career

is there one right career for you?

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We have disused the idea of pursuing curiosities. Following one inclination to the next, finding passion after passion. Possibly changing career directions multiple times thoughout life.

But can there be one BEST career for you? 

This is a very hard topic to get into. I am sure the answer is different for everyone. Some may feel very strongly that they have found their one true calling. Where as others may spend their entire life in the search. 

I wouldn't say that we all have one BEST career or calling. But there may be only one BEST one at any given time. 

We all go through phases in life. Psychologists and scientists will tell you that people "reinvent themselves" throughout a life time. Depending on who you ask, the time frame may differ. Once every 5 years, 10 years, 25 years. Either way, we have a tendency to shift our personal focus, just as life shifts our circumstances. 

This is why I think that most of us may not have ONE calling. But rather a RIGHT calling for any given time. Different careers may fit us better at different times in our lives. You may not go back to Med school with a brand new baby. But once you child is older and school, the time may be just right. 

This goes for what we are interested in at a certain time, where we live, who we are with, and the list goes on and on. 

Life is like one giant experiment. Moving from one thing to the next. Testing out what works and what doesn't. Many of us are too scared to make shifts like this. Thinking that we are supposed to pick one thing and stick with it. 

But without trial and error, how can we really know where our strengths lie, and what we actually enjoy? 

There will be times throughout all of our lives when we feel completely and utterly lost. Where deciding what to do next seems like a utter impossibility. So how do we cope with these moments? The moments when we must pick something to do, but have no idea where to start? 

My best piece of advice is to first take a deep breath. We all want all of the answers right now. But what fun would life be if we could see the entire picture now? 

Then, simply find the best possible option at the time. At times that may mean just getting a job purely for income. Or maybe taking a stab at something new that intrigues you. Remind yourself that everything is temporary, and you never know where one job or opportunity may lead. 

Once you find something, do it and do it well. It may not be your calling, but it just may lead you there.

Keep an eye out for other opportunities along the way. It may be a different job, or simply an opportunity to learn something new. 

Continue along this path, working your way from one thing to the next. One day you may just wake up and realize you have stumbled upon something remarkable. That's how it happened for me. 

Recently I was reading The Four Purposes of Life by Dan Millman. He had a beautiful way of describing our quest for our calling: 

"On the quest to find our career and calling, we're like people driving in the dark - we can only see as far as our headlights illuminate. Meanwhile, the better we understand ourselves, the better we steer or course."

Too often we get wrapped up in the stress of needing to know everything right now. Needing to know what major to pick in college, which job opportunity to accept, which city to move to. We think that it would be so much easier if we had the entire road map in front of us, knowing exactly which way to turn next, in order to start heading in the right direction. 

But the reality is that we can only see so far ahead. Just as Millman put it - as far as our headlight illuminate. I could not think of a better way to put it. 

We will only be able to see so far in advance. Even when you think you have it all planned out, often times you hit more than just a few bumps in the road. 

So, we experiment. We try different things. We learn more about ourselves. And with each like and dislike, strength and weakness that we discover, we move that much closer to finding our true passions in life. 

The next time you come upon one of those forks in the road that life loves to throw our way, smile. Take in all the options, and simply choose what you think is best at the time. Each choice will lead you down a different path, and no one knows which is best. So only worry about what is best in the present moment, and know that you have the freedom to shift and change directions whenever you see fit moving forward. 

If you remember only one thing, remember that you are never stuck. You have endless choices ahead of you, and there is no reason you have to pick just one. 

 

 

do you have a job, a career or a calling?

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Many of us grapple with the idea of a calling. Is our job our calling? Is a career a calling? If we have a calling, how do we find it? So where are you right now? 

Recently I have been studying the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky a Professor at the University of California, Riverside. Sonja is an integral part of the positive psychology movement and her work centers around the idea of happiness. 

In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja argues how the pieces of our happiness break down. Form her studies she believes that 50% of our happiness comes from our genetic set point. Another 10% of our happiness comes from our circumstance. And a bold 40% of our happiness comes from intentional activity - what we do and how we think. In other words, we have control over 40% of our overall happiness. 

This idea is the basis for a lot of Sonja's arguments. 

When it comes to our work life, she had some interesting insights on the matter. 

According to Sonja, and I have to say I agree, we tend to categorize our work life into one of 3 categories: a job, a career, or a calling. 

A job is seen as a necessary evil. It is simply a means to an end. A paycheck. It is not necessarily a positive or rewarding experience. Work is hard and unenjoyable, and one works as a means to enjoy the time they have away from their job. 

A career is a step up from a job. It is a job with room for advancement. It may not be a major positive part to someones life, but there is opportunity for growth - making it far less stagnant that a job. When people find themselves in a career, they are more likely to invest time and effort into what they are doing - instead of just going through the motions for a paycheck. 

A calling is the cream of the crop. Those who consider themselves to have found their calling genuinely enjoy their working life and find what they are doing to be fulfilling and useful. People are no longer working because they have to, but because they want to, regardless of financial success. It becomes an integral part of daily life, not a separate necessary component. 

