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Still Don't Know What They Want To Be "When They Grow Up" But Can't Wait To Find Out The Handbook For People Who
Finding Your Calling©
Table of Contents
Before You Begin: How to Make the Most From This Book ...............................1 Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts ...........................................6 How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time..............................................8 Discovering Your Life’s Purpose ............................................................... 12 Finding Hidden Talents: Who Do You Think You Are? ................................... 15 5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling ............................................................ 20 Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion ............................................... 25 Family Career Clashes: “You Want To Do What?” ......................................... 29 Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion.............................................................. 33 Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path ............................................. 35 How to Create the Ideal Job ................................................................... 40 Finding Right Livelihood: A Lesson in Contrasts ............................................ 44 Wellness Begins Within: Living the Theory ................................................... 46 You Say You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star? Why Not!................................ 49 Taking the Leap.................................................................................. 52 From There To Here: How We Escaped Corporate America ............................ 55 Chucking It All: Some Do ...................................................................... 59 Having It Your Way.............................................................................. 61 Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden ............................................................................................ 63
Finding Your Calling©
Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits: For This Couple, Work Feels Like Play ............. 66 Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: A New Business and a New Beginning............ 68 Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss. 70 On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant ......................................... 73 Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter”......................................................... 75 Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation ..................................................... 77 Creative Hookey: Or Five Ways to Learn and Earn By Staying Out of School ....... 81 No McJobs....................................................................................... 85 Focus on Essence ............................................................................... 89 Five Lives – And How to Live Them All ...................................................... 91 Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling ...................... 95 Barbara Blossom Ashmun .....................................................................103 Mike Bellah ......................................................................................103 Paige G Blomgren ..............................................................................103 Frank Burge .....................................................................................104 Patrick Combs ...................................................................................104 Jane Groft.......................................................................................104 Susan Holliday..................................................................................104 Nicholas Lore....................................................................................105 Courtney Rice ...................................................................................105 Bill Robertson ...................................................................................105
......................107 James Welch......................................................................................................................................................109 .......................................106 Ryan Speakman .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................107 Debbie Windoloski......................108 Valerie Young.108 Neil Yeager ...........106 Sally Silagy .......................................................107 Barbara Winter...........................ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© Beth Schimel .......................................................................................................................................................107 Bradford Swift....................105 Barbara Sher ............................
Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. not two.” Now I am living my dream doing exactly what I love and I’d like to show you how you can too.com Finding Your Calling© Before You Begin: Valerie Young How to Make the Most From This Book Hello.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. and Planter of gardens and dreams. My name is Valerie Young and I am the Dreamer-in-Residence at ChangingCourse.com. 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. If you aren’t familiar with Barbara’s work. 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. author and career catalyst teacher. Mike Bellah. get ready to be wowed! I have been a fan of Barbara’s books for many years. It wasn’t until I was forty-years-old that I finally figured out what I wanted to “be. To jumpstart the discovery process you’ll be learning from such top work/life experts as: Brad Swift.com 2002 Page 1 . but six of Barbara Sher’s inspiring and utterly on-target articles on what it takes to create work you can love. Barbara Blossom You’ll be treated to not one. My first introduction to this extraordinary career counselor and best-selling author was through her first book (and still my personal favorite). 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. At least I didn’t! For most of my life I kind of “fell into” things from college majors to jobs. founding director of the Life on Purpose Institute Nicholas Lore.
” this former marketing manager realized her dream of becoming a professional gardener. After. I happened upon Patrick’s work a few years back when he was speaking at a nearby university. I can honestly say. 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.com Finding Your Calling© Live the Life You Love In Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons But that’s not all. This homemaker moved her family to the U. The article comes complete with a checklist to help you. For his day job in the insurance industry Steve dons a suit and tie. Ok.com 2002 Page 2 .” Brad.S.ChangingCourse. as Barbara puts it. in her words. Patrick wrote a book called Major in Success: Make College Easier. Fire Up Your Dreams. “a 25-year detour. If you’re not a college student. this guy has come up with some of the most creative approaches I’ve seen and fortunately for you. Debbie Windoloski. 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. Vicki Phelps. Nicholas. People like: Steve Wyrostek. 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. and Get a Very Cool Job. 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. Tony and Nancy Roberts. Early on you’ll be treated to Barbara’s Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion. Nights and weekends Steve is fulfilling a life long dream – writing music and performing in his own rock n’ roll band. Next.ChangingCourse. don’t let the title throw you. Barbara is the author of the book that literally changed my life. Virgin Islands to bake cookies – and is making a darned good living doing it. Mike. “tap into your reservoir of passion. you’ll meet twenty ordinary people doing some pretty extraordinary things. ©www. 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. 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. I’ve seen a lot of exercises on finding your calling.
” Speaking of options… Your journey will end as it began – with practical yet incredibly inspiring advice from Barbara Sher. The decision of course is yours. I’ve been as guilty as the next person of wanting a quick fix to complex issues.com Finding Your Calling© he’s allowed me to share them with you here. This is so important because. it’s Patrick’s Super Simple. That tells me that you really do want to find your true calling. but Barbara will show you how even if you two dreams. our entire advertising-driven culture is based on the promise of instant gratification. or even five dreams – you really can live them all! Ok.” My question to them is always the same: “Did you do the exercises?” The question is usually met with a long pause. the myth that you need to find your one true calling and stick with that. 99. When I finally realized this and started actually doing the exercises. But you’ve already invested your hard-earned money to purchase this book. “No. enough about all the experts. Unique & Weird Job Idea Jogger! Finally. you’ll once again get to learn from career gurus Barbara Sher and Barbara Winter.com 2002 Page 3 .ChangingCourse. Those of you who “want it all” will be thrilled to hear Barbara explode another myth – namely. Now it’s time to talk about you. Doing the exercises takes time and let’s face it.” Truth be known. When the person does manage to get the words out.” Barbara says. I was desperate to leave my corporate job and had come up with the idea to launch a ©www. three dreams. Not only do you not have to limit yourself to one dream. When you consider that the reward could be nothing short of a lifetime of happiness. 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. A Lesson on Letting Your Heart Lead the Way My first personal connection with Barbara Sher happened about nine years ago. a magic answer did appear – but it was the kind that can only come from within. “you realize it can come in many ways – opening your options and alternatives. So for the longest time I was one of those people who glossed over the exercises hoping instead that the magic answer would somehow leap from the pages without my ever having to fully immerse myself in the discovery process. 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.9% of the time the answer is a sheepish. If there is one “must do” exercise. I think you’ll be glad you did. From Barbara Sher you’ll learn some pretty creative ways to change your career without going back to school. Occasionally I hear from someone who tells me they’ve read all the career change books out there but nothing has “worked. “When you know the essence of what you want.ChangingCourse.
ChangingCourse. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” Well. We’d never go into business because we’d be cynical. practical” self doesn’t always know what the heck it’s talking about. then getting up the next day to do it all over again. This experience taught me two things. ask for it. 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 decided to seek contributors who know a thing or two about chasing down a dream. 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. Of course. “If we listened to our intellect.” I stumbled nervously through my message: “Hi Barbara. That’s when I heard the cheery voice of someone named Barbara apologizing for the long delay in responding. At that point I had a grand total of 31 subscribers. or just cheer you on from the sidelines. maybe it’s time to get “unreal. I was in no mood to talk so I let the answering machine screen the call. And waited. 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. “Of course a big successful author doesn’t have time to answer her own phone. well. but I wondered if you would be willing to contribute an article or two?” Then I waited. So. like me. 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.” ©www. if “real” means spending your entire adult life working at a job you hate. First. Fast forward six weeks to a rainy Sunday afternoon.” “It will never work. You may not always get what you want. I recall standing in my kitchen feeling terribly discouraged and quite literally in tears. Then I remember thinking. Knowing that the newsletter needed more voices than mine. sometimes we need to lead with our heart’s desire because too often our “logical. officiate. her answering machine kicked in telling me to leave a message for Barbara after the tone. My heart was pounding as I dialed the number.com Finding Your Calling© newsletter for people who. if you need some help jump starting your dream. It was not enough to pay the grocery bill never mind the mortgage. It was one of those days when my head was giving my heart a good talking to: “What a dumb idea. I tracked Barbara’s phone number down through her publisher.com 2002 Page 4 . sell tickets to your game.” “Who would want your newsletter anyway?” Suddenly the phone rang. Barbara was the first person who came to mind. “If you try sometime. At first I was taken aback. dreams are almost always a group effort. And waited. I know you’re really busy.” We have been taught all our lives to “get real.” says Ray Bradbury “we’d never have a love affair. you just might find that you get what you need. After a few rings.ChangingCourse.” The other thing I re-learned is that. wanted to create more satisfying and balanced lives doing work they love. We’d never have a friendship. she’d be thrilled to contribute to my newsletter.
if you’re ready. 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.com 2002 Page 5 . you must. especially tracing family histories.000 a year. fret over. Until you have finished reading this book – and doing all of the exercises – abide by what I call the “Changing Course Money Rule. for now. Through a series of assessments and exercises. 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. Disney offered Diana a position as managing instructor in charge of the institute ’s genealogy classes! Finding your true calling may not happen overnight. Diana was able to tap into her love of history and research.com Finding Your Calling© Money Matters You can’t talk about finding your passion without talking about the money part. One of the participants was from the Disney Institute. 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. It wasn ’t for a full two years later that Diana volunteered to teach a weekend workshop on genealogy. You only get one trip around so you’ve got to enjoy what you do and whom you do it with. 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. Okay. plan around. Within a few weeks. So. just for the sake of argument that it is better to be happy than to be rich. So. I am going to ask you to do yourself a BIG favor. must give this whole discovery process the time and attention it deserves.ChangingCourse. At the same time. nothing can kill a dream faster than worrying about how much money you can earn at your newly found passion.ChangingCourse.” There will be plenty of time to think about. But.” Simply stated. and get excited about money later. let’s begin the incredibly exciting journey of finding your true calling! ©www. I repeat. Connecticut. the Changing Course Money Rule says: Thou shall not get hung up on the earning potential of a given calling. A Final Note If you are serious about finding your passion. Let’s assume.
you can see the intensity on their faces. when you are heading straight for what you love.com Finding Your Calling© Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts Barbara Sher Adapted from I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How To Discover What You Really Want and How To Get It You want a life you will love. They knew their work was important. Life is just too short to live without that kind of focus. ©www. In the early 1980s. And what did happy people have in common? Money? Success? Health? Love? None of these things.com 2002 Page 6 . I don’t mean what you’re skilled at. so did Golda Meir. you know what my skills were? I could clean a house like a demon. That’s what makes life feel good: when it has direction. you yearn to find the place where you can make your mark. I know you desperately long to find a goal that will spark excitement and energy. When you get near people who are pursuing their heart’s desire. and so did the kid next door who practiced guitar day and night.” 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. catch a moving bus with my arms full of laundry. “The good life is when you get up in the morning and can’t wait to start all over again. When I was a single working mother with two babies.ChangingCourse. They believed in what they were doing with all their hearts. Albert Schweitzer found his place. They knew how to live. A friend’s father got it right when he said.ChangingCourse. two Harvard psychologists completed a study of people who called themselves happy. I don’t really care what your skills are. They had only two things in common: They knew exactly what they wanted and they felt they were moving toward getting it.
com Finding Your Calling© groceries.” Each of us is one of a kind. As Vartan Gregorian said. Every living person has a completely original way of looking at the world. All of us are good at things we’re not madly in love with. And all of us have talents we’ve never used. That’s the way really big things get accomplished in this world – by people no different than you and I who know what they want and put everything they’ve got behind it. You do know what you want. Recent figures show that as many as 98 percent of Americans are unhappy with their jobs.com 2002 Page 7 . I have a surprise for you. If you don’t know what you want. Only love will give you the drive to stick to something until you develop your gift. Relying on your skills to guide you is simply unacceptable. you can’t get out of the starting gate – and that’s discouraging. ©www. I don’t even think your greatest talents necessarily show up in your skills. and kids. But you’re not alone. thank you. Well. I do not want the career that uses those skills. you live it by doing what you want to do. Einstein needed to formulate theories of physics. What you love is what you are gifted at. You should be doing what you love. And it isn’t only financial considerations that keep them where they are.ChangingCourse. And you’re right. and squeeze a dollar until the picture of George Washington screamed for mercy. I know what you should be doing. I don’t believe you live the good life by doing what you can do. and you need to follow your original vision. and originality always needs to express itself. Harriet Tubman needed to guide people to freedom. You sense there’s some particular work you are meant to be doing. Everybody does. they simply don’t know what to do instead. That’s why you feel so restless when you can’t find the right track. That’s why I don’t [give] personality tests or skills assessments to find out what you should be doing.ChangingCourse. “The universe is not going to see someone like you again in the entire history of creation. What you may have thought was your private little nightmare turns out to be heart-breakingly common.
when I quit my medical social work job and never looked back. In the seventies I spent my days in hospital rooms helping patients to redesign their lives after strokes and burns. In 1999 I branched out from garden writing to new genres. I had to persuade them to hire me. Now I want to profile these unique individuals in both local and national magazines.com 2002 Page 8 . and began making a satisfying profit. 1980. and to enhance what I already love to do – meet interesting.com Finding Your Calling© How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time Barbara Blossom Ashmun In the sixties I sat in a small windowless New York City room counseling young men recently released from prison on how to improve their lives. I rented a classroom in a neighborhood community center that could seat 40-50 students. Each year I make small but significant changes to continue growing my life. not sure if enough people would come. 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. wrought iron trellises and ceramic sculpture in my two-thirds acre country cottage garden. adventurous risk-takers who bless the world with their art. I taught the first class in my living room. and this has deepened my love and appreciation for the creative spirit. not because I lacked gardening skills. After several years.ChangingCourse. The living room overflowed. I began redesigning my own life on the first day of spring. I reminded them that I had worked around very colorful language as a counselor in an early release ©www. I took a part time summer job maintaining the grounds for the City of Beaverton here in Oregon. After I quit that job and jumped off cold turkey. In the last few years I’ve invited garden artists to show their paintings. I gained confidence and decided to try out teaching privately for higher rates. As a woman who has shifted gears numerous times. 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. 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’d like to share my top ten tips with you to encourage you to go forward.ChangingCourse. Now I sit in my own home office looking out on a beautiful garden and writing garden books. raking leaves.
how I could get a private contract. “Try Fine Gardening.com Finding Your Calling© program for men on parole in New York City. we feel at peace with our inner selves. was accepted to write a feature. after writing many more articles and faithfully meeting my deadlines. When I first decided to write professionally I quizzed the leader of our New Zealand garden tour. and figure out solutions. a retired sportswriter who had developed a second career as a garden writer and tour guide.” He even gave me an editor’s name and her 800 number. By talking it over with friends I learned about the realities: how much equity I held in that first house. and the garden was much too small. When I was a medical social worker I met so many elderly people who regretted not having done what they wanted that I became determined to take charge of my time while I was still healthy and capable. I 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. I saved my mornings for writing. I called. I was afraid to sell my familiar four-bedroom house even though it was much too big for me. Eventually I sought and found work tending three estate gardens at quadruple the money. Friends who were used to going out to breakfast with me were disappointed. “they’re very friendly to new writers.ChangingCourse. and where to look for reasonable property.com 2002 Page 9 . and that I was willing to work for low pay one summer to get experience. Follow Your Heart I was raised to believe that life is hard work and that struggling and suffering are normal. The best people to approach for help are those who are successful and secure in their work. higher interest rates would shoot my payments sky high. This led me to knock on the wrong doors and pound on them until they ©www. and when we spend that time doing what’s most important to our hearts and souls. 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. I learned to turn the phones off when I wrote and save gardening and paperwork until the afternoons. Network We are all in this together. We all get the same 24 hours each day. Do What’s Important First When I decided that I wanted to write for a living.” Bill said. Network. A friend referred me to a very creative realtor.ChangingCourse. I was invited to become one of their first contributing regional editors. Acknowledge Your Fears and Deal With Them Most of us fear change and the unknown. By clearly facing fears we can separate unrealistic from realistic fear. and five years later. After a divorce. Network. but I had to stick to my guns – mornings were for writing because that’s when my imagination is fresh and juicy.
did I really want to spend my days grooming myself to the nines. Our natural talents are easiest to develop. and helpful people will appear out of the blue to encourage and mentor you. saying yes to every opportunity that looks promising.com 2002 Page 10 . she helped me sign on for another book with a larger publisher. interviewing an agent for compatibility.ChangingCourse. my creative spirit needed to stretch its wings and turn to writing. and unfold leaf by leaf. Sometimes I even felt sorry for myself digging in the dirt while I watched them leave for appointments in Armani suits. and our energy looks for new expression. Even though I loved designing and installing gardens for others for about six years. and thrive on change. This is not without effort. let the sap rise. and managing three households and staffs of ©www. we must plant ourselves in the climate that agrees with our inborn natures. following old “shoulds” – you should help other people and do good deeds – instead of paying attention to what I really wanted. Just as good gardeners plant ferns in the shade and roses in the sun. work became joyful. More will follow. Once a task is mastered. Keep Moving On Most of us who are especially creative grow and develop without end. events will unfold with a natural grace. I didn’t have faith that I could possibly earn a living through what I loved – literature. but the effort will pay off and one thing will lead to another. But each step bore fruit and led me further along my path. art and music – so I decided I would have to be practical and aim to work in a lab. All you have to do is keep going through the green lights. My response was an immediate “Yes!” In truth. the inner creative urge longs for a new challenge. Once I quit and followed my heart by pursuing my love for growing plants. Examine Your Desires and Make Sure They’re Your Own When I designed gardens for affluent customers I experienced pangs of envy. but that was good – a year later I was a published author. But when I asked myself. 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. Later on I completed a master’s in social work. All this took effort – writing a book. We’re just like a tree putting out new branches and growing taller – all we have to do is listen to the inner core. after my first magazine article was published. a small New York publisher asked me to write a garden design book in six months. My old Toyota wagon looked awfully shabby beside their gleaming Mercedes and Jaguars.ChangingCourse. and a strong inner voice is urging me on. For example. following through. After I’d shown The Garden Design Primer to an agent I met at a writing conference.com Finding Your Calling© opened. I made the shift gradually. going to writing conferences. Now I long to write more personal pieces about interesting personalities. giving up one garden at a time as I wrote more and more. Pay Attention to Green Lights You will notice that once you point yourself in the direction to which you are suited.
For me. Discover what it is for you and choose what you love. the answer was “NO!” I like my casual clothes.com 2002 Page 11 . there’s a price for everything and we make choices about what’s of greatest value.com Finding Your Calling© helpers.ChangingCourse. each possession requires tending. informal lifestyle and flexible time. Your life will become simpler and more satisfying. I learned by watching that even though it might be nice to have three homes and a vehicle for every purpose. Whether it’s time or money.ChangingCourse. and time to spend with those I love are at the top of my list. ©www. time to garden. time to create.
there’s a different way to view a life purpose that gets more to the heart of the matter. necessarily. What if your life purpose isn’t what you’re meant to do but instead it’s who you are. the gift may feel like the boobie prize. When people first start working with me as their life purpose coach. Not a bad reply. it’s not necessary to spend one or more lifetimes in the “search mode. What if we didn’t even need to worry about looking for the keys to our life. Your life purpose then becomes the context ©www. perhaps much of our life. but when you consider the alternatives.ChangingCourse. When they asked him what he was doing.” His two friends looked at each other’s confused expressions before one of them asked. but to invent them. it’s really a powerful treasure to be able to choose at any given moment what our life can become.com Finding Your Calling© Discovering Your Life’s Purpose Bradford Swift Adapted from The Human Doing Manual: Designing a Life of Purpose and Service Who are you and what is your life for? Age-old questions that have haunted many of us for years. this is your year. the lighting is much better here. it may be cheating in most schools but not in the school of life. because that’s not where it is. I ask them. as in the values and vision you stand for? And it’s this sense of “whoyou-are” that then shapes what you do. It’s within each of us. In other words. Sure. 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 waiting to be created. Two of Joe’s friends found him one night under the street lamp on the corner on his hands and knees. “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. Most people reply that it’s something one is meant to do in their life that gives them a sense of meaning and fulfillment.com 2002 Page 12 . “I lost my car keys down there and I’m trying to find them. not to discover them. What. why are you looking for them here under the street lamp?” “Oh. Searching for our life purpose out in the world is like the old joke about Joe. if you’ve yearned to know the answers. not even wrong. he paused from his task long enough to point down the dark alley. However. But again.” trying to discover our life purpose out there somewhere in the world. “If you lost your keys down in the alley. invent answers? Isn’t that cheating? Well. sometimes there are so many choices.ChangingCourse. And the gift of choice extends to our having the freedom to choose our life purpose. One of the greatest gifts given to each of us is the gift of choice.” Joe replied. Well. not within waiting to be discovered.
