Finding Your True Calling

Still Don't Know What They Want To Be "When They Grow Up" But Can't Wait To Find Out The Handbook For People Who

Finding Your Calling©

Table of Contents
Before You Begin: How to Make the Most From This Book ...............................1 Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts ...........................................6 How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time..............................................8 Discovering Your Life’s Purpose ............................................................... 12 Finding Hidden Talents: Who Do You Think You Are? ................................... 15 5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling ............................................................ 20 Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion ............................................... 25 Family Career Clashes: “You Want To Do What?” ......................................... 29 Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion.............................................................. 33 Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path ............................................. 35 How to Create the Ideal Job ................................................................... 40 Finding Right Livelihood: A Lesson in Contrasts ............................................ 44 Wellness Begins Within: Living the Theory ................................................... 46 You Say You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star? Why Not!................................ 49 Taking the Leap.................................................................................. 52 From There To Here: How We Escaped Corporate America ............................ 55 Chucking It All: Some Do ...................................................................... 59 Having It Your Way.............................................................................. 61 Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden ............................................................................................ 63

Finding Your Calling©

Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits: For This Couple, Work Feels Like Play ............. 66 Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: A New Business and a New Beginning............ 68 Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss. 70 On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant ......................................... 73 Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter”......................................................... 75 Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation ..................................................... 77 Creative Hookey: Or Five Ways to Learn and Earn By Staying Out of School ....... 81 No McJobs....................................................................................... 85 Focus on Essence ............................................................................... 89 Five Lives – And How to Live Them All ...................................................... 91 Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling ...................... 95 Barbara Blossom Ashmun .....................................................................103 Mike Bellah ......................................................................................103 Paige G Blomgren ..............................................................................103 Frank Burge .....................................................................................104 Patrick Combs ...................................................................................104 Jane Groft.......................................................................................104 Susan Holliday..................................................................................104 Nicholas Lore....................................................................................105 Courtney Rice ...................................................................................105 Bill Robertson ...................................................................................105

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

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

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

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

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

A Final Note If you are serious about finding your passion. must give this whole discovery process the time and attention it deserves. just for the sake of argument that it is better to be happy than to be rich. At the same time. 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. and get excited about money later. the Changing Course Money Rule says: Thou shall not get hung up on the earning potential of a given calling. But. Through a series of assessments and exercises. I am going to ask you to do yourself a BIG favor. Within a few weeks. Okay. 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.” Simply stated. So.000 a year. if you’re ready. I repeat. 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. Diana was able to tap into her love of history and Finding Your Calling© Money Matters You can’t talk about finding your passion without talking about the money part. 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. Disney offered Diana a position as managing instructor in charge of the institute ’s genealogy classes! Finding your true calling may not happen overnight. So. for now.ChangingCourse. especially tracing family histories.ChangingCourse. nothing can kill a dream faster than worrying about how much money you can earn at your newly found passion. you must. One of the participants was from the Disney Institute. Let’s assume. plan around. It wasn ’t for a full two years later that Diana volunteered to teach a weekend workshop on genealogy. Connecticut. let’s begin the incredibly exciting journey of finding your true calling! ©www. fret over.” There will be plenty of time to think 2002 Page 5 . 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 know you desperately long to find a goal that will spark excitement and energy. you know what my skills were? I could clean a house like a 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. Life is just too short to live without that kind of focus. In the early 1980s. I don’t really care what your skills are. They knew how to live. two Harvard psychologists completed a study of people who called themselves happy. ©www. you can see the intensity on their faces.” 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 I mean love. you yearn to find the place where you can make your mark. When you get near people who are pursuing their heart’s desire.ChangingCourse. so did Golda Meir. when you are heading straight for what you love. They knew their work was important. That’s what makes life feel good: when it has direction. A friend’s father got it right when he said. I don’t mean what you’re skilled at. Albert Schweitzer found his place. And what did happy people have in common? Money? Success? Health? Love? None of these things. and so did the kid next door who practiced guitar day and night. They believed in what they were doing with all their hearts. They had only two things in common: They knew exactly what they wanted and they felt they were moving toward getting it. “The good life is when you get up in the morning and can’t wait to start all over again. catch a moving bus with my arms full of 2002 Page 6 .ChangingCourse. When I was a single working mother with two babies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

