ChangingCourse. We all know that there are different kinds of people. You may see some of yourself in each category.. and moving others towards a common
©www. See if you can recognize yourself in these profiles.” Even though Lloyd is describing different types of creative people.com
Finding Your Calling©
Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling
Well here it is. Innovators. then you know that nothing makes a Leader happier than persuading. No investment – no return. I think we can all see ourselves in one or more of her profiles.” the “techie-type.ChangingCourse. I finally sat down to give it a read and WOW.
Collaborative types include:
The Leader: Leaders usually emerge quite young.the Special Bonus I promised. But we also tend to lump people who are in a certain field into one general “type. the same rules apply! 1) You have to set aside concerns about money for now and 2) You absolutely HAVE to do the exercises. perhaps that kid was you! If so. and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life for years. All that means is you enjoy connecting with other people some of the time but can just as easily work solo as well. It's just that simple.. I've created a short exercise at the end to help you zero in on the “real” you. The types fall into two broader categories: There are collaborative types who like to work with other people and individual types who prefer to work alone. Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be any other ways to Find Your True Calling here are three more helpful ways to find your passion. energizing. The part that I found particularly interesting was where Lloyd describes 10 types of people. Keep in mind that just because this is the special free bonus section.” The “artist-type. Do you remember the kid who was always organizing group activities and then directing others? Or. even remotely creative – to benefit from the book. what a great book! You don’t have to be artistic – or for that matter. So get out your pad and pencil and let's begin!
Secret 1: Know Your Type
I had been hearing about Carol Lloyd's book Creating a Life Worth Living: A Practical Course in Career Design for Artists.
Don't think just “school teacher” here. directing. [or] bosses how to use their stilluntouched computers. They might also invent new types of services. Highly intuitive. spiritual. academics. cinematography. nutritional. Healers also tend to be being socially conscious. The Healer: Healers are motivated by their desire to console. nurture. and many more. and/or cure. Leaders also tend to be good public speakers and are good at inspiring others to act. The Interpreter: Some people love the start-up or idea phase of a project (you'll meet that person shortly). they are attracted to any job that requires coming up with new ideas or solutions. the Interpreter thrives on jumping in to handle the final stages of a creative endeavor or project. The reason the Interpreter likes the final polishing. union organizer.com 2002
. ability. fundraising. They like nothing better than a good brainstorming session and are easily bored in jobs that requiring repetition. producing. advertising. marketing.com
Finding Your Calling©
goal.) alternative medicine. or information with others. they love seeing their idea come to fruition. Occupationally speaking there are many ways to satisfy the need to “make things happen” such as event planning. In contrast. The tools of the Realizer are brainstorming. You may have a talent and affinity for teaching. community arts. friends how to do the macarena.
Individual types include:
The Generator: The Generator comes alive in the idea phase but is less interested in implementation. or a whole range of services designed to help people on physical. says Lloyd. Lloyd says Inventors don’t just create gadgets. clarifying. networking. You might also find this type of person taking written words and interpreting them into a visual medium like film or dance. Consulting. etc.ChangingCourse. bereavement. The Teacher: What gives Teachers the most satisfaction is sharing knowledge. and strengthening part is because they love making things better. Some of the careers Healers may feel led to include counseling (career. Other fields interpreters may be drawn to include consulting. editing. spiritual.ChangingCourse. words.
©www. and motivating. hair styles. The Inventor: Just as it sounds. the Inventor loves to create new things. “If you find yourself volunteering to teach nieces how to drive. coordinating volunteers. toys. For the Inventor it is not enough to come up with the “eureka” ideas.” The Realizer: This is the one whom everyone depends on to get things done. Although Generators often prefer to do their own thing work-wise. or emotional levels. The joy comes from the act of transmitting. and curriculum design are all examples of ideal jobs for generators. or designing.
rituals. they value the idea itself as much as. to creating computer generated cartoons. For this reason.ChangingCourse. musical instruments – anything new or different. making music. if not more than. Instead of creating physical things. scholar. building stone fences or a piece of fine furniture. political systems. the Mystic might be drawn to such pursuits as writing poetry. mathematician. The Thinker: Thinkers like thinking just for the sake of it. they prefer to create such things as moments. analyzing. Thinkers get their satisfaction from measuring. Martin Luther King. Once you've done that. The Mystic: Mystics are highly tuned into their senses including feelings. You don’t have to actually deliver the speech. theorizing.com
Finding Your Calling©
scientific advances. Instead.)
