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

ChangingCourse.com

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

ChangingCourse.com

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 Barbara Winter................................................106 Ryan Speakman ...................................................................................................................................................................................................108 Valerie Young.......................................107 James Welch...........105 Barbara Sher .......................107 Bradford Swift.........................................................................................com Finding Your Calling© Beth Schimel ........................107 Debbie Windoloski...........................................................................................................................................106 Sally Silagy .............................ChangingCourse.........109 ................................................108 Neil Yeager .................................................................................................................................................

” Now I am living my dream doing exactly what I love and I’d like to show you how you can too. founding director of the Life on Purpose Institute Nicholas Lore. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. 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.ChangingCourse. Mike Bellah. If you aren’t familiar with Barbara’s work. 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. It wasn’t until I was forty-years-old that I finally figured out what I wanted to “be. My name is Valerie Young and I am the Dreamer-in-Residence at ChangingCourse. not two. To jumpstart the discovery process you’ll be learning from such top work/life experts as: Brad Swift. and Planter of gardens and dreams. get ready to be wowed! I have been a fan of Barbara’s books for many years.com Finding Your Calling© Before You Begin: Valerie Young How to Make the Most From This Book Hello.com 2002 Page 1 . 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. but six of Barbara Sher’s inspiring and utterly on-target articles on what it takes to create work you can love. Barbara Blossom You’ll be treated to not one. My first introduction to this extraordinary career counselor and best-selling author was through her first book (and still my personal favorite). author and career catalyst teacher.ChangingCourse. At least I didn’t! For most of my life I kind of “fell into” things from college majors to jobs.com.

I can honestly say. in her words.ChangingCourse.” this former marketing manager realized her dream of becoming a professional gardener. If you’re not a college student. 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. People like: Steve Wyrostek. you’ll meet twenty ordinary people doing some pretty extraordinary things. 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. Early on you’ll be treated to Barbara’s Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion. and Get a Very Cool Job. Nights and weekends Steve is fulfilling a life long dream – writing music and performing in his own rock n’ roll band. this guy has come up with some of the most creative approaches I’ve seen and fortunately for you. Ok. I happened upon Patrick’s work a few years back when he was speaking at a nearby university. 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. Vicki Phelps. Virgin Islands to bake cookies – and is making a darned good living doing it. “a 25-year detour.S. Tony and Nancy Roberts. 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. ©www. Nicholas. Mike. Fire Up Your Dreams. The article comes complete with a checklist to help you. I’ve seen a lot of exercises on finding your calling. Next.com Finding Your Calling© Live the Life You Love In Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons But that’s not all.ChangingCourse. as Barbara puts it. Debbie Windoloski. 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.” Brad. don’t let the title throw you. Barbara is the author of the book that literally changed my life.com 2002 Page 2 . For his day job in the insurance industry Steve dons a suit and tie. This homemaker moved her family to the U. After. Patrick wrote a book called Major in Success: Make College Easier. “tap into your reservoir of passion. 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.

” My question to them is always the same: “Did you do the exercises?” The question is usually met with a long pause. 99. you’ll once again get to learn from career gurus Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter. but Barbara will show you how even if you two dreams. I’ve been as guilty as the next person of wanting a quick fix to complex issues. 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. Doing the exercises takes time and let’s face it. That tells me that you really do want to find your true calling. If there is one “must do” exercise.” Speaking of options… Your journey will end as it began – with practical yet incredibly inspiring advice from Barbara Sher. From Barbara Sher you’ll learn some pretty creative ways to change your career without going back to school.com Finding Your Calling© he’s allowed me to share them with you here. This is so important because. “you realize it can come in many ways – opening your options and alternatives. Not only do you not have to limit yourself to one dream. Unique & Weird Job Idea Jogger! Finally. When you consider that the reward could be nothing short of a lifetime of happiness. or even five dreams – you really can live them all! Ok.ChangingCourse. Occasionally I hear from someone who tells me they’ve read all the career change books out there but nothing has “worked. “No. I was desperate to leave my corporate job and had come up with the idea to launch a ©www. a magic answer did appear – but it was the kind that can only come from within. Now it’s time to talk about you. it’s Patrick’s Super Simple.” Barbara says.com 2002 Page 3 .9% of the time the answer is a sheepish.ChangingCourse. The decision of course is yours. “When you know the essence of what you want. enough about all the experts. I think you’ll be glad you did. When the person does manage to get the words out.” Truth be known. the myth that you need to find your one true calling and stick with that. Those of you who “want it all” will be thrilled to hear Barbara explode another myth – namely. our entire advertising-driven culture is based on the promise of instant gratification. A Lesson on Letting Your Heart Lead the Way My first personal connection with Barbara Sher happened about nine years ago. 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. But you’ve already invested your hard-earned money to purchase this book. three dreams. When I finally realized this and started actually doing the exercises. 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.

practical” self doesn’t always know what the heck it’s talking about. she’d be thrilled to contribute to my newsletter. Fast forward six weeks to a rainy Sunday afternoon.com Finding Your Calling© newsletter for people who. And waited. if you need some help jump starting your dream. I recall standing in my kitchen feeling terribly discouraged and quite literally in tears. sell tickets to your game. “If you try sometime. And waited. Barbara was the first person who came to mind. officiate.” “It will never work. This experience taught me two things. but I wondered if you would be willing to contribute an article or two?” Then I waited. You may not always get what you want. After a few rings. I know you’re really busy. I decided to seek contributors who know a thing or two about chasing down a dream. then getting up the next day to do it all over again.” We have been taught all our lives to “get real. At that point I had a grand total of 31 subscribers. maybe it’s time to get “unreal. coming home too exhausted to do little more than plop yourself down in front of the television. We’d never go into business because we’d be cynical. Knowing that the newsletter needed more voices than mine. “Of course a big successful author doesn’t have time to answer her own phone. Of course. It was one of those days when my head was giving my heart a good talking to: “What a dumb idea. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. dreams are almost always a group effort.” I stumbled nervously through my message: “Hi Barbara. sometimes we need to lead with our heart’s desire because too often our “logical. I tracked Barbara’s phone number down through her publisher.” The other thing I re-learned is that. First. if “real” means spending your entire adult life working at a job you hate. 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.” says Ray Bradbury “we’d never have a love affair. or just cheer you on from the sidelines. you just might find that you get what you need. That’s when I heard the cheery voice of someone named Barbara apologizing for the long delay in responding.” ©www. “If we listened to our intellect. her answering machine kicked in telling me to leave a message for Barbara after the tone.ChangingCourse. Then I remember thinking. 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. It was not enough to pay the grocery bill never mind the mortgage.ChangingCourse. wanted to create more satisfying and balanced lives doing work they love. My heart was pounding as I dialed the number.” “Who would want your newsletter anyway?” Suddenly the phone rang. I was in no mood to talk so I let the answering machine screen the call.” Well. well. ask for it. At first I was taken aback. but as the Rolling Stones reminded my generation. We’d never have a friendship. like me.com 2002 Page 4 . So. 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.

let’s begin the incredibly exciting journey of finding your true calling! ©www. So. But. I repeat.” There will be plenty of time to think about.com Finding Your Calling© Money Matters You can’t talk about finding your passion without talking about the money part. You only get one trip around so you’ve got to enjoy what you do and whom you do it with. Until you have finished reading this book – and doing all of the exercises – abide by what I call the “Changing Course Money Rule. So. Disney offered Diana a position as managing instructor in charge of the institute ’s genealogy classes! Finding your true calling may not happen overnight.000 a year. just for the sake of argument that it is better to be happy than to be rich. fret over. Diana was able to tap into her love of history and research. One of the participants was from the Disney Institute. 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. you must. and get excited about money later. It wasn ’t for a full two years later that Diana volunteered to teach a weekend workshop on genealogy.ChangingCourse. Connecticut. Within a few weeks. plan around. Let’s assume. Okay. At the same time. must give this whole discovery process the time and attention it deserves. Through a series of assessments and exercises.” Simply stated. I am going to ask you to do yourself a BIG favor. if you’re ready.ChangingCourse. 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. 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. for now. the Changing Course Money Rule says: Thou shall not get hung up on the earning potential of a given calling.com 2002 Page 5 . 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. nothing can kill a dream faster than worrying about how much money you can earn at your newly found passion. especially tracing family histories. A Final Note If you are serious about finding your passion.

ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. I don’t really care what your skills are. They knew their work was important. you know what my skills were? I could clean a house like a demon. I don’t mean what you’re skilled at. They knew how to live. They had only two things in common: They knew exactly what they wanted and they felt they were moving toward getting it. That’s what makes life feel good: when it has direction. And what did happy people have in common? Money? Success? Health? Love? None of these things. When I was a single working mother with two babies. And I mean love. so did Golda Meir. In the early 1980s. catch a moving bus with my arms full of laundry. when you are heading straight for what you love. ©www. Life is just too short to live without that kind of focus.com 2002 Page 6 . They believed in what they were doing with all their hearts.” 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. and so did the kid next door who practiced guitar day and night. When you get near people who are pursuing their heart’s desire. you can see the intensity on their faces. Albert Schweitzer found his place. I know you desperately long to find a goal that will spark excitement and energy. two Harvard psychologists completed a study of people who called themselves happy. you yearn to find the place where you can make your mark.com Finding Your Calling© Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts Barbara Sher 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. A friend’s father got it right when he said. “The good life is when you get up in the morning and can’t wait to start all over again.

As Vartan Gregorian said. I don’t believe you live the good life by doing what you can do. I have a surprise for you. and you need to follow your original vision. Relying on your skills to guide you is simply unacceptable. But you’re not alone. Einstein needed to formulate theories of physics. ©www. “The universe is not going to see someone like you again in the entire history of creation. And it isn’t only financial considerations that keep them where they are. And you’re right. You do know what you want. What you love is what you are gifted at. And all of us have talents we’ve never used. I know what you should be doing. That’s why I don’t [give] personality tests or skills assessments to find out what you should be doing.” Each of us is one of a kind. 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.ChangingCourse. You should be doing what you love. you live it by doing what you want to do. and originality always needs to express itself. That’s why you feel so restless when you can’t find the right track. If you don’t know what you want. 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. What you may have thought was your private little nightmare turns out to be heart-breakingly common. thank you. All of us are good at things we’re not madly in love with. You sense there’s some particular work you are meant to be doing. I don’t even think your greatest talents necessarily show up in your skills. Harriet Tubman needed to guide people to freedom. they simply don’t know what to do instead. you can’t get out of the starting gate – and that’s discouraging. Every living person has a completely original way of looking at the world. and squeeze a dollar until the picture of George Washington screamed for mercy. Everybody does.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 7 . Recent figures show that as many as 98 percent of Americans are unhappy with their jobs.com Finding Your Calling© groceries. and kids. Well.

I’d like to share my top ten tips with you to encourage you to go forward. Now I want to profile these unique individuals in both local and national magazines.com 2002 Page 8 . and began making a satisfying profit. After I quit that job and jumped off cold turkey. 1980. to promote their work. I rented a classroom in a neighborhood community center that could seat 40-50 students. 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. when I quit my medical social work job and never looked back. but because they thought I wouldn’t last – the wages were minimal and the men on the crew liked to swear freely. wrought iron trellises and ceramic sculpture in my two-thirds acre country cottage garden. The living room overflowed. I had to persuade them to hire me. In the seventies I spent my days in hospital rooms helping patients to redesign their lives after strokes and burns. raking leaves. As a woman who has shifted gears numerous times.ChangingCourse. not because I lacked gardening skills. I gained confidence and decided to try out teaching privately for higher rates.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. and this has deepened my love and appreciation for the creative spirit. I reminded them that I had worked around very colorful language as a counselor in an early release ©www. I took a part time summer job maintaining the grounds for the City of Beaverton here in Oregon. In 1999 I branched out from garden writing to new genres. not sure if enough people would come.ChangingCourse. adventurous risk-takers who bless the world with their art. I taught the first class in my living room. After several years. Start Small and Build Up I began teaching garden classes for modest hourly wages at community colleges to get some experience under my belt. Now I sit in my own home office looking out on a beautiful garden and writing garden books. and to enhance what I already love to do – meet interesting. I began redesigning my own life on the first day of spring. Each year I make small but significant changes to continue growing my life. In the last few years I’ve invited garden artists to show their paintings.

I called. By clearly facing fears we can separate unrealistic from realistic fear. and when we spend that time doing what’s most important to our hearts and souls. We all get the same 24 hours each day. we feel at peace with our inner selves. how I could get a private contract. and the garden was much too small. and figure out solutions. and where to look for reasonable property. After a divorce.ChangingCourse. a retired sportswriter who had developed a second career as a garden writer and tour guide.ChangingCourse. “they’re very friendly to new writers. Network.” He even gave me an editor’s name and her 800 number. but I had to stick to my guns – mornings were for writing because that’s when my imagination is fresh and juicy.com 2002 Page 9 . and five years later. 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. Eventually I sought and found work tending three estate gardens at quadruple the money. This led me to knock on the wrong doors and pound on them until they ©www. A friend referred me to a very creative realtor.com Finding Your Calling© program for men on parole in New York City. 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. I was invited to become one of their first contributing regional editors. I saved my mornings for writing. and that I was willing to work for low pay one summer to get experience. Network. Do What’s Important First When I decided that I wanted to write for a living. 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. When I first decided to write professionally I quizzed the leader of our New Zealand garden tour. Follow Your Heart I was raised to believe that life is hard work and that struggling and suffering are normal. after writing many more articles and faithfully meeting my deadlines. Friends who were used to going out to breakfast with me were disappointed.” Bill said. “Try Fine Gardening. By talking it over with friends I learned about the realities: how much equity I held in that first house. Network We are all in this together. I learned to turn the phones off when I wrote and save gardening and paperwork until the afternoons. Acknowledge Your Fears and Deal With Them Most of us fear change and the unknown. was accepted to write a feature. higher interest rates would shoot my payments sky high. The best people to approach for help are those who are successful and secure in their work. I was afraid to sell my familiar four-bedroom house even though it was much too big for me.

I made the shift gradually. After I’d shown The Garden Design Primer to an agent I met at a writing conference.ChangingCourse. Once a task is mastered. the inner creative urge longs for a new challenge. going to writing conferences. Even though I loved designing and installing gardens for others for about six years. we must plant ourselves in the climate that agrees with our inborn natures. and helpful people will appear out of the blue to encourage and mentor you.ChangingCourse. I earned a degree in science even though I’m an artist by temperament and talent.com 2002 Page 10 . My old Toyota wagon looked awfully shabby beside their gleaming Mercedes and Jaguars. saying yes to every opportunity that looks promising. interviewing an agent for compatibility. But each step bore fruit and led me further along my path. but that was good – a year later I was a published author. Just as good gardeners plant ferns in the shade and roses in the sun.com Finding Your Calling© opened. let the sap rise. after my first magazine article was published. Pay Attention to Green Lights You will notice that once you point yourself in the direction to which you are suited. I didn’t have faith that I could possibly earn a living through what I loved – literature. All you have to do is keep going through the green lights. my creative spirit needed to stretch its wings and turn to writing. Examine Your Desires and Make Sure They’re Your Own When I designed gardens for affluent customers I experienced pangs of envy. All this took effort – writing a book. events will unfold with a natural grace. she helped me sign on for another book with a larger publisher. Keep Moving On Most of us who are especially creative grow and develop without end. giving up one garden at a time as I wrote more and more. following old “shoulds” – you should help other people and do good deeds – instead of paying attention to what I really wanted. did I really want to spend my days grooming myself to the nines. We’re just like a tree putting out new branches and growing taller – all we have to do is listen to the inner core. and a strong inner voice is urging me on. Later on I completed a master’s in social work. Now I long to write more personal pieces about interesting personalities. but the effort will pay off and one thing will lead to another. and thrive on change. Sometimes I even felt sorry for myself digging in the dirt while I watched them leave for appointments in Armani suits. following through. For example. and our energy looks for new expression. My response was an immediate “Yes!” In truth. This is not without effort. and managing three households and staffs of ©www. and unfold leaf by leaf. I was too naive to notice that the advance was low and the deadline short. Once I quit and followed my heart by pursuing my love for growing plants. But when I asked myself. art and music – so I decided I would have to be practical and aim to work in a lab. a small New York publisher asked me to write a garden design book in six months. work became joyful. Our natural talents are easiest to develop. More will follow.

Whether it’s time or money. each possession requires tending. the answer was “NO!” I like my casual clothes. time to create. Your life will become simpler and more satisfying.ChangingCourse. and time to spend with those I love are at the top of my list. For me. informal lifestyle and flexible time.com Finding Your Calling© helpers. Discover what it is for you and choose what you love.com 2002 Page 11 .ChangingCourse. I learned by watching that even though it might be nice to have three homes and a vehicle for every purpose. there’s a price for everything and we make choices about what’s of greatest value. ©www. time to garden.

