Your Best Career Is Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Is it inauthentic to do the things that you don’t like to do?  Just because a career choice is challenging does that automatically mean you’ve chosen the wrong career?

I’m writing about our comfort zone because many have confused authentic work to mean something that is such a good fit that it comes easily.  But natural and easy are not the same things.  colorful fireworks show silhouettes

This myth of ease has caused more harm than good because it causes many to question themselves.  This self-doubt makes them stop before they can seize their best career.

Some believe that when we have chosen the right career, (when we are living our purpose) doors easily open and everything falls into place.  I know a few who have enjoyed that level of validation.

But what about those who don’t? Does that automatically mean that they haven’t chosen their best career?

Not necessarily. Things don’t necessarily fall into place for us just because we’ve chosen well. An essential part of choosing well is recognizing the opportunity when we miss the mark and adjusting our aim accordingly.

Until we walk down the hallway of action we can’t see which doors will open.  In 1998 I thought I’d found my best career as an inspirational speaker.  But until an audience member asked about coaching, I was blind to the very opportunity that was my best career fit.

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.  William Ellery Channing

We can be completely in our element and still be challenged.

Challenge and authenticity do not exclude one another.

What if things never fell in place for you? Would you quit life? Would you give up entirely?

Consider for a moment, what makes the comfort zone comfortable?  Please just pause and answer this question before reading on.

What make activities fall into a zone of comfort?  I think it’s because we’ve already experienced them before.  They are familiar to us.  In other words when we are in our comfort zone we are experiencing another version of the same past that we’ve already experienced.

In bullfighting there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot.

As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar. His comfort zone.   Carly Fiorina

Test this theory.  Go ahead I dare you.  Think about a time when you felt totally alive.  Recall a time when you felt a vibrant pulsing in your body and a real sense of adventure.   Were you challenged or were you comfortable?

Were you taking part in a new activity or repeating something you’d already done?

I thought so.  So tell me please, what’s so damned good about comfort? Comfortable isn’t even that much fun.

The couch beckons all of us when we need relief or rest.  Yet comfort is not what makes life interesting.

Life is to be lived flat out in circumstances that arouse.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.  Emerson

Perhaps you already have found your best career.  Perhaps everything you’ve ever wanted is just on the other side of your current challenge.  Dare you persist and see?

What’s the Truth About Authentic Work?

You compensate.  I compensate.  To some degree we all compensate for a lack of authentic work.  Over time we’ve made stuff up to rationalize our unfulfilling work.  We’ve pretended, avoided and shirked responsibility in order to make our work fit who we are. 

If you’re an employee, chances are, you’ve resigned yourself to a fulfillment-starved life.  If forced to tell the truth, you’d admit that you’ve settled for far less than fulfilling and delightful work.

I don’t bash employment just because it’s slavery.  I bash employment because so many employees are lying to themselves.  So if I have to piss off ten of you to wake one of you up, I’m happy to do it.

Here’s proof why employment is inauthentic for at least 90% of employees.

Your job was not created to give you greater freedom; it was created to restrict your freedom.

Your job was not created to give you greater opportunities for authentic self-expression; it was created to limit your self-expression.

Your job was not created to fit who you are; it was created to serve the needs of your employer.

Your job was not created for your economic benefit; it was created to increase the prosperity of others.

However, it’s not your suck ass job that’s killing you.  What’s killing you is all that compensation.  What’s killing you is all the time and energy you invest trying to fit a mold that is not a fit for who you are.

It’s draining as hell to fake it all the time.  When you act like something doesn’t matter and it does matter, you shrink your soul and smother your authentic spirit.

When your job doesn’t fit, then in order to survive, you must compensate by showing up as a lesser version of yourself.  This lesser, lower self is false and it takes a lot of energy to offset a lack of expressed authenticity.

All of this accumulated faking has diluted the true you so much so that your authentic voice can’t be heard because of all the excuses you spout.

So how can you find the gumption to live a bigger more vigorous work life?
Do two things.

1). Make space for your authentic voice by silencing your fake self.