Secret 2. But in a culture where so much emphasis is put on what one is “against.
©www. and/or interpreting. Mystics are dreamers who are prone to contemplation. journalist. the exercise involves creating your own “I Have Dream” speech. composing music. they tend to shun working in large organizations. go back to the types you ranked seven or higher and brainstorm ways to earn a living that would appeal to that part of you. or leading small workshops. political analyst. Examples of “thinker-friendly jobs include librarian. researcher. putting into writing what you are “for” can be a powerful and potentially revealing exercise. The Maker: The Maker loves to build or create things.ChangingCourse. computer programmer. So now I want you to rank order the extent to which you connect with each type on a scale of 1 to 10.com 2002
. As you were reading through the profiles you no doubt identified with some more than others. Borrowing from a famous leader of people. In other words. painting a picture. This could be making anything from making a mint cheesecake. Creating a finished product is what makes the Maker most happy. dance forms. Don't worry. moods. A 10 means That’s Me and a 1 means Nothing Like Me. Know What You Are For
One of the more thought-provoking exercises I've found comes from Jaqueline McMakin and Sonya Dyer’s Working From the Heart: A Guide to Cultivating the Soul at Work. communicating or realizing it. or even ideas. or museum worker. doing freelance technical writing.” say McMakin and Dyer. archivist. Dr. and ambiance. If you identified with more than one type try coming up with a job that would allow you do use them all! (Hint: You'll find a few examples in the next exercise.
or North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (www. the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. your assignment is to brainstorm a list of things you could do to build on that vision. You can learn more about the fascinating field of pet therapy through such organizations as Therapy Dog's International (www.ChangingCourse. I've pulled three that I thought were most intriguing.deltasociety. animal tamper-proof composter for campers. and unique gifts you identified in Finding Your True Calling.org).narha.
Secret 3: Know What You Like
Sometimes just asking the right questions is all it takes to tap into a calling.com 2002
. passions.tdi-dog. For many years Neil Yeager ran the Adult Career Transitions Program at my alma mater. The “world” can as large as the globe or the nation. In his book Career Map: Deciding What You Want. It might be interesting to come up with ideas that match the “type” you selected in the previous exercise. What might the Inventor in you create to contribute to a better world? It doesn't have to change the course of history.org). or as close as the family. and added both some examples and follow up questions to jump start your thinking.. In other words. Think about some of the interests. How might your passion for nurturing.. as local as a community or neighborhood. Getting It and Keeping It! are a series of questions designed to help you find your passion from different angles. if your dream included people being there for one another in times of need and you are also an animal lover you could get involved with an organization that trains dogs to work with trauma victims. It could be something as simple as a small.com
Finding Your Calling©
The speech doesn’t have to be long – a short description of the better world you would like to see is fine. For each question try to come up with at least two responses: 1. What was it about the program that kept you interested? Was it. Or say you identified with the Healer.org).ChangingCourse. tweaked them a bit. the Delta Society (www. portable. or consoling be used to serve your dream? For example. say you dream of a world where people are stewards of the earth and its resources. Once you’ve determined what you one day dream of seeing. curing. Then ask yourself which of these you might use in the service of that dream. The acting? The action? The dialogue? The humor?
©www. Think of the last movie or television show that really held your interest.
ChangingCourse..com The suspense? The animation? The creativity? The challenge? The realism? The unrealism? The heroism? The emotions? The message.ChangingCourse.com 2002
Finding Your Calling©
©www. or moral? The costumes? The set? The location or scenery? The silliness? The relationships? The happy ending? The cliff hanger? The lighting or mood? The cinematography? The sensuality? The pace? The stars themselves? The outcome? Some combination of the above? Something altogether different.