Your life purpose then becomes the context ©www.com Finding Your Calling© Discovering Your Life’s Purpose Bradford Swift 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. “I lost my car keys down there and I’m trying to find them.ChangingCourse. When people first start working with me as their life purpose coach. Well. But again. “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. it’s really a powerful treasure to be able to choose at any given moment what our life can become. not within waiting to be discovered. why are you looking for them here under the street lamp?” “Oh. but waiting to be created. When they asked him what he was doing. And the gift of choice extends to our having the freedom to choose our life purpose. it may be cheating in most schools but not in the school of life. In other words. Most people reply that it’s something one is meant to do in their life that gives them a sense of meaning and fulfillment.” His two friends looked at each other’s confused expressions before one of them asked. because that’s not where it is. perhaps much of our life. if you’ve yearned to know the answers. not even wrong. Sure.com 2002 Page 12 . necessarily. What if your life purpose isn’t what you’re meant to do but instead it’s who you are.” Joe replied. Not a bad reply. invent answers? Isn’t that cheating? Well. sometimes there are so many choices. it’s not necessary to spend one or more lifetimes in the “search mode. It’s within each of us.” trying to discover our life purpose out there somewhere in the world. there’s a different way to view a life purpose that gets more to the heart of the matter. the lighting is much better here. but when you consider the alternatives. One of the greatest gifts given to each of us is the gift of choice. because we can create them instead? Another common error that can keep people stuck not knowing their life purpose is asking the wrong question. not to discover them. What. the gift may feel like the boobie prize. What if we didn’t even need to worry about looking for the keys to our life. However. I ask them. but to invent them.ChangingCourse. he paused from his task long enough to point down the dark alley. as in the values and vision you stand for? And it’s this sense of “whoyou-are” that then shapes what you do. Two of Joe’s friends found him one night under the street lamp on the corner on his hands and knees. “If you lost your keys down in the alley. this is your year. Searching for our life purpose out in the world is like the old joke about Joe.

excited. Prime Your Passion Pump Clarifying your life purpose is a team effort between the rational mind and the intuitive mind or inner guidance system. Go through your notes with different color markers and circle repetitive words. 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. What do you love to do? Look at times in your life when you were most alive. 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.com Finding Your Calling© for your life or the container into which to pour your life.ChangingCourse. but the year to create it with the help of your inner guidance system. family members. you are no longer limited by the careers or roles you play in life. declare this as your year. in love with life. Not the year of discovering your life purpose. or ideas.” 1. energy. After collecting the “data. What kind of people do you love being around? Answer this both specifically.” it’s time to find the common thread or threads that will point you towards your life purpose. as in the specific people you love to be with. as in the types of people you enjoy. and then write some more. he feels his life is over because he has no sense of purpose. The following exercise will get you started. He had misidentified his career as his reason for living. rather than realizing it was only one way in which to express his life purpose. What values are most important to you? It’s important to distinguish between the values that you think you should feel are important. despite having many good years ahead of him. Now. So. and the ones you choose of your own free will. When you view your life purpose in this way. and in general. talk with others about them. what would you do with your life and who would you be? 4. 3. friends or fictitious characters.ChangingCourse. phrases. 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. or a set of values. Now. time. if you yearn to know your life purpose. If money. What were you doing during those moments? 2. begin to ©www. Write your responses to these questions. people from history.com 2002 Page 13 . or what they are up to in life? 5. What is it about these people that you admire? Is it a way of being. Who do you greatly admire? They may be celebrities.

taking a long walk. run or drive. in possibility. shape it to fit these criteria. Pick your favorite way to access your inner guidance. or setting your attention to dream your life purpose. It: Inspires and turns you on...com Finding Your Calling© create a “rough draft” purpose statement. Then. It’s not about what you’ll be doing. You aren’t stuck with any life purpose. Keep it short. Then complete this sentence four or five times with some free writing: For me. From these free flowing sentences compile one that inspires you. to add even more power. It may be meditating. or rewritten. Is stated as a vision or values you stand for. Read through your journal material one last time. There’s power in brevity. whatever you create today can be changed.ChangingCourse. a life on purpose is a life of. Isn’t just about you but includes you.ChangingCourse. then seek guidance from within. Is based in pure possibility. erased.com 2002 Page 14 . there’s nothing wrong. Isn’t about fixing anything because. Remember. ©www. prayer.

I’ll tell you one thing about who you were then. We confer the honorific title “genius” only on those very rare people who we believe were born with a mysterious something extra: great brilliance. The ©www. Born overflowing with music. incredible determination – and see whether you had them when you were two years old. Big “G” genius. but that’s because it’s always difficult to remember things we don’t have words for. is – you were born with your own unique kind of genius.you name it. Or so the standard reasoning goes. And I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. as opposed to the artistic or musical kind. original vision. or a dozen other kinds of vision we have or haven’t discovered yet: political.ChangingCourse. emotional. incredible determination. But even if we could. but I’m serious.Q. 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. Your Original Genius Now you’re probably laughing. OK. very reliably after all. You were a genius. like Albert Einstein.Q. it only measures one very narrow range of knowing and doing. not you and I. Not genius with a small ‘g’ as opposed to Albert Einstein. “Great brilliance” is a little hard to define.ChangingCourse. You may not remember. humanitarian. says Picasso was “drawing like an angel in the crib.” Those are geniuses. I don’t care what you’ve accomplished in your life or what your I. And we believe that “something extra” cannot help but express itself with such force that it overpowers the most difficult circumstances. So we’d better call “great brilliance” a special case of “original vision”: intellectual vision. Look at Mozart.com Finding Your Calling© Finding Hidden Talents: Barbara Sher 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. the sculptor Louise Nevelson.. Look at Picasso – another genius. let’s take the three characteristics I named as defining genius – great brilliance. You had original vision when you were two years old.. original vision. athletic. We’ve found out now that we can’t test I.com 2002 Page 15 .

they didn’t ask you. and loving things. feeling.” you had a marvelous freedom to be who you were. “Can I get it? Do I deserve it? Will I make a fool of myself? Am I procrastinating again?” You thought. or draw. “Do you want to learn how to spell. But schools are not designed to learn from you. So you had that: original vision. You were very busy when you were two.ChangingCourse. If it was important to you to talk to your best friend. If you saw a cookie on the table. And if you found the words for it. you crawled.ChangingCourse. And you cried. You climbed. seen for the first time. You’re completely focused on the thing you’re after. And you went after it without the slightest hesitation or self-doubt. You’d just had five years of solid experiences – seeing things. All they saw was a blank board that they were going to fill up with everything worth knowing. and opinions were of zero value. but we all had it once. “rare” and “special” qualities we think distinguish geniuses from all the rest of us? You had them. Those. hating. you piled boxes up on the floor. You’re not even aware of yourself. as a physicist friend of mine told me. Notice that you don’t need “self-confidence” when you’re like that. You also had “incredible determination. doing original research into the nature of the universe. if not even sooner. By the time you were five or six. You were not only reinventing the English language for your own purposes. you were. and they were doing multiplication tables. A new way of seeing the world that was all your own. you got punished. Inadvertently. usually no one could understand them! If you’ve ever listened to a very small child – if you’re a mother. for instance – you know that they say some pretty strange and amazing things. And it didn’t stop you in the least from going right for the next wonderful thing you saw. The word has no meaning. If you didn’t get it. they probably gave the impression that your knowledge. Where did they go? As long as you were too young to listen to reason or to be trained to do anything “useful. when you were two. you wheedled. you didn’t think. or daydream.com 2002 Page 16 . As soon as you were old enough to control yourself and sit still in school. That is because they are trying to tell us what the world looks like. I had them. You had it. knowing things. 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. they cancelled the whole rich inner world you had brought in with you. If you happened to know how to talk to plants and plants talked back to you. or did you have something else in ©www. the precious right to make choices based on your own wishes began to be taken away. and you did everything you could think of to get that cookie. they are designed to teach you. 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. You have probably forgotten what it was like to walk into the first grade. Cookie. took a nap. and changed the subject. Just by ignoring who you were. the honeymoon was over. you made a fuss.com Finding Your Calling© fact is. tastes.” You knew perfectly well what you loved and what you wanted.

com Finding Your Calling© mind?” They said. and see how much you can remember that might point to your own special kind of genius.. and the kinds of lives that are works of art almost always have their roots in childhood. So let’s go back and try to get a look at the genius you were. you forgot it.” And the sculptor Louise Nevelson. You developed amnesia about it. “You aren’t singing the melody. Instead. “What are you good at?” you could easily say. ©www. or if you were going to be a movie star or ice skate to Eskimo land. And so. you understood very quickly that that didn’t count for much. great works of art. Ask any famous woman or man.As a young child I could go into a room and remember everything I saw. remembers. in her memoir Dawns & Dusks. A Redbook magazine article about singer Linda Ronstadt says her first memory is of saying to her parents.ChangingCourse. and went on painting daily. “Well.” If you talked to plants.” meaning “Nothing that anyone would consider important.” She was four years old and singing with them one evening when she began to harmonize. I can remember all their names.. Albert Einstein was playing. I felt like an artist. “From earliest. “Get away from the plants and let’s see how fast you can learn the alphabet. or if you talked to dogs. wondering child in themselves to sleep.ChangingCourse. earliest childhood I knew I was going to be an artist. 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. they devoted their lives to equipping that child with the tools and skills it needed to do its playing on an adult level.” She said. It’s true that original achievements. That’s a visual mind. 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. We’re going to go to work to reestablish that continuity for you. So I’d like you to think back to your childhood. “Play me some music. 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. a palm tree or a rose. The first thing you will need to do is reawaken those child qualities in yourself.” Or you might say. Her father said. “Nothing. “I love plants. I’m good at math. I drew in childhood.” It would never occur to you to say. or if you made sculptures out of mud.” 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.” or “I can type. I’d take one glance and know everything I saw.” All the people we call “geniuses” are men and women who somehow escaped having to put that curious. and I think I understand what makes them happy. you know. Now if you walked out into the world and somebody asked.com 2002 Page 17 . like the genes in a seed that say its going to become a tomato plant. “I know. 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. little by little.

or daydream about. Now. 44: “I loved color. on a fresh sheet of paper. new. Let’s call it your original self. or did you enjoy them all equally? What did you love to do. but I never realized my first five years were so good.com Finding Your Calling© Or. This exercise was very emotional for me. Since then it’s been downhill.” Bill. 29: “This will sound ridiculous.’ It has a ©www.” Here are some other answers: Ellen. I used to stand and stare up at them and put my arms around their trunks. 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. lofty balsams/Comes the beer refreshing. but there was a commercial on TV in the Midwest for a beer called Hamms that was made in Minnesota. 32. hearing. I know I was drawing from the time I was old enough to clutch a crayon. Nobody could eat their dinner. And I mean that in both senses of the word “original”: “there from the beginning” and “unique.com 2002 Page 18 .ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. I’ve had a lot of therapy.” John. I’ve got an even better name for it.” Anna. since that word still sounds presumptuous to our ears. the pages of books and the wall next to my bed with brightly colored scribbles. special times when you were allowed to play or daydream or do whatever you wanted to do. never seen in the world before. 54: “I remember I had this thing about trees. answered this question very poignantly: “I actually went back to what I’d experienced in the first five years of my life. I think I knew what it felt like to be one.” Exercise Your Original Self Let your mind wander back through your childhood memories – especially the private. I covered sheets of paper. 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. 35: “I was nutty about rhythm. I was always patting out private little riffs on the dinner table. try to answer these questions: What especially attracted and fascinated you when you were a child? What sense – sight. touch – did you live most through.

the kind of imagination it takes to be a writer or film director or an editor-in. Bill is a lawyer. Anna is an editorial secretary in a publishing house. and still has.ChangingCourse. Well. John is a skilled machinist. a forester. 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. Ellen’s youngest daughter just left for college.. a gardener. She had.ChangingCourse. She could have been – and still could be – a botanist.com Finding Your Calling© haunting sound and Indian tom-toms and they showed a lake sparkling in the moonlight.com 2002 Page 19 . congratulations.” If you didn’t have a goal when you started out. like his father.. but he could have been – and still could be – a fine jazz drummer or dancer. and Ellen is looking for a career. a painter. What was your answer? What does it tell you about what you want and what you could be good at? ©www. He doesn’t know much about music. but you have just taken your first step toward choosing one.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.chief. You may not believe it. or even a psychotherapist.

The career part of things is just that. After all. So. The biggest thing keeping me from leaving wasn’t money – although that was definitely in the mix. “you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Instead I encourage them to think long and hard about what they want their LIFE to look like.” here are five ways to get help you figure it out! 1. “When you love what you do. What I did have though. I knew. was a pretty good idea of the kind of LIFE I’d love. don’t confuse making a living with making a life. and Creating the Life You Really Want. that I wanted to work for myself. They start by trying to figure out the work part of the work/life equation first. that I wanted to work at home. I spent eight years working in an unfulfilling corporate job with a 90-mile-a-day commute. Before I will even talk about careers with a client. another life and career changing eBook from Changing Course. that I wanted to go to bed and wake up when I wanted. you will automatically eliminate many potential career missteps.ChangingCourse. Write down your answers to the question: “What do I want my life to look like?” ©www.com 2002 Page 20 . Far more important was the fact that I didn’t have a clue as to my ideal type of work. It worked! Here I am seven years and here I am living that very life! By clarifying your ideal life first. for example. and that I wanted to have the flexibility to work from a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire or on a tropical island. 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. I decided to start with what I knew – not what I didn’t know. Making Money Doing What You Love.” says author Harvey McKay. So. Not Your Work.com Finding Your Calling© 5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling Valerie Young This article was adapted from There’s Got to Be More to Life Than This! 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World.ChangingCourse. a part.com. take out a piece of paper and find a quiet spot. Too many people make the same mistake I almost did.” If you aren’t really sure what you want to be “when you grow up. I tell them to backburner the work part. Start With Your Life.

The kids love something else. When John was cut from the minor league Orioles team he could have easily found a high paying job. good nutrition.ChangingCourse. don’t get hung up on the fact that you haven’t yet mastered the necessary skills. 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. if you lack certain skills or abilities. you've got a far better shot at success. Think Effort.com Finding Your Calling© 2. think effort! I’d like to introduce you to a guy who’s living his dream – John McCarthy.” His campers learn that. “The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you are happy – not excited. practice is the key. the renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell said. Today John runs a hugely successful baseball camp for boys and girls in Washington. and the virtues of hard work. The way to make up for most deficits is to apply yourself.” What Campbell is telling us is we must pay attention to the clues that lie within you.” Why is McCarthy’s message so important to tuning into your calling? Well. remembering to thank others. 3. Not Skills.C. Whether it is writing. That’s because the parents love the fact that along with teaching the skills and strategy of baseball. Instead of thinking skills. “effort is the great equalizer. but deeply happy. Instead he looked for a way to pursue his two passions – baseball and working with kids. He’s also someone who very much understands this all-important distinction between effort and skill. John and the other coaches also mix in lessons about such things as responsibility. not just thrilled. speaking. D. But aptitude and even previous experience reveal little about what you would be truly happy doing. And conversely. Once you do figure out your calling.ChangingCourse. Take a class. In an interview with Bill Moyer. 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.com 2002 Page 21 . For a long time John’s work was purely volunteer. Work with someone else who balances your skill sets. cooking or computer programming. Tune In Then Listen Up. reading. but have the drive. John and his coaching staff constantly remind the kids that each of them has different skills and abilities. as McCarthy puts it. “Talent is what you have. just as with the game of baseball. Skills assessment tools are great for telling you what you can do. Today his camp has a long waiting list. effort is what you give. But.

archeologist. Do the People Around You Know Something You Don’t? Yes! Oftentimes other people – friends. Don’t just think of the obvious ones like good looks or humor. You’ll find out what to put on the right side soon enough. “No. 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.com 2002 Page 22 . attractive home furnishings. For now. you tell it. Even when it’s their story. Antiques Monthly. Visitors to Susan’s house were forever complimenting her knack for transforming scavenged furniture. When I finally “got it. or music critic is not for you. You will probably find that when it comes to seeing your gifts. or your sense of style. or your sense of adventure. see if anything gets sparked when you read National Geographic. astronomy. you tell it so much better than I do. get out a piece of paper and make two columns. others often know you better than you know yourself! ©www. 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. or your ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. look around.ChangingCourse. or your knack at solving puzzles. antique dealer. they’ll say. or your homemade tomato sauce. If you usually stick to news or sports publications. It could be that you are a good listener. If you come to one of my presentations you’ll hear me teach by using lots of stories and anecdotes. Now it’s your turn. astronomer. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of the kinds of things other people compliment you on.” I put my ability to use as a professional speaker.” I hadn’t thought much about my gift for storytelling until my friends made me aware of it. Susan paid attention and now her passion has evolved into an enjoyable way to earn money. Some even asked if they could buy her handiwork. Discovering what you love to do also requires you opening your mind to the outside world.ChangingCourse. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.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. family. Take my friend Susan. My friends seem to think I tell a good story. or creative writing. even total strangers – see your gifts long before you do. Take classes on bookbinding. Things I love to do. or Down Beat. or your way of working with animals. coworkers. and fabric into creative. Even if what you discover is that being a bookbinder. Label the left side.

And being overly envious of people who have money. There are times when. In the spring and fall she teaches pottery classes at a local college two days a week. Linda has thrown pots in her well-lit basement 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. raise chickens for the eggs. Get out a piece of paper and write down anyone and everyone whose work or lifestyle you envy. she doesn’t own a computer. Waino Tueminin live in one of the rural “hill towns” as they are known here in western Massachusetts. When I was making the 90-mile-a-day commute to my corporate job. 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. 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. like everyone else.com Finding Your Calling© 4. have a huge vegetable garden. At least it was for me. Once again. In many ways. Linda feels pressured by the seasonal demands for her work. how can you get more of what they have into your life? ©www. In the summer she runs classes for kids in her studio. Ever since I've known her. Linda was working from home fifteen years before it became a trend. 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. Linda isn’t the least bit interested in selling her pottery over the Web. They belong to a local food coop. it’s your turn.ChangingCourse. rows and rows of raspberry bushes. fame. Yet she also is very intentional about keeping both her life and her business simple. the person I envied most was a friend and potter named Linda Siska. Whom Do You Envy? Another way to tap into your true desires is to think about whom you envy. In fact. Come to think of it.ChangingCourse. Linda lives by two mottos: “Small is beautiful. Be sure to note what it is about what this person has that speaks to your true desires. Linda and her partner of 20 years.com 2002 Page 23 . 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. I’m not talking about jealousy.” and “Slow is beautiful”! What most appealed to me back then was that Linda’s life and work was centered largely around the home. and a peaceful view from the deck of their simple but comfortable home. or physical beauty is neither healthy nor a good use of time and energy.

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 write about birds. and ways I could get paid to do it.” This is where you put on your creative thinking cap. he believes that “money will come when you are doing the right thing.” In her book..” Using the forward motion of a steam engine as an analogy.ChangingCourse. You could have a radio show about birds. How could you get paid to share what you know about birds with others. You could make t-shirts featuring birds. create products about birds. 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. 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. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! ©www. You could organize local bird watching contests around the country. Making a Living Without a Job. Brainstorm Ways To Make Money Doing What You Love. or both. You could consult about birds. Phillips explains that. You could create a CD of bird songs. it comes from the interaction of fire (passion) and water (persistence) brought together in the right circumstance.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 24 . or provide a service related to your passion for birds? For example: You could teach others about birds. You could paint pictures of birds. You could photograph birds.com Finding Your Calling© 5. You could open a bird-sitting business. Why? Because. Okay. As a boy VanderPluym loved to make sand castles. on-line. the engine. You could open a bird store – locally. “Money is like steam. Guess what he does for a living now? He runs a company that travels the globe making elaborate sand sculptures for special events. Now I want you to label the right column: “. You could design a new line of bird toys or houses. Barbara Winters tells the story of Todd VanderPluym. I’m going to let you break the Changing Course Money Rule for just a minute to answer the question..