congratulations. but he could have been – and still could be – a fine jazz drummer or dancer. the kind of imagination it takes to be a writer or film director or an editor-in. John is a skilled machinist. 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.” If you didn’t have a goal when you started night in bed I used to put my head under the covers and pretend I was an Indian princess in the Land of Sky-Blue Waters. and still has. Bill is a lawyer. a forester. but you have just taken your first step toward choosing one. Anna is an editorial secretary in a publishing house. a painter.. and Ellen is looking for a career. or even a psychotherapist.ChangingCourse. She could have been – and still could be – a botanist. 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. Well. like his 2002 Page 19 . a gardener. Ellen’s youngest daughter just left for college. She Finding Your Calling© haunting sound and Indian tom-toms and they showed a lake sparkling in the moonlight. You may not believe it.chief.ChangingCourse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

com 2002 Page 26 .com Finding Your Calling© contradict one another. ____ Lets me work alone ____ Lets me work with a team ____ Is physical ____ Is idea-oriented ____ Allows me to work at home ____ Pays me to travel ____ Is seasonal ____ Is people-driven ____ Is product-driven ____ Allows me to use my expertise ____ Constantly teaches me new things ____ Lets me get a great suntan ____ Is portable ____ Is very part-time ____ Involves several diverse activities ____ Lets me be silly ____ Makes a difference in people’s lives ____ Comes from my personal values ____ Is personally satisfying ____ Makes me wealthy ____ Contributes to my mental health ____ Lets me work at my peak times ____ Serves a few happy clients ©www. There are no right or wrong answers to this and no scientific interpretation for the exercise. It’s another method of tapping into your reservoir of passion.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. That’s perfectly okay.

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 © 2002 Page 27 ____ Serves the general population ____ Is different every day ____ Is unlike anything I’ve done so far ____ Feels like not working ____ Lets me grow personally and financially ____ Makes me famous ____ Draws on my education and skills ____ Involves my family ____ Brings new people into my life ____ Sometimes scares me ____ Seems natural for me Finding Your Calling© ____ Lets me work hard for several months with long periods of time off ____ Surprises my friends ____ Can be done on an island ____ Can be done outdoors ____ Involves partners ____ Enriches lives.

com ____ Makes me exited to get out of bed in the morning ____ Is national in scope ____ Lets me wear a costume Finding Your Calling© ____ Combines many talents and skills I’ve acquired in a fresh way ____ Leads to financial independence ____ Has global potential ____ Improves the environment ____ Heals others ____ Is uniquely mine © 2002 Page 28 .ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. 2002 Page 29 . In no other way can we discover the life that’s really right for us. The first of these exercises is to stage a debate. and he wrote about it in his famous story about the ugly duckling. like a chest of buried treasures. That’s why a family of singers can have a child who loves farming. Hans Christian Anderson knew all about this problem. “Being born in a duck yard does not matter. a college professor. this little swan’s family thought she was a very peculiar kind of duck. ©www. Every human being is carrying genes from unknown ancestors. to cover our ears and stop listening to family instructions and start listening only to ourselves. you will remember. It happens all the time. But sooner or later every one of us has to find our own values. just as Marnie. He was raised by ducks. But many of us are not so lucky. Jane Fonda was lucky. Whatever reason. And as in the fairy tale. liked to fly. maybe the stork got his delivery orders crossed. which. “if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg. she liked acting.” 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. members of the famous trapeze act The Flying Wallendas.” I developed some exercises to help people claim with pride their valuable differences from their tribe. But heredity is just as strong as environment in determining who you are. cosmic or clerical.ChangingCourse. many people feel like they were born into the wrong tribe. was raised by bar owners. These values have been instilled in us since infancy and seem secured with the unbreakable bonds of love. was neither a duckling nor 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. The Wallenda children.” Anderson concludes. a family of judges and lawyers can have a child who is a gifted actor. Rejecting the values of your family – your tribe – is one of the most difficult things a person can do.