Write your responses to these questions. Now. Who do you greatly admire? They may be celebrities. or a set of values. he feels his life is over because he has no sense of purpose. What kind of people do you love being around? Answer this both specifically.” it’s time to find the common thread or threads that will point you towards your life purpose. phrases.com 2002 Page 13 . If money. and in general. What is it about these people that you admire? Is it a way of being.ChangingCourse. family members. but the year to create it with the help of your inner guidance system. despite having many good years ahead of him. what would you do with your life and who would you be? 4. What do you love to do? Look at times in your life when you were most alive. friends or fictitious characters. 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. if you yearn to know your life purpose. you are no longer limited by the careers or roles you play in life. Now. excited. as in the specific people you love to be with. time. in love with life. rather than realizing it was only one way in which to express his life purpose. or what they are up to in life? 5. people from history. declare this as your year.” 1. 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. 3. or ideas. energy. Prime Your Passion Pump Clarifying your life purpose is a team effort between the rational mind and the intuitive mind or inner guidance system. When you view your life purpose in this way.ChangingCourse. What were you doing during those moments? 2. Go through your notes with different color markers and circle repetitive words. talk with others about them. What values are most important to you? It’s important to distinguish between the values that you think you should feel are important. and the ones you choose of your own free will.com Finding Your Calling© for your life or the container into which to pour your life. He had misidentified his career as his reason for living. The following exercise will get you started. begin to ©www. and then write some more. Not the year of discovering your life purpose. After collecting the “data. as in the types of people you enjoy. and talent were unlimited. 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. So.
ChangingCourse. shape it to fit these criteria. Keep it short. Pick your favorite way to access your inner guidance. there’s nothing wrong. in possibility. then seek guidance from within. Is based in pure possibility. It may be meditating.com 2002 Page 14 .ChangingCourse. or rewritten.. There’s power in brevity. erased. whatever you create today can be changed. Isn’t just about you but includes you. taking a long walk. Remember. Isn’t about fixing anything because. Is stated as a vision or values you stand for. From these free flowing sentences compile one that inspires you. It’s not about what you’ll be doing. Read through your journal material one last time. run or drive. a life on purpose is a life of. prayer. Then.. to add even more power. or setting your attention to dream your life purpose. Then complete this sentence four or five times with some free writing: For me. You aren’t stuck with any life purpose. ©www. It: Inspires and turns you on.com Finding Your Calling© create a “rough draft” purpose statement.
incredible determination.com 2002 Page 15 . original vision. is – you were born with your own unique kind of genius. the sculptor Louise Nevelson. So we’d better call “great brilliance” a special case of “original vision”: intellectual vision. Big “G” genius. as opposed to the artistic or musical kind.com Finding Your Calling© Finding Hidden Talents: Barbara Sher Who Do You Think You Are? Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want Who are you really? You’ve forgotten – but you knew once – when you were a very small child. Or so the standard reasoning goes. I don’t care what you’ve accomplished in your life or what your I. very reliably after all.ChangingCourse.Q. But even if we could.” Those are geniuses. let’s take the three characteristics I named as defining genius – great brilliance. but I’m serious. Not genius with a small ‘g’ as opposed to Albert Einstein.. I’ll tell you one thing about who you were then.Q. Your Original Genius Now you’re probably laughing. not you and I. emotional. “Great brilliance” is a little hard to define. but that’s because it’s always difficult to remember things we don’t have words for. original vision. You had original vision when you were two years old. We confer the honorific title “genius” only on those very rare people who we believe were born with a mysterious something extra: great brilliance. says Picasso was “drawing like an angel in the crib. Born overflowing with music. Look at Mozart. And we believe that “something extra” cannot help but express itself with such force that it overpowers the most difficult circumstances. or a dozen other kinds of vision we have or haven’t discovered yet: political.ChangingCourse. athletic. And I mean that in the fullest sense of the word. You may not remember. OK. The ©www. You were a genius. Look at Picasso – another genius. it only measures one very narrow range of knowing and doing. humanitarian. incredible determination – and see whether you had them when you were two years old. So that’s the place to start your search for the lost treasure map of your talents: in the first five precious and mysterious years of your life – the greatest learning period you ever had. We’ve found out now that we can’t test I.. like Albert Einstein.you name it.
And if you found the words for it. “Can I get it? Do I deserve it? Will I make a fool of myself? Am I procrastinating again?” You thought. you wheedled. Inadvertently. they are designed to teach you. Those. You were not only reinventing the English language for your own purposes. you piled boxes up on the floor. and loving things. usually no one could understand them! If you’ve ever listened to a very small child – if you’re a mother.” you had a marvelous freedom to be who you were. and opinions were of zero value.ChangingCourse. But schools are not designed to learn from you. All they saw was a blank board that they were going to fill up with everything worth knowing. You climbed. That is because they are trying to tell us what the world looks like.ChangingCourse. as a physicist friend of mine told me.com Finding Your Calling© fact is. feeling. or draw. the honeymoon was over. they probably gave the impression that your knowledge. you were. and they were doing multiplication tables. seen for the first time. So you had that: original vision. I had them. “Do you want to learn how to spell. but we all had it once. And you cried.com 2002 Page 16 . the precious right to make choices based on your own wishes began to be taken away. You have probably forgotten what it was like to walk into the first grade. knowing things. tastes. You’re not even aware of yourself. You’re completely focused on the thing you’re after. for instance – you know that they say some pretty strange and amazing things. and you did everything you could think of to get that cookie. doing original research into the nature of the universe. from a point of view that has never existed before! Great poets are people who have held on to that ability to see things new and say what they see. you made a fuss. Just by ignoring who you were. You were very busy when you were two. And it didn’t stop you in the least from going right for the next wonderful thing you saw. If it was important to you to talk to your best friend. “rare” and “special” qualities we think distinguish geniuses from all the rest of us? You had them. or daydream. If you didn’t get it. and changed the subject. Cookie. took a nap. hating.” You knew perfectly well what you loved and what you wanted. or did you have something else in ©www. By the time you were five or six. You had it. And you went after it without the slightest hesitation or self-doubt. you crawled. A new way of seeing the world that was all your own. when you were two. you got punished. Notice that you don’t need “self-confidence” when you’re like that. if not even sooner. 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. If you happened to know how to talk to plants and plants talked back to you. they didn’t ask you. Where did they go? As long as you were too young to listen to reason or to be trained to do anything “useful. You’d just had five years of solid experiences – seeing things. If you saw a cookie on the table. As soon as you were old enough to control yourself and sit still in school. The word has no meaning. you didn’t think. they cancelled the whole rich inner world you had brought in with you. You also had “incredible determination.
©www. and I think I understand what makes them happy. I drew in childhood. Ask any famous woman or man. “Get away from the plants and let’s see how fast you can learn the alphabet. or if you were going to be a movie star or ice skate to Eskimo land. It’s true that original achievements. “What are you good at?” you could easily say.” It would never occur to you to say. wondering child in themselves to sleep.” If you talked to plants. 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. 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.” All the people we call “geniuses” are men and women who somehow escaped having to put that curious. “Well.As a young child I could go into a room and remember 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.ChangingCourse. You developed amnesia about it. and went on painting daily.” And the sculptor Louise Nevelson. “You aren’t singing the melody. I felt like an artist. So let’s go back and try to get a look at the genius you were. earliest childhood I knew I was going to be an artist. great works of art. 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. like the genes in a seed that say its going to become a tomato plant. “From earliest. little by little. Instead. And so. you know. That’s a visual mind. and the kinds of lives that are works of art almost always have their roots in childhood. A Redbook magazine article about singer Linda Ronstadt says her first memory is of saying to her parents. “I love plants..” 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’m good at math. Albert Einstein was playing. or if you made sculptures out of mud. Now if you walked out into the world and somebody asked. “Play me some music.com Finding Your Calling© mind?” They said. and see how much you can remember that might point to your own special kind of genius. you forgot it. you understood very quickly that that didn’t count for much. I’d take one glance and know everything I saw.” meaning “Nothing that anyone would consider important. Her father said. or if you talked to dogs. remembers. But first we need to know: who was that child? What did she or he love? The design of your life path is right there in miniature..” Or you might say. “Nothing. We’re going to go to work to reestablish that continuity for you. The first thing you will need to do is reawaken those child qualities in yourself. a palm tree or a rose.” or “I can type. So I’d like you to think back to your childhood.” She was four years old and singing with them one evening when she began to harmonize. in her memoir Dawns & Dusks. “I know.” She said. I can remember all their names.com 2002 Page 17 .ChangingCourse.
but there was a commercial on TV in the Midwest for a beer called Hamms that was made in Minnesota.” Bill. Nobody could eat their dinner. or did you enjoy them all equally? What did you love to do. 35: “I was nutty about rhythm. 54: “I remember I had this thing about trees.ChangingCourse.” Anna. I’ve had a lot of therapy.com Finding Your Calling© Or. 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. I’ve got an even better name for it.ChangingCourse. 44: “I loved color. 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. I know I was drawing from the time I was old enough to clutch a crayon. touch – did you live most through.” Exercise Your Original Self Let your mind wander back through your childhood memories – especially the private. I was always patting out private little riffs on the dinner table. since that word still sounds presumptuous to our ears. lofty balsams/Comes the beer refreshing. 32. but I never realized my first five years were so good. I think I knew what it felt like to be one. answered this question very poignantly: “I actually went back to what I’d experienced in the first five years of my life. special times when you were allowed to play or daydream or do whatever you wanted to do. hearing. This exercise was very emotional for me. the pages of books and the wall next to my bed with brightly colored scribbles. And I mean that in both senses of the word “original”: “there from the beginning” and “unique.com 2002 Page 18 .” John. new.’ It has a ©www. 29: “This will sound ridiculous. never seen in the world before. Let’s call it your original self. I used to stand and stare up at them and put my arms around their trunks. Now.” Here are some other answers: Ellen. or daydream about. try to answer these questions: What especially attracted and fascinated you when you were a child? What sense – sight. on a fresh sheet of paper. Since then it’s been downhill. I covered sheets of paper.
com 2002 Page 19 .ChangingCourse. but you have just taken your first step toward choosing one. like his father. Anna is an editorial secretary in a publishing house. congratulations. but he could have been – and still could be – a fine jazz drummer or dancer. You may not believe it. Well. He doesn’t know much about music. She had.at night in bed I used to put my head under the covers and pretend I was an Indian princess in the Land of Sky-Blue Waters.. the kind of imagination it takes to be a writer or film director or an editor-in.com Finding Your Calling© haunting sound and Indian tom-toms and they showed a lake sparkling in the moonlight. She could have been – and still could be – a botanist. or even a psychotherapist.ChangingCourse. John is a skilled machinist.chief. What was your answer? What does it tell you about what you want and what you could be good at? ©www.. Ellen’s youngest daughter just left for college. Bill is a lawyer. and Ellen is looking for a career. a forester. a gardener. and still has. a painter.” If you didn’t have a goal when you started out. 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.
for example.” says author Harvey McKay. Instead I encourage them to think long and hard about what they want their LIFE to look like. So.” If you aren’t really sure what you want to be “when you grow up.com Finding Your Calling© 5 Ways to Hear Your True Calling Valerie Young This article was adapted from There’s Got to Be More to Life Than This! 10 Steps to Escaping the Job World. don’t confuse making a living with making a life.ChangingCourse. I knew. They start by trying to figure out the work part of the work/life equation first. that I wanted to go to bed and wake up when I wanted. another life and career changing eBook from Changing Course. “When you love what you do. It worked! Here I am seven years and here I am living that very life! By clarifying your ideal life first. I tell them to backburner the work part. Too many people make the same mistake I almost did. that I wanted to work at home.com 2002 Page 20 . take out a piece of paper and find a quiet spot. Start With Your Life. and Creating the Life You Really Want. Not Your Work. Write down your answers to the question: “What do I want my life to look like?” ©www. that I wanted to work for myself. you will automatically eliminate many potential career missteps.” here are five ways to get help you figure it out! 1. Before I will even talk about careers with a client.ChangingCourse. Making Money Doing What You Love. Far more important was the fact that I didn’t have a clue as to my ideal type of work. The career part of things is just that. So. What I did have though. a part. After all.com. I decided to start with what I knew – not what I didn’t know. “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. and that I wanted to have the flexibility to work from a lakeside cottage in New Hampshire or on a tropical island. was a pretty good idea of the kind of LIFE I’d love. The biggest thing keeping me from leaving wasn’t money – although that was definitely in the mix. I spent eight years working in an unfulfilling corporate job with a 90-mile-a-day commute.
Today John runs a hugely successful baseball camp for boys and girls in Washington. just as with the game of baseball. cooking or computer programming. And conversely. reading. Once you do figure out your calling. Instead he looked for a way to pursue his two passions – baseball and working with kids. as McCarthy puts it. Instead of thinking skills. Take a class. Today his camp has a long waiting list. but have the drive. He’s also someone who very much understands this all-important distinction between effort and skill. 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. you've got a far better shot at success.” What Campbell is telling us is we must pay attention to the clues that lie within you. D. In an interview with Bill Moyer. John and his coaching staff constantly remind the kids that each of them has different skills and abilities. but deeply happy.com 2002 Page 21 . John and the other coaches also mix in lessons about such things as responsibility. think effort! I’d like to introduce you to a guy who’s living his dream – John McCarthy. remembering to thank others. Think Effort.com Finding Your Calling© 2.ChangingCourse. the renowned mythology scholar Joseph Campbell said. “The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you are happy – not excited. speaking. “effort is the great equalizer.C.” Why is McCarthy’s message so important to tuning into your calling? Well. don’t get hung up on the fact that you haven’t yet mastered the necessary skills. practice is the key. not just thrilled. “Talent is what you have. Not 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. 3. effort is what you give. For a long time John’s work was purely volunteer. Work with someone else who balances your skill sets. Tune In Then Listen Up.” His campers learn that. Whether it is writing. 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. When John was cut from the minor league Orioles team he could have easily found a high paying job. The way to make up for most deficits is to apply yourself.ChangingCourse. if you lack certain skills or abilities. But. and the virtues of hard work. The kids love something else. good nutrition. Skills assessment tools are great for telling you what you can do.
or your homemade tomato sauce. antique dealer. Susan paid attention and now her passion has evolved into an enjoyable way to earn money. Do the People Around You Know Something You Don’t? Yes! Oftentimes other people – friends. or your sense of style. Now it’s your turn. even total strangers – see your gifts long before you do. Even if what you discover is that being a bookbinder. Visitors to Susan’s house were forever complimenting her knack for transforming scavenged furniture. If you come to one of my presentations you’ll hear me teach by using lots of stories and anecdotes.ChangingCourse. My friends seem to think I tell a good story. family. astronomer. Don’t just think of the obvious ones like good looks or humor. archeologist. For now.com 2002 Page 22 . look around. or your way of working with animals. It could be that you are a good listener.ChangingCourse. When I finally “got it. attractive home furnishings. you tell it so much better than I do. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of the kinds of things other people compliment you on. fixtures. or creative writing. You will probably find that when it comes to seeing your gifts. If you can’t think of anything gather up your courage and ask the people who really know you. or Down Beat. or your ability to remain calm in the midst of chaos. Even when it’s their story.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. see if anything gets sparked when you read National Geographic. others often know you better than you know yourself! ©www. Take classes on bookbinding. get out a piece of paper and make two columns. Start reading magazines outside of your typical areas of expertise or interest. astronomy.” I hadn’t thought much about my gift for storytelling until my friends made me aware of it. Antiques Monthly. or music critic is not for you. Take my friend Susan. “No. coworkers. Some even asked if they could buy her handiwork. If you usually stick to news or sports publications. you tell it. they’ll say. 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 knack at solving puzzles. or your sense of adventure. Discovering what you love to do also requires you opening your mind to the outside world. Things I love to do. and fabric into creative. We’ll get to that in a few minutes. Label the left side. You’ll find out what to put on the right side soon enough.” I put my ability to use as a professional speaker.
Ever since I've known her. Linda has thrown pots in her well-lit basement studio. Be sure to note what it is about what this person has that speaks to your true desires. fame. she doesn’t own a computer.com Finding Your Calling© 4. There are times when. 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. In fact. Linda was working from home fifteen years before it became a trend.ChangingCourse. 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. raise chickens for the eggs. When I was making the 90-mile-a-day commute to my corporate job. In the spring and fall she teaches pottery classes at a local college two days a week. and a peaceful view from the deck of their simple but comfortable home. or physical beauty is neither healthy nor a good use of time and energy. And being overly envious of people who have money. In many ways. Whom Do You Envy? Another way to tap into your true desires is to think about whom you envy. Yet she also is very intentional about keeping both her life and her business simple. Linda and her partner of 20 years.ChangingCourse. it was my envy of the simple pace of Linda’s life that first got me thinking about creating my own home-based business. then feeling envious of a Tom Hanks or a Julia Roberts might actually be a clue to that long buried dream! This kind of envy can sometimes be a pretty accurate barometer of what’s missing in your own life. Linda lives by two mottos: “Small is beautiful. Linda isn’t the least bit interested in selling her pottery over the Web. I’m not talking about jealousy. At least it was for me. how can you get more of what they have into your life? ©www. Get out a piece of paper and write down anyone and everyone whose work or lifestyle you envy. the person I envied most was a friend and potter named Linda Siska. it’s your turn.com 2002 Page 23 . Once again. Linda feels pressured by the seasonal demands for her work.” and “Slow is beautiful”! What most appealed to me back then was that Linda’s life and work was centered largely around the home. rows and rows of raspberry bushes. like everyone else. They belong to a local food coop. Waino Tueminin live in one of the rural “hill towns” as they are known here in western Massachusetts. have a huge vegetable garden. 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. Come to think of it. In the summer she runs classes for kids in her studio.
create products about birds. You could organize local bird watching contests around the country.com 2002 Page 24 . As a boy VanderPluym loved to make sand castles.” Using the forward motion of a steam engine as an analogy..com Finding Your Calling© 5. Making a Living Without a Job. Brainstorm Ways To Make Money Doing What You Love. 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.” This is where you put on your creative thinking cap. Now I want you to label the right column: “. Guess what he does for a living now? He runs a company that travels the globe making elaborate sand sculptures for special events. he believes that “money will come when you are doing the right thing. You could design a new line of bird toys or houses. Phillips explains that. or provide a service related to your passion for birds? For example: You could teach others about birds. You could paint pictures of birds. I’m going to let you break the Changing Course Money Rule for just a minute to answer the question. 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. and ways I could get paid to do it. You could consult about birds. Barbara Winters tells the story of Todd VanderPluym. “Money is like steam. Why? Because. or both. You could make t-shirts featuring birds. You could photograph birds.ChangingCourse. Okay. You could open a bird-sitting business. You could create a CD of bird songs. 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. You could have a radio show about birds.. on-line. the engine. You could open a bird store – locally. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination! ©www. How could you get paid to share what you know about birds with others. You could write about birds.” In her book. it comes from the interaction of fire (passion) and water (persistence) brought together in the right circumstance.
On the list you will find a number of activities. frivolous. Meditation has other benefits. If you’ve never given much thought to this.” Number each sheet from 1 to 100 and list every single thing you can think of that you currently love to do. qualities. and a greater ability to enjoy. turn off your television. Add to your list every time another pleasurable idea or experience comes along. Rent the video and watch how passion plays an important role in Salvatore’s life. on the third write “Love to Be. Give yourself some uninterrupted time. Yes. on the second write “Love to Have”.ChangingCourse. you automatically think more of yourself. At the top of the first sheet write. which can ultimately result in more clarity. or out of reach.” writes Julius Fast in The Pleasure Book. Bring along three or more sheets of paper and your favorite pen. Following is a checklist that encourages you to stretch your imagination a bit.” That’s a lot of benefit from a simple exercise.com 2002 Page 25 . and clearing the mind. that you might like to incorporate into your ideal way of making a living.com Finding Your Calling© Winning Ways For Finding Your Lost Passion Barbara Winter A wonderful film which demonstrates how a childhood passion can lead to adult happiness is Cinema Paradiso. you may have a hard time coming up with 300 wonderful things on your first try. have and be. such as stress reduction. If you have this outlook. Sitting quietly for several minutes every day. relaxing the body. Although the main theme of this film is friendship. a better outlook on life. select every item that appeals to you. Salvatore. can lead to brave new insights. you may find yourself checking items that seem to ©www. etc. is delightful. “There is an unconscious reasoning that if we allow ourselves to have pleasure. You have higher self-esteem. that we have more value as a person. go to a place where you can be alone and comfortable. “Love to Do”. the story of the little Italian boy. an increased ability to feel pleasure will make our inner selves stronger. Write as much as you can and don’t edit out any thoughts. even the ones that seem silly. How can this help? “Ultimately. Turn on your answering machine. Many people find meditation a useful technique for tapping into buried dreams..ChangingCourse. who falls in love with the movies as a child and nurtures that love throughout life. Read through the checklist and. without thinking too much about it.
____ 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.com Finding Your Calling© contradict one another. 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. That’s perfectly okay.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 26 .
ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. including my own ____ Is innovative ____ Takes an existing idea and improves on it ____ Fires my creativity ____ Adds to my self-esteem ____ Gives me a sense of purpose ____ Lets me manufacture a product I’ve invented ____ Is sales-oriented ____ Lets me discover things I didn’t know I could do ©www.com 2002 Page 27 .com ____ Serves the general population ____ Is different every day ____ Is unlike anything I’ve done so far ____ Feels like not working ____ Lets me grow personally and financially ____ Makes me famous ____ Draws on my education and skills ____ Involves my family ____ Brings new people into my life ____ Sometimes scares me ____ Seems natural for me Finding Your Calling© ____ Lets me work hard for several months with long periods of time off ____ Surprises my friends ____ Can be done on an island ____ Can be done outdoors ____ Involves partners ____ Enriches lives.
com ____ Makes me exited to get out of bed in the morning ____ Is national in scope ____ Lets me wear a costume Finding Your Calling© ____ Combines many talents and skills I’ve acquired in a fresh way ____ Leads to financial independence ____ Has global potential ____ Improves the environment ____ Heals others ____ Is uniquely mine ©www.com 2002 Page 28 .ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse.