Finding your calling sounds absolutely dreamy. It is truly what we are all reaching for. So why is it that so many people find themselves stuck in bottomless jobs or careers? Driven purely by money, rather than genuine interest or passion? 

Dan Millman's book, The Four Purposes of Life, sheds some additional light on the topic:

"The primary difference between a career and a calling is that we pursue a career primarily for income and a calling primarily for innate satisfaction." 

But there can be overlap. A career can become a calling, and a calling can become a career.

You may begin a career mostly for the money and experience, but find that a deep passion begins to form from what you are doing - making it a calling as well. 

The same goes for the flip side. You may be pursuing a calling, something you are truly passionate about, with no income in sight. You do it purely for the joy of it. But eventually, that passion begins to bring in money one way or another. In turn making said calling into a career. 

Ultimately, we need far more to sustain us, and build greater happiness than just a career with room for advancement. A career can give us a great sense of potential, with its room for growth. But is there any purpose or passion? 

"Pleasure is not enough to sustain most people's interest and commitment for extended periods of time. Value and meaning are vital." - The How of Happiness

I could not agree more with Sonja. If you are looking to find a calling, or even just deeper longterm enjoyment in your every day work, you need to have a deeper level of value and meaning to the work you are doing.

Success, growth, and even enjoyment can sustain us for a period of time. But eventually we grow stagnant. Without something deeper driving us forward, we will fizzle out or cease to find enjoyment from what we are doing. 

So where would you say you find yourself right now? Are you trapped in a job just to get by? A career with the promise for more financial success? Or have you found a genuine calling in your life? 

 

follow your curiosities to your dream life

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Our society is consumed by the constricting construct of the ideal life: get a degree, start a career, make money, and climb the corporate ladder. We are taught from a young age that we pick what we want to be when we grow up, and later on we pursue said career through school and training. 

But how sound is this reason? 

I have been lucky enough to meet people in my life who knew at a young age what they wanted to be when they grew up. They had a burning inclination starting in their youth which gave them a clear, coherent vision for the future. 

These individuals followed this drive into college, got a degree, and started doing that one thing that they had always dreamed of. A doctor, biologist, teacher. 

My husband is one of these lucky few. He discovered in college what his true passion was, and has pursued it with vigor ever since. Now, his path has had twists and turns, and I anticipate many more through life, you can never really know what is coming next. But he knows, without a doubt in his mind that each day he is working towards deeper mastering his true passion for life. For a long time, I envied this. 

But for the majority of us, we are unsettled when it comes to finding our one thing, or our calling as some may say. For most of us, since society says we must, we pursue a college degree that falls into one of two categories: 

1. A degree in something either practical, sensical, or will pay the big bucks
2. Or something that doesn't completely bore us to death. 

I personally chose the later. 

Considering how much a college education costs these days, neither of these reasonings seem to stand on sound grounding. But in the hopes that we may fall into something we enjoy, we press o heroically. 

There is little support or empathy for those who do not yet know what they want to be when they grow up. College is a process of growing and finding ones deeper sense of self - which can at times end in the pursuit of a new passion, or it can leave you more lost then ever, knowing all of the choices you have for the road ahead of you. 

So how do we beat this restricting philosophy that society places on our souls? 

I can not say that I have the answer just yet. But I have some thoughts that may shed some light on the issue, and give some individuals out there some peace, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

For years, I myself spent a great deal of time looking for my one thing. Said one thing, led me down a path of pursing art in college, since nothing else seemed appealing at the time. So, I graduated without any inclination of what I wanted to be when I grew up. 

I so deeply wish now that there had been a class, helping lost souls navigate their way through their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Maybe then I would have landed on solid ground sooner. 

After floating from one thing to the next after leaving college, it took quite some time for me to settle my unease with a simple thought. 

Maybe it was ok if I didn't have one thing. 

Maybe it was ok to live a life in constant pursuit of the things I love; chasing curiosity after curiosity, and simply seeing where I landed each time.

In my recent reading of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, she brought to light some interesting ramblings on the idea of curiosity: 

It's a clue. It might seem like nothing, but it's a clue. Follow that clue. Trust it. See where curiosity will lead you next. Then follow the next clue, and the next clue, and the next. Remember it doesn't have to be a voice in the desert; it's just a harmless little scavenger hunt. Following that scavenger hunt of curiosity can lead you to your passion - albeit through a strange, untraceable passageway of back alleys, underground caves, and secret doors. Or it may lead you nowhere. You might spend your whole life following your curiosity and have nothing to show for it at the end - except one thing. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you passed your entire existence in devotion to the humble human virtue of inquisitiveness. And that should be more than enough for anyone to say that they lived a rich and splendid life. 

This concept of simply following your interests, your gut, your intuition, your curiosities, to some may seem ungrounded. 