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

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

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

The Pleasure Test Sheehy calls it the “Time Flies Test. A life passion should also transcend mere personal pleasure. fearful.” What is it that gives you so much pleasure that you are oblivious to everything else? Some people will not find the question easy to answer. ©www. you can pursue your passion even if you temporarily lose the ability or opportunity for your activity.ChangingCourse. The question is. especially those who feel most discouraged. But a true passion is more than that. If you learn the answer to this question. “why do we create music or climb mountains?” Herein lies our true passion. playing music. disparaging. dependent. or boss – they have no idea what really gives them pleasure. it transcends our 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. Both writing and speaking activities I can get lost in. a musician might have the passion to inspire others by bringing beauty and joy into the world. Sheehy quotes a 50-year-old grandmother who adds. resentful. Similarly. But I don’t write just for me. and a cyclist might love the camaraderie of friends on the road.ChangingCourse. I love communication. sarcastic. So reflect and experiment.” says author Mildred Witkin. too. 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. or mountain climbing. Having spent the first half of life trying only to live up to the expectations of others – a 2002 Page 33 . 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.” “What activity do you do where time goes by without your even knowing it?” she asks. and isolated? “A midlife passion. but my passion in life is to bring hope to people. spouse. children. “Passion is allowing yourself to get lost in something. It should do something for others. Probably it’s because I have always struggled with disappointment myself. a mountain climber might desire to motivate others to reach for their dreams. It should make the world a better place. 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 2002 Page 34 . What career will best allow you to follow your heart’s desire? What leisure will fuel this same fire? What location will best facilitate it? Do you have a passion in life? If you’re not sure. What career should you pursue in your second half of life? What will you do with your leisure time? Where will you live? All of these questions can be answered best in light of your passion. take time today to begin identifying it.” This is probably the most practically helpful aspect of our passion.ChangingCourse. Identifying our midlife passion will help us make the big decisions facing us. pursue it with a whole heart and experience a midlife robustness unknown to your youth. ©www. Then.

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

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

Finding Your Calling©

learned during his lifelong scholarly study of Buddhism. As he rattles on and on, the master begins to pour him a cup of tea. The professor is startled when the master continues to pour even after the cup is full. Tea spills over the tabletop. Still, the master continues to pour. Finally, the professor sees himself for the first time. He realizes that you can’t put any more tea in a cup that is full. If you go through this career-choice process as a beginner and remain a beginner until the end of your days, no matter how well you know yourself, your work, and your world, you will be able to keep pouring tea into your new cup of wisdom. The difference between a master and a know-it-all is that the master, in any field, brings a beginner’s mind, fresh and open to unlimited possibilities, to each new workday.

4. Since you may never discover the truth, invent it.
Most of us are very fixated on what everything around us signifies. We want to understand the “real meaning” of events, concepts, and our lives. What did it really mean when he didn’t call? What did it really mean when Napoleon put his hand in his coat? We habitually jump to conclusions and instantly assign meaning to everything. Once we know what something “really means,” we will gladly die defending our point of view. It never occurs to us that, to someone else, it could mean something entirely different. Or it might mean absolutely nothing. If something can mean completely different things to different people who may be even smarter or more experienced than you, then meaning might be flexible. That opens up the possibility that you could get creative about what various things mean to you. In any endeavor that takes you, the explorer, into new territory, it is enormously useful to keep reminding yourself that all your definitions and judgments are only one point of view. Remember that they seem to be the one and only truth because you are a human being. And almost all human beings think that our opinions and beliefs are the “real” truth. Since you will never actually see the inside of the watch, you will never know if there is any “real” truth. Even your belief that there is any such thing as “real” truth may be nothing more than your opinion, your own personal interpretation. Once you can accept that all there is, is interpretation, you are free to invent other possible points of view and go with the ones that are most useful, the ones that most powerfully support you to be all that you can be, and more. Since we have so much difficulty in allowing anything to be completely devoid of meaning, the next best strategy is to become creative in transforming what things mean to you. Instead of trying to figure out the “real” truth, you might ask, “What possible interpretation would give me a great life? Which is more fun?” Albert Einstein once said, “Physical concepts are the creation of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, determined by our external world. In our endeavor to understand reality, we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch.” If you will never know the “real” significance of anything anyway, lighten up, trust that Einstein knows what he is talking about and light up your life instead of worrying about what it all means!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