These values have been instilled in us since infancy and seem secured with the unbreakable bonds of love. And as in the fairy tale.” I developed some exercises to help people claim with pride their valuable differences from their tribe.” Anderson concludes. she liked acting. It happens all the time. “Being born in a duck yard does not matter. just as Marnie. and he wrote about it in his famous story about the ugly duckling. like a chest of buried treasures. a college professor. to cover our ears and stop listening to family instructions and start listening only to ourselves. was neither a duckling nor ugly. The Wallenda children. was raised by bar owners.ChangingCourse. you will remember. “if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.” 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.ChangingCourse. this little swan’s family thought she was a very peculiar kind of duck. But many of us are not so lucky. But heredity is just as strong as environment in determining who you are. Rejecting the values of your family – your tribe – is one of the most difficult things a person can do. members of the famous trapeze act The Flying Wallendas. That’s why a family of singers can have a child who loves farming. Jane Fonda was lucky. The first of these exercises is to stage a debate. In no other way can we discover the life that’s really right for us. Hans Christian Anderson knew all about this problem. cosmic or clerical. liked to fly. Every human being is carrying genes from unknown ancestors.com Finding Your Calling© Family Career Clashes: Barbara Sher “You Want To Do What?” Adapted from I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How To Discover What You Really Want and How To Get It Maybe the nurses in the maternity ward made a mistake. maybe the stork got his delivery orders crossed. But sooner or later every one of us has to find our own values. Whatever reason. He was raised by ducks. ©www.com 2002 Page 29 . which. a family of judges and lawyers can have a child who is a gifted actor. many people feel like they were born into the wrong tribe.
the team on the other side.” immediately began to shout her down. We’re not impressed. what I call the “tribal voice. Now all you have to do is start the debate. One surefire way to start an argument in your head is to make a strong positive statement about yourself and your heart’s desire. After you’ve completed this first exercise and you’ve given those tribal voices a good battle.ChangingCourse. This awareness means you have already taken a big step toward defining. who you really are. When she tried to give up academia. like smiling and frowning faces. tribal response. 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. Divide a piece of paper into two columns. I want you to make those debaters in your head go on record. loud and clear: “Big deal.com 2002 Page 30 . they will never again have the same power over you. each of which claims to represent you. you’ve made one enormous change: You have sorted out your voice from your tribal voice. In one column I want you to record assertions of the personal voice. your tribal voice cannot remain silent when provoked by a strong personal statement. and should be labeled “Tribal.” The other column is for voices of conformity. Here’s how to do it. They’re impressed.ChangingCourse. When Marnie decided to become a college professor. or even consider leaving your tribe. The debate in her head was unending.” You can decorate the columns with appropriate signs. so keep those rebuttals coming – tribal and personal alternating until both columns are full. this is a debate. and before she was even finished writing.” told her she would be wasting her life to walk away from her beloved school. the debate team that represented her family. Even if you didn’t win the debate. her personal voice answered: “You’re not impressed? That doesn’t prove anything? You’re wrong! The Earthwatch scientists are world famous. ©www. This should not be hard. Write it down in the personal column and wait a moment. and I know I’ll be good at it. When I went to Alaska with Earthwatch. a woman in one of my workshops. It came to her immediately.” Belinda didn’t have to wait for a negative. That doesn’t prove anything!” She started to record this statement in the tribal column. If you’re in a tribal conflict. Marnie wrote “The Battle for My Dream” on top of her paper. Belinda. the “personal voice. so label this column “Personal. Their arguments contain important information for you and you need to get it onto paper where you can take a good look at it.com Finding Your Calling© Exercise 1: The Great Debate Whenever you leave your tribe. everyone was impressed with my work. you set off a debate in your mind between two skilled and ruthless teams of debaters. the tribal voice.” Got the picture? Remember. If you’re like Marnie. and defending.
What’s the purpose of creating such a fantasy? Certainly not to make you bitter about what you didn’t have. make sure they have the deepest respect for your goal. financiers or farmers. Version 2: The psychological makeover.ChangingCourse. She says. painters or paleontologists. begin the fantasy. McCauley Culkin for your little brother? You might pick filmmakers. You can’t change the past. if they were fearful. Her family would have discussed St. The problem is. I have a much more important purpose. 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. Books would have been stacked everywhere. With such a childhood.com 2002 Page 31 . acting is it. is interested in everything I say. get Stephen Hawking in there. you’ll be ready for a different kind of present – and future. make them happy. Had Marnie grown up in a family of scholars she would have begun leading the life of the mind while still in her crib. Because once you allow yourself a glimpse of what your family life could have been.” ©www. All right. My dad. He even tries to help me figure out how to make my dream practical. historical or fictitious – who are completely knowledgeable in the area of your dream. 23. Create a family full of people – real or imaginary. In this version of the ideal family. a student in graduate school: We’re at dinner. you’ll change the way you feel about yourself. Here’s how two people imagined such a scene: Joe. you are a swan who grew up in a duck pond. He listens intently and even says he might like to go to the Himalayas sometime himself. 29. and for you. Bill. If you love physics. you still do not know much about being a swan.ChangingCourse. a high school teacher: My mother isn’t at all worried. Take some time to imagine each member of your family energetically encouraging you. Marnie would have found it easy to live like a true member of her tribe. if they were sad. You’re at dinner. I’m just out of college and I’ve just announced that I want to visit the Himalayas instead of looking for a job. And I don’t believe for a moment that you can or should replace your real history with a fantasy. I want you to walk through it and see how it makes you feel. instead of exploding. in your imagination. make them brave – and if they were critical. Imagine you’re all sitting outside on a summer’s day.com Finding Your Calling© Exercise 2: Design Your Perfect Family You have now convinced yourself that you are not an ugly duckling after all. imagine them as patient and kind. I want you to experience the best support situation you’re capable of imagining. Write out what your family says about your wishes. Augustine over breakfast and debated issues of epistemology at bedtime. you start with your real family and totally reverse their negative attitudes. And once you’ve imagined a different past for yourself. Whoever you choose. “Okay. The next exercise is designed to help you invent a new personal history for yourself. make them supportive. You present your family with your current goal and get the most delightful response possible. If they were angry. You like acting? Why not choose Sarah Bernhardt and Robert DeNiro as your parents. Version 1: The famous family. Maybe we could think up some kind of work that would help you pay your rent without cutting into your acting.
you can go out and look for them. But with a clearer idea of who your ideal family could be. you did not have an ideal family. This is an important vision you have just had. and neither did your parents for that matter. You need to feel affection for your family or you’ll be handicapped when you strike out on your own. available people who can help you do what you’re here to do. You’ve imagined two ideal families.com 2002 Page 32 . but seeing your family as they probably wish they could be will soften your feelings toward them. Instead of giving back your self. and this is essential to you. It’s time to find the people who will have no trouble accepting your dream – real.ChangingCourse. this exercise will start to heal some of the hurt your family has caused you. Of course. but it has different results. people who understand the part of you that baffled your family. Unlike version one. Imagining your own family without their fears or their resistance presents you with faces you have always loved giving you the respect you always longed for. these faces are familiar ones. Only their difficult characteristics have changed. You now have a sense of how ideal families can allow themselves to enjoy and encourage the personal visions of each of their members. ©www. No act of imagination can change that.com Finding Your Calling© Version two is a very different experience from version one. Not only that.ChangingCourse. Like the exercise about the other ideal family this can be an emotional experience. You’ve stretched your experience to include what your family should have been.
ChangingCourse. If you learn the answer to this question. So reflect and experiment. and isolated? “A midlife passion. The Pleasure Test Sheehy calls it the “Time Flies Test. disparaging.” 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. It should do something for others. I love communication. Similarly. but my passion in life is to bring hope to people. you can pursue your passion even if you temporarily lose the ability or opportunity for your activity. A life passion should also transcend mere personal pleasure. especially those who feel most discouraged. it transcends our activities. children. “why do we create music or climb mountains?” Herein lies our true passion. dependent. 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.com 2002 Page 33 . spouse. But I don’t write just for me. “Passion is allowing yourself to get lost in something. and a cyclist might love the camaraderie of friends on the road. ©www.com Finding Your Calling© Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion Mike Bellah What is it that keeps midlifers from premature aging and unnecessary illness? What keeps us from becoming sour. or boss – they have no idea what really gives them pleasure.” says author Mildred Witkin. Probably it’s because I have always struggled with disappointment myself. or mountain climbing. a mountain climber might desire to motivate others to reach for their dreams. a musician might have the passion to inspire others by bringing beauty and joy into the world.” “What activity do you do where time goes by without your even knowing it?” she asks. But a true passion is more than that. resentful. too. The question is.ChangingCourse. Having spent the first half of life trying only to live up to the expectations of others – a parent. sarcastic. Both writing and speaking activities I can get lost in. fearful. 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. Sheehy quotes a 50-year-old grandmother who adds. It should make the world a better place. playing music.
take time today to begin identifying it. Identifying our midlife passion will help us make the big decisions facing us.ChangingCourse.” This is probably the most practically helpful aspect of our passion.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 34 .com Finding Your Calling© The Meaning Test Author Ross Goldstein says that our midlife passion will energize and motivate us and “serve as a guiding force around which to organize our lives. ©www. Then. 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. pursue it with a whole heart and experience a midlife robustness unknown to your youth.
For example. not the past. we are so busy thinking. most scientists firmly believe that animals don’t experience the more complex emotions. Whatever “decisions” it seems to make are no more than the automated processing of data through a set of rules built into the program. We are so transfixed by the endless webs of words our minds spin that even great experts often miss simple. They may have seen their pet experience joy. unclouded by prejudgment or analysis. If it is important to you to have a great career. start at the beginning with a blank canvas. Consider everything very carefully before including it in the final picture. there is no way to learn how. begin to practice them. 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. obvious truths. no set of step-by-step instructions. You just have to jump in and begin. and necessary as the floor beneath you. These seven keys unlock the door to transforming your ability to generate a new future that goes far beyond what has been previously possible. This is your opportunity to have your life be exactly the way you want it to be. Sorry. Their direct insight is on target. they are as real. Rather than add dabs of paint to something you painted years ago.com Finding Your Calling© Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path Nicholas Lore Adapted from The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success At the heart of any process you can discover basic principles that are the foundation of that process. Most of the time.com 2002 Page 35 . If you think that you actively make your decisions. It just runs a program. Create your future from the present. Designing the perfect career is like creating a painting that expresses you fully and completely. practical. perhaps you are living in a dream world. But every child with a dog or cat knows better. Take your time. 1. embarrassment. categorizing. To begin to practice them. But if you ©www. and comparing that we don’t pay attention to what is actually happening in and around us. or a sense of humor. It’s not easy t• own up to being an automaton. pride. Even though they may seem like philosophical abstracts to some readers.ChangingCourse. A computer doesn’t make choices. you might take a little peek at just how much free choice is actually expressed in the decisions you make.ChangingCourse.
they tell a story about a learned professor who hears about the wisdom of the local Zen master. Most of the time. He becomes more and more curious until finally. As they sit face to face. two cars. It makes no sound and offers no clues to its origin. You will be able to choose them consciously. It’s a saucer. It’s a helicopter. Just because we can think doesn’t mean we usually do it. successes. kids. to justify. failures.ChangingCourse. your mind immediately and automatically comes up with explanations about the source of the light. 3. Just because we are the most intelligent of living creatures doesn’t mean that most of our decisions stem from exercising this marvelous gift. the professor explains at great length all he has ©www. If you are like me.com 2002 Page 36 . opinions. Throw away your assumptions. perhaps. It’s something the government isn’t telling us about. you will have plenty of chances to decide what compromises you are willing to make. or is your past going to keep doing it for you? 2. Just because you have a 2. We all tend to hold on to our pet notions about life the way some people save National Geographics in the attic. But don’t start off assuming you will have to make them. and the media. Embrace “not knowing. I know it’s difficult to throw anything away. Yes. and a mortgage doesn’t mean you cannot be a wandering Taoist priest. automatically following this internal rule book works just fine. It’s not easy to allow the light to remain a total mystery. he goes to visit the master. but in regard to choosing one’s life’s work. friends. you have to face up to the fact that sometimes (or. it pays to rewrite a few of the rules.ChangingCourse. if any.” Imagine sitting on a rural hilltop at night. We live by a rulebook we wrote but have never read. I’m hallucinating. Each of us has an unexamined collection of beliefs. you may have to make some compromises along the way. We think we know what we cannot do and what it would be like to do things we have never done. Our nature is to explain. and points of view about how life works that we trust blindly and completely. Think about it. We like quick answers because we are uncomfortable with uncertainty. That commitment is the key to creating new possibilities and extraordinary results may take you beyond the world you already know.0 average doesn’t mean it is impossible to become a doctor. The bottom-line question is: Are you going to design your future. Wouldn’t you rather be thought of as someone who knows than someone who doesn’t? In Japan. You are mystified. Just because you are a middle manager with a wife. rather than assuming there is no other possibility.com Finding Your Calling© want to truly think for yourself. Make a promise to yourself that you will determine your future as free as possible from the domination of your past. In the sky you notice a blinking light that slowly circles overhead. As you go through this process. even more often) we don’t. It takes a commitment to make your own choices as independent as possible from all the voices of your past: your memories.
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learned during his lifelong scholarly study of Buddhism. As he rattles on and on, the master begins to pour him a cup of tea. The professor is startled when the master continues to pour even after the cup is full. Tea spills over the tabletop. Still, the master continues to pour. Finally, the professor sees himself for the first time. He realizes that you can’t put any more tea in a cup that is full. If you go through this career-choice process as a beginner and remain a beginner until the end of your days, no matter how well you know yourself, your work, and your world, you will be able to keep pouring tea into your new cup of wisdom. The difference between a master and a know-it-all is that the master, in any field, brings a beginner’s mind, fresh and open to unlimited possibilities, to each new workday.
4. Since you may never discover the truth, invent it.
Most of us are very fixated on what everything around us signifies. We want to understand the “real meaning” of events, concepts, and our lives. What did it really mean when he didn’t call? What did it really mean when Napoleon put his hand in his coat? We habitually jump to conclusions and instantly assign meaning to everything. Once we know what something “really means,” we will gladly die defending our point of view. It never occurs to us that, to someone else, it could mean something entirely different. Or it might mean absolutely nothing. If something can mean completely different things to different people who may be even smarter or more experienced than you, then meaning might be flexible. That opens up the possibility that you could get creative about what various things mean to you. In any endeavor that takes you, the explorer, into new territory, it is enormously useful to keep reminding yourself that all your definitions and judgments are only one point of view. Remember that they seem to be the one and only truth because you are a human being. And almost all human beings think that our opinions and beliefs are the “real” truth. Since you will never actually see the inside of the watch, you will never know if there is any “real” truth. Even your belief that there is any such thing as “real” truth may be nothing more than your opinion, your own personal interpretation. Once you can accept that all there is, is interpretation, you are free to invent other possible points of view and go with the ones that are most useful, the ones that most powerfully support you to be all that you can be, and more. Since we have so much difficulty in allowing anything to be completely devoid of meaning, the next best strategy is to become creative in transforming what things mean to you. Instead of trying to figure out the “real” truth, you might ask, “What possible interpretation would give me a great life? Which is more fun?” Albert Einstein once said, “Physical concepts are the creation of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, determined by our external world. In our endeavor to understand reality, we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch.” If you will never know the “real” significance of anything anyway, lighten up, trust that Einstein knows what he is talking about and light up your life instead of worrying about what it all means!
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5. Get to know the realm of possibility.
There is a big difference between “options” and “possibilities.” Everyone has options. Your options consist of a fixed set of predetermined scenarios, points of view, perceived limitations that already reside in your inner data bank. They are the different things you could do and remain in the same box you live in now. When you ask, “What are my options?” you are really asking “What are the contents of my box?” You are taking inventory of your internal stockroom. If you depend on your options to formulate your future, that future will be no more than a rearrangement of your past. Possibilities are completely different. When you ask, “What is possible?” you must stretch your imagination out of the confines of the familiar. You have to stretch your wings, get out of the box, and look around. Possibility is the great motivator. A prevailing condition of no possibility is, I believe, more directly the cause of the persistence of our inner-city social problems than is lack of opportunity. To have a life beyond the mediocre, ask not “What are my options?” but “What is possible?”
6. Learn to separate Yeahbuts from original thoughts.
For anyone who is committed to having their dreams come true, this is, by far, the one most important skill to master. The natural law that operates and controls the lives of all biological organisms is the law of homeostasis. Your body and mind contain thousands of little switches, like thermostats, that control your perceptions and actions. When you exercise, your body heats up above 98.6 degrees. That throws a switch that produces a whole range of actions designed to get you cooled back down to the temperature you are set for, 98.6 degrees. When your temperature returns to equilibrium, all the machinery working to cool you down stops. What most people do not usually realize is that the same kind of mechanism makes their decisions for them. Your “comfort zone” is the range of thoughts and actions you can get away with without triggering one of these mechanisms. The internal survival machinery compares what you are doing or thinking of doing with its database of what you have done before. It assumes that whatever you have done, day after day is “safe.” Anything outside the comfort zone is perceived as a threat to your survival. It can’t distinguish real dangers from personal growth. When you seek to increase the quality of your life in ways that require you to step out of the safety zone farther than you usually do, these systems react with everything they have to return you to good old familiar equilibrium. They use as their tool a special category of thoughts: Yeahbuts, which are thoughts brought to your consciousness by internal survival mechanisms. For example, when you could think, “If I become a doctor, I know I’ll be happy,” it is automatically followed by Yeahbuts such as, “Yeahbut, I’ll carry a huge amount of student loan debt.” Their design is to return you to equilibrium as fast as possible. Their power comes from the fact that
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they are so convincing. They speak with your voice. They have many years of practice in finding the weakest links in your resolve and exploiting the places where you are most vulnerable. When you learn to distinguish Yeahbuts from other thoughts, they lose their power over you. You recognize that what your Yeahbuts consider to be dangerous, and react to so strongly, is actually a great opportunity to step into some new shoes.
7. Dance on the edge of the sword.
One needs to master two completely different realms in order to live fully. On the one hand, you must learn to live in the realm of possibility and invention, or your life will be nothing more than a clock works of gears turning predictably and automatically. On the other hand, having your feet firmly planted on terra firma is the bottom line of actualizing your dreams. If you live mainly in the realm of possibility, you will become a dreamer who does not get much accomplished. Dancing on the edge of the sword is the art of living in both realms at once, perfectly balanced between them. When you lean too far to one side, get your balance back as soon as possible. With practice you will find that you can be present to both at the same moment. Which side do you usually live on?
and give yourself the gift of designing the world’s most perfect job. your own activities. it has to have tasks in it. Don’t limit yourself with reality or practicality. 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. because this is Fantasy Time. or giving a speech to thousands of cheering people? Would you have a clipboard and be walking around your own factory. hours to keep. and with whom? What would you be doing all day? Would you be shouting through a bullhorn on a movie set. most cooperative teammates imaginable to work with you on a project? This exercise usually causes an explosion of enthusiasm when I assign it in my workshops. It doesn’t matter which part you do first. for that matter. Go to that secret comer of your brain where you are a femme-fatale star-quarterback mom. coworker.com Finding Your Calling© How to Create the Ideal Job Barbara Sher This is a two-part exercise. business partner. funniest. And don’t forget to say who would be with you. so you need to imagine all the people you’d love to be working with – your boss. and makes documentary films on winter vacation. designing or building or ice-skating or saving somebody? Would you be singing bass in Boris Godunov. and so little of that time seems ©www. That is. Part A: The Job from Heaven Let your imagination run free.ChangingCourse. where. You can decide that you want to be a cowhand during the week. smartest. Remember to include those important categories: what. Antarctica. you can run wild.com 2002 Page 40 . employee. and some kind of remuneration. making sure your fabrics are being woven to perfection? Where would you be doing this job? Describe the environment – Would you prefer a cozy cottage with a roaring fireplace. Create your own hours. or a huge Kentucky farm where you’re breeding Arabian horses? You’ve had enough jobs that didn’t satisfy or please you. or the rain-forest-saving gardener of the planet.ChangingCourse. Now let yourself go. If you can. I Could Do Anything If Only Knew What It Was. who gets picked up each weekend by a helicopter and taken to a luxurious spa. So much of our time is spent at work. and your most desirable environment. After that. hiking or bargaining. from my book. Remember this is a job. or “right hand” helper – or competitor. midtown Manhattan. not a life. start with Part A. The only limitation is this: It must be a job.