Turn on your answering machine. on the second write “Love to Have”.ChangingCourse. Sitting quietly for several minutes every day. Rent the video and watch how passion plays an important role in Salvatore’s life. Although the main theme of this film is friendship. If you’ve never given much thought to this. If you have this outlook. etc. have and be. You have higher self-esteem. that you might like to incorporate into your ideal way of making a living. qualities. and a greater ability to enjoy. who falls in love with the movies as a child and nurtures that love throughout life. “There is an unconscious reasoning that if we allow ourselves to have pleasure. go to a place where you can be alone and comfortable. Salvatore. which can ultimately result in more clarity. Following is a checklist that encourages you to stretch your imagination a bit.ChangingCourse. is delightful. How can this help? “Ultimately. frivolous. Write as much as you can and don’t edit out any thoughts. Give yourself some uninterrupted time. you may find yourself checking items that seem to ©www. Add to your list every time another pleasurable idea or experience comes along. Read through the checklist and. such as stress reduction. you may have a hard time coming up with 300 wonderful things on your first try. select every item that appeals to you. you automatically think more of yourself. without thinking too much about it. turn off your television.” Number each sheet from 1 to 100 and list every single thing you can think of that you currently love to do. At the top of the first sheet write. Many people find meditation a useful technique for tapping into buried dreams. an increased ability to feel pleasure will make our inner selves stronger.. Yes. relaxing the body.com Finding Your Calling© Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion Barbara Winter A wonderful film which demonstrates how a childhood passion can lead to adult happiness is Cinema Paradiso. Meditation has other benefits. or out of reach. On the list you will find a number of activities. a better outlook on life. even the ones that seem silly.com 2002 Page 25 . can lead to brave new insights. and clearing the mind.” That’s a lot of benefit from a simple exercise.” writes Julius Fast in The Pleasure Book. the story of the little Italian boy. that we have more value as a person. “Love to Do”. Bring along three or more sheets of paper and your favorite pen. on the third write “Love to Be.

com 2002 Page 26 .com Finding Your Calling© contradict one another.ChangingCourse. ____ 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 ©www.ChangingCourse. It’s another method of tapping into your reservoir of passion. There are no right or wrong answers to this and no scientific interpretation for the exercise. That’s perfectly okay.

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. 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 2002 Page 27 .ChangingCourse.

com 2002 Page 28 .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 ©www.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse.

” I developed some exercises to help people claim with pride their valuable differences from their tribe. a college professor. “Being born in a duck yard does not matter. members of the famous trapeze act The Flying Wallendas. But many of us are not so lucky. But sooner or later every one of us has to find our own values. “if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg. she liked acting.com Finding Your Calling© Family Career Clashes: Barbara Sher “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. you will remember. In no other way can we discover the life that’s really right for us.com 2002 Page 29 . to cover our ears and stop listening to family instructions and start listening only to ourselves.” 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. maybe the stork got his delivery orders crossed. He was raised by ducks. a family of judges and lawyers can have a child who is a gifted actor. That’s why a family of singers can have a child who loves farming. Hans Christian Anderson knew all about this problem. ©www. But heredity is just as strong as environment in determining who you are. Jane Fonda was lucky. was raised by bar owners. like a chest of buried treasures. Every human being is carrying genes from unknown ancestors. and he wrote about it in his famous story about the ugly duckling. The Wallenda children. was neither a duckling nor ugly. cosmic or clerical. The first of these exercises is to stage a debate. And as in the fairy tale. which. Whatever reason. just as Marnie.” Anderson concludes. this little swan’s family thought she was a very peculiar kind of duck. many people feel like they were born into the wrong tribe. These values have been instilled in us since infancy and seem secured with the unbreakable bonds of love.ChangingCourse. It happens all the time.ChangingCourse. Rejecting the values of your family – your tribe – is one of the most difficult things a person can do. liked to fly.

the debate team that represented her family.com 2002 Page 30 .” Got the picture? Remember. you set off a debate in your mind between two skilled and ruthless teams of debaters. a woman in one of my workshops. The debate in her head was unending. like smiling and frowning faces. this is a debate. When I went to Alaska with Earthwatch. 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.” The other column is for voices of conformity. and before she was even finished writing. everyone was impressed with my work. Divide a piece of paper into two columns. Even if you didn’t win the debate. the tribal voice. and defending. or even consider leaving your tribe. I want you to make those debaters in your head go on record. If you’re in a tribal conflict. Belinda. This should not be hard. It came to her immediately. Write it down in the personal column and wait a moment. you’ve made one enormous change: You have sorted out your voice from your tribal voice. your tribal voice cannot remain silent when provoked by a strong personal statement. In one column I want you to record assertions of the personal voice. so label this column “Personal. the “personal voice. Their arguments contain important information for you and you need to get it onto paper where you can take a good look at it. If you’re like Marnie. they will never again have the same power over you.ChangingCourse. each of which claims to represent you. That doesn’t prove anything!” She started to record this statement in the tribal column.ChangingCourse. loud and clear: “Big deal.com Finding Your Calling© Exercise 1: The Great Debate Whenever you leave your tribe. the team on the other side. so keep those rebuttals coming – tribal and personal alternating until both columns are full. When she tried to give up academia. After you’ve completed this first exercise and you’ve given those tribal voices a good battle. This awareness means you have already taken a big step toward defining. her personal voice answered: “You’re not impressed? That doesn’t prove anything? You’re wrong! The Earthwatch scientists are world famous. One surefire way to start an argument in your head is to make a strong positive statement about yourself and your heart’s desire. ©www.” Belinda didn’t have to wait for a negative. what I call the “tribal voice. tribal response. and should be labeled “Tribal.” told her she would be wasting her life to walk away from her beloved school.” immediately began to shout her down. They’re impressed. Marnie wrote “The Battle for My Dream” on top of her paper.” You can decorate the columns with appropriate signs. who you really are. and I know I’ll be good at it. Here’s how to do it. Now all you have to do is start the debate. When Marnie decided to become a college professor. We’re not impressed.

get Stephen Hawking in there. In this version of the ideal family.” ©www.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 next exercise is designed to help you invent a new personal history for yourself. I want you to walk through it and see how it makes you feel. Augustine over breakfast and debated issues of epistemology at bedtime. And I don’t believe for a moment that you can or should replace your real history with a fantasy. Marnie would have found it easy to live like a true member of her tribe. Write out what your family says about your wishes. Bill. She says. Version 1: The famous family. if they were sad. painters or paleontologists. “Okay. What’s the purpose of creating such a fantasy? Certainly not to make you bitter about what you didn’t have. make sure they have the deepest respect for your goal. a high school teacher: My mother isn’t at all worried. I’m just out of college and I’ve just announced that I want to visit the Himalayas instead of looking for a job. acting is it. historical or fictitious – who are completely knowledgeable in the area of your dream. instead of exploding. I have a much more important purpose. Here’s how two people imagined such a scene: Joe. The problem is. Create a family full of people – real or imaginary. a student in graduate school: We’re at dinner. you still do not know much about being a swan. is interested in everything I say. and for you. you start with your real family and totally reverse their negative attitudes.ChangingCourse. Version 2: The psychological makeover. 29. My dad. you’ll change the way you feel about yourself. You can’t change the past. make them happy. Maybe we could think up some kind of work that would help you pay your rent without cutting into your acting.ChangingCourse. If they were angry. With such a childhood. make them brave – and if they were critical. He listens intently and even says he might like to go to the Himalayas sometime himself. in your imagination. Had Marnie grown up in a family of scholars she would have begun leading the life of the mind while still in her crib. Take some time to imagine each member of your family energetically encouraging you. You’re at dinner. you are a swan who grew up in a duck pond. And once you’ve imagined a different past for yourself. I want you to experience the best support situation you’re capable of imagining. you’ll be ready for a different kind of present – and future. make them supportive. McCauley Culkin for your little brother? You might pick filmmakers. Her family would have discussed St. imagine them as patient and kind. Whoever you choose. if they were fearful. 23. Imagine you’re all sitting outside on a summer’s day. begin the fantasy. If you love physics. Because once you allow yourself a glimpse of what your family life could have been. financiers or farmers. You like acting? Why not choose Sarah Bernhardt and Robert DeNiro as your parents. 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. He even tries to help me figure out how to make my dream practical. Books would have been stacked everywhere. You present your family with your current goal and get the most delightful response possible.com 2002 Page 31 . All right.

It’s time to find the people who will have no trouble accepting your dream – real. Unlike version one. You’ve stretched your experience to include what your family should have been. 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. No act of imagination can change that. and this is essential to you.com 2002 Page 32 . Of course. people who understand the part of you that baffled your 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.ChangingCourse. This is an important vision you have just had. you can go out and look for them. You need to feel affection for your family or you’ll be handicapped when you strike out on your own. available people who can help you do what you’re here to do.ChangingCourse. But with a clearer idea of who your ideal family could be. but seeing your family as they probably wish they could be will soften your feelings toward them. Instead of giving back your self. and neither did your parents for that matter. Only their difficult characteristics have changed. Like the exercise about the other ideal family this can be an emotional experience. ©www. Not only that. You’ve imagined two ideal families. these faces are familiar ones.com Finding Your Calling© Version two is a very different experience from version one. this exercise will start to heal some of the hurt your family has caused you. but it has different results. you did not have an ideal family.

But I don’t write just for me. 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. dependent. If you learn the answer to this question. Both writing and speaking activities I can get lost in.com Finding Your Calling© Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion Mike Bellah What is it that keeps midlifers from premature aging and unnecessary illness? What keeps us from becoming sour. fearful. disparaging. Sheehy quotes a 50-year-old grandmother who adds. The question is. A life passion should also transcend mere personal pleasure. or mountain climbing.ChangingCourse. but my passion in life is to bring hope to people. It should make the world a better place.com 2002 Page 33 . So reflect and experiment. I love communication. and isolated? “A midlife passion. “why do we create music or climb mountains?” Herein lies our true passion. Probably it’s because I have always struggled with disappointment myself. Having spent the first half of life trying only to live up to the expectations of others – a parent. a musician might have the passion to inspire others by bringing beauty and joy into the world. you can pursue your passion even if you temporarily lose the ability or opportunity for your activity. especially those who feel most discouraged. and a cyclist might love the camaraderie of friends on the road. ©www.” “What activity do you do where time goes by without your even knowing it?” she asks. resentful. sarcastic. children. The Pleasure Test Sheehy calls it the “Time Flies Test. But a true passion is more than that. “Passion is allowing yourself to get lost in something.” says author Mildred Witkin. It should do something for others. too. playing music. a mountain climber might desire to motivate others to reach for their dreams. or boss – they have no idea what really gives them pleasure. Similarly.” 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.ChangingCourse. it transcends our activities. 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. spouse.

” This is probably the most practically helpful aspect of our passion. take time today to begin identifying it.ChangingCourse. Then. pursue it with a whole heart and experience a midlife robustness unknown to your youth.ChangingCourse. 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.com 2002 Page 34 . ©www. Identifying our midlife passion will help us make the big decisions facing us.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. 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.

unclouded by prejudgment or analysis. If you think that you actively make your decisions. embarrassment. But if you ©www. not the past. It’s not easy t• own up to being an automaton. we are so busy thinking. practical. Sorry. and necessary as the floor beneath you. there is no way to learn how. Their direct insight is on target. Designing the perfect career is like creating a painting that expresses you fully and completely. To begin to practice them. It just runs a program. most scientists firmly believe that animals don’t experience the more complex emotions. Whatever “decisions” it seems to make are no more than the automated processing of data through a set of rules built into the program. no set of step-by-step instructions.ChangingCourse. begin to practice them. Take your time. 1. obvious truths.ChangingCourse. they are as real. You just have to jump in and begin. This is your opportunity to have your life be exactly the way you want it to be. or a sense of humor. These seven keys unlock the door to transforming your ability to generate a new future that goes far beyond what has been previously possible. Even though they may seem like philosophical abstracts to some readers. start at the beginning with a blank canvas. Rather than add dabs of paint to something you painted years ago. Consider everything very carefully before including it in the final picture. you might take a little peek at just how much free choice is actually expressed in the decisions you make. But every child with a dog or cat knows better. categorizing. 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. If it is important to you to have a great career. Most of the time. They may have seen their pet experience joy. and comparing that we don’t pay attention to what is actually happening in and around us. For example. Create your future from the present. A computer doesn’t make choices. pride.com Finding Your Calling© Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path Nicholas Lore 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.com 2002 Page 35 . perhaps you are living in a dream world. We are so transfixed by the endless webs of words our minds spin that even great experts often miss simple.

you will have plenty of chances to decide what compromises you are willing to make. friends. Embrace “not knowing.” Imagine sitting on a rural hilltop at night.0 average doesn’t mean it is impossible to become a doctor. and a mortgage doesn’t mean you cannot be a wandering Taoist priest. two cars. It’s not easy to allow the light to remain a total mystery. they tell a story about a learned professor who hears about the wisdom of the local Zen master. I’m hallucinating. successes. automatically following this internal rule book works just fine. 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 goes to visit the master.ChangingCourse. 3. Think about it. but in regard to choosing one’s life’s work. It makes no sound and offers no clues to its origin. But don’t start off assuming you will have to make them. Our nature is to explain. You will be able to choose them consciously. Make a promise to yourself that you will determine your future as free as possible from the domination of your past. and points of view about how life works that we trust blindly and completely.com Finding Your Calling© want to truly think for yourself. That commitment is the key to creating new possibilities and extraordinary results may take you beyond the world you already know. Throw away your assumptions. Wouldn’t you rather be thought of as someone who knows than someone who doesn’t? In Japan. It’s something the government isn’t telling us about. Each of us has an unexamined collection of beliefs. It’s a saucer. even more often) we don’t. If you are like me. the professor explains at great length all he has ©www. or is your past going to keep doing it for you? 2. if any. you have to face up to the fact that sometimes (or. He becomes more and more curious until finally. failures. I know it’s difficult to throw anything away. opinions. rather than assuming there is no other possibility. Just because we can think doesn’t mean we usually do it. It’s a helicopter. Just because you are a middle manager with a wife. Just because you have a 2. to justify. Yes. We all tend to hold on to our pet notions about life the way some people save National Geographics in the attic. As they sit face to face. We think we know what we cannot do and what it would be like to do things we have never done.ChangingCourse. The bottom-line question is: Are you going to design your future. In the sky you notice a blinking light that slowly circles overhead. kids. As you go through this process. you may have to make some compromises along the way. We like quick answers because we are uncomfortable with uncertainty.com 2002 Page 36 . your mind immediately and automatically comes up with explanations about the source of the light. It takes a commitment to make your own choices as independent as possible from all the voices of your past: your memories. perhaps. and the media. We live by a rulebook we wrote but have never read. it pays to rewrite a few of the rules. You are mystified. Most of the time.

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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!

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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

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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?

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start with Part A. So much of our time is spent at work. If you can. And don’t forget to say who would be with you. where. and give yourself the gift of designing the world’s most perfect job. funniest. business partner. Antarctica. not a life. employee. for that matter. smartest. your own activities. Remember this is a job. or giving a speech to thousands of cheering people? Would you have a clipboard and be walking around your own factory. and some kind of remuneration. 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. and makes documentary films on winter vacation. or “right hand” helper – or competitor. The only limitation is this: It must be a job. and so little of that time seems ©www. Don’t limit yourself with reality or practicality. and your most desirable environment. so you need to imagine all the people you’d love to be working with – your boss. 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. Create your own hours. and with whom? What would you be doing all day? Would you be shouting through a bullhorn on a movie set. hiking or bargaining.ChangingCourse. Part A: The Job from Heaven Let your imagination run free. or a huge Kentucky farm where you’re breeding Arabian horses? You’ve had enough jobs that didn’t satisfy or please you. midtown Manhattan. from my book. You can decide that you want to be a cowhand during the week. Go to that secret comer of your brain where you are a femme-fatale star-quarterback mom. Remember to include those important categories: what. designing or building or ice-skating or saving somebody? Would you be singing bass in Boris Godunov. because this is Fantasy Time.ChangingCourse. It doesn’t matter which part you do first. hours to keep.com Finding Your Calling© How to Create the Ideal Job Barbara Sher This is a two-part exercise. you can run wild. who gets picked up each weekend by a helicopter and taken to a luxurious spa. it has to have tasks in it. coworker.com 2002 Page 40 . 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. or the rain-forest-saving gardener of the planet. I Could Do Anything If Only Knew What It Was. Now let yourself go. After that. That is.

where you’d be doing it. and I’m never allowed to read. Incidentally. where you spur each other on and get reminded of horrible details you may have left out. I have to live in the maid’s room of her high-rise apartment in the middle of a big city. forty-four. I’d do it!” “You don’t understand. 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. “I’m the baby-sitter for an incredibly rich. a lawyer for a corporation: “I want cameras and a first-rate crew and lots of money at my beck and call. If the devil himself took the time to design a job for you that was guaranteed to make you miserable. but everyone knows what he or she doesn't want. I’ve seen people make awful faces.) Part B: Creating a Negative Picture: The Job from Hell Don’t ask me why. I always get a kick out of their responses and I think you will too. I have to sit and watch soap operas all day. 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. I have to wear a chartreuse uniform with hideous glass and gold buttons.ChangingCourse. in detail. you might want to try this exercise for fun. what kind of job would that be? Remember to include what kind of activity you’d be doing. If I could. an ex-ballplayer said. spoiled. 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. “I never get that enthusiastic about anything. said. I have to do all the food and clothes shopping.” ©www. and game shows.” Bill. Put in everything you hate about every job you ever had or can imagine. (I hate clothes shopping. angry movie star. If you had trouble doing the Job from Heaven.ChangingCourse. “I can’t think of a great job. Here’s what came up in a group I recently ran: Louisa. whose Job from Heaven is to be a mail carrier.) The building staff is ice-cold and refuses to talk to me. even if you did the Job from Heaven very easily.” Chris a stagehand told me.com 2002 Page 41 .com Finding Your Calling© gratifying. I like to do this exercise in a group. Adrienne. I have no time to myself because she calls me at any time of the day or night. and with whom. Most groups I work with spill over with “Thank God It’s Friday”-type relief when they get to do this exercise. squinting and grimacing. There’s a horrible kind of glee that comes with doing this exercise. you probably will do just fine describing the Job from Hell.

If you said. an MBA currently driving a taxi. If you said that you’re commuting. and she could fire me at any time. like Louisa.” Juan.” What’s the purpose of all this silliness? It has a very important purpose.com 2002 Page 42 . do budgets. stubbornly refusing to cooperate with “pie in the sky” dreaming to have a small tantrum. an attack of negativity is very good for you any time you’re under pressure. I have to work with figures. Flipping the Negative If you were one of those people who couldn’t imagine a Job from Heaven. Now you have invented a perfect nightmare of a job. Find their exact opposites. I’d have to give speeches with slides about investment opportunities. I commute for four hours a day in traffic. There are no windows. and write down the exact reverse of it on a blank piece of paper. Lots of reports. I really love negativity. obscure philosopher. And I have to eat with her. Exactly. Every day forever and ever. the environment. the activities. 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. I’d have to do exactly what I’m doing. My boss is the owner’s son and he’s younger than I am and stupid and a real punk. change her to a wise. negatively creative. with no notice. “I work nine to five every day and get two weeks for vacation. that in your Job from Hell you’re working for a spoiled celebrity. And I have somewhere specific I want you to use them.ChangingCourse. said.” Get the idea? Then pick up your pencil. And write reports. That’s the Job from Hell. considerate. when she started again. change it to “I work out of my own home. Oh. Exercise: Job Rewrite. And her microwave doesn’t work so they’re always cold in the middle. and she only eats frozen dinners. or One Negative Makes a Positive Take your Job from Hell. this last exercise showed off your ability to be wildly. was about to speak. even the weather. Let me show you how: Take every detail of your Job from Hell – the hours. Now you’ll be able to relax and use your energies elsewhere. ©www.” Elliot said. “Oh. If you hate living in a high-rise apartment in the middle of a city. “I have my Job from Hell. like Louisa.com Finding Your Calling© She stopped and Elliott. a banker. the attitudes of coworkers.ChangingCourse. one week at a time so I can’t really go anywhere. 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. For one thing. and especially the feelings you’re having – and reverse them exactly. 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. It allows the side of you that is secretly. I can’t stand this.