html) Going to culinary school (www.lasso?id=532204) Training to become a sign language interpreter (clerccenter.com/schools/index.edu/InfoToGo/357.thewriterslife.org/uti/index.archaeological.naturalhealers. to acquire knowledge.aza.agorainc.html) Going to school to become a massage therapist or acupuncturist (www. outcome. there are lots of other other ways to learn.. Like. etc.com/www/dir_herb.gallaudet. did you like? Why do you think that was? What do you think that says about you? How can this information connect to a potential calling? If you could choose a different educational path or area of study. and b) Keep in mind that while education can include college or an advanced degree.com/reports/twcr/changingcourse) Going to sailing school (www.htm) Studying with an herbalist (www.html?Welcome=1027692136) Going on an archeological dig (www.htm) Apprenticing with a glass blower (www.org) Learning how to become a professional copywriter (www.com/) Interning at an aquarium or zoo (www.culinaryschools.genealogy. Going to motorcycle or NASCAR mechanics school (www.com/coachville/default.org/webinfo.org/menug.cfm?page=detail&id=2027) Studying art in Italy (www.com/)
©www.charternet.ChangingCourse.. what might it be? Two things before you answer: a) Don't forget the “no thinking about money” rule.com
Finding Your Calling©
What about the animation.com/university.ChangingCourse.saci-florence.tradeschool.holisticmed.php?page=10015) Becoming certified as a success or business coach (www.igga.thomasleonard.com/changingcourse) or travel writer (www.org/JobListings/index.com 2002
. or to master skills.html) so you can work on a yacht Taking a course in genealogy so you can learn how to trace your own or other people's family tree (www.
asp) Find out how to start an adventure travel company (www. What section(s) or column(s) would you choose? Sports? Science? Health? Fitness? Comics? Lifestyle? Features? Seniors? International? Food? Arts? Theatre? Books? Film? Youth? Real estate? History? Politics? Fashion? Education? Community events? Technology? The advice column? Business? Obituaries? Advertising? Now return to your answers and circle the three you find most compelling. talking to people already in this field. If you did all of the exercises. This is the date you are making a commitment to yourself to revisit the work you have done here. As you begin to take those first bold steps in the service of your dream remember the prize publisher Katherine Graham described so well: “To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?” But what if you have still not fully heard your calling? What if all you hear right now is a faint whisper? That’s ok. What do your answers tell you? How might your answers lead you to your true calling? What additional information do you need about this calling? How will you go about getting it?
A Final Note
Congratulations! Hopefully by now you know EXACTLY what it is you want to be “when you grow up. You’ll want to begin gathering the necessary information – like reading up on your calling. A True Calling is something that is well worth the wait. you may want to take a look at the other great resources from and about Changing Course. Get out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself for two weeks from today. Here is what I want you to do. If you’re feeling excited. but also a little overwhelmed.adventuretravelbusiness.ChangingCourse. and I mean really DID all of the exercises. Sometimes letting your answers just
©www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_schools. factoring in the financial pieces.com
Finding Your Calling©
Learning fine wood working or a related craft (www.com/services2.ChangingCourse. don’t worry – the answer will come.” The next step is to start putting a plan together that will get you from where you are now to where you want to be. There are a number of excellent resources designed to help you along this next phase of your journey.htm) Why did you choose the educational path or area of study you did? What about it appeals to you? How does attraction connect with other gifts or interests you uncovered in previous exercises? Imagine yourself a skilled journalist in charge of a major newspaper or magazine section. Give it time. and so.com 2002
ChangingCourse. get out your answers and give them another read. “If we can be made to see it. Or you might find something you missed altogether. for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.com 2002
. there is something else I definitely want you to do. It is amazing how other people can sometimes see what is right in front of your own face. Sometimes you’ll find that something strikes you differently than it did before. And that is to share your answers with someone who knows you well. “There is more in us than we know.com For more information about personal coaching or to learn more about other great eBooks. Regardless of what comes from this revisiting exercise.
©www. the founder of Outward Bound once said. perhaps. Kurt Hahn. Instead try to find someone who is generally positive and who really cares about your happiness.ChangingCourse. The important thing is to not give up on your dream.”
©Copyright 2002 ChangingCourse. Just make sure you don’t turn to a “play it safe” type. visit us at www.com or call 800-267-6388 (EST).ChangingCourse. On the appointed date.com
Finding Your Calling©
sit for a while can produce some helpful results.” Adding.