I have to sit and watch soap operas all day. Adrienne. in detail. I have to wear a chartreuse uniform with hideous glass and gold buttons. you probably will do just fine describing the Job from Hell. If you had trouble doing the Job from Heaven.” ©www. There’s a horrible kind of glee that comes with doing this exercise. whose Job from Heaven is to be a mail carrier. 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. squinting and grimacing. I have no time to myself because she calls me at any time of the day or night. forty-four.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© gratifying. angry movie star.ChangingCourse. an ex-ballplayer said. I like to do this exercise in a group.) Part B: Creating a Negative Picture: The Job from Hell Don’t ask me why. 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’ve seen people make awful faces. and I’m never allowed to read. I have to do all the food and clothes shopping. I always get a kick out of their responses and I think you will too.) The building staff is ice-cold and refuses to talk to me. you might want to try this exercise for fun. If I could. spoiled. Incidentally. where you spur each other on and get reminded of horrible details you may have left out.” Bill. “I can’t think of a great job. I have to live in the maid’s room of her high-rise apartment in the middle of a big city. “I’m the baby-sitter for an incredibly rich. Put in everything you hate about every job you ever had or can imagine. If the devil himself took the time to design a job for you that was guaranteed to make you miserable.com 2002 Page 41 . “I never get that enthusiastic about anything. and game shows. 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. even if you did the Job from Heaven very easily. a lawyer for a corporation: “I want cameras and a first-rate crew and lots of money at my beck and call. where you’d be doing it. I’d do it!” “You don’t understand. Most groups I work with spill over with “Thank God It’s Friday”-type relief when they get to do this exercise. what kind of job would that be? Remember to include what kind of activity you’d be doing. said. Here’s what came up in a group I recently ran: Louisa. and with whom.” Chris a stagehand told me. but everyone knows what he or she doesn't want. (I hate clothes shopping.
Lots of reports.” Get the idea? Then pick up your pencil. And write reports. that in your Job from Hell you’re working for a spoiled celebrity. and write down the exact reverse of it on a blank piece of paper. obscure philosopher. I really love negativity. I commute for four hours a day in traffic. change her to a wise. was about to speak. There are no windows.” Elliot said. If you said. If you hate living in a high-rise apartment in the middle of a city. Oh. 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.com 2002 Page 42 . Exercise: Job Rewrite. the activities. If you said that you’re commuting. “I work nine to five every day and get two weeks for vacation. That’s the Job from Hell. “Oh. negatively creative. stubbornly refusing to cooperate with “pie in the sky” dreaming to have a small tantrum. the environment. this last exercise showed off your ability to be wildly. And I have somewhere specific I want you to use them. an attack of negativity is very good for you any time you’re under pressure. with no notice. Flipping the Negative If you were one of those people who couldn’t imagine a Job from Heaven.” What’s the purpose of all this silliness? It has a very important purpose. It allows the side of you that is secretly. And I have to eat with her. like Louisa. like Louisa. said. Now you have invented a perfect nightmare of a job. an MBA currently driving a taxi. and she could fire me at any time. one week at a time so I can’t really go anywhere. For one thing. I have to work with figures. Find their exact opposites. Every day forever and ever. when she started again. My boss is the owner’s son and he’s younger than I am and stupid and a real punk.ChangingCourse. even the weather. I’d have to give speeches with slides about investment opportunities. the attitudes of coworkers. or One Negative Makes a Positive Take your Job from Hell. and especially the feelings you’re having – and reverse them exactly. Now you’ll be able to relax and use your energies elsewhere.” Juan. considerate. 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. And her microwave doesn’t work so they’re always cold in the middle. “I have my Job from Hell. and she only eats frozen dinners. do budgets. Let me show you how: Take every detail of your Job from Hell – the hours. I’d have to do exactly what I’m doing. a banker.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© She stopped and Elliott. ©www. change it to “I work out of my own home. which will show you exactly how to design a heavenly one! This nightmare job will be the map that guides you straight to your deepest wishes and needs – those wishes and needs you thought you couldn’t remember. I can’t stand this. Exactly.
you’ve done much more than let off a little steam. you’ve created a picture that proves you know more about what you want than you ever realized.com Finding Your Calling© write.” or whatever the opposite is to you. by drawing up the negative and then printing it.ChangingCourse. to see its opposite! There it is. Would it be designing clothes? Writing about Costa Rica? Producing plays? Helping people? Just figure out the reverse of everything you said – and watch the outlines of a Job from Heaven emerge! You see. you now have a picture of a dream job. ©www. write. figure out what would be a wonderful contrast. put yourself in the middle of London or Paris and go dancing or eat great food.ChangingCourse. like a photograph. “I live in a wonderful cottage in the countryside. If you hate typing and filing.com 2002 Page 43 . “I work only six months a year. You’ve exposed what is most important to you. Regardless of whether you started with a positive image or a negative one.” If your Job from Hell has you isolated in a desert trailer court. If you’re like Elliot and to you Hell equals no time off.
D.com 2002 Page 44 . Half kidding. As I made my way to the cabstand. the lousy weather. And that was in just the first five miles! ©www. tag said was named Max. a beaming Grace presented her handiwork to me with the pride of a true artisan.D. what matters to them. whose I. A person arrives at right livelihood by finding a means of financial support that not only recognizes the value and importance of making money. they often experience a spiritual connection to their work. of course. It’s this spiritual component that makes right livelihood a sort of occupational “coming home. worn leather. With what can only be described as zeal.ChangingCourse. and speaks to them on a deep.ChangingCourse. With time to spare. right livelihood is present when one’s work brings genuine satisfaction. she proceeded to breath new life into the dull.C. I decided to treat myself to a professional shine. where I was to address a group of career development professionals on the topic of career satisfaction. I asked Grace if she saw any hope for my travel weary briefcase. When people find their right livelihood. to international politics.” I was once again reminded of this distinction on a recent trip to Washington. I thought.com Finding Your Calling© Finding Right Livelihood: A Lesson in Contrasts Neil Yeager There is more to working at one’s “right livelihood” than merely having a “good” (read high-paying) job. It was an unusually hot April day.” before proceeding to launch into a litany of complaints. to film. I heard about the lousy D. the lousy mechanics out to make a fast buck. When she was done. was perspiring profusely. Grace easily drew me into a spirited dialogue on everything from the Internet.C. but also acknowledges who the person is. this will give me a chance to think of a good right livelihood example for my speech. Max grumbled something about the air conditioning being “on the fritz. Little did I know I was having my shoes shined by an engaging conversationalist named Grace. personal level. the lousy potholes and. I couldn’t help but smile at the gods for delivering the perfect right livelihood story – literally at my feet. drivers. 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. Besides. and the cab driver. to local baseball trivia – all the while polishing my shoes with a single-minded determination and keen attention to detail. In other words.
was not merely in an unsatisfying job calling for skills and temperament he obviously did not possess. Max. rewarding work. seemed to derive genuine pleasure from making old things new again while conversing with travelers from all over the world. Her enthusiasm and pride had transformed a job that most people would consider mere toil into enjoyable.com Finding Your Calling© As we got closer to the city. A perfect illustration of “wrong livelihood” in action. the man had a job that left him utterly depleted.” Instead we must focus on the kinds of activities that satisfy and enliven our spirit.ChangingCourse. 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. Max wiped his brow and apologized sheepishly.ChangingCourse. This was no gouge-the-unwitting-out-of-towner scam. Staying attuned to what you like to do and what you are good at is the first step to finding your own right livelihood. While neither shining shoes nor driving a cab are high paying or high powered. I realized we were driving by the same landmarks we’d passed earlier. Arriving at the conference center just moments before my scheduled speech. finding our own right livelihood requires us to suspend our assumptions about “good work” and “bad work.” Max tossed back by way of explanation. ©www. I explained. Max was the first cabbie I’d ever seen consult a street map. Grace. on the other hand.com 2002 Page 45 . “Lousy sense of direction. worse.
Many of us rush through life. thousands of trees buckled under the weight of this sparkling ice. mark a notch for when you were born. Turn the notebook sideways and draw a horizontal line across the page. Add notches for each of the times in your life when you felt happy and ©www. This is your Success Timeline. At the far left.ChangingCourse. Or. that we missed the chance to grow to our full and glorious height. throws our lives out of balance without warning. And so it becomes clear that caring for the wellness of our souls is at the heart of caring for our bodies. each new compromise. We can shake our limbs and remove or rearrange our burdens. The icy rain might have come and gone with little notice. we can ask ourselves a few all-important questions. and the impact of their collapse reverberated throughout the area. like the added weight of the ice. with weakness at their core and branches under-supported. and our careers. Surveying the iceencased world outside my window gave me unexpected time to reflect and to observe an important life lesson. What can we do that trees cannot? We can pause occasionally to assess our foundations and make adjustments. We risk reaching the end of our lives only to realize that our growth has been stunted by this undernourished core. our families. Here is one simple way you can start this process for yourself: Set aside some quiet time. our own foundation becomes dangerously weakened. imperceptibly brings us closer to the breaking point. Bring along a notebook or a journal and a pen that you like.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© Wellness Begins Within: Living the Theory Susan Holliday One day last winter I found myself housebound by an ice storm. each unattended dream gradually. giving little attention to assessing and nurturing our own roots. Despite an outer image of strength and beauty. such as a job loss.com 2002 Page 46 . We can look up to check the direction in which we are growing. Create a peaceful atmosphere in whatever way feels right for you. That’s because. sudden and unexpected pressure. But it didn’t. 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. And. our own souls.
In what now seems like a previous life. About this time my daughter Michelle. 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. at last. government and military agencies and thousands of individuals hoping to make changes in their lives. During these years I never forgot that vision on the beach. I wanted to use my training skills and keen perception. From here. It grew over the years to include working with corporations. When you’ve written as many as you can remember. on one of my sunset strolls on the beach. I was a retail manager in Florida for a multi-billiondollar corporation. these things could not be packaged together into one job.com Finding Your Calling© successful. I was packing up my things and heading off to Washington. taking classes.ChangingCourse. I was in my element. It was. I began to retreat regularly in small ways. My new career was launched with a part-time contract facilitating government Transition Assistance workshops. Surely. this theory of wellness was put to the test in my own life. This was my mission. Wellness begins within. Never doubt that you have it in you to grow to a glorious height! Teacher as Student Some years ago. or the time you taught your child to read? Think carefully.C..ChangingCourse. informed decisions as well as manageable plans to achieve their dreams. one lifestyle. I wanted to see the bigger picture in life. it seemed. A place enabling people to make sensible. the rumblings of my discontent grew louder and louder over time. dig deep. just wishful thinking. As happens with many people. positive guidance and encouragement. I wanted to help people more directly and more regularly. your foundation. decided to join us. A place that would provide an atmosphere of quiet. networking like mad.com 2002 Page 47 . And before long. take a mental step back from the page. Pause regularly to nurture your core. It would be a center. Our efforts intensified and took form in early 1997. interviewing people in the field of life and career counseling. And so I began my own life transition. the Soularium was born! ©www. This would be my passion. D. Career counselor Carol Landry and I joined forces in 1996 to work toward this vision. the wishful thinking crystallized. your soul. a place where men and women would come to explore their lives’ potentials and possibilities. I had not only made the transition to a new career – I excelled in this new role. and I wanted a more cosmopolitan setting. then a successful marketing executive with Coca Cola. I thought. where my daughter was attending college. Look for consistencies and similarities. I thought. usually walking on the beach considering my passions and my strengths. I kept researching and jotting down ideas. But then. How about when you pulled the newsletter together with no budget.
com Finding Your Calling© The name came to us in a flash of inspiration. The Soularium provides a “possibility planning environment” including guidance. so am I.com 2002 Page 48 . I am happy to report. ©www. I can see that my vision is evolving in the right direction. inspiration and sanctuary to empower people to realize their souls’ full potential. D. Looking back. Just as a solarium provides a nourishing. and. we are able to provide wonderful temporary retreats.C. by continuing to practice the theory that wellness truly does begin within. The Washington. While the actual center I pictured that day on the beach is still in the imagining stage. a lavish yet cozy Victorian house with a walled garden offering a sanctuary from city life. manageable steps leading toward my vision. I can see a pattern of small. sessions meet at The Mansion on O Street. Participants in the weekend workshops are transported to a simpler era at a lovely historic country estate in nearby Maryland. And.ChangingCourse. fertile environment for plants.ChangingCourse.
Steve says it took another two years to act on this dream.” Steve dubbed this new genre of music “baby-boomer rock. Today. Steve learned that of all the demos and press kits ©www. that’s the point. illuminating something I’d known deep down all along.ChangingCourse. 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. Steve was absorbing everything he could about the music industry.” And. he never looked back. “When I read these words. Instead of contract offers. 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. though. you’ll find Steve either on stage. mid-life dreams. on the air. What the mostly young.” What he loves even more. and dedicated to a very specific audience. Despite the late nights and the occasional drunk who insists on singing American Pie – a capella – Steve says performing is “a blast. 35-to50 year olds. on boats. you would never know he leads a double life. he and the four other “40 plus” members of the band have played in dives and at dinner-dances. Nights and weekends. That’s because Steve is pursuing a childhood dream of being a songwriter and member of a rock ‘n roll band. though. 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. he says.” Even after finally tuning into his heart’s desire. 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. and all the other trials and tribulations of the baby boom generation. The Houndz. Although “all the signs were there. performs a combination of original music and covers. in a recording studio or. Among other things. is writing original pop rock music for.” 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. Steve’s band. about. “My songs are about second loves. though.ChangingCourse.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. the panelists gave the audience a powerful dose of reality. job disenchantment. But still. when he wasn’t performing with The Houndz. it was as if a light turned on. Not exactly the stuff my teenager step children listen to – but then. Five days a week for the past 18 years. Over the last few years.” and for the next two years he wrote songs at “a furious pace. hip.com 2002 Page 49 . But once he took that first step. and in backyards.
just maybe. It was a newspaper reporter seeking an interview – the first of four he would give over the next two months.” Steve says. the resources will be there. “In the meantime.” As he walked in the door. he says. When The Houndz got our first bad review. takes: performing regularly. “like a fool for even attempting such an ambitious venture. Steve’s company. 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. 26. what would I need them for? In that instant he decided to form his own record company. 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. my brother came on board as a partner. and then. and establishing a reputation as accomplished players who are willing to work like dogs. the industry bigwigs will talk to you. the phone rang. building a loyal following. When I needed a fresh view.. Making it in this business. and humor cuts in at every corner with style and grace. discouraged and feeling.” This year.” A bolt.com 2002 Page 50 . Boomer Music & Records. I’m happy to be living a thirty-year-old dream.ChangingCourse. they said. “It was one of many reminders.” Then there was the day Steve arrived home from a long business trip tired. my wife lifted me out of my self-pitying funk with just the right words.ChangingCourse.” To help get the word out in the greater Chicago area. Songs like Natural Born Renegade.” he says. “I came to realize that resources are about more than just money. making – meaning. 99.8% get tossed.. though. “I knew it wouldn’t be easy. maintaining your own mailing list. it suddenly hit him: if I have to do all that. paying for – your own CD. after all of this. promoting the heck out of it.com Finding Your Calling© record companies receive. pull out all the stops to get the word out about baby-boomer rock. he interviews guest experts on a variety of topics of interest to baby boomers. you have a good product and a decent fan base – and your band hasn’t crumbled – maybe. that filled his dream with fire.” host of his own hour-long radio program: The Mid-Life Crisis Show airing on WJKL (94. Steve recently debuted as “Steve Mayfield. Where There’s a Will. The Businessman. but I’d been hit by a bolt of determination.” ©www.000 releases in 1996 alone.3). make his own CD. If.. and I Am a Warrior are camp views of boomer life. As Steve sat listening to these experts. Steve remains confident that all his hard work and determination will pay off.. “If this part-time passion becomes my full-time job – great. “that if I just stay true to my dream. Interspersed with cuts from 2nd Adulthood. To have rekindled and then actually pursued this passion is itself tremendously satisfying. produced The Houndz debut CD 2nd Adulthood. The lucky few that do get signed can look forward to their CD joining a glut of others on the market.
independent recording label for promoting and marketing one or many titles. she started to compose music. The Promise has been taken to every continent with the exception of Antarctica. visit www. along with her children. To sample the CD. This former elementary education teacher and homemaker demonstrates that personal and financial upheaval can be transformed into something of value and beauty. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. Another Success Story After listening to the album The Promise most people would be flabbergasted to learn that Lorraine Doan was an ordinary homemaker. call (877) 298-9953 or write to Dreamworthy Productions. IL 60017. at the most devastating period of her life.000 copies of her music in over 450 accounts throughout the US and Canada. ©www. or to order online. Since August of 1998.net. and how to use the Internet’s unprecedented power to market and promote your own music. And now. raising two teenagers when her marriage of 23 years came to a sudden and unexpected end. Des Plaines. The 5th edition has been updated to address what the Internet revolution means to you. had only begun taking piano lessons six years prior to the break up of her marriage. 2nd Adulthood.com Finding Your Calling© George Elliot once wrote. The Houndz debut CD.com. 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. Lorraine has successfully placed 13.99.thepromise. these are words to live by. The Promise should have been history.95) gives you step-by-step instructions on how to set up a small. PO Box 1933. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been. is available for $13.com 2002 Page 51 . She.” To Steve Wyrostek.ChangingCourse. without the benefit of commercial advertisement or the backing of a major label. forgotten and buried. Getting Started Want to jump start your own music career? How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording by Diane Sward Rapaport ($39.ChangingCourse.houndz. In addition. You can listen to and read more about ‘The Promise’ at www. To order.
I felt it was time to really get serious. The time had finally come to either put up. The comedy scene in Boston started to fall off and some core members of the group and myself started to write and produce short films. Ten years ago. things started to happen almost immediately.ChangingCourse.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. As long as I was billing each month my boss was happy. I can’t say I hated my job. led to a great deal of resentment.com 2002 Page 52 .com. one to Chicago. I was getting more and more obsessed with material things and feeling increasingly trapped by the proverbial “golden handcuffs.” That’s when I decided to leave the financial institution to write a screenplay for a feature length film. I spent years bitching about other friends who had moved into writing and acting careers. Some moving to Los Angeles. I didn’t want to be 75 years-old and saying. my cast started to disperse. A friend of mine was opening a job posting and resume service called BostonSearch. I discussed with him my ultimate goal and he was extremely understanding.” Since I was responsible for my own production levels. “I wish I had taken more chances when I was younger. were regulars at Cambridge’s Catch a Rising Star and played other clubs and local colleges in Massachusetts. After completing several off-the-wall shorts and receiving some notoriety. I had been involved with the arts from early on but still somehow believed I wasn’t “successful” unless I was earning six figures. 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. Back then. I was contacted by a woman who needed assistance in raising money for a feature film being produced out of Hollywood.ChangingCourse. As I started to focus on my real dream. Soon we were doing shows in New York City as well. She thought my background in the financial world ©www. which enables me to pay the bills. He had worked with me when I was a headhunter and knew I could handle the resume research part of the business. in turn. the headhunting allowed me to work on my artistic endeavors on the side. Along the way. or shut up. the group transformed itself so that our comedy became more “absurd” driven.” We traveled with an R & B band. So we decided to change the name to Heavily Medicated Faerie Tales. but I found myself blaming my inability to make a living in the arts on my employers which. It was hard to work the full-time jobs and keep the show on the path it deserved and so. I started a sketch comedy show in the Boston area called “The Act. I now work 20 hours a week for him as a consultant.
If you worry too much about the future then you won’t be able to see the opportunities that are in front of you.ChangingCourse. Give your life over to a “higher power. all this exploration led me to another. 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. For me. this may not work for everyone. Now. I had to change several old behaviors that had been holding me back. because that’s all we really have. and prayer for guidance and strength to reach my dreams will give me a life second to none. If we don’t appreciate the ride. I guess what I am saying is that you are not alone. meditation on my day. We’re in the process of raising capital and hope to go into pre-production within the next few months. They recently signed a four-picture deal for which I will receive a finder’s fee as well as an Associate Producer credit. And. an issue of National Lampoon magazine hit the stands with my name as the Associate Editor. As I started to work with her and the Production Company out of Los Angeles. I’ve chosen that bumpy ride.com 2002 Page 53 . First off. I have not fully reached my goals. 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. This gave me experience I’d need to construct my own screenplay. I have a great deal of work ahead of me but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. My writing partner and I recently finished our script and have been approached by a local film producer. part-time. The mystery of life is what makes it all so interesting. or your family and friends. My advice to other people looking to live their dream is this: Realize that working toward your dream is the real success. I have to remind myself of this every day. I need to walk through the fears on a daily basis. I realize that this is going to be a bumpy ride at times. I have had so many things happen once I decided to get honest with myself.com Finding Your Calling© would be helpful in identifying prospective investors. I had worked in a job that was paying the bills full-time and doing what I really liked. You must live in the moment in order to make the move. Last November. Even though my original screenplay deal fell apart. more lucrative. but at least I’m getting a chance to play. It is a very scary thing to take that leap. I had to learn to live one day at a time. Self-examination. The production firm was happy with my work and continued to send me scripts to read for potential other investors. My faith in my Higher Power was instrumental in my being able to do this. The nice thing is.” That could be God. I had to believe I wasn’t going it alone. the solution was to create a new strategy by flip- ©www. I have truly come to believe that there’s no such thing as coincidences.ChangingCourse. project. the destination will be meaningless. I was inundated with information regarding the film industry. but it worked for me. Know what you want and then figure out how to get it. I had to decide on what I wanted my life to be.