ChangingCourse. “I live in a wonderful cottage in the countryside.” or whatever the opposite is to you.com Finding Your Calling© write. put yourself in the middle of London or Paris and go dancing or eat great food.ChangingCourse. If you hate typing and filing. you’ve created a picture that proves you know more about what you want than you ever realized. ©www. figure out what would be a wonderful contrast. Regardless of whether you started with a positive image or a negative one. 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. You’ve exposed what is most important to you. you’ve done much more than let off a little steam. by drawing up the negative and then printing it.com 2002 Page 43 .” If your Job from Hell has you isolated in a desert trailer court. “I work only six months a year. write. to see its opposite! There it is. If you’re like Elliot and to you Hell equals no time off. like a photograph. you now have a picture of a dream job.

she proceeded to breath new life into the dull. was perspiring profusely. As I made my way to the cabstand.ChangingCourse. Half kidding. It’s this spiritual component that makes right livelihood a sort of occupational “coming home. worn leather.” I was once again reminded of this distinction on a recent trip to Washington.ChangingCourse. whose I. of course. personal level. Grace easily drew me into a spirited dialogue on everything from the Internet.com Finding Your Calling© Finding Right Livelihood: A Lesson in Contrasts Neil Yeager There is more to working at one’s “right livelihood” than merely having a “good” (read high-paying) job. and speaks to them on a deep. A person arrives at right livelihood by finding a means of financial support that not only recognizes the value and importance of making money. I couldn’t help but smile at the gods for delivering the perfect right livelihood story – literally at my feet. With what can only be described as zeal. where I was to address a group of career development professionals on the topic of career satisfaction. drivers.C.com 2002 Page 44 . what matters to them.C. to film. When people find their right livelihood. Max grumbled something about the air conditioning being “on the fritz. the lousy potholes and. When she was done. It was an unusually hot April day. I thought. And that was in just the first five miles! ©www. a beaming Grace presented her handiwork to me with the pride of a true artisan. this will give me a chance to think of a good right livelihood example for my speech. but also acknowledges who the person is. D. I heard about the lousy D. In other words. Little did I know I was having my shoes shined by an engaging conversationalist named Grace. 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. to international politics. With time to spare. the lousy weather. I asked Grace if she saw any hope for my travel weary briefcase. they often experience a spiritual connection to their work. tag said was named Max. right livelihood is present when one’s work brings genuine satisfaction.D. and the cab driver. the lousy mechanics out to make a fast buck. I decided to treat myself to a professional shine. Besides.” before proceeding to launch into a litany of complaints. to local baseball trivia – all the while polishing my shoes with a single-minded determination and keen attention to detail.

Max was the first cabbie I’d ever seen consult a street map. Max wiped his brow and apologized sheepishly. I realized we were driving by the same landmarks we’d passed earlier.ChangingCourse. I explained.” Instead we must focus on the kinds of activities that satisfy and enliven our spirit. on the other hand. Grace. worse. This was no gouge-the-unwitting-out-of-towner scam.com Finding Your Calling© As we got closer to the city. While neither shining shoes nor driving a cab are high paying or high powered. the man had a job that left him utterly depleted. A perfect illustration of “wrong livelihood” in action.” Max tossed back by way of explanation. ©www. Arriving at the conference center just moments before my scheduled speech. 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. Staying attuned to what you like to do and what you are good at is the first step to finding your own right livelihood. Max. finding our own right livelihood requires us to suspend our assumptions about “good work” and “bad work.ChangingCourse. rewarding work. was not merely in an unsatisfying job calling for skills and temperament he obviously did not possess.com 2002 Page 45 . “Lousy sense of direction. seemed to derive genuine pleasure from making old things new again while conversing with travelers from all over the world. Her enthusiasm and pride had transformed a job that most people would consider mere toil into enjoyable.

our own foundation becomes dangerously weakened. Turn the notebook sideways and draw a horizontal line across the page. and the impact of their collapse reverberated throughout the area.com 2002 Page 46 . each unattended dream gradually. 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. giving little attention to assessing and nurturing our own roots. This is your Success Timeline. Despite an outer image of strength and beauty. Or. We can look up to check the direction in which we are growing. Many of us rush through life. like the added weight of the ice. And so it becomes clear that caring for the wellness of our souls is at the heart of caring for our bodies. What can we do that trees cannot? We can pause occasionally to assess our foundations and make adjustments. At the far left. imperceptibly brings us closer to the breaking point. But it didn’t. our own souls. Bring along a notebook or a journal and a pen that you like. Add notches for each of the times in your life when you felt happy and ©www. that we missed the chance to grow to our full and glorious height. each new compromise. mark a notch for when you were born.ChangingCourse. throws our lives out of balance without warning. Surveying the iceencased world outside my window gave me unexpected time to reflect and to observe an important life lesson. with weakness at their core and branches under-supported. and our careers. And. That’s because. Here is one simple way you can start this process for yourself: Set aside some quiet time. We risk reaching the end of our lives only to realize that our growth has been stunted by this undernourished core. thousands of trees buckled under the weight of this sparkling ice. we can ask ourselves a few all-important questions.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© Wellness Begins Within: Living the Theory Susan Holliday One day last winter I found myself housebound by an ice storm. such as a job loss. our families. We can shake our limbs and remove or rearrange our burdens. The icy rain might have come and gone with little notice. sudden and unexpected pressure. Create a peaceful atmosphere in whatever way feels right for you.

this theory of wellness was put to the test in my own life. interviewing people in the field of life and career counseling. take a mental step back from the page. decided to join us. Our efforts intensified and took form in early 1997. This would be my passion. the wishful thinking crystallized.ChangingCourse. dig deep. But then. From here. 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. taking classes. And so I began my own life transition. or the time you taught your child to read? Think carefully. I thought. How about when you pulled the newsletter together with no budget. It grew over the years to include working with corporations. informed decisions as well as manageable plans to achieve their dreams. A place enabling people to make sensible.C. My new career was launched with a part-time contract facilitating government Transition Assistance workshops. About this time my daughter Michelle. government and military agencies and thousands of individuals hoping to make changes in their lives. I had not only made the transition to a new career – I excelled in this new role. the Soularium was born! ©www. it seemed. these things could not be packaged together into one job.ChangingCourse. one lifestyle. usually walking on the beach considering my passions and my strengths. I began to retreat regularly in small ways. the rumblings of my discontent grew louder and louder over time. then a successful marketing executive with Coca Cola. D. It was. A place that would provide an atmosphere of quiet. I kept researching and jotting down ideas. Look for consistencies and similarities. where my daughter was attending college. When you’ve written as many as you can remember. I thought. I wanted to use my training skills and keen perception. at last. networking like mad. on one of my sunset strolls on the beach. Career counselor Carol Landry and I joined forces in 1996 to work toward this vision.com Finding Your Calling© successful.. Pause regularly to nurture your core. just wishful thinking. your soul. your foundation. Surely. I wanted to see the bigger picture in life. In what now seems like a previous life. positive guidance and encouragement. Never doubt that you have it in you to grow to a glorious height! Teacher as Student Some years ago. As happens with many people. I was a retail manager in Florida for a multi-billiondollar corporation. And before long. During these years I never forgot that vision on the beach.com 2002 Page 47 . It would be a center. and I wanted a more cosmopolitan setting. I wanted to help people more directly and more regularly. I was packing up my things and heading off to Washington. Wellness begins within. This was my mission. I was in my element. a place where men and women would come to explore their lives’ potentials and possibilities.

C. I am happy to report.ChangingCourse. I can see a pattern of small. Participants in the weekend workshops are transported to a simpler era at a lovely historic country estate in nearby Maryland. so am I. manageable steps leading toward my vision. D. we are able to provide wonderful temporary retreats. Just as a solarium provides a nourishing. a lavish yet cozy Victorian house with a walled garden offering a sanctuary from city life. Looking back. I can see that my vision is evolving in the right direction. The Washington.com 2002 Page 48 . fertile environment for plants. While the actual center I pictured that day on the beach is still in the imagining stage. sessions meet at The Mansion on O Street.com Finding Your Calling© The name came to us in a flash of inspiration. and. inspiration and sanctuary to empower people to realize their souls’ full potential. ©www. The Soularium provides a “possibility planning environment” including guidance. And. by continuing to practice the theory that wellness truly does begin within.ChangingCourse.

illuminating something I’d known deep down all along. Steve’s band. What the mostly young. 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. when he wasn’t performing with The Houndz. and all the other trials and tribulations of the baby boom generation. 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. 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. “My songs are about second loves. Among other things.ChangingCourse. and dedicated to a very specific audience.” Even after finally tuning into his heart’s desire.” Steve dubbed this new genre of music “baby-boomer rock. the panelists gave the audience a powerful dose of reality. Steve was absorbing everything he could about the music industry. Instead of contract offers. though. performs a combination of original music and covers. and in backyards. Steve learned that of all the demos and press kits ©www. he never looked back.ChangingCourse. is writing original pop rock music for. Over the last few years. That’s because Steve is pursuing a childhood dream of being a songwriter and member of a rock ‘n roll band. it was as if a light turned on. Not exactly the stuff my teenager step children listen to – but then. Although “all the signs were there.” and for the next two years he wrote songs at “a furious pace. mid-life dreams. you would never know he leads a double life.com Finding Your Calling© You Say You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star? Why Not! Valerie Young If you saw Steve Wyrostek at the office. on boats. Five days a week for the past 18 years. 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. about.com 2002 Page 49 . The Houndz. though. But still. Despite the late nights and the occasional drunk who insists on singing American Pie – a capella – Steve says performing is “a blast. “When I read these words. Steve says it took another two years to act on this dream. that’s the point.” What he loves even more. on the air.” 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. he and the four other “40 plus” members of the band have played in dives and at dinner-dances. hip. he says. in a recording studio or. though. Nights and weekends. Today. 35-to50 year olds. job disenchantment.” And. But once he took that first step. you’ll find Steve either on stage.

. 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. the phone rang. “It was one of many reminders. When The Houndz got our first bad review.” host of his own hour-long radio program: The Mid-Life Crisis Show airing on WJKL (94. you have a good product and a decent fan base – and your band hasn’t crumbled – maybe. Making it in this business. building a loyal following.” Then there was the day Steve arrived home from a long business trip tired. it suddenly hit him: if I have to do all that.000 releases in 1996 alone. “like a fool for even attempting such an ambitious venture.” To help get the word out in the greater Chicago area. but I’d been hit by a bolt of determination. Steve’s company. produced The Houndz debut CD 2nd Adulthood. The lucky few that do get signed can look forward to their CD joining a glut of others on the market. I’m happy to be living a thirty-year-old dream.ChangingCourse. To have rekindled and then actually pursued this passion is itself tremendously satisfying. Where There’s a Will.3). 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. that filled his dream with fire.com Finding Your Calling© record companies receive. As Steve sat listening to these experts.” ©www. Songs like Natural Born Renegade.” This year.” he says. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy. and humor cuts in at every corner with style and grace. the resources will be there.” As he walked in the door. they said. “If this part-time passion becomes my full-time job – great. he interviews guest experts on a variety of topics of interest to baby boomers. Interspersed with cuts from 2nd Adulthood. and then.8% get tossed. When I needed a fresh view.. making – meaning.. Steve recently debuted as “Steve Mayfield.ChangingCourse. make his own CD. paying for – your own CD. though. and I Am a Warrior are camp views of boomer life. and establishing a reputation as accomplished players who are willing to work like dogs. “I came to realize that resources are about more than just money.” Steve says. takes: performing regularly. Steve remains confident that all his hard work and determination will pay off. promoting the heck out of it. discouraged and feeling. 99. “that if I just stay true to my dream. the industry bigwigs will talk to you. If. “In the meantime. It was a newspaper reporter seeking an interview – the first of four he would give over the next two months. just maybe..” A bolt.com 2002 Page 50 . 26. maintaining your own mailing list. he says. pull out all the stops to get the word out about baby-boomer rock. my brother came on board as a partner. what would I need them for? In that instant he decided to form his own record company. my wife lifted me out of my self-pitying funk with just the right words. after all of this. Boomer Music & Records. The Businessman.

raising two teenagers when her marriage of 23 years came to a sudden and unexpected end. IL 60017. To order. 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. she started to compose music. Since August of 1998. forgotten and buried. She. The Houndz debut CD.99. The Promise should have been history.ChangingCourse. and how to use the Internet’s unprecedented power to market and promote your own music. To sample the CD. or to order online. call (877) 298-9953 or write to Dreamworthy Productions.com 2002 Page 51 . along with her children. Lorraine has successfully placed 13.net. Des Plaines.ChangingCourse. The 5th edition has been updated to address what the Internet revolution means to you. 2nd Adulthood. The Promise has been taken to every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Another Success Story After listening to the album The Promise most people would be flabbergasted to learn that Lorraine Doan was an ordinary homemaker.000 copies of her music in over 450 accounts throughout the US and Canada. And now. PO Box 1933. these are words to live by. had only begun taking piano lessons six years prior to the break up of her marriage. In addition. at the most devastating period of her life. independent recording label for promoting and marketing one or many titles. You can listen to and read more about ‘The Promise’ at www. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.com. This former elementary education teacher and homemaker demonstrates that personal and financial upheaval can be transformed into something of value and beauty. visit www.95) gives you step-by-step instructions on how to set up a small. is available for $13.” To Steve Wyrostek.houndz. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. Getting Started Want to jump start your own music career? How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording by Diane Sward Rapaport ($39. without the benefit of commercial advertisement or the backing of a major label.thepromise. ©www.com Finding Your Calling© George Elliot once wrote.

ABC came to see us at the Duplex in the Village for a television pilot and Saturday Night Live scouted us as well. I started a sketch comedy show in the Boston area called “The Act. I was contacted by a woman who needed assistance in raising money for a feature film being produced out of Hollywood. As long as I was billing each month my boss was happy. in turn.ChangingCourse. which enables me to pay the bills. but I found myself blaming my inability to make a living in the arts on my employers which. I didn’t want to be 75 years-old and saying. I felt it was time to really get serious. I was getting more and more obsessed with material things and feeling increasingly trapped by the proverbial “golden handcuffs. Some moving to Los Angeles. Soon we were doing shows in New York City as well. She thought my background in the financial world ©www.com 2002 Page 52 .com Finding Your Calling© Taking the Leap Bill Robertson For 13 years I worked in the financial district of Boston as a “headhunter” for a large financial institution. I can’t say I hated my job. were regulars at Cambridge’s Catch a Rising Star and played other clubs and local colleges in Massachusetts. After completing several off-the-wall shorts and receiving some notoriety. one to Chicago.” That’s when I decided to leave the financial institution to write a screenplay for a feature length film. I discussed with him my ultimate goal and he was extremely understanding.com. As I started to focus on my real dream. or shut up. making money seemed to be my main purpose in life.” Since I was responsible for my own production levels. the headhunting allowed me to work on my artistic endeavors on the side. A friend of mine was opening a job posting and resume service called BostonSearch. Ten years ago. Back then.ChangingCourse. 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. things started to happen almost immediately. I spent years bitching about other friends who had moved into writing and acting careers. He had worked with me when I was a headhunter and knew I could handle the resume research part of the business. It was hard to work the full-time jobs and keep the show on the path it deserved and so. So we decided to change the name to Heavily Medicated Faerie Tales. “I wish I had taken more chances when I was younger. I now work 20 hours a week for him as a consultant. I had been involved with the arts from early on but still somehow believed I wasn’t “successful” unless I was earning six figures. The time had finally come to either put up.” We traveled with an R & B band. led to a great deal of resentment. my cast started to disperse. Along the way. the group transformed itself so that our comedy became more “absurd” driven.

Last November. Now. more lucrative. the solution was to create a new strategy by flip- ©www. Give your life over to a “higher power. all this exploration led me to another. I’ve chosen that bumpy ride.com Finding Your Calling© would be helpful in identifying prospective investors. and prayer for guidance and strength to reach my dreams will give me a life second to none. And. I have to remind myself of this every day.ChangingCourse. I had to decide on what I wanted my life to be. We’re in the process of raising capital and hope to go into pre-production within the next few months. For me. The production firm was happy with my work and continued to send me scripts to read for potential other investors. First off. I had to believe I wasn’t going it alone. because that’s all we really have. but it worked for me. an issue of National Lampoon magazine hit the stands with my name as the Associate Editor. The mystery of life is what makes it all so interesting. or your family and friends.ChangingCourse. I had worked in a job that was paying the bills full-time and doing what I really liked. If we don’t appreciate the ride. As I started to work with her and the Production Company out of Los Angeles. I have truly come to believe that there’s no such thing as coincidences. Even though my original screenplay deal fell apart. this may not work for everyone.com 2002 Page 53 . They recently signed a four-picture deal for which I will receive a finder’s fee as well as an Associate Producer credit. I have had so many things happen once I decided to get honest with myself. meditation on my day. but at least I’m getting a chance to play. I need to walk through the fears on a daily basis. I guess what I am saying is that you are not alone. My faith in my Higher Power was instrumental in my being able to do this. You must live in the moment in order to make the move. My writing partner and I recently finished our script and have been approached by a local film producer. part-time. I have a great deal of work ahead of me but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. the destination will be meaningless. Know what you want and then figure out how to get it. If you worry too much about the future then you won’t be able to see the opportunities that are in front of you. The nice thing is. 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 was inundated with information regarding the film industry. My advice to other people looking to live their dream is this: Realize that working toward your dream is the real success.” That could be God. I had to change several old behaviors that had been holding me back. the energy of the universe. project. I have not fully reached my goals. I ended up connecting with a venture capital firm whom I then hooked up with the Los Angeles Production Company. Self-examination. I had to learn to live one day at a time. I realize that this is going to be a bumpy ride at times. It is a very scary thing to take that leap. This gave me experience I’d need to construct my own screenplay.