Barbara teaches Redesigning Your Life. and 200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Roses. To learn more. 200 Tips for Growing Flowers in the Pacific Northwest. Midlife Moments. Better Homes and Gardens.com 2002
. consulting to area gardeners in their homes. The Garden Design Primer.bestyears.barbarablossom. American Gardener and Garden Showcase. In addition to teaching gardening classes and custom gardening workshops. For more inspiriting stories about midlife visit www. Paige is the author of Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter”
©www. visit Barbara online at www.ChangingCourse. Mike is the author of Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion
Paige G Blomgren
This article was reprinted with permission from Winning Ways. For more information or to subscribe to Winning Ways.com.com.ChangingCourse.com
Finding Your Calling©
About the Authors
Barbara Blossom Ashmun
Garden designer Barbara Blossom Ashmun is the author of five books. She is is a contributing editor for Fine Gardening and also writes for Country Living Gardener. 200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Perennials. Garden Retreats: Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary. Mike believes that our midlife are truly are best years.changingcourse. Mike Bellah is the author of Baby Boom Believers and writer of the syndicated column. visit www. Horticulture.com or write to barbarablossom@hevanet. the newsletter for people who want to turn their passions into profits.com.bigstep. Barbara is the author of How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time
A recognized expert on the baby boom generation. and lecturing to garden clubs. a class that catalyzes career and life style change to help participants become all they have ever dreamt of being.
com.000 in debt in pursuit of his ambitions. contact the Soularium at 301-230-2449 or info@thesoularium. We are featuring his article. Over the past decade he has spoken at over 500 businesses and universities. and sponsored by a Fortune 100 company to tour the 75 biggest schools in America. Stanford. Susan is the author of Wellness Begins Within
©www. he went $50. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and is currently working on a collection of personal essays. Jane is the author of Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss
The Soularium offers Reflections & Redirections: A Life Strategy Workshop designed to guide and inspire you toward your full potential and possibilities.com 2002
. Her fiction has appeared in Habersham Review and VIA. a fixture on the speaking circuit. Pennsylvania. By 28 he was a published author. the Consequences of Chucking it All (now out of print). younger brother of Tony Roberts who wrote Against the Grain.com
Finding Your Calling©
Frank Burge is a columnist for Electronic Engineering Times and a friend of Chuck Roberts. including Shell. Chucking It All. Motorola.thesoularium. Visa. Patrick is the author of No McJobs
Jan Groft lives and writes in Lancaster County.ChangingCourse. and a television personality for PBS's Career Advantage.com or visit www. To receive more information. and launching himself as a speaker.
Patrick Combs is internationally known as the best-selling author of Major in Success. While writing his first book.ChangingCourse. and her nonfiction in various magazines including Entrepreneur and Central PA. Penn and Babson. an Internet columnist.
You may contact the Rockport Institute via mail at 10124 Lakewood Drive. MD or you can call them at 301340-6600. Bill is the author of Taking the Leap
Beth Schimel works for SCORE.ChangingCourse. He lives in Boston.score. visit www.com. He is author of The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success ($14). Courtney is the author of Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation
Bill Robertson is pursing his dream of working in the film industry.ChangingCourse.org. Work Feels Like Play
©www. Nicholas is the author of Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path
Courtney Rice is a freelance writer happily living out her dream on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.com 2002
. Rockville. Be sure to check our their website for more information at www. an international careercounseling network that has coached thousands through a mid-career change or firsttime career decision.com
Finding Your Calling©
Nicholas Lore is the creator of the Rockport Institute. Beth is the author of Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits:For This Couple.rockportinstitute. For more information or to find a SCORE office near you.