” I decided to instead put my energy into moving full steam ahead on what really mattered.ChangingCourse. Like me.ChangingCourse. ©www.com Finding Your Calling© flopping the two. but what really made the difference was being able to turn my career into a consulting gig.” The key is to believe that you deserve to have happiness in your life.com 2002 Page 54 . Instead of working full time trying to “keep up with the Jones’s. I did save some money in the beginning. you’ll probably need to have some type of income coming in while you are pursuing your dream. Everyone has his or her own version of “getting by.
not because of mere possessions lost – Cynthia and I set out on a course that would eventually take us “here.com Finding Your Calling© From There To Here: James Welch How We Escaped Corporate America Adapted from There To Here. A mistake changed our lives.” the seasonal. 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. is also a state of mind. At the time. Our lifestyle – the avid pursuit of money. Cape Cod oceanfront resort we manage together. 20-year-old motor home. The journey to our present position.com 2002 Page 55 . lapidary and rock sculpture. I foolishly loaned a client-relative a great deal of my net worth. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches “There” for my wife Cynthia and me was corporate jail – high pressure jobs. A former ad agency VP. Cynthia and I now know this financial disaster couldn’t have occurred at a more opportune time. But we never lost ©www. silversmithing. 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. I left my fast track job to start my own company. within a month of that shameful day in 1988 – shameful because of my selfpitying behavior.ChangingCourse. At 39 I was running two successful ventures employing 17 people and poised to enter the so-called millionaires club. “Here. though. which we assumed in 1994.ChangingCourse. which include writing.” as near as I can tell. so preoccupied with our rote existence we simply didn’t realize it. From our present perspective. 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. 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. We were corporate burnout zombies. took two years of hard planning preceded by four years of aimless wandering in a 22-foot. He absconded with it and I went broke – financially and emotionally. possessions and status – had locked us in careers as surely as any jail keeper would have locked us in a cell. After several months of useless self-pity. in fact. But. Then in 1988. performed after miserable commutes to our high-rise offices to work at high-paying jobs that led us nowhere near fulfillment.
among others. we found ourselves 4. the perspective we wanted. and were once again working jobs that paid us well enough to live comfortably. Between all the jobs I was making decent money. but we survived and. earning enough money to survive. On a Friday night in October 1993. worked evenings caring for a municipal golf course. We did what we’ve always done in dire circumstances and in clover alike – we talked. reasoned. So after traveling and working our way through 42 states. waited tables and otherwise “moonlighted” in between running my own commercial cleaning business. The Times of London and The Boston Globe. While overseas I carried foreign press credentials from The Boston Herald and wrote freelance for. We owned two cars and lived in a beautiful condominium in a Boston suburb – once again the picture of middle-class success. we now enjoy a lifestyle that might as well be worlds away from our previous expectations and shattered dreams. Cynthia became pregnant and wanted our child born in Ireland.000 feet high in the Smokey Mountains in a blizzard. her homeland and the place where all her relatives still lived. planned and made lists.ChangingCourse. I made sandwiches in a delicatessen. We enjoyed Ireland’s laid-back lifestyle. we’re right back into it again. We immediately washed windows and cleaned restaurants in exchange for food. Mexico and Canada. The money soon flowed in. Only 70 miles from Boston and the office buildings that once confined us. had purchased a small house trailer in Florida’s Everglades Gulf Coast. having fun and spending a good deal more time with my family. but after a year decided we wanted more from life and so returned to the opportunities the United States provides. We had been independent long enough. A letter I carried from my mentor and friend. we had money in the bank. today editor of The Village Voice. 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. we once again shared a life. We left all of this three years ago. she told me of her unhappiness. Within six months. The roads we traveled in reaching this point were as varied and rich as they were filled with blockades and dead-ends.com 2002 Page 56 . in a place most people paid thousands of dollars simply to visit.ChangingCourse. I had no job to go to. more importantly. I took a position selling insurance in Massachusetts and did so well that within two months was promoted to district manager. Only four months from Massachusetts. to realize the successful trappings had a flip side – an ugly specter. Don Forst. the dream we shared – perhaps the most important ingredient of all.com Finding Your Calling© sight of the freedom we sought. served to open doors to hotel jobs for both of us in the Smokies. not ostentatiously. Cynthia was growing tired of my constant absence and the late nights I worked when I was home. though. I had left the rat race for good and proved to myself once again that financial survival can be a very simple ©www. with but $20 to our name – the very nadir of our existence together. “Jim. in the spring of 1992 we moved to Ireland.
” he declared.” As God is my witness.” the cat answered wisely. Quite simply. “Then do it. If you want to get to any old place. bought a Cape Cod Times and perused the “help wanted” ads over sandwiches. I can’t help but think back to a conversation I had with a customer while waiting tables three years earlier. Next. but have to travel out of state to see them. that goes into managing an upscale resort property. I can teach you hotel reservations “ she said. I would gladly trade places with you. “we can work together. you must get your mind straight. Our response is always the same.com 2002 Page 57 . He responded without hesitation. sending brochures and returning calls left queued for months on the resort’s answering machine. then do what Cynthia and I did initially and set out without a plan. immediately!” His frustration is not unique. Cynthia was the catalyst for our next adventure. You already know marketing and advertising from your agency days. a neurosurgeon.” she responded. you must envision your new lifestyle – any way you wish it to be. By that I mean you must know in the deepest recesses of your being that change is required. You must have a clear picture of it in your mind. In fact. you must plan your path to get there. “You seem educated and professional. that same morning we drove to Cape Cod. My research shows that 65% of 25-to 49-year-olds in this country earning more than $40. our guests tell us all the time that they. yes. excitement and. “Oh. “Then any old road will do. would love to do what we’ve done. Exciting and romantic as it may sound. “You know horticulture from the golf course job. I take great joy in my wife and son. You know the cleaning business and you know how to manage people. Last. While in Wonderland. you could wind up as we did – stranded on the proverbial mountaintop. A few weeks later we moved into our two-bedroom quarters 40 yards from the beach and where we enjoy all the fun.ChangingCourse. Who needed a title? Who needed to wear a jacket and tie? Who needed to manage? Not me. “Where do you want to go?” he asked in return. “Why not look for a small. The customer. The price to be paid for such things was far too high. have a house most people dream about. had an interview the next Friday and assumed the job the following Monday morning! Working initially out of our condo back in Boston. said to me.” she added. we immediately set about marketing the resort.ChangingCourse. There we saw our present job staring us in the face. No longer. We called the number listed. “And. “I earn $800. really. too. seasonal place we can manage together?” she asked me one Sunday morning in January 1994.” “How?” you ask. How did you come to wait on tables?” I gave him a brief version of our story.com Finding Your Calling© matter once ego is placed aside. She wanted to get back into the hotel business. Alice asked Cheshire Cat which road she should take. but I’m so busy making money to pay for it that I don’t have time to live in it. hard work too. but not as General Manager of a four-star property as she had once been.000 would like to quit their jobs and “do something else” just as Cynthia and I did. “right now. ©www.000 a year. First. any old place. best of all.
you want to carve wooden ducks. Use your common sense. Cynthia and I assure you. like the Nike commercial says. take stock of your professional and personal strengths and weaknesses and put them to paper. Dream the dream.com 2002 Page 58 . “Just do it!” All the best of luck. And. you’ll need to supplement your wood duck income. the effort you make to reach whatever goal you set for yourself will be well worth it! ©www. Determine next whether you can earn enough money carving wooden ducks to survive.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. Then create another list of what you really want to do. If the numbers don’t pan out.com Finding Your Calling© First. for example. Consider what kind of part-time job you might enjoy or how you might use your professional expertise to earn money working at home. Say.
But in today’s fast track. open a restaurant. my friend Chuck Roberts sent me a book written by his older brother Tony: Against the Grain. On the way back to the agency. meanwhile Tony ought to think about bathing suits. Tony Roberts had already had a career in journalism and another in corporate marketing and advertising. Tony Roberts tossed away a perfectly good position. thought provoking. with a good income. He was to meet the client. and never returned to a regular job.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.com 2002 Page 59 . effective and sales producing he’d ever seen. It came to a head on a midwinter day in Cleveland with what started out as just another business crisis. the need to get ads OK’d and ready for the trade magazine’s deadlines. Tony Roberts’ story did something for my soul. Tony’s assignment was to take the products of the previous evening’s sweat. a satchel full of advertising layouts and proposed copy. often nutso world.ChangingCourse. eye-catching. sell everything and take your Harley on the road. It set him down for five years in a beach cottage on a Greek island. Mission successful? In the ad business. to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. which had a lot to do with the agency’s viability. the Consequences of Chucking it All. and convince him the proposals were the most creative. or buy an RV and become a full-time traveler? Sweet dreams.ChangingCourse. Tony Roberts did what most of us only dare to dream. This is the first time I have ever recommended a book. Then something happened. it led him to renovate a medieval farmhouse high on a hill in the French Dordogne. 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. who had a 30-minute stopover. A few weeks ago. how does one ever know? The client wondered why Tony thought an egg would help sell conveyors. His fascination took him through six years as a live-aboard sailor cruising European waters. At age 53. 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. and the compulsion to create advertising that would make conveyor customers call. ©www. Later.
Paxos is just across the Ionian Sea from Albania. Bicycling Along the Water Roads of France (Bicycle Books publishers). and I traveled to the Mediterranean and visited France a number of times to temporarily live their experiences. The book may well have been the final straw that also gets me out of the rat race of running my own agency. During that time. And there is only one. the island just north of Corfu for a number of years. What I learned about life from my brother is – it’s short. Chuck that Tony had passed away. He married upon his return from WW II and became a writer and feature reporter for the Gannett chain.com 2002 Page 60 . he spent three years researching and completing a guidebook. Later he busted his butt in marketing and advertising while his two girls grew up in upstate New York. bicycles shops and restaurants along the way. I wrote him a letter about what he meant to me. Being 15 years younger. Publishing this book meant a great deal to me. Instead. Some five or six months before Tony died. Chuck published his manuscript in memorial. 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. Tony and his wife. the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean. they restored a 16th-century farmhouse which has become a bed and breakfast refuge for visiting Americans in France. I thought you might like to hear Tony’s story in his brother’s words: In the early 1980s.ChangingCourse. Tony returned to Greece to check on old friends.ChangingCourse. 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). Within the next 3-5 years I plan on emulating Tony once more. I never really knew my brother growing up. My wife. So live it now. Nancy and Tony had lived on Paxos. for those of you who are thinking about chucking it all. Tony planned to write a book. Lee. He went in the Marines right out of high school. I learned from his brother. Nancy. he had a remarkable recovery for a few months before the inevitable came. they provided special sea-based room and board they called “boat guesting” for scores of travelers. may Tony be your inspiration. ©www. At 70. our sister called and asked me to write his obituary as he was failing fast. “chucked” their advertising and music careers to go off on a decade-long sailing adventure on the canals and waterways of Europe. Purely coincidentally.com Finding Your Calling© And. Later. Although Against the Grain is no longer in print. A year and a half before my brother died. I emulated him by going into writing and advertising and only dream about such an adventure (although I’ve had a few of my own for sure).
Tom is one of only a handful of reindeer ranchers in the United States. white sand. Working the holiday festival circuit brings in several hundred dollars a day. a homemaker who had been working part-time in her husband Chet’s computer software business. too! In the Country When Tom Scheib left the Marines in the early seventies.ChangingCourse. Seeing an opportunity to relocate herself and her family to paradise.000) and commercials. he and his wife Elli knew they wanted to live in the country. “where people say hello when you’re walking down the street. Vicki noticed how few gift products were actually made on the islands. pictured when she decided to move from Virginia Beach. it was time to complete the “what” part of the equation. They wanted the kind of a life. 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. To be able to see a flock of 300 ©www. Vicki decided to make good use of the island’s own fruits and spices by launching The Original Caribbean Cookie Company. Vicki Phelps proved that you can have your cookies and enjoy where you eat them. Tom says. Minnesota Monthly.com Finding Your Calling© Having It Your Way Valerie Young It’s been said that the only real success is to live your life your own way. Here from the pages of Entrepreneur. After numerous vacations to the Caribbean. Tom was stationed in Europe. One of his reindeer even appeared in the remake of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. On an Island Think warm sea breezes. where he had the chance to see reindeer on the northern Norwegian tundra.com 2002 Page 61 .ChangingCourse. where you can leave your front door open without worrying about someone stealing your wallet. While in the military. Today. Virgin Islands to bake cookies. Although reindeer ranching is a year round labor of love. but the real money comes from lending his reindeer to big-time shows (rental fee to the Bronx Zoo – $10. and clear blue waters. its seasonal nature is not making Tom rich – at least not monetarily. What he most loves about his work is living close to the land. MN. swaying palm trees.S. VA to the U. 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. That’s what Vicki Phelps. With the “where” part settled. To borrow from a popular expression.” They found it on a pond-dotted piece of land in Finland.
Jonni began keeping a journal of the strategies she used to cut the monthly grocery bill from $500 to $160. you too can create the life you really want! ©www. what successful living is all about.com 2002 Page 62 . then act and one day at a time. Jonni and her family have since moved to Colorado Springs where she is happy to write. when you add up the cost of paid childcare. Believe. is for Tom. and home school her children.ChangingCourse. Gradually she began organizing her helpful hints into a how-to book called Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income World.ChangingCourse. conduct seminars. believed it was possible and two. a second job can end up costing more than it brings in! With a little imagination and determination. work attire and the like. 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. commuting. she knew her family could survive on one income and save money at the same time. acted on their belief. Jonni was surprised to learn that some financial experts have calculated that. 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. These three people are living their dreams because they: one.com Finding Your Calling© geese rise up into the sky and to be his own boss.
I was never truly happy or satisfied with the career path I had “chosen. and by the time many of us realized we were heading down the wrong road. I ended up taking business classes and entered the job world as a secretary. In her book Wishcraft.com Finding Your Calling© Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden Debbie Windoloski As a child.ChangingCourse. by garden designer and author Barbara Blossom Ashmun. I had lots of practical experience but no formal training. we knew what we loved and what we wanted. Through hard work. friends and family. mid-life crisis was setting in with a vengeance and job-related stress was taking its toll. ©www. Unfortunately. too scary or too expensive to change course. was born.com. 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. Marsha Sinetar and others. I loved to create things. I was miserable. it seemed too late.” It always seemed like something was missing. So. That’s when I came across ChangingCourse. My high school guidance counselors didn’t guide me to go after those things I was passionate about. I began to read books by Barbara Sher. That way. too difficult. One particular article. I had always loved gardening and for years have been creating beautiful gardens for myself. I could get the formal education I felt I needed while still working. I progressed up the corporate ladder to managementlevel positions in the field of marketing-communications. our early passions and interests weren’t always developed. 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. Talking with other women my age who were making similar changes made me realize that changing careers might not be so difficult after all.com 2002 Page 63 . Yet. a garden design and tutoring business. Barbara Sher says that as children.ChangingCourse. the first thing I did was enroll in a home study Master Horticulturist course. I also remember having a special appreciation for nature. So. was just the incentive I needed to get moving. Ten Steps to Redesigning Your Life. But what? By late 1998.
and therefore. With income not coming in very readily. and gave up my part-time work as well. Being on the web seemed like a great way to showcase some of my designs. with the help of a supportive husband.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. With the assistance of a local web designer. It wasn’t always easy. using free weights to strengthen my upper body and eating healthier. I also sent emails to garden writers and authors asking for advice. I also knew that if I was going to be a professional gardener I had to get in good physical condition (stress did a number on my weight). I visited public gardens and flower shows. With my corporate life now behind me. Resolution 6: Market the business on a shoestring budget.com Finding Your Calling© Trying to work full-time and plan a business proved difficult. my site was up and running on schedule. Resolution 4: Network and gain visibility for my new business. I took a week off to relax and readjust my mind to a new beginning. I visited local garden centers and nurseries. I did marketing consulting part-time while working on my plans for Gardenscapes. Ten pounds lighter. I got on a local gardening talk show and conducted a workshop on garden planning. took pictures and started an idea book of garden styles I liked. Resolution 2: Get in shape. talk about Gardenscapes and pass out business cards. constantly absorbing and learning. camera and notebook with me wherever I go. I began walking or using the treadmill 30 minutes a day. Resolution 5: Develop a website and have it online by January 31. I even wrote to Barbara Blossom Ashmun. I’m happy to report I’ve adhered to every one! Resolution 1: Simplify my life. I felt I was ready to go solo. From here. By the end of that year.com 2002 Page 64 . but I learned to say no to demands on my time that did not help with my new business. rejoined the local chapter of Women Business Owners Alliance and attended free workshops and lectures. got the word out via postings on garden center bulletin boards and ©www. Resolution 3: Increase my gardening knowledge. I knew I needed to eliminate distractions so I could focus. I feel great. Fortunately. I bartered garden design services for a logo design for my business cards and letterhead. I was able to resign from my full-time position. the author of the article I mentioned. I looked for every opportunity to network. I had no choice but to stick to this resolution. promote the business. getting visibility for your business doesn’t have to be expensive. I knew that constant exposure was the key. I read and watched anything and everything garden-related. So last summer. Doing so helped me to focus my energies in support of my dream. To keep some money flowing in. I purchased the software and taught myself how to create the web site. I made a list of resolutions and goals for the New Year. I still carry a tape recorder.
whether it took one year or three. I am constantly reminded of how glad I am to have made the choices I did.com 2002 Page 65 . the joy far outweighs the compromise.ChangingCourse. I had 200 people visit in one day! I handed out brochures and had visitors sign up to be on my mailing list.”) My mailing list continues to grow. For that I am grateful. and I already feel like a new person. My big break came when my gardens were included on a local garden tour.ChangingCourse. Readjusting to a scaled-back lifestyle has not always been easy. (My very first customer was a garden tour visitor who has since hired me as her “personal gardener. ©www. As I work in a garden with the blue sky overhead. Learning that money can never buy personal satisfaction. Yet. birds singing in the background and my hands in the dirt. The most important thing is to start the journey. I am convinced I would have still reached my destination. I also publish a newsletter. with passion and a clear vision to propel me. a sense of accomplishment and happiness has been my greatest joy. Doing what I was truly meant to do made me happier than I’ve ever been. It’s only been a year since I made the decision to change course.com Finding Your Calling© volunteered to landscape my local post office in exchange for a sign promoting my business. There is no denying that having another income to fall back on while building my business made my trip from the corporate world to the garden considerably shorter and smoother. I no longer have the big paychecks or the promise of stock options. and I send quarterly mailings. Sending out press releases to the local media was free and also gained visibility. However. Changing careers did not come without its challenges.
the Jacobsons began delivering copies of the journal to local retail horse businesses.000 readers find it informative.ChangingCourse. Work Feels Like Play Beth Schimel When Dean and Darlene Jacobson moved from Philadelphia to Charlottesville. Dean sent over 100 letters to advertisers and received an overwhelming response. they struggled to produce two issues and then reevaluated their enterprise. “It was like an angel was watching out for us.ChangingCourse. This year’s revenue is expected to top $100. North Carolina. Motivated by their love of horses. the Jacobsons set out to create it themselves. when the issues were ready to go to the printer. from their home. West Virginia. The journal offered an ideal forum for retail horse businesses and horse owners to exchange information about the trade. The journal’s 30. It is available for free in over 500 locations throughout Virginia. as well as personable and entertaining. They would also speak on the phone whenever something important came up. The best part? SCORE services are free! Darlene and Dean met with SCORE counselors Reg Hubley and Arlene Anns. such as tack and feed stores. We knew nothing about publishing – we couldn’t have found two more perfect people. the Virginia Horse Journal has grown to 80 pages of content. 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. Without prior publishing experience.000. Twice a month. classified ads and horse news. SCORE matched new business owners with experienced consultants. A friend immediately suggested the Service Core of Retired Executives or SCORE. both former McCraw Hill publishing executives. To develop a circulation base.” They met with Arlene and Reg frequently to work on editorial improvements and format and layout changes.com 2002 Page 66 . Reg and Arlene also offered advice on circulation and advertising sales. A part of the Small Business Administration. In three years. 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. they were anxious to become involved in Virginia’s horse community. a pamphlet-sized publication of about 20 pages.000 loyal readers subscribe to the publication. The Jacobsons also ©www. Maryland and Pennsylvania and over 1. Virginia four years ago. When they couldn’t find such a publication. they began to write the Virginia Horse Journal.com Finding Your Calling© Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits: For This Couple.