ChangingCourse. but what really made the difference was being able to turn my career into a consulting gig. you’ll probably need to have some type of income coming in while you are pursuing your dream.com 2002 Page 54 .” I decided to instead put my energy into moving full steam ahead on what really mattered.com Finding Your Calling© flopping the two. Everyone has his or her own version of “getting by. Instead of working full time trying to “keep up with the Jones’s.” The key is to believe that you deserve to have happiness in your life. ©www. Like me.ChangingCourse. I did save some money in the beginning.

which include writing. I left my fast track job to start my own company. 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.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. But. within a month of that shameful day in 1988 – shameful because of my selfpitying behavior. is also a state of mind. A mistake changed our lives. We were corporate burnout zombies. The journey to our present position. But we never lost ©www. “Here. Then in 1988. At 39 I was running two successful ventures employing 17 people and poised to enter the so-called millionaires club. though. Cynthia and I now know this financial disaster couldn’t have occurred at a more opportune time. I foolishly loaned a client-relative a great deal of my net worth. lapidary and rock sculpture.” the seasonal. which we assumed in 1994. From our present perspective. At the time. we realized a tremendous opportunity had presented itself.” as near as I can tell. 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. A former ad agency VP. performed after miserable commutes to our high-rise offices to work at high-paying jobs that led us nowhere near fulfillment. He absconded with it and I went broke – financially and emotionally. 20-year-old motor home. silversmithing. in fact. 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: James Welch How We Escaped Corporate America Adapted from There To Here. 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. 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. took two years of hard planning preceded by four years of aimless wandering in a 22-foot. 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.com 2002 Page 55 . After several months of useless self-pity. possessions and status – had locked us in careers as surely as any jail keeper would have locked us in a cell. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches “There” for my wife Cynthia and me was corporate jail – high pressure jobs.

not ostentatiously. We had been independent long enough. Mexico and Canada.000 feet high in the Smokey Mountains in a blizzard. earning enough money to survive. Only 70 miles from Boston and the office buildings that once confined us. more importantly.ChangingCourse. Only four months from Massachusetts. we had money in the bank. We enjoyed Ireland’s laid-back lifestyle. I had left the rat race for good and proved to myself once again that financial survival can be a very simple ©www. we’re right back into it again. we found ourselves 4. So after traveling and working our way through 42 states. in a place most people paid thousands of dollars simply to visit. The money soon flowed in. but after a year decided we wanted more from life and so returned to the opportunities the United States provides. though. she told me of her unhappiness. Cynthia was growing tired of my constant absence and the late nights I worked when I was home. Cynthia became pregnant and wanted our child born in Ireland. Within six months. we once again shared a life. having fun and spending a good deal more time with my family. reasoned. Between all the jobs I was making decent money. We owned two cars and lived in a beautiful condominium in a Boston suburb – once again the picture of middle-class success. waited tables and otherwise “moonlighted” in between running my own commercial cleaning business. the dream we shared – perhaps the most important ingredient of all. in the spring of 1992 we moved to Ireland. I made sandwiches in a delicatessen. A letter I carried from my mentor and friend. planned and made lists. I had no job to go to. to realize the successful trappings had a flip side – an ugly specter. and were once again working jobs that paid us well enough to live comfortably. We left all of this three years ago. The roads we traveled in reaching this point were as varied and rich as they were filled with blockades and dead-ends. her homeland and the place where all her relatives still lived. We immediately washed windows and cleaned restaurants in exchange for food. worked evenings caring for a municipal golf course. among others. I took a position selling insurance in Massachusetts and did so well that within two months was promoted to district manager. While overseas I carried foreign press credentials from The Boston Herald and wrote freelance for. today editor of The Village Voice.com 2002 Page 56 .com Finding Your Calling© sight of the freedom we sought. with but $20 to our name – the very nadir of our existence together. but we survived and. 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. The Times of London and The Boston Globe. “Jim. On a Friday night in October 1993.ChangingCourse. served to open doors to hotel jobs for both of us in the Smokies. had purchased a small house trailer in Florida’s Everglades Gulf Coast. the perspective we wanted. We did what we’ve always done in dire circumstances and in clover alike – we talked. Don Forst. we now enjoy a lifestyle that might as well be worlds away from our previous expectations and shattered dreams.

” she added. “Why not look for a small.ChangingCourse. would love to do what we’ve done. immediately!” His frustration is not unique. How did you come to wait on tables?” I gave him a brief version of our story. Our response is always the same. He responded without hesitation.” she responded.” he declared. Next. we immediately set about marketing the resort. “Then any old road will do. Last. any old place. You know the cleaning business and you know how to manage people. that same morning we drove to Cape Cod.000 would like to quit their jobs and “do something else” just as Cynthia and I did.com 2002 Page 57 . you must envision your new lifestyle – any way you wish it to be. Exciting and romantic as it may sound. If you want to get to any old place. No longer. “You seem educated and professional. The price to be paid for such things was far too high. “right now. While in Wonderland. then do what Cynthia and I did initially and set out without a plan. I would gladly trade places with you. Quite simply. ©www. “And. You already know marketing and advertising from your agency days. that goes into managing an upscale resort property. had an interview the next Friday and assumed the job the following Monday morning! Working initially out of our condo back in Boston. too. I take great joy in my wife and son.com Finding Your Calling© matter once ego is placed aside. “I earn $800. you must plan your path to get there. you must get your mind straight. You must have a clear picture of it in your mind. “Then do it. First. a neurosurgeon. I can’t help but think back to a conversation I had with a customer while waiting tables three years earlier. She wanted to get back into the hotel business. Who needed a title? Who needed to wear a jacket and tie? Who needed to manage? Not me. best of all. My research shows that 65% of 25-to 49-year-olds in this country earning more than $40. A few weeks later we moved into our two-bedroom quarters 40 yards from the beach and where we enjoy all the fun. “You know horticulture from the golf course job.ChangingCourse. but have to travel out of state to see them. excitement and. sending brochures and returning calls left queued for months on the resort’s answering machine. our guests tell us all the time that they. In fact. I can teach you hotel reservations “ she said. “we can work together. We called the number listed. There we saw our present job staring us in the face. have a house most people dream about.” As God is my witness. but I’m so busy making money to pay for it that I don’t have time to live in it. seasonal place we can manage together?” she asked me one Sunday morning in January 1994. you could wind up as we did – stranded on the proverbial mountaintop. bought a Cape Cod Times and perused the “help wanted” ads over sandwiches. Alice asked Cheshire Cat which road she should take.” the cat answered wisely.000 a year.” “How?” you ask. “Oh. By that I mean you must know in the deepest recesses of your being that change is required. Cynthia was the catalyst for our next adventure. but not as General Manager of a four-star property as she had once been. really. hard work too. The customer. “Where do you want to go?” he asked in return. yes. said to me.

com Finding Your Calling© First. Consider what kind of part-time job you might enjoy or how you might use your professional expertise to earn money working at home. take stock of your professional and personal strengths and weaknesses and put them to paper. you want to carve wooden ducks. you’ll need to supplement your wood duck income. like the Nike commercial says. Then create another list of what you really want to do. Cynthia and I assure you. for example.ChangingCourse. the effort you make to reach whatever goal you set for yourself will be well worth it! ©www. “Just do it!” All the best of luck. Say. And. If the numbers don’t pan out. Use your common sense.ChangingCourse. Dream the dream. Determine next whether you can earn enough money carving wooden ducks to survive.com 2002 Page 58 .

But in today’s fast track. It came to a head on a midwinter day in Cleveland with what started out as just another business crisis. and convince him the proposals were the most creative. meanwhile Tony ought to think about bathing suits. thought provoking. it led him to renovate a medieval farmhouse high on a hill in the French Dordogne. At age 53. Tony Roberts did what most of us only dare to dream. sell everything and take your Harley on the road.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 59 . Tony Roberts’ story did something for my soul. Later. 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. And then the idea of chucking it all became an obsession. This is the first time I have ever recommended a book. my friend Chuck Roberts sent me a book written by his older brother Tony: Against the Grain. to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. the Consequences of Chucking it All. Then something happened. the need to get ads OK’d and ready for the trade magazine’s deadlines. He was to meet the client. Tony’s assignment was to take the products of the previous evening’s sweat. Tony Roberts had already had a career in journalism and another in corporate marketing and advertising. a satchel full of advertising layouts and proposed copy.com Finding Your Calling© Chucking It All: Some Do Frank Burge 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. and the compulsion to create advertising that would make conveyor customers call. which had a lot to do with the agency’s viability. open a restaurant. eye-catching. and never returned to a regular job. who had a 30-minute stopover. with a good income. often nutso world. 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. or buy an RV and become a full-time traveler? Sweet dreams. how does one ever know? The client wondered why Tony thought an egg would help sell conveyors. ©www. effective and sales producing he’d ever seen. Mission successful? In the ad business. A few weeks ago. Tony Roberts tossed away a perfectly good position.ChangingCourse. On the way back to the agency. Tony’s mind was filled with compulsions: the need to keep the client happy.

and I traveled to the Mediterranean and visited France a number of times to temporarily live their experiences. And there is only one. At 70. 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). may Tony be your inspiration. Nancy. 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). Being 15 years younger. My wife. He married upon his return from WW II and became a writer and feature reporter for the Gannett chain. Publishing this book meant a great deal to me. the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean. Chuck that Tony had passed away. for those of you who are thinking about chucking it all. Nancy and Tony had lived on Paxos. A year and a half before my brother died. Chuck published his manuscript in memorial. Within the next 3-5 years I plan on emulating Tony once more. Purely coincidentally. Although Against the Grain is no longer in print. Paxos is just across the Ionian Sea from Albania.com Finding Your Calling© And. Tony and his wife. I couldn’t do it. he had a remarkable recovery for a few months before the inevitable came. bicycles shops and restaurants along the way.ChangingCourse. What I learned about life from my brother is – it’s short. 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. Later he busted his butt in marketing and advertising while his two girls grew up in upstate New York. Bicycling Along the Water Roads of France (Bicycle Books publishers). Lee. He went in the Marines right out of high school. Tony returned to Greece to check on old friends. our sister called and asked me to write his obituary as he was failing fast. So live it now. they restored a 16th-century farmhouse which has become a bed and breakfast refuge for visiting Americans in France. “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. I learned from his brother. Later. they provided special sea-based room and board they called “boat guesting” for scores of travelers.com 2002 Page 60 .ChangingCourse. I thought you might like to hear Tony’s story in his brother’s words: In the early 1980s. Tony planned to write a book. Some five or six months before Tony died. I never really knew my brother growing up. Instead. ©www. The book may well have been the final straw that also gets me out of the rat race of running my own agency. the island just north of Corfu for a number of years. During that time. I wrote him a letter about what he meant to me.

Today. where you can leave your front door open without worrying about someone stealing your wallet. 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. VA to the U. pictured when she decided to move from Virginia Beach. Here from the pages of Entrepreneur. That’s what Vicki Phelps. Vicki decided to make good use of the island’s own fruits and spices by launching The Original Caribbean Cookie Company. its seasonal nature is not making Tom rich – at least not monetarily. While in the military. With the “where” part settled. it was time to complete the “what” part of the equation. To be able to see a flock of 300 ©www.ChangingCourse. and clear blue waters. On an Island Think warm sea breezes. but the real money comes from lending his reindeer to big-time shows (rental fee to the Bronx Zoo – $10.com 2002 Page 61 . MN. a homemaker who had been working part-time in her husband Chet’s computer software business.com Finding Your Calling© Having It Your Way Valerie Young It’s been said that the only real success is to live your life your own way. Virgin Islands to bake cookies. After numerous vacations to the Caribbean. They wanted the kind of a life. white sand. What he most loves about his work is living close to the land. “where people say hello when you’re walking down the street.ChangingCourse. Tom was stationed in Europe. Seeing an opportunity to relocate herself and her family to paradise. To borrow from a popular expression. too! In the Country When Tom Scheib left the Marines in the early seventies. Vicki Phelps proved that you can have your cookies and enjoy where you eat them. Working the holiday festival circuit brings in several hundred dollars a day.000) and commercials. where he had the chance to see reindeer on the northern Norwegian tundra. Although reindeer ranching is a year round labor of love. he and his wife Elli knew they wanted to live in the country. One of his reindeer even appeared in the remake of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Minnesota Monthly. 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. swaying palm trees. Tom says.S. Tom is one of only a handful of reindeer ranchers in the United States.” They found it on a pond-dotted piece of land in Finland. Vicki noticed how few gift products were actually made on the islands.

conduct seminars. These three people are living their dreams because they: one. what successful living is all about. acted on their belief. believed it was possible and two. At Home Jonni McCoy knew she wanted to quit her job as a senior buyer for Apple Computer to become a full-time at-home mom. Jonni began keeping a journal of the strategies she used to cut the monthly grocery bill from $500 to $160. 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.com Finding Your Calling© geese rise up into the sky and to be his own boss.com 2002 Page 62 . is for Tom. work attire and the like. you too can create the life you really want! ©www. commuting.ChangingCourse. she knew her family could survive on one income and save money at the same time. when you add up the cost of paid childcare. Jonni and her family have since moved to Colorado Springs where she is happy to write. Believe. and home school her children. 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. a second job can end up costing more than it brings in! With a little imagination and determination. then act and one day at a time.ChangingCourse.

That way. I had always loved gardening and for years have been creating beautiful gardens for myself. So. mid-life crisis was setting in with a vengeance and job-related stress was taking its toll. the first thing I did was enroll in a home study Master Horticulturist course. I began to read books by Barbara Sher. too difficult.com Finding Your Calling© Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden Debbie Windoloski As a child. 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. too scary or too expensive to change course. it seemed too late. That’s when I came across ChangingCourse. In her book Wishcraft. I also remember having a special appreciation for nature. Yet. One particular article. was just the incentive I needed to get moving. But what? By late 1998. I was miserable. I could get the formal education I felt I needed while still working. Marsha Sinetar and others. I progressed up the corporate ladder to managementlevel positions in the field of marketing-communications.com 2002 Page 63 . friends and family.” It always seemed like something was missing. our early passions and interests weren’t always developed. I had lots of practical experience but no formal training. 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.com. we knew what we loved and what we wanted. Barbara Sher says that as children. Ten Steps to Redesigning Your Life. by garden designer and author Barbara Blossom Ashmun. a garden design and tutoring business. I was never truly happy or satisfied with the career path I had “chosen. Unfortunately. I ended up taking business classes and entered the job world as a secretary. My high school guidance counselors didn’t guide me to go after those things I was passionate about. ©www. was born. I loved to create things. and by the time many of us realized we were heading down the wrong road.ChangingCourse. So.ChangingCourse. Through hard work. Talking with other women my age who were making similar changes made me realize that changing careers might not be so difficult after all.

and gave up my part-time work as well. my site was up and running on schedule. I even wrote to Barbara Blossom Ashmun. I knew that constant exposure was the key. So last summer. with the help of a supportive husband. I began walking or using the treadmill 30 minutes a day.com 2002 Page 64 . With income not coming in very readily. Resolution 5: Develop a website and have it online by January 31. I visited public gardens and flower shows. using free weights to strengthen my upper body and eating healthier. promote the business.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© Trying to work full-time and plan a business proved difficult. I visited local garden centers and nurseries. It wasn’t always easy. I got on a local gardening talk show and conducted a workshop on garden planning. I’m happy to report I’ve adhered to every one! Resolution 1: Simplify my life. and therefore. I took a week off to relax and readjust my mind to a new beginning. Being on the web seemed like a great way to showcase some of my designs. By the end of that year.ChangingCourse. getting visibility for your business doesn’t have to be expensive. I also sent emails to garden writers and authors asking for advice. I looked for every opportunity to network. I had no choice but to stick to this resolution. I knew I needed to eliminate distractions so I could focus. rejoined the local chapter of Women Business Owners Alliance and attended free workshops and lectures. Ten pounds lighter. I read and watched anything and everything garden-related. I feel great. but I learned to say no to demands on my time that did not help with my new business. talk about Gardenscapes and pass out business cards. With my corporate life now behind me. constantly absorbing and learning. With the assistance of a local web designer. Resolution 4: Network and gain visibility for my new business. I did marketing consulting part-time while working on my plans for Gardenscapes. Resolution 3: Increase my gardening knowledge. took pictures and started an idea book of garden styles I liked. got the word out via postings on garden center bulletin boards and ©www. the author of the article I mentioned. I bartered garden design services for a logo design for my business cards and letterhead. To keep some money flowing in. Resolution 6: Market the business on a shoestring budget. 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). I made a list of resolutions and goals for the New Year. Resolution 2: Get in shape. I purchased the software and taught myself how to create the web site. Doing so helped me to focus my energies in support of my dream. I felt I was ready to go solo. Fortunately. I still carry a tape recorder. From here. I was able to resign from my full-time position. camera and notebook with me wherever I go.

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. The most important thing is to start the journey. Readjusting to a scaled-back lifestyle has not always been easy. the joy far outweighs the compromise. and I already feel like a new person.ChangingCourse. Sending out press releases to the local media was free and also gained visibility.ChangingCourse. For that I am grateful. Yet. Changing careers did not come without its challenges. 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. I had 200 people visit in one day! I handed out brochures and had visitors sign up to be on my mailing list. It’s only been a year since I made the decision to change course. My big break came when my gardens were included on a local garden tour. Learning that money can never buy personal satisfaction. with passion and a clear vision to propel me. a sense of accomplishment and happiness has been my greatest joy. and I send quarterly mailings. I also publish a newsletter.com 2002 Page 65 . As I work in a garden with the blue sky overhead. However.”) My mailing list continues to grow. I am constantly reminded of how glad I am to have made the choices I did. ©www. (My very first customer was a garden tour visitor who has since hired me as her “personal gardener. Doing what I was truly meant to do made me happier than I’ve ever been. I no longer have the big paychecks or the promise of stock options. I am convinced I would have still reached my destination. birds singing in the background and my hands in the dirt.