But how often do you see individuals living life as they are supposed to; get a degree, get a job, make money, make more money, buy things, and live a simply empty existence, always seeking out the next thing

Our gauge of success has been skewed by commercialism and consumerism. This default mode of living life, pulls at me from somewhere deep. It breaks my heart, my soul, to watch people living their lives this way. Beyond basic needs of providing for our families, having food on the table, and a roof over our heads, why do we trade our daily joy to ride away at a job that brings up little fulfillment, simple to have more stuff, and success

This idea of following curiosities really resonated with how I had begun living my life. After starting and running my own successful graphic design business, something was missing. There was something else I was being pulled to do. Unsure at first, I followed my urges. 

There is nothing that says this way of life will be easy. Like Liz says, you may have nothing physical to show for your efforts in the end. But wouldn't you rather have less things, and instead live a life well lived? Knowing that you followed every inclination that you ever had? 

One of my personal goals, and a goal I hope to accomplish partly through this writing, is just as I say in bio:

One day, when I am at the end of my life, I hope to feel both full and empty at the same time. Full of all the experiences, knowledge, and love that I have acquired throughout my life; but empty, knowing that there is nothing left for me to do. Nothing left undone, undiscovered. 

To accomplish this means breaking through the social constructs that tell us how we must live our lives, and instead beginning to in face live our lives. 

I know money and security are always issues when discussing topics like this. But the reality is that we never have security. Life giveth and taketh away. We can loose our jobs, our homes, our money, at any time. And I truly believe that through pursuing your greatest desires and curiosities, that both money and security will come in time. 

My hope is that one day, societal demands will break down to accommodate this more free-flowing way of living. What a beautiful world it would be if we all sought to follow our greatest curiosities and passions. 

Curiosity may lead you to a great passion. Don't ignore that bring instinct of your intuition. It may just lead you to the life of your dreams. 

do you have a calling?

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This question is one I get often. If you had asked me this just a few years earlier, I would have shrugged my shoulders and brushed off the question. For a long time I think I was searching for just that: a calling. 

A singular thing. That ONE BIG idea that I was put here to complete. A reason to get up in the morning, a purpose that transcends just keeping myself alive day to day. I was constantly search for something, but could never pin point quite what is was. 

Then one day the lights went on. 

It wasn't an exact moment, it developed over time. As if I had just woken up from a long car ride, and had that feeling of "how the heck did we get here?" 

I am still unsure of the idea of a calling. Perhaps because of it's religious context, it feels limiting to everyone at times. But I do believe we have things that we are put here to accomplish. Whether planned in advance, or found along the way. 

We all have a unique personality, strengths and weaknesses. Difference that separate us from anyone else on this planet today, before us, and after we leave this earth. There is only one of you

Because of that, we all have the ability, drive, and passion to do certain things that others may not. 

For me, it started with art. TO be honest, art was the only thing I cared enough about to pay for a college degree in. And at the time, society was telling me that I needed a college degree. 

But after years of missing something, all of a sudden, it just clicked. I felt a drive to change the way we look at life. A desire to help every person I come in contact with live a fuller, freer, more meaningful existence. 

Maybe one day I will have a word for it. That is part of all of this. Understanding how I was on of the lucky few who got to this point. 

But the reality is, we all have those moments. We all have the moments when we have a really good idea, a deep pull to do something. And it is our choice to listen to that deep desire, or let is pass us by. 

I have recently been making my way through Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. A life changing book if you have the time to read it. Here was her view on ideas: 

"I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us - albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven buy a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human's efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual" 

At first read, I thought Liz had lost it. Ideas floating around like butterflies, looking for the perfect victim to land on. Seemed a little too woo-woo crazy, even for me. 

But when I was able to think on the idea further, I began to wonder if this is why I struggle with the idea of a calling. 

A calling insinuates that we have one thing. One specific thing that we were put here to do. But I have a hard time with that. I have always been a flighty creative soul, floating from one project, one idea, to the next. So I have a hard time grasping this concept of a singular calling. 

That is why I was lost for so long. I was looking for only one thing, not realizing that there could be so many things that I could accomplish in a lifetime. 

When putting Liz's idea into perspective in this way, it was enlightening. Throughout out lifetime, we may be taken by several ideas. We may shift what we are doing - even if only slightly, like a ship captain adjusting to unexpected winds. 

We all have those moments of genius. Of clarity. Of an idea that we just know is BIG. But too often we let it go, assuming it is trivial, or impractical. Could we be missing out on our calling at that time? 

We will all have several of these moments throughout our life. So don't feel that it is ever too late to be that which you are meant to become. 

If you missed your first chance, or your second, or your tenth, the good news is that you will have many more chances. If you live to be 80 years old, that is over 29,000 days of living. That is a lot of chances to start over, being something new, pick yourself up after a failure, and to truly live you life to it's absolute fullest. 

We all may have several moments of calling throughout our lives. Our job is to quiet our fear long enough to listen. 

And above all else, JUMP. You only get to live today once. Make it count.