they are always right about everything!” Editors Note: I called the Jacobsons and learned that while in Philadelphia. That’s when Darlene and Dean moved to a farm in Virginia. “They keep us in line. about every six weeks or when a problem arises. ‘I think we’re working. Fearing they were both “heading for a heart attack.org.” Dean forfeited a good deal of money to take early retirement at 50. counseling and other free resources. The journal was recently named the Official Horse Publication of the Virginia Horse Council and the Virginia Horse Industry Board.com Finding Your Calling© created a web site (www. ©www. the Jacobsons have not had much time to rest lately. ad sales strategies and planning for how to balance the volume of editorial and advertising content in the publication.ChangingCourse.S.org.iesc.com 2002 Page 67 . or to find an office near you call 800-634-0245 or visit www.. Sometimes we are scared to move forward and make a decision. She quit eight months later to join him full-time. Specific industry expertise made SCORE a valuable resource to the Jacobsons.000 but they’re not complaining. The site got over 100. As a niche publication. Dean got the publication up and running while Darlene continued to work. but we are more scared to not listen to them.000 hits its first year. You can also receive counseling via email on anything from bookkeeping to wholesale foods to import/export.’” This article was reprinted with permission from SCORE.virginiahorse.ChangingCourse. Dean worked in federal law enforcement while Darlene commuted three hours a day to her paralegal job in the city.. “Every so often I ask Dean. booklets. ‘Are we working or are we having fun?’ and he says. contact the International Executive Service Corps at 800-243-4372 or www. They will meet with their SCORE counselors frequently. If you live outside the US. For more information about workshops. SCORE is a resource partner with the U. Both Reg and Arlene were able to assist the budding publishers with developing rate schedules. events and classified ads. Darlene says their combined income has dropped about $100. Experiencing great success today. the Jacobsons’ SCORE counselors provided solid information on how to make a very targeted publication a profitable business venture. SCORE provides small business owners with individual counseling from an executive with expertise in their field.score. Small Business Administration.com) that posts current horse news.
drew up a business plan. With my husband’s total support and encouragement. I then came up with a name for my new business: Gardening Greetings. I had a certain character in mind and Lynn turned my visions of “The Garden Lady” into reality. Shortly after settling into our new home. I decided I needed to work at home. In order to survive this tragic and profoundly life-altering loss. card number 625 reflects the June 25th anniversary of Scott’s passing. after many years of employment in administration. After Lynn had drawn up my images for twelve Garden Lady cards. February 22nd. I find that my special numbering system is a great comfort to me throughout my workday. I am a bereaved parent.ChangingCourse. I found a wonderful local artist named Lynn Petersen. You see. a fresh start. and established a daily work routine. I thought finding an illustrator would be my biggest challenge. I thoroughly researched the industry. Two years after Scott died.ChangingCourse. I decided to start my own greeting card business. A final step was to develop a numerical tracking system for my cards. The new environment proved to be just what we were looking for. You can’t help but feel that somehow you just don’t fit in anywhere. But to my good fortune. and with our older children out on their own. my husband and I moved from California to Colorado in hopes of a new beginning. Not only do Lynn and I work well together. So. As a garden-lover. I secured my business name using the Trade Name Registration form and got the necessary home-occupation permits. In 1995 our youngest son Scott died at age 15 following complications from surgery for a mild heart condition. I had been searching for some kind of business I could operate from home. and card number 015 signifies his age. Next. the last three numbers on my cards were intentionally chosen in memory of my beloved son Scott. Many parents who have lost a child will tell you. but that would also fill an enormous void in my life. I wanted to do something I would not only enjoy. Instead of randomly selected numbers. you feel as if you’ve been shifted into a different class.com Finding Your Calling© Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: Sally Silagy A New Business and a New Beginning Before owning my own greeting card company.com 2002 Page 68 . Card number 222 honors his birthday. I found myself drawn to the idea of using gardening as the overall theme for my cards. ©www. I acquired the copyrights. new surroundings and new careers were a must. but our relationship is growing into a special friendship as well. I began to scan the job listings.” I realized I no longer felt I belonged in the 9-to-5 world. But something felt “off.
Today the Gardening Greetings line is displayed at over 30 local nurseries.” I hope I can be an inspiration to others who may need a reminder of this simple but important message as well. I’m told my line offers a fresh alternative to slick competitors. Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he’d learned about life in three words: “It goes on.ChangingCourse. homey look by using black ink on ivory paper.ChangingCourse. friendship. It’s also given my life a renewed sense of purpose.com Finding Your Calling© Gardening Greetings is a newcomer to a large market. and garden gift shops with 14 distributors generating out-of-state sales. Between the colorful Garden Lady character and an attractive point of purchase display. ©www. The Garden Lady cards are also available for Christmas and Mother’s Day. thank you.com 2002 Page 69 . So I wanted to give the cards a distinctive. In addition to traditional birthday. Starting this business has helped to fill the emptiness in my life left by the loss of my son. get well and blank notes cards. florists.
at age 46. The more I jockeyed my time to match my ultimate life priorities.com 2002 Page 70 . that I would be leaving them. indeed. Eliminate what you’re not. rid yourself of clutter not used in the past year. it feels as if you yourself invented it. The meaning of the word “all. When acquaintances asserted I was crazy to give it all up.” you see.ChangingCourse. 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. away from a well-established. But why? What opportunity could be so grand to entice me. Amidst the continuing onslaught of client meetings. Or five years ago when I carved out even more time to devote to my newborn daughter. In a sense.com Finding Your Calling© Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss Jane Groft I cannot remember what I was wearing the day I announced my resignation from the advertising agency I’d founded seventeen years earlier. Though simplifying one’s life has become the new national yearning. well-respected business. the more it seemed I was on to something. Plus. Page through the books on how to simplify your life and you will discover helpful hints for shaping up and shipping out such as: clean out the closets. I knew I was on the right track.” I finally concluded there was one place I needed to be: home.ChangingCourse. my passion for writing nudged at me constantly. Now that I have a second daughter. and briefcases bulging with last month’s management reports. what’s left will be you. seventeen years younger than the first. simplify your needs for ©www. Simplification is happening everywhere. It was probably something black. is in the heart of the beholder. 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. she never quite found the time or the energy to write. 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.” Courage. people who were like family to me. I feared the epitaph on my tombstone someday: “Gee. I blinked one day and saw my little girl all grown up.. project deadlines. my sharply honed mothering instincts urged me to slow down and pull up a closer seat.. I say that not just because 75% of my wardrobe is black.. that is what you must do. but because I felt like a shadow of myself sitting at the head of the conference table telling people I cherished. but when you apply it to your own life. Katherine.
com Finding Your Calling© high-maintenance vehicles. doing things that we neither want ©www. Randy – now “at home” full-time – was the one to provide it. printers on the blink. the word “productive” began to take on new meaning. 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. although an extremely hard worker. For me. that is what this movement toward simplification is all about. But what happens when – in midlife – you clear out a whole career. it calmed down to a point that made it seem I’d been hyperventilating before. But again.ChangingCourse. I needed training to pull it off. each workday. the agonizer. the planner. labor-intensive living quarters. time-consuming entertaining. A friend. The first sign that we were on the road to simplification was a noticeable shift in pace. As he traded his morning drive to the office for playing a video game or two with our five. electronic or otherwise. am the worrier. and 5. is anything but simple. It means acknowledging that there are only so many hours in a day.ChangingCourse.m. rid yourself of an entire business? Oh.643 pages of documents arriving daily on the fax. Although I longed for a calmer. is essentially laid back. at 3:45 p. even a small one. you survive the jungle. and trying to do what matters most. but how often do we walk around. only so many days in a lifetime. more peaceful existence. he started accompanying me to meet Katherine at the school bus stop. And as it turned out. the organizer. And when. 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. on the other hand. telephones that came with operating manuals (“Can’t we just pick it up and dial it?”). First comes the intense period of pre-simplification – call it complication. and to boot. it was gratification of the noblest sort for all of us. as if on automatic pilot.” There were computers with disturbing diseases. But if the life you’ve planned for yourself is worth the trouble. It is an effort to enrich the quality of our lives. And perhaps. I realized this was not simply simplification. after all.com 2002 Page 71 . then wonders why I’m feeling pushed to the hilt. you will keep your sights on that vision. which is how I got through the emotional upheavals of selling a business – the flurry of attorney meetings. Thankfully.year-old. “I now only do what I want to do and what I have to do.” Simplifying a business nowadays. the driven one who always fills my plate too full. internet lines that refused to connect. by keeping your sights on the goal.” That may sound obvious. fax machines in a constant state of “error. said. I. after she’d sold her business and had children. I have a husband who. though both render moments of nostalgia. accountant telephone calls. Undoing one’s ties to a business hardly compares to cleaning out the closet.
committees beckoning our involvement. Katherine. a converted storage closet tucked behind our bedroom. “snipping” as she calls it. even business opportunities that might take us on tangents away from what we’re truly good at or interested in doing.com Finding Your Calling© nor have to do – because of a bad case of the “shoulds” or the inability to say “no” – all to the detriment of the things in life that mean the most to us? Randy and I are still pretty new at this simplification business. It’s that simple. direct mail catalogues begging to have their page corners turned down. which means she has her little finger through the hoop of her red teddy bear. I am sure. ©www. But at this moment I am sitting at my writing table with the early morning sunlight streaming across the clock on my bookshelf. briefly rubs my shoulders. and then heads off to work in his studio downstairs. has joined me. onto another of my dear writer friends beaming with contentment at Montpelier’s Horn of the Moon cafe. onto a photo of my parents when they were in their twenties. At every turn. This may not be anyone else’s idea of heaven on earth.ChangingCourse. rubbing the gross-grain ribbon against her upper lip as she sucks her thumb of the same hand. but it is mine. social invitations ready to whittle away at our weekends.ChangingCourse. and I have worked hard for it. who has recently awakened sleepy-eyed. simply because we are human. nothing else I’d rather be doing. And thus we will stray occasionally. There is no place else I’d rather be. hardly the experts.com 2002 Page 72 . there are temptations to complicate our lives again: stores full of enticements to clutter our closets and our lifestyles. He kisses the back of my neck. She sits curled in the chair in the corner. My husband stops by my writing room.
it is (except. so it also means that. Perhaps later we’ll play a game of billiards or retire to the library. and library comprise the clubhouse of the RV resort in which we currently reside.ChangingCourse. And my home office is the dinette area of a 32-foot 1998 Rexhall Rose Air Class A motor home. the “average” part). Living as a professional developer while staying temporarily in RV parks is not without its challenges. So that my clients remain confident I am always “on hand.” I made it a point at the start to establish a cellular phone number.com 2002 Page 73 . to a large extent. the RVing lifestyle has prompted me to invent what is turning out to be a rather effective (and lucrative) position: The Traveling I. I also happen to be a full-time RVer.T. I have met few people along the way who are not at least a little inspired by my lifestyle. it’s flourishing. cable. mailing and email address that remain the same regardless of my locale du jour. The hot tub. It is the technical challenges that have turned out to be more ©www. Being mobile means I am able to move to where the best opportunities are and to remain as long as necessary. perhaps. 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. billiards. Interestingly. Most projects don’t last longer than a few months. I am a very well compensated information technology consultant with a master’s degree from the top-rated international business school in the world. Meanwhile. I market my services the same way I always have. here I sit in my home office. but this seems to be quite widespread).com Finding Your Calling© On the Road: Life as an RV-based IT Consultant Ryan Speakman As I type this. We’ve just returned from a leisurely hour of unwinding in the hot tub. Consultant. 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. prepares dinner in our full kitchen while a favorite cable TV show plays on our 21” television. working away on my souped-up. state-of-the-art computer. Pamela. on the contrary. The computer is a laptop and slips conveniently into a cupboard when not in use. The truth is. of course on demand for my services.ChangingCourse. we are able to enjoy a change of scenery on a fairly regular basis (dependent. by direct email or other personal contact. Does this sound like the life of your average well-to-do professional? Well. my wife.
com Finding Your Calling© formidable. With some imagination and a little resolve.ChangingCourse. Most parks don’t offer short-term. Living full-rime in an RV allows us a degree of freedom we could never have been living in a fixed dwelling. This is not a major inconvenience. in many ways gives me an advantage over my rooted colleagues.com. relationships and soul! This article was adapted with permission from Workers on Wheels. neither one of us would have it any other way. Full-time RVing encourages and perpetuates entrepreneurship. My work requires a constant Internet connection. Life feels more like an adventure than like “real life. on-site phone connections.ChangingCourse. We’re patiently waiting for the day when a cellular connection will be quality and inexpensive enough to work for us or. 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.com 2002 Page 74 .workersonwheels. ©www. and the only reasonable way to achieve this at this time is with a standard phone line.” Being mobile has encouraged me to brainstorm ways to exploit this lifestyle which. Today. When we began this lifestyle. I needed only to find an Internet service provider that covers most parts of the state. life on the open road can actually benefit your career – not to mention your finances. For lots of great resources for working RVers visit them on-line at www. better by far. but it does limit our freedom of movement more than we’d like. Since we plan to spend 99% of our time in Arizona. when satellite Internet access (two-way) becomes available.
bulging. the internal culture only confirmed my suspicion that I was meant for a less traditional work life. when I resigned as Director of Alumnae Programs and Volunteer Activities at Stephens (a 24-hour-a-day. The article was accompanied by an illustration. ecology. I thought. You know the ones that hold your credit cards. 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. and urban teaching. They talked about combining new skills into “mosaic” careers. It showed a page from one of the popular timemanagement calendar books that we all clutch in our arms constantly. president of the Foundation on Economic Trends. timelines and life goals all in a single. In the May/June 1995 issue of Utne Reader. ©www. In the illustration. 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. but to follow the rules and make a smart career move. it wasn’t to jump off the roller coaster. rather than simply looking for the next job. tacking them up on my bulletin board and repeating them like mantras in the shower. names and addresses of hundreds of friends and business associates. Blomgren About six years ago. several of us who were desperately trying to “find ourselves” routed a magazine article about the importance of fulfilling work. even if we are just going down the hall to the rest room. seven-days-a-week job I loved but had become restless in). I got promoted.ChangingCourse. New Age Journal profiled five people who. several clues surfaced.com Finding Your Calling© Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter” Paige G. I began cutting out their words. 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. project tracking. which was in the Administration Office at Stephens College. Wouldn’t it be great. 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. author of The Reinvention of Work. And five years later. and Matthew Fox. Jeremy Rifkin. wrote about new visions of livelihood and entrepreneurial approaches to the changing marketplace. I didn’t quit that job. In that same Utne Reader series.ChangingCourse. two short words were written across the 24 hours of to-do lines on the calendar page: “Quit Job. leather-bound system. Soon after.com 2002 Page 75 . Though the organization’s work was intriguing and the external people and issues stimulating.” Well.
” Cathy dubbed them the “new generation of overachiever quitters. A couple of freelance possibilities with some local businesses and institutions have magically appeared and. I’m in heaven in the role of part-time student.” My problem was not a problem: it was a movement with press coverage. 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. the entire calendar seems to be getting lighter by the day. in fact. 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.ChangingCourse. though I can’t even zip the zipper around this month’s overflowing pages. especially at a time when others live in daily fear of having joblessness thrust upon them. The page from my calendar is preserved in my scrapbook. most days have more entries than ever before. and Making a Living Without a Job. ©www. and the most supportive husband in the world. Right now. The date came and went with much stress but also an overriding gut instinct that I had made the right decision. I became convinced that the big blank calendar page with the two liberating words on it was looming in my immediate future. while I work to develop those and others. I’m subsidizing my exploration with some changes in lifestyle. a name and personification through cartoon characters. I admit I still carry a time-management calendar and. But I’m on my way toward making much more thoughtful. What a relief! In the midst of all this. 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.com Finding Your Calling© I started copying lists of book titles at the ends of magazine articles and bibliographies of suggested readings from the addendums of books. conscious choices about those entries and.com 2002 Page 76 .” I imagine quitting a “great” job without concrete plans sounds mighty flaky to most. Create the Work You Love.ChangingCourse. 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. as fragments of possibilities began to crystallize.
“It was really no different from starting a business. Although Lissa had a clear vision for the organization and she knew there was nothing similar in the Philadelphia area. accounting services and other start-up assistance. community agencies and companies. she still had her work cut out for her.” Along the way. and helped them file for 501c3 status. ©www. I contacted a billion people to say. a journalist who was also trying to bring this model of service to Philadelphia. coordinate special days of service. sign up for a project. Philadelphia Cares would grow to create tailored community service opportunities for companies and groups. “I knew it was very important to build relationships and get a support base from individuals. Lissa met Ralph Fox. Lissa was ready for a new challenge: she wanted to bring an innovative model of community service from the DC area to Philadelphia. This model would allow individuals to browse a monthly menu of coordinated two to three hour volunteer projects. they obtained the special tax-exempt status granted to nonprofit charities. No interview. and develop civic involvement through volunteering. The two of them merged their organizations and became co-founders.com Finding Your Calling© Turning Your Values Into Your Vocation Courtney Rice Have you wondered what it would take to transform your convictions into your own nonprofit organization? Executive Directors Lissa Hilsee of Philadelphia Cares and Joyce Burd of ARTREACH share their insider views on the challenges and satisfaction of turning a passion into a working reality. Philadelphia Cares began in a room in Lissa’s grandmother’s house. With the donated services of an attorney who liked what they were doing. I lined up people to be project coordinators (the volunteers in charge of running the actual project and making sure it goes smoothly). she spent the first year setting up projects and finding materials like art supplies or books. 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. Over time Lissa and Ralph met people they invited to become board members. Although this program is no longer taking new applications. no eight month commitment. ‘Hi. One of their first events was the Corporate Leadership Breakfast. Lissa explained. can we set up a community service project for your club or your company?’” Often working 70-to-80 hour weeks. Then they found out about a special program that helped new nonprofits by supplying furnished office space.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. there are similar programs around the country. and show up to volunteer. access to phones. 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. After spending 14 years as a stockbroker.com 2002 Page 77 .
ChangingCourse. Her advice to those just getting started: “You have to have direction. due partly to bills. That’s when they came up with the idea for a fund-raising strategy called the “nonevent” gala.” ARTREACH also began under the same nonprofit start-up program that helped Philadelphia Cares. Joyce Burd of ARTREACH has a different story to tell. “there was no way to pay ourselves and the bills. how to coordinate with community agencies.” For the first few years. Philadelphia Cares is now part of the City Cares of America network. “It’s extremely difficult.ChangingCourse. but wouldn’t that money be better spent directly supporting the organization?” The strategy worked. In our case. the then. how to get free or discounted tickets. she and her husband lived on one income. We had to do a 990 (a professional audit). When the organization became independent. Like Lissa. partly to salary deferment. For at least two years Philadelphia Cares ran at a $60. We received a check for $6. “We created a special fund-raising piece. and it was horrible.” But the organization kept going – and growing. in January ‘96.com 2002 Page 78 . or bring in a visual artist to create a workshop for a community agency. Eventually. two-year old organization had reached one of its lowest points: There was just no way to pay the bills and continue. That allowed Joyce to focus on further refining her vision and on program development. For example. With seven staff members. Joyce worked two or ©www. Joyce feels grateful to have been in a financial position to pursue her goal.” says Joyce.” There were a few more financial problems on the way. We also had to learn how to go about doing it. “That was the first time we ever said we cannot do this service if you don’t pay us.000 deficit. Currently the organization is creating an accessibility guide to area cultural institutions for people with disabilities. ARTREACH helps make the arts more accessible to disadvantaged populations. Lissa recalls. the organization worked with community agencies to provide access to free or discounted performances. “We should have planned for that. she says. Then. Lissa counts herself lucky to have had some savings to support her since in the beginning. Originally. saying that we could put on a gala for which people would buy tickets. Although they never thought about quitting. During the year and a half it took for her organization to get its first grant. the program expanded to bring the arts to the people. ARTREACH may coordinate productions to come to people in nursing homes. we serve both the arts and the social service communities.com Finding Your Calling© Neither Lissa nor Ralph were in this for the money.” They asked board members to write checks to cover some of the costs until the organization could pay them back. “to start a nonprofit for anyone who doesn’t have their own source of income. a group of 24 similar volunteer organizations.000 and did it. Lissa admits that they didn’t know how to take care of the books. enabling it to provide assistance to emerging organizations who want to spread this model of service. Philadelphia Cares was asked to organize service projects for Martin Luther King Day. You have to be able to network with the constituencies that you want to serve.
and credibility (often proof of the viability of your nonprofit’s programs).com 2002 Page 79 .org ©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. estimate expenses. Three good sites to start with are: www. though. To start a nonprofit. Joyce has added more staff and enlarged and changed the mission to include coordinating on-site productions and workshops. Expanding the public’s awareness was very difficult. create events to raise money. It was also difficult to get publicity in the press.nonprofits. a vision and some form of financial support. takes four things: time.org www. Having seen many other organizations rise and fall. “It took time to get people to join the board. You will need to map out the programs or services you are providing. and eventually moved to full time.org http://not-for-profit. During the 13 years ARTREACH has grown. It took at least six months to see the organization begin to take shape. Are you still ready to create your own nonprofit? If so. effort. there were some major obstacles. Joyce is still very much aware of the pitfalls in establishing a nonprofit organization.ChangingCourse. serve on your board.fdncenter. or otherwise generate money-raising activities? If your answers to these questions were a resounding “yes.ChangingCourse.” Today ARTREACH is a highly successful organization. energy. Do you like fund raising? Are you willing to ask people for money.com Finding Your Calling© three days a week. she says. here are some more points to consider: Are you motivated to really see this through? Do you have the time and commitment to firmly establish your nonprofit? This process could take years. and develop a strategy to bring in money. 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. 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. especially fund raising and public relations.” then what are you waiting for? You’ll find lots of great advice on starting a nonprofit on the Web. But in the beginning.