West Virginia. such as tack and feed stores. Maryland and Pennsylvania and over 1. In three years. A part of the Small Business Administration. the Jacobsons set out to create it themselves. they were anxious to become involved in Virginia’s horse community. the Virginia Horse Journal has grown to 80 pages of content. Motivated by their love of horses. Dean sent over 100 letters to advertisers and received an overwhelming response. A friend immediately suggested the Service Core of Retired Executives or SCORE. Without prior publishing experience. When they couldn’t find such a publication. the Jacobsons began delivering copies of the journal to local retail horse businesses. 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. It is available for free in over 500 locations throughout Virginia. We knew nothing about publishing – we couldn’t have found two more perfect people. The journal offered an ideal forum for retail horse businesses and horse owners to exchange information about the trade. Reg and Arlene also offered advice on circulation and advertising sales. “It was like an angel was watching out for us. The best part? SCORE services are free! Darlene and Dean met with SCORE counselors Reg Hubley and Arlene Anns. The journal’s 30. SCORE matched new business owners with experienced consultants.000 loyal readers subscribe to the publication. This year’s revenue is expected to top $100.com 2002 Page 66 . classified ads and horse news. They would also speak on the phone whenever something important came up. from their home. Twice a month.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits: For This Couple. North Carolina. Work Feels Like Play Beth Schimel When Dean and Darlene Jacobson moved from Philadelphia to Charlottesville. when the issues were ready to go to the printer. a pamphlet-sized publication of about 20 pages. they struggled to produce two issues and then reevaluated their enterprise.000 readers find it informative. They searched for a local horse publication that included information about upcoming events. The Jacobsons also ©www. Virginia four years ago. they began to write the Virginia Horse Journal. Darlene thought that there must be someone with experience who would be willing to help them avoid the common pitfalls. both former McCraw Hill publishing executives.ChangingCourse.” They met with Arlene and Reg frequently to work on editorial improvements and format and layout changes.000. To develop a circulation base. as well as personable and entertaining.

events and classified ads.com Finding Your Calling© created a web site (www.com 2002 Page 67 . Specific industry expertise made SCORE a valuable resource to the Jacobsons. SCORE provides small business owners with individual counseling from an executive with expertise in their field. ©www.” Dean forfeited a good deal of money to take early retirement at 50. Experiencing great success today. Dean got the publication up and running while Darlene continued to work. If you live outside the US.org. ad sales strategies and planning for how to balance the volume of editorial and advertising content in the publication. Fearing they were both “heading for a heart attack. She quit eight months later to join him full-time. Sometimes we are scared to move forward and make a decision.iesc. The journal was recently named the Official Horse Publication of the Virginia Horse Council and the Virginia Horse Industry Board.ChangingCourse.score. ‘I think we’re working. They will meet with their SCORE counselors frequently.org. Darlene says their combined income has dropped about $100.virginiahorse. or to find an office near you call 800-634-0245 or visit www. counseling and other free resources.. ‘Are we working or are we having fun?’ and he says.com) that posts current horse news. Dean worked in federal law enforcement while Darlene commuted three hours a day to her paralegal job in the city. You can also receive counseling via email on anything from bookkeeping to wholesale foods to import/export. The site got over 100.ChangingCourse. Both Reg and Arlene were able to assist the budding publishers with developing rate schedules. the Jacobsons have not had much time to rest lately.’” This article was reprinted with permission from SCORE. That’s when Darlene and Dean moved to a farm in Virginia. Small Business Administration. SCORE is a resource partner with the U. “Every so often I ask Dean. contact the International Executive Service Corps at 800-243-4372 or www. For more information about workshops. booklets. they are always right about everything!” Editors Note: I called the Jacobsons and learned that while in Philadelphia. “They keep us in line. about every six weeks or when a problem arises. but we are more scared to not listen to them. As a niche publication..S.000 hits its first year.000 but they’re not complaining. the Jacobsons’ SCORE counselors provided solid information on how to make a very targeted publication a profitable business venture.

After Lynn had drawn up my images for twelve Garden Lady cards. As a garden-lover. Next. The new environment proved to be just what we were looking for. But something felt “off. I am a bereaved parent. I then came up with a name for my new business: Gardening Greetings. new surroundings and new careers were a must. A final step was to develop a numerical tracking system for my cards. I find that my special numbering system is a great comfort to me throughout my workday. but that would also fill an enormous void in my life. I thoroughly researched the industry. Shortly after settling into our new home. ©www. But to my good fortune. I secured my business name using the Trade Name Registration form and got the necessary home-occupation permits.ChangingCourse. I had a certain character in mind and Lynn turned my visions of “The Garden Lady” into reality. Card number 222 honors his birthday. I had been searching for some kind of business I could operate from home.com 2002 Page 68 . I wanted to do something I would not only enjoy.ChangingCourse. and established a daily work routine. I decided I needed to work at home. February 22nd. Many parents who have lost a child will tell you. In 1995 our youngest son Scott died at age 15 following complications from surgery for a mild heart condition. my husband and I moved from California to Colorado in hopes of a new beginning.com Finding Your Calling© Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: Sally Silagy A New Business and a New Beginning Before owning my own greeting card company. I began to scan the job listings. In order to survive this tragic and profoundly life-altering loss. You see. card number 625 reflects the June 25th anniversary of Scott’s passing. I acquired the copyrights. So. I decided to start my own greeting card business. drew up a business plan. the last three numbers on my cards were intentionally chosen in memory of my beloved son Scott. Not only do Lynn and I work well together. With my husband’s total support and encouragement. and card number 015 signifies his age. I thought finding an illustrator would be my biggest challenge. Two years after Scott died. after many years of employment in administration. you feel as if you’ve been shifted into a different class. a fresh start. I found a wonderful local artist named Lynn Petersen. Instead of randomly selected numbers. and with our older children out on their own.” I realized I no longer felt I belonged in the 9-to-5 world. I found myself drawn to the idea of using gardening as the overall theme for my cards. but our relationship is growing into a special friendship as well. You can’t help but feel that somehow you just don’t fit in anywhere.

So I wanted to give the cards a distinctive. The Garden Lady cards are also available for Christmas and Mother’s Day.ChangingCourse. Starting this business has helped to fill the emptiness in my life left by the loss of my son. homey look by using black ink on ivory paper.ChangingCourse.” I hope I can be an inspiration to others who may need a reminder of this simple but important message as well. get well and blank notes cards. florists. Between the colorful Garden Lady character and an attractive point of purchase display. ©www. and garden gift shops with 14 distributors generating out-of-state sales. Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he’d learned about life in three words: “It goes on. friendship. I’m told my line offers a fresh alternative to slick competitors. Today the Gardening Greetings line is displayed at over 30 local nurseries. In addition to traditional birthday.com Finding Your Calling© Gardening Greetings is a newcomer to a large market. thank you.com 2002 Page 69 . It’s also given my life a renewed sense of purpose.

Eliminate what you’re not. away from a well-established.. that is what you must do. but because I felt like a shadow of myself sitting at the head of the conference table telling people I cherished. The meaning of the word “all.ChangingCourse. seventeen years younger than the first. Simplification is happening everywhere.. 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. I say that not just because 75% of my wardrobe is black. indeed. When acquaintances asserted I was crazy to give it all up.. The more I jockeyed my time to match my ultimate life priorities. that I would be leaving them. and briefcases bulging with last month’s management reports. but when you apply it to your own life. project deadlines.” you see. is in the heart of the beholder. In a sense.” I finally concluded there was one place I needed to be: home. Plus. it feels as if you yourself invented it. my sharply honed mothering instincts urged me to slow down and pull up a closer seat. Or five years ago when I carved out even more time to devote to my newborn daughter. Katherine.ChangingCourse. simplify your needs for ©www.” Courage. But why? What opportunity could be so grand to entice me. Now that I have a second daughter. what’s left will be you. 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. I feared the epitaph on my tombstone someday: “Gee. people who were like family to me. 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. well-respected business. at age 46. I blinked one day and saw my little girl all grown up. my passion for writing nudged at me constantly. Amidst the continuing onslaught of client meetings. the more it seemed I was on to something. Though simplifying one’s life has become the new national yearning.com Finding Your Calling© Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss Jane Groft I cannot remember what I was wearing the day I announced my resignation from the advertising agency I’d founded seventeen years earlier. 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. It was probably something black. I knew I was on the right track.com 2002 Page 70 . she never quite found the time or the energy to write. rid yourself of clutter not used in the past year.

But again. more peaceful existence. And as it turned out. It means acknowledging that there are only so many hours in a day. rid yourself of an entire business? Oh. then wonders why I’m feeling pushed to the hilt. 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. you will keep your sights on that vision. am the worrier.year-old. Randy – now “at home” full-time – was the one to provide it. Although I longed for a calmer. is anything but simple. But if the life you’ve planned for yourself is worth the trouble. said. and trying to do what matters most. doing things that we neither want ©www. First comes the intense period of pre-simplification – call it complication. at 3:45 p. Thankfully. but how often do we walk around. But what happens when – in midlife – you clear out a whole career.com 2002 Page 71 . 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. As he traded his morning drive to the office for playing a video game or two with our five. It is an effort to enrich the quality of our lives.ChangingCourse.” There were computers with disturbing diseases. is essentially laid back. the organizer. he started accompanying me to meet Katherine at the school bus stop.” That may sound obvious. printers on the blink. on the other hand. only so many days in a lifetime. Undoing one’s ties to a business hardly compares to cleaning out the closet. which is how I got through the emotional upheavals of selling a business – the flurry of attorney meetings. time-consuming entertaining. though both render moments of nostalgia. “I now only do what I want to do and what I have to do. I realized this was not simply simplification. it was gratification of the noblest sort for all of us. the word “productive” began to take on new meaning. I needed training to pull it off. the agonizer. internet lines that refused to connect. even a small one. And when. although an extremely hard worker. you survive the jungle. as if on automatic pilot. it calmed down to a point that made it seem I’d been hyperventilating before. telephones that came with operating manuals (“Can’t we just pick it up and dial it?”). electronic or otherwise. I. the driven one who always fills my plate too full. The first sign that we were on the road to simplification was a noticeable shift in pace. For me. and to boot. after all. labor-intensive living quarters. I have a husband who.” Simplifying a business nowadays.643 pages of documents arriving daily on the fax. the planner. A friend. fax machines in a constant state of “error. by keeping your sights on the goal. And perhaps. each workday. that is what this movement toward simplification is all about. and 5. after she’d sold her business and had children. accountant telephone calls.com Finding Your Calling© high-maintenance vehicles.m.ChangingCourse.

a converted storage closet tucked behind our bedroom. I am sure.ChangingCourse. which means she has her little finger through the hoop of her red teddy bear. rubbing the gross-grain ribbon against her upper lip as she sucks her thumb of the same hand. hardly the experts. At every turn. She sits curled in the chair in the corner. and I have worked hard for it. It’s that simple. Katherine. He kisses the back of my neck. and then heads off to work in his studio downstairs. ©www.ChangingCourse. has joined me. onto another of my dear writer friends beaming with contentment at Montpelier’s Horn of the Moon cafe. simply because we are human. but it is mine. And thus we will stray occasionally. My husband stops by my writing room.com 2002 Page 72 . This may not be anyone else’s idea of heaven on earth. even business opportunities that might take us on tangents away from what we’re truly good at or interested in doing. social invitations ready to whittle away at our weekends. there are temptations to complicate our lives again: stores full of enticements to clutter our closets and our lifestyles. who has recently awakened sleepy-eyed. “snipping” as she calls it. There is no place else I’d rather be.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. committees beckoning our involvement. nothing else I’d rather be doing. But at this moment I am sitting at my writing table with the early morning sunlight streaming across the clock on my bookshelf. onto a photo of my parents when they were in their twenties. direct mail catalogues begging to have their page corners turned down. briefly rubs my shoulders.

So that my clients remain confident I am always “on hand. Meanwhile. prepares dinner in our full kitchen while a favorite cable TV show plays on our 21” television.ChangingCourse. The truth is. 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.ChangingCourse. the RVing lifestyle has prompted me to invent what is turning out to be a rather effective (and lucrative) position: The Traveling I.T. 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. Pamela. by direct email or other personal contact. Does this sound like the life of your average well-to-do professional? Well. we are able to enjoy a change of scenery on a fairly regular basis (dependent. the “average” part). it’s flourishing. I have met few people along the way who are not at least a little inspired by my lifestyle. cable. to a large extent. so it also means that. on the contrary. And my home office is the dinette area of a 32-foot 1998 Rexhall Rose Air Class A motor home. I am a very well compensated information technology consultant with a master’s degree from the top-rated international business school in the world. Living as a professional developer while staying temporarily in RV parks is not without its challenges. mailing and email address that remain the same regardless of my locale du jour. Interestingly.” I made it a point at the start to establish a cellular phone number. Perhaps later we’ll play a game of billiards or retire to the library. here I sit in my home office. state-of-the-art computer.com 2002 Page 73 . We’ve just returned from a leisurely hour of unwinding in the hot tub. It is the technical challenges that have turned out to be more ©www. billiards. I also happen to be a full-time RVer. working away on my souped-up. Being mobile means I am able to move to where the best opportunities are and to remain as long as necessary. The computer is a laptop and slips conveniently into a cupboard when not in use.com Finding Your Calling© On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant Ryan Speakman As I type this. my wife. but this seems to be quite widespread). and library comprise the clubhouse of the RV resort in which we currently reside. of course on demand for my services. The hot tub. Consultant. it is (except. I market my services the same way I always have. Most projects don’t last longer than a few months. perhaps.

and the only reasonable way to achieve this at this time is with a standard phone line. neither one of us would have it any other way.ChangingCourse.com.” Being mobile has encouraged me to brainstorm ways to exploit this lifestyle which.workersonwheels.com 2002 Page 74 . ©www. relationships and soul! This article was adapted with permission from Workers on Wheels. When we began this lifestyle. Life feels more like an adventure than like “real life. Most parks don’t offer short-term. Since we plan to spend 99% of our time in Arizona. I needed only to find an Internet service provider that covers most parts of the state. For lots of great resources for working RVers visit them on-line at www. on-site phone connections.com Finding Your Calling© formidable.ChangingCourse. Living full-rime in an RV allows us a degree of freedom we could never have been living in a fixed dwelling. in many ways gives me an advantage over my rooted colleagues. My work requires a constant Internet connection. we weren’t sure how well it would work for us. We’re patiently waiting for the day when a cellular connection will be quality and inexpensive enough to work for us or. life on the open road can actually benefit your career – not to mention your finances. but it does limit our freedom of movement more than we’d like. when satellite Internet access (two-way) becomes available. Today. better by far. This is not a major inconvenience. 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. Full-time RVing encourages and perpetuates entrepreneurship. With some imagination and a little resolve.

Soon after. project tracking. I began cutting out their words. wrote about new visions of livelihood and entrepreneurial approaches to the changing marketplace. ecology.ChangingCourse. it wasn’t to jump off the roller coaster. several of us who were desperately trying to “find ourselves” routed a magazine article about the importance of fulfilling work. timelines and life goals all in a single. It showed a page from one of the popular timemanagement calendar books that we all clutch in our arms constantly. Though the organization’s work was intriguing and the external people and issues stimulating. They talked about combining new skills into “mosaic” careers.ChangingCourse. In the May/June 1995 issue of Utne Reader. but to follow the rules and make a smart career move. The article was accompanied by an illustration. In the illustration. leather-bound system.” Well. tacking them up on my bulletin board and repeating them like mantras in the shower. rather than simply looking for the next job.com 2002 Page 75 . names and addresses of hundreds of friends and business associates. and urban teaching. In that same Utne Reader series. ©www. You know the ones that hold your credit cards. which was in the Administration Office at Stephens College. even if we are just going down the hall to the rest room. Jeremy Rifkin. I didn’t quit that job. when I resigned as Director of Alumnae Programs and Volunteer Activities at Stephens (a 24-hour-a-day. 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. I thought. Wouldn’t it be great. president of the Foundation on Economic Trends. bulging. 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. several clues surfaced. author of The Reinvention of Work. Blomgren About six years ago. I got promoted. two short words were written across the 24 hours of to-do lines on the calendar page: “Quit Job. And five years later. 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. and Matthew Fox.com Finding Your Calling© Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter” Paige G. the internal culture only confirmed my suspicion that I was meant for a less traditional work life. 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. seven-days-a-week job I loved but had become restless in). New Age Journal profiled five people who.

I kept my local library busy with regular inter-library loan requests for titles such as To Build the Life You Want. Right now. ©www. as fragments of possibilities began to crystallize. 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. I’m subsidizing my exploration with some changes in lifestyle. in fact. I became convinced that the big blank calendar page with the two liberating words on it was looming in my immediate future. I admit I still carry a time-management calendar and. The date came and went with much stress but also an overriding gut instinct that I had made the right decision. But I’m on my way toward making much more thoughtful.” I imagine quitting a “great” job without concrete plans sounds mighty flaky to most. most days have more entries than ever before.ChangingCourse. though I can’t even zip the zipper around this month’s overflowing pages. a name and personification through cartoon characters. and Making a Living Without a Job. A couple of freelance possibilities with some local businesses and institutions have magically appeared and. 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. Create the Work You Love. especially at a time when others live in daily fear of having joblessness thrust upon them. a dream of a stop-gap job handling marketing for a gourmet wine and cheese shop. 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. while I work to develop those and others. The page from my calendar is preserved in my scrapbook.com 2002 Page 76 .” Cathy dubbed them the “new generation of overachiever quitters. I’m in heaven in the role of part-time student.ChangingCourse.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. the entire calendar seems to be getting lighter by the day. conscious choices about those entries and. What a relief! In the midst of all this.” My problem was not a problem: it was a movement with press coverage. and the most supportive husband in the world.

com 2002 Page 77 . Lissa explained. 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. One of their first events was the Corporate Leadership Breakfast. ‘Hi. can we set up a community service project for your club or your company?’” Often working 70-to-80 hour weeks. and show up to volunteer. a journalist who was also trying to bring this model of service to Philadelphia.ChangingCourse. and helped them file for 501c3 status.ChangingCourse. I lined up people to be project coordinators (the volunteers in charge of running the actual project and making sure it goes smoothly). Lissa met Ralph Fox. No interview. 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. there are similar programs around the country. and develop civic involvement through volunteering. This model would allow individuals to browse a monthly menu of coordinated two to three hour volunteer projects. I contacted a billion people to say. Although this program is no longer taking new applications. access to phones. accounting services and other start-up assistance. Over time Lissa and Ralph met people they invited to become board members. Although Lissa had a clear vision for the organization and she knew there was nothing similar in the Philadelphia area. sign up for a project. Lissa was ready for a new challenge: she wanted to bring an innovative model of community service from the DC area to Philadelphia. The two of them merged their organizations and became co-founders. Philadelphia Cares would grow to create tailored community service opportunities for companies and groups. Then they found out about a special program that helped new nonprofits by supplying furnished office space.” Along the way. she still had her work cut out for her. community agencies and companies. ©www. After spending 14 years as a stockbroker. coordinate special days of service. they obtained the special tax-exempt status granted to nonprofit charities. no eight month commitment. With the donated services of an attorney who liked what they were doing. “It was really no different from starting a business.com Finding Your Calling© Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation Courtney Rice 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. “I knew it was very important to build relationships and get a support base from individuals. Philadelphia Cares began in a room in Lissa’s grandmother’s house. she spent the first year setting up projects and finding materials like art supplies or books.