” To Steve Wyrostek. visit www. ©www. without the benefit of commercial advertisement or the backing of a major label. IL 60017.95) gives you step-by-step instructions on how to set up a The Promise has been taken to every continent with the exception of Antarctica.houndz.thepromise. To sample the CD.99. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been. along with her children. had only begun taking piano lessons six years prior to the break up of her marriage. The 5th edition has been updated to address what the Internet revolution means to you. In addition. call (877) 298-9953 or write to Dreamworthy Productions. she started to compose music. independent recording label for promoting and marketing one or many titles. This former elementary education teacher and homemaker demonstrates that personal and financial upheaval can be transformed into something of value and beauty. forgotten and buried. You can listen to and read more about ‘The Promise’ at www. Lorraine has successfully placed 13. She. Another Success Story After listening to the album The Promise most people would be flabbergasted to learn that Lorraine Doan was an ordinary at the most devastating period of her life. 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. these are words to live by. is available for $13.000 copies of her music in over 450 accounts throughout the US and Canada. 2nd Adulthood. or to order online. The Promise should have been history. and how to use the Internet’s unprecedented power to market and promote your own 2002 Page 51 .ChangingCourse. To order. And now. Since August of 1998. PO Box 1933. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. The Houndz debut CD.ChangingCourse. raising two teenagers when her marriage of 23 years came to a sudden and unexpected end. Getting Started Want to jump start your own music career? How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording by Diane Sward Rapaport ($ Finding Your Calling© George Elliot once wrote. Des Plaines.

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

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

Everyone has his or her own version of “getting by.ChangingCourse.” The key is to believe that you deserve to have happiness in your life. Instead of working full time trying to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I decided to instead put my energy into moving full steam ahead on what really mattered. 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 Finding Your Calling© flopping the 2002 Page 54 . Like me. ©www. I did save some money in the beginning.ChangingCourse.

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

I made sandwiches in a delicatessen. Only 70 miles from Boston and the office buildings that once confined us. today editor of The Village Voice. worked evenings caring for a municipal golf course. Don Forst. in the spring of 1992 we moved to Ireland. I took a position selling insurance in Massachusetts and did so well that within two months was promoted to district manager. had purchased a small house trailer in Florida’s Everglades Gulf Coast. her homeland and the place where all her relatives still lived. I had left the rat race for good and proved to myself once again that financial survival can be a very simple ©www.ChangingCourse. Only four months from Massachusetts. Between all the jobs I was making decent money. While overseas I carried foreign press credentials from The Boston Herald and wrote freelance for. reasoned. Cynthia was growing tired of my constant absence and the late nights I worked when I was home. the dream we shared – perhaps the most important ingredient of all. On a Friday night in October 1993. we’re right back into it again. 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. not ostentatiously. though. The roads we traveled in reaching this point were as varied and rich as they were filled with blockades and dead-ends. served to open doors to hotel jobs for both of us in the Smokies. to realize the successful trappings had a flip side – an ugly specter. We had been independent long enough. she told me of her unhappiness. but after a year decided we wanted more from life and so returned to the opportunities the United States provides. we had money in the bank. we now enjoy a lifestyle that might as well be worlds away from our previous expectations and shattered dreams. earning enough money to survive. We left all of this three years ago. and were once again working jobs that paid us well enough to live comfortably. but we survived and. We owned two cars and lived in a beautiful condominium in a Boston suburb – once again the picture of middle-class success. The Times of London and The Boston Globe. So after traveling and working our way through 42 states. I had no job to go to. we once again shared a life. “Jim. the perspective we wanted. waited tables and otherwise “moonlighted” in between running my own commercial cleaning Finding Your Calling© sight of the freedom we sought. The money soon flowed in. planned and made lists. Mexico and Canada. with but $20 to our name – the very nadir of our existence together. more importantly. having fun and spending a good deal more time with my family. We did what we’ve always done in dire circumstances and in clover alike – we talked. A letter I carried from my mentor and friend. in a place most people paid thousands of dollars simply to visit. among others. Cynthia became pregnant and wanted our child born in 2002 Page 56 . we found ourselves 4.000 feet high in the Smokey Mountains in a blizzard. We immediately washed windows and cleaned restaurants in exchange for food.ChangingCourse. We enjoyed Ireland’s laid-back lifestyle. Within six months.