This single step led to another and another. Like Rome.com 2002 Page 80 . With determination and action. see if your local colleges and universities have a nonprofit management center or know of additional resources in your area.com Finding Your Calling© Or.ChangingCourse. you too can turn your vision into your vocation.ChangingCourse. They began with a simple idea followed by a single step. these worthy organizations weren’t built in a day. What’s your next step? ©www.
And then four of us split off from him and started Group Laboratories.M. teaching their psychiatrists and psychologists. I was what you might call highly unemployable. and I was naive enough to hope for one that wouldn’t starve my soul. By 5:00 P.com Finding Your Calling© Creative Hookey: Or Five Ways to Learn and Earn By Staying Out of School Barbara Sher Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want 1. and I talked my way into it – probably because they needed manpower as badly as I needed the job. and jumped in. The job was a counselor in a drug program. I started group therapy. You find me an ad that says.A. one thing led to another. ©www.” I noticed that it didn’t say “Required.ChangingCourse. squeezed my eyes shut. Nerve Otherwise known as talking your way through a door with nothing going for you but talent. there’s nothing lost – and often much to gain – by walking into wherever you want to be and presenting yourself. but I was in my element. It happened because I found the right swimming pool. Within a year I became an assistant-trainee of the head therapist. I had a B. If you know what you’d be good at. When I came to New York. I walked in there at nine in the morning with my knees shaking. I had the intuitive feeling that I would probably be good at working with people. While I was still working at that job. So I screwed up my small supply of courage and answered one of those ads that said “Experience preferred.com 2002 Page 81 . in anthropology.” and anyway I figured that the experience of walking around on earth for thirty years ought to count for something. in anthropology. But I had to find a job that would feed my kids. “Wanted: B. I knew I hadn’t been wrong. Over the next eleven years I made a tidy living doing group and individual counseling. From there. None of this happened because I had a piece of paper. and I got invited to speak and give creativity workshops all over the country. and desperation.” I’d like to see it. I might be green. This is the way my own career got started. Now there is nothing on earth more useless for getting a job than anthropology. I was a consultant at three medical schools.ChangingCourse. cheek.A.
But that special quality of vision wasn’t going to get her into graduate school.com Finding Your Calling© 2. she couldn’t afford to quit her job and study full-time. her contacts and reputation were so widespread that she was offered a job in the first corporation she walked into. or family farm. She loved to walk around and savor the flavors of the different neighborhoods. volunteering has gotten something of a bad name. a political campaign office. 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. all she had going for her was a passionate love for New York City. in city planning and a high-paying job with a major corporation. today Diane has an M. Even night-school classes were beyond her pocketbook. contacts.A. It’s supposed to be amateurish. dilettantish. You don’t have to pay them a cent for your training. And by the time she finished her Master’s. and they all wrote her recommendations. New York City happened to be going broke just then. She works for the relocation office. 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. How did she do it? In a brainstorming session. Diane was now not only studying and teaching city planning – she was already doing it every week on those local committees. the sort of half-committed play-at-work that society matrons do on alternate Tuesdays. in nothing special. a school. and references that will be useful if and when you do decide to make that commitment. ©www. introducing recently transferred executives and their families to the resources and delights of their new home. By the time she felt ready to apply for school. Her secret dream was to be a city planner. not hiring them. a hospital. You don’t need credentials or prior experience.ChangingCourse.A. That’s a pretty staggering list of obstacles. For the clincher. and for free: take part in the local planning-board meetings. Diane came up with something she could do right away. Nonetheless. Diane was a 24-year-old secretary with a B. But what’s best is that volunteering gets you started doing what you love right away. she was hired into a teaching assistantship that paid her way. I want to set the record straight right now. she knew most of the people who really make things happen in the city. even if it’s only once a week. And it equips you with experience. Three years ago.com 2002 Page 82 . a museum. and the city planning department was firing people. and she wished everyone could see and appreciate the city the way she did. where money is the measure of seriousness. a neighborhood newspaper. She was totally unqualified. and in any case. She was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Hunter College! After one semester. Volunteering In a world of professionalism. 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.ChangingCourse.
I just want to be near your mind. started a seaside nature museum for kids and got a grant from his city.ChangingCourse. Most highly accomplished people want to share what they know with other great minds. My feeling is that there’s hardly a person on this planet you couldn’t walk up to and say. I’ll carry your gear. Whether what you want to be is rich and nationally known or just to hold weekly discussion groups in your living room. I won’t cause you any trouble.” 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. or editing service. and I’d really like to learn from you. helping. walking tour. or program design. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. draw up a plan for a mime class. and put your ad in your local paper. who pioneered the soap opera form. got her start sharpening pencils for Irma Phillips. Start From Scratch: The Independent Alternative Another way to start out on your path without a degree is to simply sit down. “I’ve followed your work for a long time. doctors. a marine biology freak who didn’t want to go to grad school. There are formal programs that have been set up to connect willing “masters” with would-be apprentices. I’ll clean your workshop. A young potter named Juan Hamilton became the assistant and close companion of the great painter Georgia O’Keefe. love – and a carefully worked-out idea. Agnes Nixon.com Finding Your Calling© 3. It’s how I learned to be a therapist. A therapist I know designed a series of seminars called “Who Takes Care of the Caretakers?” for therapists. ©www. Seriousness of interest and a willingness to help out are the only real qualifications. asking. That’s the wonderful thing about doing what you love: you can do it wherever you are. lawyers. But you don’t need a formal program to put you in touch with someone whose work you love.ChangingCourse. The most ancient and natural way to acquire skills and knowledge is by hanging out with someone who’s got them – watching. counselors – and mothers! Jake. Before schools were invented. I’ll empty your wastebaskets. You don’t even have to go in cold with a letter that may or may not be answered. and great painters all learned their trades this way. Psychoanalysts and carpenters still do. remember that the key to survival and success for any independent program is an angle. She was a lady who wanted to be thin. because your resources are really inside yourself. How do you think Weight Watchers got started? Jean Nidetch wasn’t a doctor or a nutritionist. That’s what Jean Nidetch did. political seminar. What you’ve got to do is find and fill a specific need that nobody else has thought of filling. All you need is talent. There’s an element of apprenticeship in any good education – but in many fields you can set up an apprenticeship for yourself.com 2002 Page 83 . 4. art-therapy group. personal experience. She designed a package for other people like herself and turned it into a multimilliondollar business.
ingenious routes to your goal you can dream up if you take conventional “wisdom” as a challenge instead of a finality. Writing. A housewife interested in nutrition developed a newsletter for the food industry on federal labeling regulations. you can get up to your ears in any field without a degree. The Generalist/Popularizer I wish I could think of a better name for this one – maybe “the go-between.com Finding Your Calling© 5. 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.com 2002 Page 84 . editing. They’re specialists in physics or nutrition or international law. 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. Those are just a few examples of the kind of direct.D. ©www.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. interviewing. If you can write. Many professional people can use help communicating their ideas to the public.” 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. or even just organize ideas. not in the graceful use of the English language.
There are many job options for a person interested in fitness: nutritionist. Ten Speed Press. wellness teacher. pilot. Their circulation is national and it makes enough money to support their lifestyle. etc.com Finding Your Calling© No McJobs Patrick Combs Reprinted with permission from Major in Success: Make College Easier. Copyright © 1994. read the following stories about people whose true interests were as “impractical” as road-tripping. ©www.ChangingCourse. which they publish from their RV. etc.com 2002 Page 85 . professional bodybuilder. rocket scientist. 2000 by Patrick Combs. Michael Lane loved most of all to go on road trips so he and friend James Crotty launched a magazine called Monk. Berkeley. overseeing special events. and Get a Very Cool Job by Patrick Combs. Lisa Miller played volleyball for four years during college. If you think that your interests just aren’t practical enough. etc. CA. The content of the magazine is basically their travelogue. 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. He was also able to apply his interests to a previous job as a science fiction illustrator for magazines and books.com. There are many job options for a person with an interest in science fiction and rockets: science fiction writer. by calling 800-841-2665. reading science fiction. so she took that interest and established herself as fitness director of a large fitness center. sales representative. landscape photographer. There are many job options for a person interested in traveling: travel writer. Fire Up Your Dreams.tenspeed. and playing video games. exercising. Available from your local bookseller. or by visiting www. personal trainer. 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. entertaining. computer graphics designer. and managing daily operations. 1998. She loved to exercise and stay healthy. Now he’s traveling to Europe three to four times each year to find new products. experiential education trainer.ChangingCourse.
you can easily look up the job title and company address on your own. 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. professional associations. TV. edited by Kathleen M. virtual reality ride designer. shows. magazines. newsletters. Gene’s interests led him to jobs as a caterer. consulting. corporate chef. I love this book! (Another book that is quite ©www.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 86 . restaurant consultant. and even annual conventions. There are many job options for a person interested in video games: game tester.) 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. handbooks. arcade owner. newsletters. educational programs. 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. and food editor at HG magazine.com Finding Your Calling© There are many job options for a person interested in cooking. For each profession it lists multiple career guidebooks. books. food stylist. speaking. but once you know the kind of work that is possible. 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. game designer. Chris Lindquist loved to play video games and after college he got a job as a game reviewer for Electronic Entertainment magazine. etc. game programmer. Savage and Annette Novallo and learn about the 118 professions. professional meetings. test guides.ChangingCourse. lectures. Or you can go straight to an INCREDIBLE book: Professional Careers Sourcebook: Where to Find Help Planning Careers That Require College or Technical Degrees. or computer bulletin boards. It gives you a picture of the jobs that are possible for you. Here’s how it works. It may not give you the job specifics.
Hawes. parallel parking. Fill in the blanks of the following sentence: A great job would be (verb) in the (your interest) field. 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. and typing.) Need some more ideas? Try the SUPER-SIMPLE. Enjoy Yourself as Much as Possible A lot of people might suggest that you choose a career based on your strongest talents. and feel like a failure? Somehow. safe job because they don’t want you to fail. I caution you about choosing a career by asking the question “What am I best at?” You may happen to be good at something you don’t necessarily enjoy. association phone numbers. For example. You might be surprised at the unique and weird job ideas it jogs in your mind. I’m really good at running. 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. a valet parking attendant. Which one do you think is most likely to succeed? And which one do you think is most likely to stagnate.ChangingCourse. or an administrative assistant. and skill requirements for over 200 careers. People will also encourage you to choose a boring. ordinary.com Finding Your Calling© good is The Encyclopedia of Second Careers by Gene R. Start from what activities you’d enjoy doing regularly and go get the skills required. I have no dreams about any of those careers. But I wouldn’t enjoy being a marathon runner. one from obligation and one from enthusiasm. college makes it seem like you should only aim for a career that fits into ©www. salaries. Picture this: Two people working side by side.com 2002 Page 87 . UNIQUE & WEIRD JOB IDEA JOGGER! It couldn’t be simpler. It contains career descriptions. get passed over for promotions. But remember this: Failure is a lot more likely when you’re trying for a career that you don’t enjoy. 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. dislike the job.ChangingCourse.
so that you learn and do anything you like. “What can I say? It’s been a wonderful life. It isn’t necessarily for getting a high paying career. But beyond not being able to make a living. Just in case you can’t think of many fun jobs. money has very little to do with happiness. check out the list of over 50+ unusual jobs that I’ve included in my book. Many people.com 2002 Page 88 . What is her reward since it’s not monetary? “In this job. As a guideline. SATISFACTION. That’s fine if at heart you are a serious and practical person. you are very serious about having fun. no day is the same as any other. don’t let college erase your memory of all the jobs that fall into the category of Very Seriously Fun Work. 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 let money be your first consideration—or your last.ChangingCourse. a field director for a nonprofit agency that helps destitute children. but it also lists a professional association that can give you information on how to get started. including myself have found that the amount of ENJOYMENT. And also remember that college isn’t necessarily for getting an intellectual career.com Finding Your Calling© the category of Very Serious & Practical Work. ©www.ChangingCourse. life starts to get really great. Not only does it expand your awareness of the kind of jobs that exist out there. College is for developing your talents to learn and do. and OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN that the job gives you are the best ways to determine which job will truly make you the happiest. But if deep down inside. money doesn’t have to be your criteria for whether or not a job is good.” she says. When you start to focus in on what you like." Remember. Joy took a low paying job with the agency and has enjoyed her work so much that she’s passed up opportunities to move up in her organization where she would get paid more. Consider the true-life story of Joy Greenidge. don’t feel you have to choose a career that offers an impressive salary. A lot of people turn their back on the career of their dreams because they think that a low salary will make them unhappy.
The essence of something is simply the feeling it produces and the function it performs. Long before I knew precisely what products and services I wanted to market. ©www. Once there. a favorite city. Being in an artistic atmosphere seemed to awaken her spirit. It puts me in touch with a small group of people whom I serve on a regular basis. we decided to visit the Courtauld Gallery together. With no formal training in art history or the like. At the same time.” she’d declare. Knowing that.breakfast hotel in London where we were both staying. an abundance of possible avenues of action became available.com Finding Your Calling© Focus on Essence Barbara Winter Reprinted with permission from Making a Living Without a Job: Winning Ways for Creating Work That You Love Another block to uncovering our passion is trying to find the specific form our work will take before we’ve identified the essence of that work. Provo didn’t seem to be brimming with the sort of work she craved.com 2002 Page 89 . it didn’t “feel” right as a home. her opportunities seemed limited. That could be something like. Ruth returned to Provo. “I am tired of working around blood and burning flesh.” When you know the essence of what you want. 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. For a while. Utah. As much as she liked being there. but her initial explorations were not encouraging.” We continued to brainstorm possibilities. and we had many discussions about her work. you realize it can come in many ways – opening your options and alternatives. We kept focused on the essence of what she longed for: to share her love of art with others. Since we had met at a bed-and.ChangingCourse. the transformation in my new friend was visible. “I’d be so much happier if I could do something with art. “My work feels natural and easy. while others were immediately eliminated. It was apparent that she saw and felt a great deal more than the average museumgoer.ChangingCourse. Think of the essence of your work as the emotional and psychic rewards it will produce. she planned to move from Utah to New York. I determined that my business would motivate others to actualize their potential while making me feel satisfied and causing me to keep improving myself. Several trips there proved disappointing.
One day she mentioned a small company in her area that made custom picture frames. By identifying the essence of what she wanted. she quit her nursing job and spent a couple of months working on her serenity. Although she now has a long commute. We agreed that somehow she needed to let them know that she wanted to be involved with their work. Her passion had been apparent! Their first shop has opened and Ruth is happily involved in several capacities.ChangingCourse.com Finding Your Calling© Eventually. She gathered her ideas and courage and called on them once more. around the country. etc. it’s the beginning.” one of the partners confessed. which were sold to art collectors. ©www. Or exhibit at trade shows. What is the essence of your ideal work? What specific feelings will it produce? What intangible rewards and satisfactions? Write a two-or three-sentence description. She left the frame shop wondering how she could be of value to them.. 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. And it started in Provo. she reports arriving home with plenty of energy – and enthusiasm for returning the next day. 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.com 2002 Page 90 . Ruth accomplished the seemingly impossible! This isn’t the end of her goal. “We’ve already talked about hiring you. starting with Salt Lake. galleries. They employed a number of artisans who produced the frames. We brainstormed more ideas.ChangingCourse. She has ideas galore and sees this as her apprenticeship. To her amazement.
Take a moment to do this exercise. Most genius is multifaceted. 3) A linguist and world traveler. you’re going to long for all the rest of them. I just picked five because it’s a nice round number. she’d live in New York City. what would you do with each one? I don’t mean if you were five different people. take three. Amanda. 4) A naturalist or marine biologist. said she’d only need two lives. gardening and “putting up.com 2002 Page 91 . and explore a different talent. “whichever life I was in. my editor. I’d still be Judy Garland − no. riding. I’d be exactly what I am.” even if it’s the one you love the best. go to museums. To ask him to choose between Bach and relativity would have been like asking.) In the other life. In one of my lives. In each of your “lives” is something you love very. If you need ten. help yourself.com Finding Your Calling© Five Lives – And How to Live Them All Barbara Sher Adapted from Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want Think about it: if you had five lives. I’d miss the other one!” That’s just it. 5) A wife/mother/farmer. study ballet – and be an editor. 2) A professional musician. and theater and give wonderful parties.” Amanda said. Because they are all vital parts of you. wanted four lives: 1) Head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The only trouble is. My writer friend Julia says that she would be: 1) A writer. (As a little girl she wanted to be a racehorse trainer. and I promise you that when I’m 80 I still won’t have decided. very dearly and need to get into your own life – and you can. In one. I have not decided yet what I am going to be when I grow up. but they’re the rare exceptions.ChangingCourse. Even Einstein loved music as much as he loved physics. What I plan to do is as many things as I can. If you could manage nicely with three lives. ©www. 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. Gene. In one I’d be a nineteenth-century botanist and spend all of my time painting flowers. I’d be a hermit and live alone on an island and write. I mean if you could be you five times over. In another I’d be a theoretical physicist. or lifestyle to the fullest each time. In my fourth. she’d spend a lot of her time outdoors. It’s a flexible exercise − so tailor it to you.ChangingCourse. concerts. If you have to choose just one of your “lives. something a little less intense and tragic: a musical-comedy star! In my fifth. a 47-year-old mortgage banker in a real estate firm. 4) A radio announcer for major league baseball. “Would you rather we cut off your right hand or your left?” And it’s the same with you. biking. 2) A fishing guide. 3) A novelist.” surrounded by animals of all kinds. interest.
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What I plan to get is whatever I can get my hands on. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one answer to the question, “What do you want?” and that is, “Everything!” In Mexico they have a wonderful saying: “La vida es corta, pero ancha.” Life is short, but it is wide. I’m not even so sure about the “short” part; have you really grasped the fact that you’ll probably have twenty or thirty or forty more years to fill? In any case, there’s a lot more room in your life than you think – room for everything in your “five lives” and then some. Finding that room is simply a matter of making effective use of time, and that means planning. Once you know how to use your days and weeks as the stepping-stones to a goal, you will realize that time doesn’t have to be a boat that you’re adrift in, or a treadmill you’re running on. It’s a raw material you can use the way a sculptor uses clay, and out of it you can shape not just one goal, but many. So the first target you choose for yourself is just that: the first. As your total life design unfolds, it will include many goals of different kinds, sizes and shapes – from building your own dream house to block printing this year’s holiday cards. Anything you want can come true if you cast it in the form of a concrete goal. And since the ultimate goal is a wonderful life, one that includes some of everything you love, I’d like you to try your hand at designing a life plan – a larger pattern of multiple goals that works in everything in your five (or three, or ten) “lives.” Before I show you some of the ways you can fit many goals into one life plan, I want to remind you that you’re not signing any contracts in blood. As you move through your life, your perspective and priorities will change; new interests will appear on your horizon, and some of the old ones may fade. Your life plan five or ten years from now may not bear much resemblance to the one you draw up today. But it’s always a good idea to have one. It’s a way of reminding yourself that the time ahead of you is yours to create in your own image, however that image may change.
Sequential Goals: Switching Horses in Midstream
The most obvious way to fit more than one major interest into your life is to concentrate on one at a time and do them one after the other. People who change careers in mid-life – say, giving up an executive job to open a bookstore in Vermont – are following this kind of life plan. We are surprised and impressed when someone does that only because we’ve bought the fool notion that it is “normal” for people to make up their minds once and for a lifetime. There are many people for whom switching horses midstream comes much more naturally. Like me: my lifestyle is to change goals every five or ten years. I can’t think of a better way to live than to do something till I’m satisfied or bored with it and then do something else. Sequential planning is a good way for a woman or a man to combine intense involvements with family and career, or for a couple to alternate breadwinning and nurturing responsibilities and periods of study or creative work. A woman might decide to have her children early, and go back to work or school when they have reached school age. Or, she might decide to achieve a certain level in her career
Finding Your Calling©
before having her first child in her 30s. Travel is another goal it often makes sense to plan for after a professional or financial goal has been met. Julia’s life plan for the next ten years includes all three: to write a book of her own, travel for a year or two and learn languages (one of her five lives was “linguist and world traveler”), then settle in the country and have a child (“wife/mother/farmer”). The advantage of sequential goals is knowing the next juicy one is there, and waiting spurs you on to meet the target dates for your first goal. The pitfall of this kind of planning is that it can be used to postpone the goal you want – and fear – the most. And if you use it that way, it won’t work, because you can put that goal off indefinitely. So it’s a good rule of thumb to rank your Five Lives in order of importance to you – and then go for the most important one first, even if it’s not the one you’re living now.
Simultaneous Goals: Moonlighting
But what if two or more of your “lives” are equally important to you? Suppose you’re a happily split personality like Amanda, who is half Kentucky bluegrass racehorse breeder and half cosmopolitan New York editor? Then you go for both at once! You become an editor moonlighting as a racehorse breeder, and vice versa. Amanda has pictures of thoroughbreds all over her office bulletin board, including one of her “godchild” – a young filly owned by friends. She spends vacations and frequent weekends at the races in Saratoga or at Belmont. Like Clark Kent shucking his business suit for Superman leotards, she can switch from stockings and earrings to jeans and boots and back again with equal agility. The only way she feels she could improve on her double life is “more of both” – permanent dwellings in both city and country and an even deeper involvement in both her worlds. My guess is that simultaneous goals work best when the two (or more) “lives” you’re living are very different – because then each provides a refreshing change from the other. The “moonlighting” plan can also be a way of resolving the conflict between two touchstones that are notoriously hard to get together: financial security and creative satisfaction. In New York City there’s a group of excellent jazz goals musicians who play club dates on weekends and some evenings. On weekdays, they are Wall Street stockbrokers!