Originally.” says Joyce. the then. During the year and a half it took for her organization to get its first grant. Lissa recalls. saying that we could put on a gala for which people would buy tickets. partly to salary deferment. Lissa admits that they didn’t know how to take care of the books. Philadelphia Cares is now part of the City Cares of America network.ChangingCourse. “We should have planned for that. and it was horrible. Joyce worked two or ©www.” They asked board members to write checks to cover some of the costs until the organization could pay them back. Her advice to those just getting started: “You have to have direction. We received a check for $6. Joyce feels grateful to have been in a financial position to pursue her goal.” There were a few more financial problems on the way. Joyce Burd of ARTREACH has a different story to tell. due partly to bills. That allowed Joyce to focus on further refining her vision and on program development. she and her husband lived on one income. a group of 24 similar volunteer organizations. how to coordinate with community agencies. When the organization became independent.com Finding Your Calling© Neither Lissa nor Ralph were in this for the money. enabling it to provide assistance to emerging organizations who want to spread this model of service. but wouldn’t that money be better spent directly supporting the organization?” The strategy worked. We also had to learn how to go about doing it. “to start a nonprofit for anyone who doesn’t have their own source of income. Then. ARTREACH may coordinate productions to come to people in nursing homes.” For the first few years. two-year old organization had reached one of its lowest points: There was just no way to pay the bills and continue.” But the organization kept going – and growing. “We created a special fund-raising piece.000 deficit. how to get free or discounted tickets. the program expanded to bring the arts to the people. she says. Eventually. Like Lissa. For at least two years Philadelphia Cares ran at a $60. Currently the organization is creating an accessibility guide to area cultural institutions for people with disabilities.” ARTREACH also began under the same nonprofit start-up program that helped Philadelphia Cares. “there was no way to pay ourselves and the bills. “It’s extremely difficult.com 2002 Page 78 . “That was the first time we ever said we cannot do this service if you don’t pay us. Philadelphia Cares was asked to organize service projects for Martin Luther King Day.ChangingCourse. That’s when they came up with the idea for a fund-raising strategy called the “nonevent” gala. in January ‘96. or bring in a visual artist to create a workshop for a community agency. we serve both the arts and the social service communities. For example. You have to be able to network with the constituencies that you want to serve. In our case. Although they never thought about quitting. Lissa counts herself lucky to have had some savings to support her since in the beginning. ARTREACH helps make the arts more accessible to disadvantaged populations. We had to do a 990 (a professional audit). With seven staff members.000 and did it. the organization worked with community agencies to provide access to free or discounted performances.

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.org ©www. she says. Three good sites to start with are: www. Joyce is still very much aware of the pitfalls in establishing a nonprofit organization. energy. But in the beginning. though.” Today ARTREACH is a highly successful organization.com Finding Your Calling© three days a week. It took at least six months to see the organization begin to take shape. or otherwise generate money-raising activities? If your answers to these questions were a resounding “yes. Do you like fund raising? Are you willing to ask people for money.ChangingCourse. To start a nonprofit. and develop a strategy to bring in money. You will need to map out the programs or services you are providing.ChangingCourse.fdncenter. and credibility (often proof of the viability of your nonprofit’s programs).” then what are you waiting for? You’ll find lots of great advice on starting a nonprofit on the Web. During the 13 years ARTREACH has grown. and eventually moved to full time. It was also difficult to get publicity in the press. especially fund raising and public relations. 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.org www. estimate expenses. Are you still ready to create your own nonprofit? If so. serve on your board. takes four things: time.org http://not-for-profit. effort. a vision and some form of financial support. 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. Expanding the public’s awareness was very difficult.com 2002 Page 79 . create events to raise money. 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. Having seen many other organizations rise and fall. Joyce has added more staff and enlarged and changed the mission to include coordinating on-site productions and workshops. “It took time to get people to join the board. there were some major obstacles.nonprofits.

Like Rome. these worthy organizations weren’t built in a day.ChangingCourse. With determination and action. What’s your next step? ©www. This single step led to another and another. see if your local colleges and universities have a nonprofit management center or know of additional resources in your area. you too can turn your vision into your vocation.com 2002 Page 80 .com Finding Your Calling© Or.ChangingCourse. They began with a simple idea followed by a single step.

Over the next eleven years I made a tidy living doing group and individual counseling. I was what you might call highly unemployable. ©www. If you know what you’d be good at. and I got invited to speak and give creativity workshops all over the country. While I was still working at that job. So I screwed up my small supply of courage and answered one of those ads that said “Experience preferred.M.ChangingCourse. Nerve Otherwise known as talking your way through a door with nothing going for you but talent.” I’d like to see it. there’s nothing lost – and often much to gain – by walking into wherever you want to be and presenting yourself.com Finding Your Calling© Creative Hookey: Or Five Ways to Learn and Earn By Staying Out of School Barbara Sher Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want 1. and jumped in. in anthropology.” I noticed that it didn’t say “Required. teaching their psychiatrists and psychologists.A. one thing led to another. I started group therapy. By 5:00 P. I had the intuitive feeling that I would probably be good at working with people. It happened because I found the right swimming pool. cheek. Now there is nothing on earth more useless for getting a job than anthropology. The job was a counselor in a drug program. and I talked my way into it – probably because they needed manpower as badly as I needed the job. I knew I hadn’t been wrong. I was a consultant at three medical schools. and desperation. From there. I walked in there at nine in the morning with my knees shaking. squeezed my eyes shut. But I had to find a job that would feed my kids. I had a B. None of this happened because I had a piece of paper. in anthropology.A. And then four of us split off from him and started Group Laboratories. I might be green. and I was naive enough to hope for one that wouldn’t starve my soul.” and anyway I figured that the experience of walking around on earth for thirty years ought to count for something. When I came to New York. This is the way my own career got started. “Wanted: B. You find me an ad that says. but I was in my element. Within a year I became an assistant-trainee of the head therapist.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 81 .

not hiring them. contacts. a hospital. introducing recently transferred executives and their families to the resources and delights of their new home. and for free: take part in the local planning-board meetings. Nonetheless. and the city planning department was firing people. she couldn’t afford to quit her job and study full-time. Even night-school classes were beyond her pocketbook. 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.A. New York City happened to be going broke just then. Diane came up with something she could do right away. and they all wrote her recommendations.A. or family farm. It’s supposed to be amateurish.ChangingCourse. in nothing special. By the time she felt ready to apply for school. 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 it equips you with experience. in city planning and a high-paying job with a major corporation. She was totally unqualified. But that special quality of vision wasn’t going to get her into graduate school. For the clincher. and references that will be useful if and when you do decide to make that commitment. Her secret dream was to be a city planner. a museum. She works for the relocation office.com Finding Your Calling© 2. 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. a school. she was hired into a teaching assistantship that paid her way. Three years ago. and she wished everyone could see and appreciate the city the way she did. Volunteering In a world of professionalism. Diane was a 24-year-old secretary with a B. You don’t need credentials or prior experience. where money is the measure of seriousness. and in any case. How did she do it? In a brainstorming session.com 2002 Page 82 . all she had going for her was a passionate love for New York City. I want to set the record straight right now. her contacts and reputation were so widespread that she was offered a job in the first corporation she walked into. she knew most of the people who really make things happen in the city. But what’s best is that volunteering gets you started doing what you love right away. ©www. a political campaign office. volunteering has gotten something of a bad name. That’s a pretty staggering list of obstacles. Diane was now not only studying and teaching city planning – she was already doing it every week on those local committees. She loved to walk around and savor the flavors of the different neighborhoods.ChangingCourse. dilettantish. today Diane has an M. the sort of half-committed play-at-work that society matrons do on alternate Tuesdays. She was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Hunter College! After one semester. a neighborhood newspaper. You don’t have to pay them a cent for your training. even if it’s only once a week. And by the time she finished her Master’s.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. “I’ve followed your work for a long time. Psychoanalysts and carpenters still do. draw up a plan for a mime class. reigning queen of soaps and creator of (among others) All My Children and Another World. doctors. walking tour. helping. started a seaside nature museum for kids and got a grant from his city.ChangingCourse. and put your ad in your local paper.” It’s a rare curmudgeon who wouldn’t be flattered and receptive. There’s an element of apprenticeship in any good education – but in many fields you can set up an apprenticeship for yourself. I’ll clean your workshop. All you need is talent. personal experience. You don’t even have to go in cold with a letter that may or may not be answered. Most highly accomplished people want to share what they know with other great minds. I’ll empty your wastebaskets. A therapist I know designed a series of seminars called “Who Takes Care of the Caretakers?” for therapists. But you don’t need a formal program to put you in touch with someone whose work you love. art-therapy group. That’s what Jean Nidetch did. The most ancient and natural way to acquire skills and knowledge is by hanging out with someone who’s got them – watching. political seminar. I’ll carry your gear.com Finding Your Calling© 3. Agnes Nixon. I just want to be near your mind. That’s the wonderful thing about doing what you love: you can do it wherever you are. A young potter named Juan Hamilton became the assistant and close companion of the great painter Georgia O’Keefe. or editing service.com 2002 Page 83 . How do you think Weight Watchers got started? Jean Nidetch wasn’t a doctor or a nutritionist. a marine biology freak who didn’t want to go to grad school. lawyers.ChangingCourse. Whether what you want to be is rich and nationally known or just to hold weekly discussion groups in your living room. asking. got her start sharpening pencils for Irma Phillips. It’s how I learned to be a therapist. Before schools were invented. There are formal programs that have been set up to connect willing “masters” with would-be apprentices. counselors – and mothers! Jake. She was a lady who wanted to be thin. and I’d really like to learn from you. because your resources are really inside yourself. ©www. love – and a carefully worked-out idea. Seriousness of interest and a willingness to help out are the only real qualifications. She designed a package for other people like herself and turned it into a multimilliondollar business. remember that the key to survival and success for any independent program is an angle. I won’t cause you any trouble. My feeling is that there’s hardly a person on this planet you couldn’t walk up to and say. 4. Start From Scratch: The Independent Alternative Another way to start out on your path without a degree is to simply sit down. or program design. and great painters all learned their trades this way. who pioneered the soap opera form. What you’ve got to do is find and fill a specific need that nobody else has thought of filling.

ingenious routes to your goal you can dream up if you take conventional “wisdom” as a challenge instead of a finality.D.ChangingCourse. A housewife interested in nutrition developed a newsletter for the food industry on federal labeling regulations. Writing. you can get up to your ears in any field without a degree. If you can write. The Generalist/Popularizer I wish I could think of a better name for this one – maybe “the go-between. or even just organize ideas.com Finding Your Calling© 5. editing.com 2002 Page 84 . ©www. Those are just a few examples of the kind of direct. not in the graceful use of the English language. 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. They’re specialists in physics or nutrition or international law. Many professional people can use help communicating their ideas to the public.ChangingCourse. 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. interviewing.

Now he’s traveling to Europe three to four times each year to find new products. or by visiting www. and managing daily operations.tenspeed. CA. 1998. There are many job options for a person interested in fitness: nutritionist. entertaining.ChangingCourse. so she took that interest and established herself as fitness director of a large fitness center. read the following stories about people whose true interests were as “impractical” as road-tripping. Michael Lane loved most of all to go on road trips so he and friend James Crotty launched a magazine called Monk.com 2002 Page 85 . There are many job options for a person with an interest in science fiction and rockets: science fiction writer. exercising. There are many job options for a person interested in traveling: travel writer. ©www. Available from your local bookseller. 2000 by Patrick Combs. Berkeley. pilot.com Finding Your Calling© No McJobs Patrick Combs Reprinted with permission from Major in Success: Make College Easier. and playing video games. The content of the magazine is basically their travelogue.ChangingCourse. computer graphics designer. experiential education trainer. rocket scientist. wellness teacher. Fire Up Your Dreams. and Get a Very Cool Job by Patrick Combs. etc. sales representative. He was also able to apply his interests to a previous job as a science fiction illustrator for magazines and books. Lisa Miller played volleyball for four years during college. Ten Speed Press. overseeing special events. professional bodybuilder.com. Copyright © 1994. She loved to exercise and stay healthy. by calling 800-841-2665. which they publish from their RV. If you think that your interests just aren’t practical enough. etc. 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. landscape photographer. 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. personal trainer. reading science fiction. etc. Their circulation is national and it makes enough money to support their lifestyle.

newsletters. speaking. etc. game designer.) 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. arcade owner. test guides. game programmer. but once you know the kind of work that is possible. It may not give you the job specifics. professional associations.com Finding Your Calling© There are many job options for a person interested in cooking. Here’s how it works. corporate chef. shows. and food editor at HG magazine.com 2002 Page 86 . Gene’s interests led him to jobs as a caterer. lectures. TV. consulting. 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. magazines. virtual reality ride designer. Savage and Annette Novallo and learn about the 118 professions. newsletters. It gives you a picture of the jobs that are possible for you. food stylist. There are many job options for a person interested in video games: game tester. professional meetings. For each profession it lists multiple career guidebooks.ChangingCourse. Or you can go straight to an INCREDIBLE book: Professional Careers Sourcebook: Where to Find Help Planning Careers That Require College or Technical Degrees. restaurant consultant. handbooks. or computer bulletin boards. books.ChangingCourse. 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. I love this book! (Another book that is quite ©www. you can easily look up the job title and company address on your own. educational programs. and even annual conventions. 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. Chris Lindquist loved to play video games and after college he got a job as a game reviewer for Electronic Entertainment magazine.

association phone numbers. and skill requirements for over 200 careers. 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. 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. a valet parking attendant. 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. I’m really good at running. and typing. parallel parking. college makes it seem like you should only aim for a career that fits into ©www. For example. It contains career descriptions.ChangingCourse. You might be surprised at the unique and weird job ideas it jogs in your mind. 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.ChangingCourse. dislike the job.com 2002 Page 87 . ordinary. Enjoy Yourself as Much as Possible A lot of people might suggest that you choose a career based on your strongest talents. Which one do you think is most likely to succeed? And which one do you think is most likely to stagnate. People will also encourage you to choose a boring. salaries. or an administrative assistant. UNIQUE & WEIRD JOB IDEA JOGGER! It couldn’t be simpler. get passed over for promotions. Start from what activities you’d enjoy doing regularly and go get the skills required. and feel like a failure? Somehow. I have no dreams about any of those careers. Picture this: Two people working side by side. Hawes.) Need some more ideas? Try the SUPER-SIMPLE. safe job because they don’t want you to fail.com Finding Your Calling© good is The Encyclopedia of Second Careers by Gene R. 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. Fill in the blanks of the following sentence: A great job would be (verb) in the (your interest) field. But I wouldn’t enjoy being a marathon runner.

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. Consider the true-life story of Joy Greenidge. A lot of people turn their back on the career of their dreams because they think that a low salary will make them unhappy. What is her reward since it’s not monetary? “In this job. Many people. life starts to get really great. so that you learn and do anything you like. don’t let college erase your memory of all the jobs that fall into the category of Very Seriously Fun Work.ChangingCourse. but it also lists a professional association that can give you information on how to get started. As a guideline. But if deep down inside. When you start to focus in on what you like. “What can I say? It’s been a wonderful life. SATISFACTION.” she says.ChangingCourse. Just in case you can’t think of many fun jobs. money doesn’t have to be your criteria for whether or not a job is good. But beyond not being able to make a living. don’t let money be your first consideration—or your last. 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. including myself have found that the amount of ENJOYMENT.com 2002 Page 88 . money has very little to do with happiness. College is for developing your talents to learn and do. don’t feel you have to choose a career that offers an impressive salary. and OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN that the job gives you are the best ways to determine which job will truly make you the happiest. And also remember that college isn’t necessarily for getting an intellectual career. no day is the same as any other. check out the list of over 50+ unusual jobs that I’ve included in my book. you are very serious about having fun." Remember. Not only does it expand your awareness of the kind of jobs that exist out there. It isn’t necessarily for getting a high paying career. a field director for a nonprofit agency that helps destitute children.com Finding Your Calling© the category of Very Serious & Practical Work. ©www. That’s fine if at heart you are a serious and practical person.

It puts me in touch with a small group of people whom I serve on a regular basis. 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. We kept focused on the essence of what she longed for: to share her love of art with others. we decided to visit the Courtauld Gallery together. Long before I knew precisely what products and services I wanted to market.ChangingCourse.” We continued to brainstorm possibilities. her opportunities seemed limited. but her initial explorations were not encouraging.ChangingCourse. Once there. a favorite city. For a while. it didn’t “feel” right as a home. “I’d be so much happier if I could do something with art. Since we had met at a bed-and. and we had many discussions about her work. the transformation in my new friend was visible. you realize it can come in many ways – opening your options and alternatives. Utah. “I am tired of working around blood and burning flesh. Several trips there proved disappointing. an abundance of possible avenues of action became available. she planned to move from Utah to New York. ©www.breakfast hotel in London where we were both staying. The essence of something is simply the feeling it produces and the function it performs. Provo didn’t seem to be brimming with the sort of work she craved. Knowing that. That could be something like. Think of the essence of your work as the emotional and psychic rewards it will produce. With no formal training in art history or the like.com 2002 Page 89 . Being in an artistic atmosphere seemed to awaken her spirit. It was apparent that she saw and felt a great deal more than the average museumgoer. while others were immediately eliminated. As much as she liked being there. Ruth returned to Provo. “My work feels natural and easy. I determined that my business would motivate others to actualize their potential while making me feel satisfied and causing me to keep improving myself.” When you know the essence of what you want.com Finding Your Calling© Focus on Essence Barbara Winter 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.” she’d declare. At the same time.

. galleries. etc. Although she now has a long commute. Her passion had been apparent! Their first shop has opened and Ruth is happily involved in several capacities. starting with Salt Lake. We brainstormed more ideas. And it started in Provo.com 2002 Page 90 . By identifying the essence of what she wanted.” one of the partners confessed.ChangingCourse. Ruth accomplished the seemingly impossible! This isn’t the end of her goal. which were sold to art collectors.ChangingCourse. it’s the beginning. 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 left the frame shop wondering how she could be of value to them. she reports arriving home with plenty of energy – and enthusiasm for returning the next day. To her amazement. they said they were planning an expansion and were going to open galleries of their own in several cities. One day she mentioned a small company in her area that made custom picture frames. Maybe she could travel around the country and market their work to galleries. ©www. They employed a number of artisans who produced the frames. she quit her nursing job and spent a couple of months working on her serenity. “We’ve already talked about hiring you. We agreed that somehow she needed to let them know that she wanted to be involved with their work. 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. She has ideas galore and sees this as her apprenticeship. She gathered her ideas and courage and called on them once more. Or exhibit at trade shows. around the country.com Finding Your Calling© Eventually.

and theater and give wonderful parties.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. 4) A radio announcer for major league baseball. she’d live in New York City. gardening and “putting up. If you could manage nicely with three lives.com 2002 Page 91 . In another I’d be a theoretical physicist.) In the other life.com Finding Your Calling© Five Lives – And How to Live Them All Barbara Sher Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want Think about it: if you had five lives. I’d be exactly what I am. 5) A wife/mother/farmer. or lifestyle to the fullest each time.” surrounded by animals of all kinds. “Would you rather we cut off your right hand or your left?” And it’s the same with you. If you have to choose just one of your “lives. something a little less intense and tragic: a musical-comedy star! In my fifth. I’d still be Judy Garland − no. you’re going to long for all the rest of them. In one of my lives. In each of your “lives” is something you love very. a 47-year-old mortgage banker in a real estate firm. my editor. In my fourth. (As a little girl she wanted to be a racehorse trainer. Gene. Amanda. interest. ©www. Take a moment to do this exercise. To ask him to choose between Bach and relativity would have been like asking. I have not decided yet what I am going to be when I grow up. concerts. 2) A fishing guide. said she’d only need two lives. what would you do with each one? I don’t mean if you were five different people.” Amanda said. “whichever life I was in. biking. In one. Because they are all vital parts of you. It’s a flexible exercise − so tailor it to you. study ballet – and be an editor. Most genius is multifaceted. 4) A naturalist or marine biologist. 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. 3) A linguist and world traveler. 2) A professional musician. I’d miss the other one!” That’s just it. In one I’d be a nineteenth-century botanist and spend all of my time painting flowers. If you need ten. and explore a different talent. she’d spend a lot of her time outdoors. I’d be a hermit and live alone on an island and write. My writer friend Julia says that she would be: 1) A writer. riding. Even Einstein loved music as much as he loved physics. 3) A novelist. go to museums.” even if it’s the one you love the best. “The only trouble is. I just picked five because it’s a nice round number. and I promise you that when I’m 80 I still won’t have decided. very dearly and need to get into your own life – and you can. but they’re the rare exceptions. help yourself. I mean if you could be you five times over. What I plan to do is as many things as I can. take three. wanted four lives: 1) Head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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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

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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

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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.