Since then she has written four books I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was. CNN and Good Morning America. Woodland Park.com 2002
. For more information or to order her HomeBased Greeting Card Kit ($33. How to Create Your Second Life at Any Age.com. She has presented her seminars to people across North America and Europe and has appeared on Oprah.changingcourse.com. and Teamworks.com/book_store.ChangingCourse. Barbara has generously allowed ChangingCourse. Barbara’s books are also featured in the Live Your Dream Bookstore at www.changingcourse.85) write to Sally care of Gardening Greetings at 680 Calico Court.gardeninggreetings.com or call 719-686-1473. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. For more information about Barbara’s Dare to Dream 12 audiotape program ($99 US/$107 International) visit www.htm or call 800-267-6388.com to reprint adapted versions of the following articles: Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts Finding Hidden Talents: Who Do You Think You Are? Family Career Clashes: “You Want To Do WHAT?” How to Create the Ideal Job Creative Hookey Five Lives – And How to Live Them All
Sally Silagy is the owner of Gardening Greetings. 60 Minutes.com
Finding Your Calling©
Barbara Sher is a career counselor and best-selling author. You can email her at GardinLady@aol. The Donahue Show.htm.barbarasher.ChangingCourse. It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now. The Today Show. The Garden Lady line can be viewed online at www. Sally is the author of Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: A New Business and a New Beginning
©www. Join the lively discussion board and find out about Barbara’s upcoming workshops at www. CO 80863. Live the Life You Love in Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons. sold over a million copies. Her first book.com/cc_store.
lifeonpurpose. For more information.zone5gardening. or at PO Box 657. among many others.95 plus $2. four years of which was spent “on the road.ChangingCourse. From There.com.ChangingCourse.com.. Or you may contact her directly at 413-586-1281.95 shipping and handling). To order write to James Welch at 5428 Phillips Street. Bokeelia.com/alternatives. Debbie is the author of Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden
©www. To arrange for your own complimentary coaching session contact Brad at brad@lifeonpurpose. Brad says he spends his days doing what he loves – assisting people in living on purpose and training others to do the same as Life On Purpose Coaches. FL. For gardening tips and resources please visit Debbie and see her beautiful gardens at www. To Here.” is documented in his book.com 2002
Finding Your Calling©
This article was adapted with permission from Workers on Wheels newsletter specializing in helping people realize their dream of living and working as full-time Rvers. James is the author of From There to Here
Debbie Windoloski is the owner of Gardenscape a garden design and tutoring business.changingcourse. MA 01035.com or 800-668-0183. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches ($16. Hadley.htm Ryan is the author of On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant
As the founder and director of Life On Purpose Institute (online at www..com). Debbie@zone5gardening. James Welch’s complete nine-year odyssey. 33922. Brad is the author of Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
James Welch is an accomplished writer who spent 13 years as a Boston journalist and has published in such publications as The Sunday Times of London and The Boston Sunday Globe. visit www.
Finding Your Calling©
Barbara Winter is a writer.ChangingCourse.com 2002
. The Career Doctor. The Wall Street Journal and other national publications. was on the 1998 Best Seller List of the Wall Street Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly. Neil is a frequently quoted expert. the newsletter for people living and working with passion ($29/1 yr. Power Interviews. Power Interviews. She is author of Making a Living Without a Job and publisher of Winning Ways. All his books have been published by John Wiley & Sons. Neil is the author of Finding the “Right Livelihood” A Lesson in Contrasts
©www. and CareerMap. For a seminar schedule or to subscribe call (612) 835-5647 or write to Winning Ways. P.ChangingCourse.
Barbara is the author of Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion and Focus on Essence
Neil is nationally known in the areas of career and organization development and has written four books in the field including: The Leader’s Window.). MN 55439. Fortune Magazine. teacher and entrepreneur who conducts seminars throughout the country.O. His book. Box 39412. Minneapolis. Money Magazine. and his comments have appeared in The New York Times.
An internationally known speaker and workshop leader.com
Finding Your Calling©
Self-described Dreamer-in-Residence.com 2002
.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. Valerie is the author of the following articles: 5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling Having it Your Way You Say You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star? Why Not?
©www. The Dallas Morning News. Redbook. Reader’s Digest and Cosmopolitan.” Her career change tips have been cited in The Wall Street Journal.000 people in such diverse organizations as American Women in Radio and Television. Valerie has delivered her Overcoming the Impostor Syndrome (www.com – an online resource for people who want to discover their life mission and live it – and to provide one-on-one consulting to others seeking to “change course. MIT and Society of Women Engineers. The Chicago Sun Times. Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to launch ChangingCourse. The Edmondton Sun. The Entrepreneur’s Business Start-Ups Boston Globe. The Oregonian.com) program to over 20. USA Today Weekend. The Guardian (London).impostersyndrome.