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

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

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

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

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

ChangingCourse. a second job can end up costing more than it brings in! With a little imagination and determination. what successful living is all Finding Your Calling© geese rise up into the sky and to be his own boss. Believe. 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.ChangingCourse. is for Tom. then act and one day at a time. Jonni began keeping a journal of the strategies she used to cut the monthly grocery bill from $500 to $160. 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. work attire and the 2002 Page 62 . These three people are living their dreams because they: one. commuting. believed it was possible and two. conduct seminars. you too can create the life you really want! ©www. Jonni and her family have since moved to Colorado Springs where she is happy to write. acted on their belief. Gradually she began organizing her helpful hints into a how-to book called Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income World. and home school her children. 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 was surprised to learn that some financial experts have calculated that.

In her book Wishcraft. was born. That’s when I came across ChangingCourse. by garden designer and author Barbara Blossom Ashmun. too difficult. Unfortunately. our early passions and interests weren’t always developed. I loved to create things. So. Marsha Sinetar and others. friends and family. too scary or too expensive to change course. I could get the formal education I felt I needed while still” It always seemed like something was 2002 Page 63 . I began to read books by Barbara Sher. One particular article. That way. 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. ©www. Yet. I had always loved gardening and for years have been creating beautiful gardens for myself. But what? By late 1998. it seemed too late. I was miserable. a garden design and tutoring business. I was never truly happy or satisfied with the career path I had “chosen. mid-life crisis was setting in with a vengeance and job-related stress was taking its toll. So. 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. the first thing I did was enroll in a home study Master Horticulturist course. and by the time many of us realized we were heading down the wrong road. Talking with other women my age who were making similar changes made me realize that changing careers might not be so difficult after 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. Ten Steps to Redesigning Your Life. My high school guidance counselors didn’t guide me to go after those things I was passionate about.ChangingCourse. we knew what we loved and what we wanted. Barbara Sher says that as children. I progressed up the corporate ladder to managementlevel positions in the field of marketing-communications. was just the incentive I needed to get moving. I also remember having a special appreciation for nature. Through hard work. I ended up taking business classes and entered the job world as a secretary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That allowed Joyce to focus on further refining her vision and on program development. Like Lissa. how to get free or discounted tickets.” There were a few more financial problems on the way.” says Joyce. We received a check for $6. the organization worked with community agencies to provide access to free or discounted performances. During the year and a half it took for her organization to get its first grant. due partly to bills. We had to do a 990 (a professional audit). ARTREACH may coordinate productions to come to people in nursing homes. we serve both the arts and the social service communities. “We created a special fund-raising piece. Currently the organization is creating an accessibility guide to area cultural institutions for people with disabilities. the then. “to start a nonprofit for anyone who doesn’t have their own source of Finding Your Calling© Neither Lissa nor Ralph were in this for the money. That’s when they came up with the idea for a fund-raising strategy called the “nonevent” gala.000 and did it. Her advice to those just getting started: “You have to have direction. in January ‘96.000 deficit. For at least two years Philadelphia Cares ran at a $60.” They asked board members to write checks to cover some of the costs until the organization could pay them back. Although they never thought about quitting. and it was horrible. Joyce feels grateful to have been in a financial position to pursue her goal. With seven staff members.ChangingCourse. saying that we could put on a gala for which people would buy tickets. two-year old organization had reached one of its lowest points: There was just no way to pay the bills and continue. but wouldn’t that money be better spent directly supporting the organization?” The strategy worked. For example.” ARTREACH also began under the same nonprofit start-up program that helped Philadelphia Cares. “We should have planned for that. Philadelphia Cares was asked to organize service projects for Martin Luther King Day. the program expanded to bring the arts to the people. “That was the first time we ever said we cannot do this service if you don’t pay us. Joyce Burd of ARTREACH has a different story to tell. enabling it to provide assistance to emerging organizations who want to spread this model of service. You have to be able to network with the constituencies that you want to serve. “It’s extremely difficult. how to coordinate with community 2002 Page 78 . Lissa recalls.” For the first few years. Then. a group of 24 similar volunteer organizations. Lissa admits that they didn’t know how to take care of the books. “there was no way to pay ourselves and the bills. ARTREACH helps make the arts more accessible to disadvantaged populations. partly to salary deferment. Philadelphia Cares is now part of the City Cares of America network. she and her husband lived on one income. Lissa counts herself lucky to have had some savings to support her since in the beginning. When the organization became independent. or bring in a visual artist to create a workshop for a community agency. Joyce worked two or ©www. Eventually. We also had to learn how to go about doing it. she says.” But the organization kept going – and growing. Originally. In our case.ChangingCourse.