Alternating Goals: Patchwork Quilt
A variation on the “simultaneous” plan is to arrange your life so that you can devote alternating blocks of time to the pursuit of different goals. This comes very naturally to teachers, who have long summer vacations for traveling or mountain-climbing or creative projects or leading student tours; university types even get a whole sabbatical year off for research or writing. But you don’t have to be an academic to plan your life in this pleasant patchwork fashion. Margaret, a nurse-midwife, works and saves money for two years at a stretch and then spends six months traveling through Europe or Asia. And Gene, the mortgage banker whose four lives included
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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.
Another way to have all of your “lives” in one is to combine two or three interests. Julia, who would have given one of her lives to marine biology, writes about whales; Gene plans to devote his next sabbatical to writing about baseball; and Margaret could combine her profession with her love for travel by offering her much needed nursing skills in different parts of the world. Multimedia goals can make you extra happy, because several of your talents are active at once, and no really important part of you has to wait on the sidelines. I’ll go further, and say that if you want to get the maximum joy and energy out of your life, nothing you love should ever be left sitting on the shelf. Everything you put down in your imaginary “lives” should be actively present in your life at all times, because you put it on that list for a reason. A talent or interest is a living part of you – like a hand or an ear or an eye. It needs to be used, it needs to be fed, or it will atrophy – and you will be less than you’re meant to be.
Main Dishes and Side Dishes
The answer to the dilemma of finding the time and energy to keep five or six interests going at once is: whichever interests are not included in your current main goal (or goals), make them “side dishes” – things you do every now and then just for pleasure. “Side dishes” are delicious in their own right. They can also be the seeds of future goals, a way to keep something gently simmering on the back burner until you can move it up front. There’s always room for them in your life, because they can be things you do once a week, once a month, once a year, or even just once. It might be a weekly dance class, the history books you read in the evenings, a picture of a horse on your bulletin board, or even just the promise of a month on the beach compressed into one beautiful shell on your desk. It’s a living reminder that life is not a miser, and you have the right to everything you love.
” The “artist-type.com Finding Your Calling© Special Bonus: Three More Secrets to Finding Your True Calling Well here it is. perhaps that kid was you! If so. I've created a short exercise at the end to help you zero in on the “real” you. what a great book! You don’t have to be artistic – or for that matter. I finally sat down to give it a read and WOW. Innovators. I think we can all see ourselves in one or more of her profiles.the Special Bonus I promised. 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. See if you can recognize yourself in these profiles. The part that I found particularly interesting was where Lloyd describes 10 types of people.com 2002 Page 95 . We all know that there are different kinds of people. It's just that simple. No investment – no return. and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life for years. You may see some of yourself in each category.” Even though Lloyd is describing different types of creative people.” the “accountant-type. and moving others towards a common ©www. then you know that nothing makes a Leader happier than persuading. Collaborative types include: The Leader: Leaders usually emerge quite young. even remotely creative – to benefit from the book.. the same rules apply! 1) You have to set aside concerns about money for now and 2) You absolutely HAVE to do the exercises.ChangingCourse.. energizing. But we also tend to lump people who are in a certain field into one general “type.” the “techie-type. 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. Keep in mind that just because this is the special free bonus section. 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. All that means is you enjoy connecting with other people some of the time but can just as easily work solo as well. Do you remember the kid who was always organizing group activities and then directing others? Or.ChangingCourse.
producing. You may have a talent and affinity for teaching. Leaders also tend to be good public speakers and are good at inspiring others to act. For the Inventor it is not enough to come up with the “eureka” ideas. or designing. The reason the Interpreter likes the final polishing. spiritual. You might also find this type of person taking written words and interpreting them into a visual medium like film or dance. Consulting. The Healer: Healers are motivated by their desire to console. directing. friends how to do the macarena. The tools of the Realizer are brainstorming. Highly intuitive. “If you find yourself volunteering to teach nieces how to drive. academics. and strengthening part is because they love making things better. The joy comes from the act of transmitting. and/or cure. coordinating volunteers. nutritional. Healers also tend to be being socially conscious. hair styles. etc. networking. community arts. or emotional levels. the Inventor loves to create new things. advertising.com Finding Your Calling© goal. The Inventor: Just as it sounds. Other fields interpreters may be drawn to include consulting. marketing. fundraising. Don't think just “school teacher” here. ability. editing. words. spiritual. and curriculum design are all examples of ideal jobs for generators. bereavement.) alternative medicine. says Lloyd. In contrast. they are attracted to any job that requires coming up with new ideas or solutions. toys. ©www. They like nothing better than a good brainstorming session and are easily bored in jobs that requiring repetition. and motivating. Some of the careers Healers may feel led to include counseling (career. cinematography. They might also invent new types of services. or a whole range of services designed to help people on physical. they love seeing their idea come to fruition. or information with others.ChangingCourse. Occupationally speaking there are many ways to satisfy the need to “make things happen” such as event planning. The Teacher: What gives Teachers the most satisfaction is sharing knowledge. Individual types include: The Generator: The Generator comes alive in the idea phase but is less interested in implementation. and many more. Lloyd says Inventors don’t just create gadgets.com 2002 Page 96 . 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. [or] bosses how to use their stilluntouched computers. union organizer.ChangingCourse. Although Generators often prefer to do their own thing work-wise. clarifying. nurture. the Interpreter thrives on jumping in to handle the final stages of a creative endeavor or project.
the Mystic might be drawn to such pursuits as writing poetry. 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. Borrowing from a famous leader of people. musical instruments – anything new or different. Dr.ChangingCourse. Don't worry. they prefer to create such things as moments. dance forms.com 2002 Page 97 . the exercise involves creating your own “I Have Dream” speech. Once you've done that.” say McMakin and Dyer. This could be making anything from making a mint cheesecake. painting a picture. and ambiance. Thinkers get their satisfaction from measuring. A 10 means That’s Me and a 1 means Nothing Like Me. So now I want you to rank order the extent to which you connect with each type on a scale of 1 to 10. 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. Martin Luther King. rituals. making music. putting into writing what you are “for” can be a powerful and potentially revealing exercise.com Finding Your Calling© scientific advances. analyzing. Instead of creating physical things. or even ideas. The Thinker: Thinkers like thinking just for the sake of it. political analyst. to creating computer generated cartoons. if not more than. or museum worker. ©www. 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. As you were reading through the profiles you no doubt identified with some more than others. archivist. In other words. You don’t have to actually deliver the speech. communicating or realizing it. Creating a finished product is what makes the Maker most happy. or leading small workshops. journalist. they value the idea itself as much as. Examples of “thinker-friendly jobs include librarian. Mystics are dreamers who are prone to contemplation. moods. theorizing. For this reason. Instead. The Mystic: Mystics are highly tuned into their senses including feelings. The Maker: The Maker loves to build or create things.ChangingCourse. mathematician. computer programmer. composing music. building stone fences or a piece of fine furniture. and/or interpreting. they tend to shun working in large organizations. political systems. scholar. researcher. But in a culture where so much emphasis is put on what one is “against. doing freelance technical writing.
How might your passion for nurturing. Once you’ve determined what you one day dream of seeing. What was it about the program that kept you interested? Was it. 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.org). Think of the last movie or television show that really held your interest. animal tamper-proof composter for campers. say you dream of a world where people are stewards of the earth and its resources. It might be interesting to come up with ideas that match the “type” you selected in the previous exercise. In his book Career Map: Deciding What You Want. your assignment is to brainstorm a list of things you could do to build on that vision.tdi-dog. For many years Neil Yeager ran the Adult Career Transitions Program at my alma mater. You can learn more about the fascinating field of pet therapy through such organizations as Therapy Dog's International (www. the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. In other words. Then ask yourself which of these you might use in the service of that dream.com Finding Your Calling© The speech doesn’t have to be long – a short description of the better world you would like to see is fine.narha. passions.com 2002 Page 98 . Think about some of the interests. or as close as the family. or consoling be used to serve your dream? For example.ChangingCourse.. and added both some examples and follow up questions to jump start your thinking. The “world” can as large as the globe or the nation.ChangingCourse. curing. tweaked them a bit. It could be something as simple as a small.org). portable. Secret 3: Know What You Like Sometimes just asking the right questions is all it takes to tap into a calling. For each question try to come up with at least two responses: 1. the Delta Society (www.org).. I've pulled three that I thought were most intriguing. or North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (www. The acting? The action? The dialogue? The humor? ©www. What might the Inventor in you create to contribute to a better world? It doesn't have to change the course of history. Or say you identified with the Healer.deltasociety. Getting It and Keeping It! are a series of questions designed to help you find your passion from different angles. and unique gifts you identified in Finding Your True Calling. as local as a community or neighborhood.
values.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 99 ..? Finding Your Calling© ©www.. or moral? The costumes? The set? The location or scenery? The silliness? The relationships? The happy ending? The cliff hanger? The lighting or mood? The cinematography? The sensuality? The pace? The stars themselves? The outcome? Some combination of the above? Something altogether different.com The suspense? The animation? The creativity? The challenge? The realism? The unrealism? The heroism? The emotions? The message.ChangingCourse.
thomasleonard.html?Welcome=1027692136) Going on an archeological dig (www. Like.tradeschool.org/menug. and b) Keep in mind that while education can include college or an advanced degree.com/) ©www.igga.com/) Interning at an aquarium or zoo (www.agorainc. did you like? Why do you think that was? What do you think that says about you? How can this information connect to a potential calling? If you could choose a different educational path or area of study.com/changingcourse) or travel writer (www. there are lots of other other ways to learn. etc.html) Going to school to become a massage therapist or acupuncturist (www.com/coachville/default.html) Going to culinary school (www.org/webinfo.com/university.saci-florence.edu/InfoToGo/357.charternet.culinaryschools.lasso?id=532204) Training to become a sign language interpreter (clerccenter.org/JobListings/index. outcome. what might it be? Two things before you answer: a) Don't forget the “no thinking about money” rule.archaeological.holisticmed.htm) Studying with an herbalist (www.thewriterslife.com/reports/twcr/changingcourse) Going to sailing school (www.php?page=10015) Becoming certified as a success or business coach (www.naturalhealers.aza.com/www/dir_herb.cfm?page=detail&id=2027) Studying art in Italy (www. or to master skills.com Finding Your Calling© What about the animation.gallaudet. to acquire knowledge.org) Learning how to become a professional copywriter (www.htm) Apprenticing with a glass blower (www.com/schools/index.html) so you can work on a yacht Taking a course in genealogy so you can learn how to trace your own or other people's family tree (www.genealogy..ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 100 .org/uti/index. Going to motorcycle or NASCAR mechanics school (www..ChangingCourse.
A True Calling is something that is well worth the wait. If you’re feeling excited. There are a number of excellent resources designed to help you along this next phase of your journey.com 2002 Page 101 .adventuretravelbusiness. Sometimes letting your answers just ©www. and I mean really DID all of the exercises.” 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.taunton. 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. factoring in the financial pieces. If you did all of the exercises.com Finding Your Calling© Learning fine wood working or a related craft (www. What section(s) or column(s) would you choose? Sports? Science? Health? Fitness? Comics? Lifestyle? Features? Seniors? International? Food? Arts? Theatre? Books? Film? Youth? Real estate? History? Politics? Fashion? Education? Community events? Technology? The advice column? Business? Obituaries? Advertising? Now return to your answers and circle the three you find most compelling.ChangingCourse. Give it time. you may want to take a look at the other great resources from and about Changing Course.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_schools.ChangingCourse. but also a little overwhelmed.asp) Find out how to start an adventure travel company (www. 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. This is the date you are making a commitment to yourself to revisit the work you have done here. don’t worry – the answer will come. Here is what I want you to do.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.com/services2. talking to people already in this field. Get out your calendar and make an appointment with yourself for two weeks from today. You’ll want to begin gathering the necessary information – like reading up on your calling. and so.
“There is more in us than we know. Kurt Hahn.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. the founder of Outward Bound once said.” ©Copyright 2002 ChangingCourse. And that is to share your answers with someone who knows you well. for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less. there is something else I definitely want you to do. Or you might find something you missed altogether. visit us at www. “If we can be made to see it.ChangingCourse. Instead try to find someone who is generally positive and who really cares about your happiness. Regardless of what comes from this revisiting exercise.com 2002 Page 102 . The important thing is to not give up on your dream. perhaps. It is amazing how other people can sometimes see what is right in front of your own face. Sometimes you’ll find that something strikes you differently than it did before. get out your answers and give them another read. ©www.com Finding Your Calling© sit for a while can produce some helpful results.com or call 800-267-6388 (EST). Just make sure you don’t turn to a “play it safe” type.com For more information about personal coaching or to learn more about other great eBooks. On the appointed date.” Adding.
consulting to area gardeners in their homes.ChangingCourse. The Garden Design Primer. For more information or to subscribe to Winning Ways.com. Mike is the author of Identifying Your Mid-Life Passion Paige G Blomgren This article was reprinted with permission from Winning Ways. and lecturing to garden clubs. Barbara teaches Redesigning Your Life. Mike Bellah is the author of Baby Boom Believers and writer of the syndicated column. a class that catalyzes career and life style change to help participants become all they have ever dreamt of being. American Gardener and Garden Showcase.barbarablossom. the newsletter for people who want to turn their passions into profits. For more inspiriting stories about midlife visit www. Mike believes that our midlife are truly are best years.com. visit Barbara online at www. visit www. 200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Perennials. Paige is the author of Profile Of An “Overachiever Quitter” ©www. 200 Tips for Growing Flowers in the Pacific Northwest.com or write to barbarablossom@hevanet. To learn more. and 200 Tips for Growing Beautiful Roses. Horticulture. Barbara is the author of How to Redesign Your Life One Step at a Time Mike Bellah A recognized expert on the baby boom generation.bigstep. In addition to teaching gardening classes and custom gardening workshops. Garden Retreats: Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 103 . She is is a contributing editor for Fine Gardening and also writes for Country Living Gardener.bestyears. Midlife Moments.com Finding Your Calling© About the Authors Barbara Blossom Ashmun Garden designer Barbara Blossom Ashmun is the author of five books.changingcourse. Better Homes and Gardens.com.
She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and is currently working on a collection of personal essays. Patrick Combs Patrick Combs is internationally known as the best-selling author of Major in Success. Patrick is the author of No McJobs Jane Groft Jan Groft lives and writes in Lancaster County.com or visit www. and her nonfiction in various magazines including Entrepreneur and Central PA. younger brother of Tony Roberts who wrote Against the Grain.com 2002 Page 104 . and a television personality for PBS's Career Advantage. an Internet columnist. Chucking It All. including Shell. Penn and Babson. Her fiction has appeared in Habersham Review and VIA. and launching himself as a speaker.ChangingCourse.ChangingCourse. While writing his first book. a fixture on the speaking circuit. Pennsylvania. Over the past decade he has spoken at over 500 businesses and universities. the Consequences of Chucking it All (now out of print).000 in debt in pursuit of his ambitions. and sponsored by a Fortune 100 company to tour the 75 biggest schools in America.thesoularium. To receive more information. Susan is the author of Wellness Begins Within ©www. Jane is the author of Working at a Simpler Life: How One Woman Found the Courage to Follow Her Bliss Susan Holliday The Soularium offers Reflections & Redirections: A Life Strategy Workshop designed to guide and inspire you toward your full potential and possibilities. Motorola.com. Visa.com Finding Your Calling© Frank Burge Frank Burge is a columnist for Electronic Engineering Times and a friend of Chuck Roberts. he went $50. By 28 he was a published author. contact the Soularium at 301-230-2449 or info@thesoularium. Stanford. We are featuring his article.
Nicholas is the author of Seven Keys to Finding Your True Career Path Courtney Rice Courtney Rice is a freelance writer happily living out her dream on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Be sure to check our their website for more information at www.ChangingCourse. He lives in Boston.com.com Finding Your Calling© Nicholas Lore Nicholas Lore is the creator of the Rockport Institute. Rockville. Work Feels Like Play ©www. You may contact the Rockport Institute via mail at 10124 Lakewood Drive. 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.score. He is author of The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success ($14). MD or you can call them at 301340-6600.org. Bill is the author of Taking the Leap Beth Schimel Beth Schimel works for SCORE. For more information or to find a SCORE office near you. visit www.ChangingCourse.rockportinstitute. an international careercounseling network that has coached thousands through a mid-career change or firsttime career decision. Beth is the author of Horse Journal Rounds Up Profits:For This Couple.com 2002 Page 105 .
com. The Garden Lady line can be viewed online at www. CO 80863. Join the lively discussion board and find out about Barbara’s upcoming workshops at www. Since then she has written four books I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was.barbarasher. You can email her at GardinLady@aol.changingcourse. Barbara has generously allowed ChangingCourse. CNN and Good Morning America. For more information or to order her HomeBased Greeting Card Kit ($33. The Donahue Show. How to Create Your Second Life at Any Age. It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now. The Today Show.com or call 719-686-1473. Barbara’s books are also featured in the Live Your Dream Bookstore at www. and Teamworks.com Finding Your Calling© Barbara Sher Barbara Sher is a career counselor and best-selling author. 60 Minutes.changingcourse.htm. Sally is the author of Greeting Cards With Lots of Heart: A New Business and a New Beginning ©www. She has presented her seminars to people across North America and Europe and has appeared on Oprah. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want. Her first book.htm or call 800-267-6388.ChangingCourse. Live the Life You Love in Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons. sold over a million copies.com to reprint adapted versions of the following articles: Having a Life You Love Means Finding Your Gifts Finding Hidden Talents: Who Do You Think You Are? Family Career Clashes: “You Want To Do WHAT?” How to Create the Ideal Job Creative Hookey Five Lives – And How to Live Them All Sally Silagy Sally Silagy is the owner of Gardening Greetings.com. For more information about Barbara’s Dare to Dream 12 audiotape program ($99 US/$107 International) visit www.com/cc_store.85) write to Sally care of Gardening Greetings at 680 Calico Court.com 2002 Page 106 . Woodland Park.com/book_store.gardeninggreetings.ChangingCourse.
Bokeelia. To Here..com/alternatives. For more information. among many others. four years of which was spent “on the road..com). FL.changingcourse. MA 01035.com. 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.95 plus $2. For gardening tips and resources please visit Debbie and see her beautiful gardens at www.” is documented in his book.com or 800-668-0183. James Welch’s complete nine-year odyssey. or at PO Box 657. 33922.com.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.95 shipping and handling). visit www.ChangingCourse. Hadley. Traveling Our Own Roads To Riches ($16.com 2002 Page 107 .com Finding Your Calling© Ryan Speakman This article was adapted with permission from Workers on Wheels newsletter specializing in helping people realize their dream of living and working as full-time Rvers. From There.ChangingCourse. Or you may contact her directly at 413-586-1281. To order write to James Welch at 5428 Phillips Street.lifeonpurpose. James is the author of From There to Here Debbie Windoloski Debbie Windoloski is the owner of Gardenscape a garden design and tutoring business. Debbie is the author of Getting on Track After a 25-Year Detour: Out of the Corporate World and Into the Garden ©www. Debbie@zone5gardening.zone5gardening. To arrange for your own complimentary coaching session contact Brad at brad@lifeonpurpose. Brad says he spends his days doing what he loves – assisting people in living on purpose and training others to do the same as Life On Purpose Coaches.
All his books have been published by John Wiley & Sons. For a seminar schedule or to subscribe call (612) 835-5647 or write to Winning Ways. The Wall Street Journal and other national publications. MN 55439. Neil is a frequently quoted expert. and CareerMap. Money Magazine. Power Interviews.).ChangingCourse. Box 39412. teacher and entrepreneur who conducts seminars throughout the country.ChangingCourse. Power Interviews. was on the 1998 Best Seller List of the Wall Street Journal’s National Business Employment Weekly. She is author of Making a Living Without a Job and publisher of Winning Ways. Minneapolis.O.com 2002 Page 108 . the newsletter for people living and working with passion ($29/1 yr. Neil is the author of Finding the “Right Livelihood” A Lesson in Contrasts ©www. The Career Doctor. P. His book. Fortune Magazine. and his comments have appeared in The New York Times. 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.com Finding Your Calling© Barbara Winter Barbara Winter is a writer.
MIT and Society of Women Engineers. The Dallas Morning News. Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to launch ChangingCourse.impostersyndrome. The Oregonian. Valerie has delivered her Overcoming the Impostor Syndrome (www.com Finding Your Calling© Valerie Young Self-described Dreamer-in-Residence. The Chicago Sun Times. Redbook. An internationally known speaker and workshop leader. 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.com – an online resource for people who want to discover their life mission and live it – and to provide one-on-one consulting to others seeking to “change course. The Entrepreneur’s Business Start-Ups Boston Globe. The Edmondton Sun. Reader’s Digest and Cosmopolitan.ChangingCourse.com 2002 Page 109 .ChangingCourse. USA Today Weekend.com) program to over 20.000 people in such diverse organizations as American Women in Radio and Television.” Her career change tips have been cited in The Wall Street Journal. The Guardian (London).