Multimedia Goals
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.

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energizing. 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.the Special Bonus I promised. 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. and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life for years.ChangingCourse. But we also tend to lump people who are in a certain field into one general “type. I finally sat down to give it a read and WOW. Innovators.” the “accountant-type. I think we can all see ourselves in one or more of her profiles.” The “artist-type. You may see some of yourself in each category. then you know that nothing makes a Leader happier than persuading.. The part that I found particularly interesting was where Lloyd describes 10 types of people. All that means is you enjoy connecting with other people some of the time but can just as easily work solo as well.” the “techie-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.” Even though Lloyd is describing different types of creative people. Keep in mind that just because this is the special free bonus section. I've created a short exercise at the end to help you zero in on the “real” you.ChangingCourse. Do you remember the kid who was always organizing group activities and then directing others? Or. See if you can recognize yourself in these profiles..com 2002 Page 95 . Collaborative types include: The Leader: Leaders usually emerge quite young. perhaps that kid was you! If so.com Finding Your Calling© Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling Well here it is. and moving others towards a common ©www. what a great book! You don’t have to be artistic – or for that matter. even remotely creative – to benefit from the book. 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. It's just that simple. No investment – no return. We all know that there are different kinds of people.

Lloyd says Inventors don’t just create gadgets. The Inventor: Just as it sounds. words. nutritional. Although Generators often prefer to do their own thing work-wise. They might also invent new types of services. Don't think just “school teacher” here.” The Realizer: This is the one whom everyone depends on to get things done. The tools of the Realizer are brainstorming. and many more. Some of the careers Healers may feel led to include counseling (career. etc. [or] bosses how to use their stilluntouched computers. friends how to do the macarena.ChangingCourse. and motivating.) alternative medicine. advertising. spiritual. union organizer. or a whole range of services designed to help people on physical. Consulting. ability. marketing. directing. and curriculum design are all examples of ideal jobs for generators. cinematography. Healers also tend to be being socially conscious. fundraising. producing. You may have a talent and affinity for teaching. or emotional levels. the Inventor loves to create new things. and/or cure. Highly intuitive. toys. The Healer: Healers are motivated by their desire to console. they love seeing their idea come to fruition.ChangingCourse. says Lloyd.com 2002 Page 96 . The Teacher: What gives Teachers the most satisfaction is sharing knowledge. or designing. editing. Leaders also tend to be good public speakers and are good at inspiring others to act. nurture. ©www. spiritual. Other fields interpreters may be drawn to include consulting. networking. Occupationally speaking there are many ways to satisfy the need to “make things happen” such as event planning. they are attracted to any job that requires coming up with new ideas or solutions. and strengthening part is because they love making things better. the Interpreter thrives on jumping in to handle the final stages of a creative endeavor or project. community arts. “If you find yourself volunteering to teach nieces how to drive. hair styles. bereavement. or information with others. For the Inventor it is not enough to come up with the “eureka” ideas. You might also find this type of person taking written words and interpreting them into a visual medium like film or dance. The Interpreter: Some people love the start-up or idea phase of a project (you'll meet that person shortly). The joy comes from the act of transmitting. In contrast. They like nothing better than a good brainstorming session and are easily bored in jobs that requiring repetition. Individual types include: The Generator: The Generator comes alive in the idea phase but is less interested in implementation. coordinating volunteers.com Finding Your Calling© goal. academics. The reason the Interpreter likes the final polishing. clarifying.

they tend to shun working in large organizations.com Finding Your Calling© scientific advances. the exercise involves creating your own “I Have Dream” speech. computer programmer. Mystics are dreamers who are prone to contemplation. political analyst. analyzing. Instead of creating physical things. scholar. Examples of “thinker-friendly jobs include librarian. or museum worker. Once you've done that. Thinkers get their satisfaction from measuring. and ambiance.ChangingCourse.) Secret 2. or even ideas. So now I want you to rank order the extent to which you connect with each type on a scale of 1 to 10. dance forms. Dr. Martin Luther King.ChangingCourse. theorizing. they prefer to create such things as moments. ©www. political systems. or leading small workshops. rituals. You don’t have to actually deliver the speech. they value the idea itself as much as. 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. As you were reading through the profiles you no doubt identified with some more than others. doing freelance technical writing. composing music. researcher. Don't worry. archivist. musical instruments – anything new or different. mathematician.” say McMakin and Dyer. In other words. For this reason. The Maker: The Maker loves to build or create things. to creating computer generated cartoons. A 10 means That’s Me and a 1 means Nothing Like Me. building stone fences or a piece of fine furniture. putting into writing what you are “for” can be a powerful and potentially revealing exercise. But in a culture where so much emphasis is put on what one is “against. 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. the Mystic might be drawn to such pursuits as writing poetry. The Mystic: Mystics are highly tuned into their senses including feelings. Creating a finished product is what makes the Maker most happy. moods. The Thinker: Thinkers like thinking just for the sake of it. This could be making anything from making a mint cheesecake. if not more than. making music. and/or interpreting. 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.com 2002 Page 97 . Instead. painting a picture. Borrowing from a famous leader of people. communicating or realizing it. journalist.

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.com 2002 Page 98 . your assignment is to brainstorm a list of things you could do to build on that vision. In other words.deltasociety. passions. I've pulled three that I thought were most intriguing. animal tamper-proof composter for campers. How might your passion for nurturing. say you dream of a world where people are stewards of the earth and its resources. It could be something as simple as a small. You can learn more about the fascinating field of pet therapy through such organizations as Therapy Dog's International (www. as local as a community or neighborhood. Then ask yourself which of these you might use in the service of that dream. In his book Career Map: Deciding What You Want.org). portable.narha. or North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (www. the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Getting It and Keeping It! are a series of questions designed to help you find your passion from different angles.ChangingCourse. It might be interesting to come up with ideas that match the “type” you selected in the previous exercise. Think about some of the interests.org). and unique gifts you identified in Finding Your True Calling.tdi-dog. Once you’ve determined what you one day dream of seeing. What was it about the program that kept you interested? Was it.ChangingCourse.org).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. curing. For each question try to come up with at least two responses: 1. For many years Neil Yeager ran the Adult Career Transitions Program at my alma mater. tweaked them a bit. or consoling be used to serve your dream? For example. Think of the last movie or television show that really held your interest. What might the Inventor in you create to contribute to a better world? It doesn't have to change the course of history. and added both some examples and follow up questions to jump start your thinking. the Delta Society (www.. The acting? The action? The dialogue? The humor? ©www. Secret 3: Know What You Like Sometimes just asking the right questions is all it takes to tap into a calling.. The “world” can as large as the globe or the nation. Or say you identified with the Healer. or as close as the family.

com The suspense? The animation? The creativity? The challenge? The realism? The unrealism? The heroism? The emotions? The message.com 2002 Page 99 . values.ChangingCourse..ChangingCourse. 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..? Finding Your Calling© ©www.

charternet. etc.holisticmed.com/changingcourse) or travel writer (www. outcome.com/www/dir_herb.gallaudet.saci-florence.com/) ©www.edu/InfoToGo/357. 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.org/uti/index.lasso?id=532204) Training to become a sign language interpreter (clerccenter.igga.org/menug.archaeological. or to master skills.aza.com Finding Your Calling© What about the animation. Like.org/JobListings/index.com 2002 Page 100 .agorainc.com/coachville/default.tradeschool.naturalhealers.com/university.htm) Studying with an herbalist (www.org/webinfo.culinaryschools.html) Going to culinary school (www.. to acquire knowledge.ChangingCourse.htm) Apprenticing with a glass blower (www. and b) Keep in mind that while education can include college or an advanced degree.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.genealogy.com/schools/index.html?Welcome=1027692136) Going on an archeological dig (www.org) Learning how to become a professional copywriter (www. what might it be? Two things before you answer: a) Don't forget the “no thinking about money” rule.html) Going to school to become a massage therapist or acupuncturist (www. Going to motorcycle or NASCAR mechanics school (www.ChangingCourse.com/) Interning at an aquarium or zoo (www.php?page=10015) Becoming certified as a success or business coach (www.com/reports/twcr/changingcourse) Going to sailing school (www..thomasleonard.cfm?page=detail&id=2027) Studying art in Italy (www. there are lots of other other ways to learn.thewriterslife.

ChangingCourse. If you’re feeling excited. This is the date you are making a commitment to yourself to revisit the work you have done here. and so.com/services2. You’ll want to begin gathering the necessary information – like reading up on your calling. but also a little overwhelmed. Sometimes letting your answers just ©www. Get out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself for two weeks from today. If you did all of the exercises. Give it time.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_schools. 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.com Finding Your Calling© Learning fine wood working or a related craft (www. don’t worry – the answer will come.com 2002 Page 101 . Here is what I want you to do. There are a number of excellent resources designed to help you along this next phase of your journey.” 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.ChangingCourse.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. factoring in the financial pieces.taunton. you may want to take a look at the other great resources from and about Changing Course. A True Calling is something that is well worth the wait. and I mean really DID all of the exercises.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.adventuretravelbusiness. 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.

perhaps. Instead try to find someone who is generally positive and who really cares about your happiness.com Finding Your Calling© sit for a while can produce some helpful results. Just make sure you don’t turn to a “play it safe” type. On the appointed date.com or call 800-267-6388 (EST).com For more information about personal coaching or to learn more about other great eBooks. there is something else I definitely want you to do. Or you might find something you missed altogether. And that is to share your answers with someone who knows you well.ChangingCourse. the founder of Outward Bound once said. for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less. ©www. Sometimes you’ll find that something strikes you differently than it did before. “There is more in us than we know. visit us at www.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. Kurt Hahn.” Adding. get out your answers and give them another read.com 2002 Page 102 .” ©Copyright 2002 ChangingCourse. Regardless of what comes from this revisiting exercise. It is amazing how other people can sometimes see what is right in front of your own face. The important thing is to not give up on your dream. “If we can be made to see it.

She is is a contributing editor for Fine Gardening and also writes for Country Living Gardener.com Finding Your Calling© About the Authors Barbara Blossom Ashmun Garden designer Barbara Blossom Ashmun is the author of five books. To learn more.com. visit Barbara online at www.ChangingCourse. Better Homes and Gardens.changingcourse. Mike believes that our midlife are truly are best years.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 103 .bestyears. Horticulture. In addition to teaching gardening classes and custom gardening workshops. Mike Bellah is the author of Baby Boom Believers and writer of the syndicated column.bigstep. For more inspiriting stories about midlife visit www. Paige is the author of Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter” ©www.com. and 200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Roses. 200 Tips for Growing Flowers in the Pacific Northwest. visit www.barbarablossom. Mike is the author of Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion Paige G Blomgren This article was reprinted with permission from Winning Ways.com or write to barbarablossom@hevanet. Garden Retreats: Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary. For more information or to subscribe to Winning Ways. Barbara teaches Redesigning Your Life. and lecturing to garden clubs.com. The Garden Design Primer. 200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Perennials. consulting to area gardeners in their homes. Barbara is the author of How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time Mike Bellah A recognized expert on the baby boom generation. a class that catalyzes career and life style change to help participants become all they have ever dreamt of being. American Gardener and Garden Showcase. the newsletter for people who want to turn their passions into profits. Midlife Moments.

com Finding Your Calling© Frank Burge Frank Burge is a columnist for Electronic Engineering Times and a friend of Chuck Roberts. and her nonfiction in various magazines including Entrepreneur and Central PA. Visa. While writing his first book. and launching himself as a speaker. Penn and Babson. Chucking It All. he went $50. including Shell. Motorola.ChangingCourse. By 28 he was a published author.000 in debt in pursuit of his ambitions.com or visit www. Jane is the author of Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss Susan Holliday The Soularium offers Reflections & Redirections: A Life Strategy Workshop designed to guide and inspire you toward your full potential and possibilities.ChangingCourse. To receive more information. Stanford.com.thesoularium. Over the past decade he has spoken at over 500 businesses and universities. the Consequences of Chucking it All (now out of print). Her fiction has appeared in Habersham Review and VIA. Patrick is the author of No McJobs Jane Groft Jan Groft lives and writes in Lancaster County. an Internet columnist. younger brother of Tony Roberts who wrote Against the Grain. Pennsylvania. a fixture on the speaking circuit. and a television personality for PBS's Career Advantage. Susan is the author of Wellness Begins Within ©www.com 2002 Page 104 . contact the Soularium at 301-230-2449 or info@thesoularium. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and is currently working on a collection of personal essays. and sponsored by a Fortune 100 company to tour the 75 biggest schools in America. Patrick Combs Patrick Combs is internationally known as the best-selling author of Major in Success. We are featuring his article.

com Finding Your Calling© Nicholas Lore Nicholas Lore is the creator of the Rockport Institute. Rockville. Be sure to check our their website for more information at www.score.com. Nicholas is the author of Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path Courtney Rice Courtney Rice is a freelance writer happily living out her dream on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. You may contact the Rockport Institute via mail at 10124 Lakewood Drive.com 2002 Page 105 .ChangingCourse. Courtney is the author of Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation Bill Robertson Bill Robertson is pursing his dream of working in the film industry. For more information or to find a SCORE office near you. He lives in Boston.rockportinstitute. an international careercounseling network that has coached thousands through a mid-career change or firsttime career decision. He is author of The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success ($14). Bill is the author of Taking the Leap Beth Schimel Beth Schimel works for SCORE. MD or you can call them at 301340-6600.org. visit www.ChangingCourse. Beth is the author of Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits:For This Couple. Work Feels Like Play ©www.

com Finding Your Calling© Barbara Sher Barbara Sher is a career counselor and best-selling author.barbarasher. The Today Show. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. Barbara’s books are also featured in the Live Your Dream Bookstore at www. The Garden Lady line can be viewed online at www.htm or call 800-267-6388. You can email her at GardinLady@aol. 60 Minutes. For more information about Barbara’s Dare to Dream 12 audiotape program ($99 US/$107 International) visit www. and Teamworks.com. Since then she has written four books I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was. It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now. Join the lively discussion board and find out about Barbara’s upcoming workshops at www. She has presented her seminars to people across North America and Europe and has appeared on Oprah.changingcourse. Sally is the author of Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: A New Business and a New Beginning ©www.com 2002 Page 106 .com. The Donahue Show.changingcourse. Barbara has generously allowed ChangingCourse. Her first book. CNN and Good Morning America.com/cc_store.ChangingCourse. CO 80863.com/book_store.ChangingCourse.gardeninggreetings.85) write to Sally care of Gardening Greetings at 680 Calico Court.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 Sally Silagy is the owner of Gardening Greetings. Woodland Park. sold over a million copies. How to Create Your Second Life at Any Age.htm. For more information or to order her HomeBased Greeting Card Kit ($33.com or call 719-686-1473. Live the Life You Love in Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons.

com Finding Your Calling© Ryan Speakman 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.htm Ryan is the author of On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant Bradford Swift As the founder and director of Life On Purpose Institute (online at www. MA 01035. or at PO Box 657. From There. Brad is the author of Discovering Your Life’s Purpose James Welch 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..com. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches ($16.lifeonpurpose.95 shipping and handling). among many others. 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.com/alternatives. 33922.com. To arrange for your own complimentary coaching session contact Brad at brad@lifeonpurpose. For gardening tips and resources please visit Debbie and see her beautiful gardens at www. four years of which was spent “on the road. James Welch’s complete nine-year odyssey. Bokeelia.. visit www. Or you may contact her directly at 413-586-1281. Hadley. To Here.com).” is documented in his book. James is the author of From There to Here Debbie Windoloski Debbie Windoloski is the owner of Gardenscape a garden design and tutoring business.95 plus $2. To order write to James Welch at 5428 Phillips Street. Debbie is the author of Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden ©www.ChangingCourse.changingcourse.zone5gardening. Debbie@zone5gardening. FL.ChangingCourse. For more information.com or 800-668-0183.com 2002 Page 107 .

Power Interviews.ChangingCourse. His book. Neil is a frequently quoted expert. She is author of Making a Living Without a Job and publisher of Winning Ways. Money Magazine. and his comments have appeared in The New York Times. Power Interviews.).ChangingCourse. and CareerMap. P. was on the 1998 Best Seller List of the Wall Street Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly. Barbara is the author of Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion and Focus on Essence Neil Yeager 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. For a seminar schedule or to subscribe call (612) 835-5647 or write to Winning Ways. All his books have been published by John Wiley & Sons.O. MN 55439. The Career Doctor. teacher and entrepreneur who conducts seminars throughout the country. Neil is the author of Finding the “Right Livelihood” A Lesson in Contrasts ©www. Minneapolis. Box 39412.com Finding Your Calling© Barbara Winter Barbara Winter is a writer.com 2002 Page 108 . Fortune Magazine. The Wall Street Journal and other national publications. the newsletter for people living and working with passion ($29/1 yr.

Redbook.ChangingCourse. The Chicago Sun Times. The Dallas Morning News. Reader’s Digest and Cosmopolitan. 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. An internationally known speaker and workshop leader. MIT and Society of Women Engineers. The Guardian (London). 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 Oregonian.” Her career change tips have been cited in The Wall Street Journal. The Entrepreneur’s Business Start-Ups Boston Globe.com 2002 Page 109 . USA Today Weekend.com Finding Your Calling© Valerie Young Self-described Dreamer-in-Residence. Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to launch ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. The Edmondton Sun.com) program to over 20.impostersyndrome.000 people in such diverse organizations as American Women in Radio and Television.

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