or otherwise generate money-raising activities? If your answers to these questions were a resounding “ http://not-for-profit. and credibility (often proof of the viability of your nonprofit’s programs). It was also difficult to get publicity in the press. www. 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. During the 13 years ARTREACH has grown. 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. Are you still ready to create your own nonprofit? If so. effort. especially fund raising and public ©www. 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.ChangingCourse. Joyce is still very much aware of the pitfalls in establishing a nonprofit organization.nonprofits.fdncenter. and develop a strategy to bring in money. Three good sites to start with are: www.” Today ARTREACH is a highly successful organization. create events to raise money.” then what are you waiting for? You’ll find lots of great advice on starting a nonprofit on the Web. and eventually moved to full time. But in the beginning. Do you like fund raising? Are you willing to ask people for money. It took at least six months to see the organization begin to take shape. energy. Expanding the public’s awareness was very difficult. 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. a vision and some form of financial Finding Your Calling© three days a week. “It took time to get people to join the board. You will need to map out the programs or services you are providing.ChangingCourse. serve on your board. estimate expenses. takes four things: time. To start a nonprofit. there were some major obstacles. 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. she 2002 Page 79 . Finding Your Calling© Or. This single step led to another and another. these worthy organizations weren’t built in a day. They began with a simple idea followed by a single 2002 Page 80 . What’s your next step? ©www.ChangingCourse. Like Rome. you too can turn your vision into your vocation. With determination and action. see if your local colleges and universities have a nonprofit management center or know of additional resources in your area.

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

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

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

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

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

I love this book! (Another book that is quite ©www. Here’s how it works.ChangingCourse. arcade owner. Savage and Annette Novallo and learn about the 118 professions. Or you can go straight to an INCREDIBLE book: Professional Careers Sourcebook: Where to Find Help Planning Careers That Require College or Technical Degrees. It gives you a picture of the jobs that are possible for you. food stylist. game designer. professional associations.) How could I be paid to provide other people with a service related to this interest? How could I be paid to perform this interest for other people? How could I be paid to create products related to this interest? How could I be paid to assist people who are focused on this interest? How could I be paid to learn more about this interest? If you did the JOB IDEA GENERATOR you might be ready to call the career center or other knowledgeable professionals and ask them to help you with the specific job title/job description/salary range or the kinds of work that you identified as attractive. shows. professional meetings. and even annual conventions. speaking. restaurant consultant. 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. or computer bulletin boards. There are many job options for a person interested in video games: game tester. newsletters. books. virtual reality ride designer. test guides. but once you know the kind of work that is possible. 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.ChangingCourse. consulting. It may not give you the job specifics. game programmer. TV. and food editor at HG magazine. 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. lectures. magazines. edited by Kathleen M. Gene’s interests led him to jobs as a caterer. Chris Lindquist loved to play video games and after college he got a job as a game reviewer for Electronic Entertainment magazine. For each profession it lists multiple career guidebooks. etc. handbooks. corporate chef. educational programs. you can easily look up the job title and company address on your own. 2002 Page 86 .com Finding Your Calling© There are many job options for a person interested in cooking.

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Your Calling©

What I plan to get is whatever I can get my hands on. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one answer to the question, “What do you want?” and that is, “Everything!” In Mexico they have a wonderful saying: “La vida es corta, pero ancha.” Life is short, but it is wide. I’m not even so sure about the “short” part; have you really grasped the fact that you’ll probably have twenty or thirty or forty more years to fill? In any case, there’s a lot more room in your life than you think – room for everything in your “five lives” and then some. Finding that room is simply a matter of making effective use of time, and that means planning. Once you know how to use your days and weeks as the stepping-stones to a goal, you will realize that time doesn’t have to be a boat that you’re adrift in, or a treadmill you’re running on. It’s a raw material you can use the way a sculptor uses clay, and out of it you can shape not just one goal, but many. So the first target you choose for yourself is just that: the first. As your total life design unfolds, it will include many goals of different kinds, sizes and shapes – from building your own dream house to block printing this year’s holiday cards. Anything you want can come true if you cast it in the form of a concrete goal. And since the ultimate goal is a wonderful life, one that includes some of everything you love, I’d like you to try your hand at designing a life plan – a larger pattern of multiple goals that works in everything in your five (or three, or ten) “lives.” Before I show you some of the ways you can fit many goals into one life plan, I want to remind you that you’re not signing any contracts in blood. As you move through your life, your perspective and priorities will change; new interests will appear on your horizon, and some of the old ones may fade. Your life plan five or ten years from now may not bear much resemblance to the one you draw up today. But it’s always a good idea to have one. It’s a way of reminding yourself that the time ahead of you is yours to create in your own image, however that image may change.

Sequential Goals: Switching Horses in Midstream
The most obvious way to fit more than one major interest into your life is to concentrate on one at a time and do them one after the other. People who change careers in mid-life – say, giving up an executive job to open a bookstore in Vermont – are following this kind of life plan. We are surprised and impressed when someone does that only because we’ve bought the fool notion that it is “normal” for people to make up their minds once and for a lifetime. There are many people for whom switching horses midstream comes much more naturally. Like me: my lifestyle is to change goals every five or ten years. I can’t think of a better way to live than to do something till I’m satisfied or bored with it and then do something else. Sequential planning is a good way for a woman or a man to combine intense involvements with family and career, or for a couple to alternate breadwinning and nurturing responsibilities and periods of study or creative work. A woman might decide to have her children early, and go back to work or school when they have reached school age. Or, she might decide to achieve a certain level in her career

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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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You may see some of yourself in each category. Collaborative types include: The Leader: Leaders usually emerge quite young. But we also tend to lump people who are in a certain field into one general “type.” the “accountant-type. perhaps that kid was you! If so. what a great book! You don’t have to be artistic – or for that matter. All that means is you enjoy connecting with other people some of the time but can just as easily work solo as well. No investment – no return. See if you can recognize yourself in these profiles.” Even though Lloyd is describing different types of creative people. I've created a short exercise at the end to help you zero in on the “real” you. 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.ChangingCourse. Innovators. We all know that there are different kinds of people. and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life for years.the Special Bonus I promised. It's just that simple.. Keep in mind that just because this is the special free bonus section. The part that I found particularly interesting was where Lloyd describes 10 types of 2002 Page 95 . the same rules apply! 1) You have to set aside concerns about money for now and 2) You absolutely HAVE to do the exercises. and moving others towards a common © Finding Your Calling© Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling Well here it is. I finally sat down to give it a read and WOW.” the “techie-type.ChangingCourse. 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. even remotely creative – to benefit from the book.” The “artist-type. 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. I think we can all see ourselves in one or more of her profiles. then you know that nothing makes a Leader happier than persuading. energizing. Do you remember the kid who was always organizing group activities and then directing others? Or.

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

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

What was it about the program that kept you interested? Was For many years Neil Yeager ran the Adult Career Transitions Program at my alma mater.tdi-dog. the Delta Society ( as local as a community or neighborhood. and added both some examples and follow up questions to jump start your thinking. the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Think about some of the interests. The acting? The action? The dialogue? The humor? ©www. 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. I've pulled three that I thought were most intriguing. portable. It could be something as simple as a small. In other words. You can learn more about the fascinating field of pet therapy through such organizations as Therapy Dog's International (www. and unique gifts you identified in Finding Your True Calling. In his book Career Map: Deciding What You 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. Secret 3: Know What You Like Sometimes just asking the right questions is all it takes to tap into a calling. Then ask yourself which of these you might use in the service of that dream. What might the Inventor in you create to contribute to a better world? It doesn't have to change the course of or as close as the family. The “world” can as large as the globe or the nation.deltasociety. tweaked them a 2002 Page 98 . animal tamper-proof composter for campers. or North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (www. say you dream of a world where people are stewards of the earth and its resources. or consoling be used to serve your dream? For example. For each question try to come up with at least two responses: 1.. your assignment is to brainstorm a list of things you could do to build on that vision. It might be interesting to come up with ideas that match the “type” you selected in the previous exercise. curing.narha. Getting It and Keeping It! are a series of questions designed to help you find your passion from different angles. How might your passion for nurturing. Think of the last movie or television show that really held your interest. passions.ChangingCourse. Or say you identified with the Healer. Once you’ve determined what you one day dream of seeing. The suspense? The animation? The creativity? The challenge? The realism? The unrealism? The heroism? The emotions? The message. values..? Finding Your Calling© ©www..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 2002 Page 99 .

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

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

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

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

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

You may contact the Rockport Institute via mail at 10124 Lakewood Drive. He is author of The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success ($14). 2002 Page 105 .ChangingCourse. an international careercounseling network that has coached thousands through a mid-career change or firsttime career decision. 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. 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 For more information or to find a SCORE office near Finding Your Calling© Nicholas Lore Nicholas Lore is the creator of the Rockport Institute. Be sure to check our their website for more information at www.rockportinstitute. MD or you can call them at 301340-6600. Bill is the author of Taking the Leap Beth Schimel Beth Schimel works for SCORE.ChangingCourse. visit www. Work Feels Like Play ©www. He lives in Boston. Beth is the author of Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits:For This Couple.

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

Bokeelia. For more information. Debbie is the author of Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden ©www. MA 01035. James is the author of From There to Here Debbie Windoloski Debbie Windoloski is the owner of Gardenscape a garden design and tutoring business.. or at PO Box 657.95 shipping and handling). James Welch’s complete nine-year 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.95 plus $2.ChangingCourse.zone5gardening. To order write to James Welch at 5428 Phillips To arrange for your own complimentary coaching session contact Brad at brad@lifeonpurpose. four years of which was spent “on the road. 33922. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches ($16. FL.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. From There.changingcourse. or 800-668-0183. 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. For gardening tips and resources please visit Debbie and see her beautiful gardens at www. among many others. visit www. 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. Hadley.” is documented in his book. To Here.ChangingCourse.. Or you may contact her directly at 2002 Page 107 .

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

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