All of your accumulated compensation is emotional and intellectual clutter and clutter must be cleared.  Without space for your authentic self to express and act, your little, fearful self will keep running the show by avoiding, pretending and shirking responsibility.

2). Create a work environment that brings you robustly alive.

Mike Tomlin, head coach of our world champion Pittsburgh Steelers knows how.  The Steelers are now holding their three-day mini-camp.  It’s the first time that rookies get to work out and train with the veterans.

A reporter asked Tomlin how he determines that a player has the hunger to be a champion.  Tomlin said he doesn’t look for hunger, because hunger can be satisfied.  He’s right; multi-million dollar contracts don’t guarantee that a player will even make the team.

Instead of hunger, Tomlin looks for drive.  Drive is aggressive readiness along with the energy to undertake taxing efforts. Drive is hustle, initiative, vitality, and get-up-and-go.

Drive is natural when we find or create our authentic space.

Scroll up and look at that picture ofHines Ward again.  At the wide receiver position, Hines is one of the most powerful and vicious blockers in the league.  Whether he makes the hit or gets hit – he always bounces up with that big ass smile on his face.  Hines is in his natural element.  He’s found his authentic space.

We can apply this lesson in our search for authentic work.  Authentic work isn’t a craving to be satisfied but an environment in which your natural drive can express itself.

This is so important to understand because fear around not having enough money is the number one reason folks give for not making their move to the freedom of self-employment.  But money is about hunger not drive.  Hunger is only temporarily satisfied.

Fear not, you’re authentic work is also seeking you.  Create some space and you’ll be more able to see it.

Find or create an environment where you can naturally speak your truth.

Find or create an environment where you are eager to do the work.

Find or create a work opportunity where you are driven to excel and then both your drive and your hunger will be fulfilled.

 

Loving Your Work is Overrated

Every once in awhile, a new idea, explodes a concept that I previously thought was rock solid. Regular readers won’t be surprised that I’ve written 11 previous posts tagged with work that you love.

laptoplady11I’ve known that money doesn’t always follow finding work that we love, but now I have greater understanding.

Now I’m seeing that loving your work is, quite possibly, extremely overrated.  My friend, Egbert Sukop, in his new book, How to Better Hate Your Job, blew up my mind with these excerpts.

When I choose more often what I want to do, it is more likely I’ll make more money.  What you want to do is NOT identical with doing what you love.  Love in regards to business and work is so overrated.

Self-determination is key.  And so is a series of continued choices and course adjustments versus vegetating along the rusty tracks of a decision you made years ago.  Making a lot of choices is likely to lead you to making better choices, with some of them possibly leading to more money.  Egbert Sukop

Perhaps I was already aware of this distinction when I wrote this in a popular post on seizing the freedom of self-employment. “By working on what you want to work on and dearly value you’ll end up producing work of higher value that will make you prosperous.”

This concept is still formulating for me, so I could use your help in thinking it through.  Here’s why I think Egbert is onto something big.

Doing work we want to do, is so much simpler than searching for work that we love to do.  Simply doing work that we choose, because we want to, takes the pressure off.

Doing work that we want to do, permits the ongoing possibility of mistake making.  Making mistakes is no big deal because we can just change our minds when we are doing what we want to do.

I coach many clients on right career and right business discovery and the pressure they put on themselves has much to do with how they think true calling ought to feel.  If the horns of angels and blinding white light don’t announce their epiphanies, they often question their discoveries.

Identifying work that we love to do, is a much higher standard that comes with huge expectations.  High expectations often lead to second-guessing and disappointment.

Consider how challenging it is to continue loving our loved ones.  Many people believe they aren’t at choice when it comes to loving their relatives. That lie gives us a clue as to why loving our work is such an unnecessarily high standard.

Doing work we want to do feels more carefree and unencumbered.  Doing feels more attainable than loving because of the lightness of choice built right into it.

It’s that choice to change our mind and frequently do whatever the hell we want to do, that leads to the only real freedom there is.  The freedom to say no thank you and choose anew.

Resources:

Juliet du Preez at Life Made Great, interviewed  me and published it today.  Juliet asked some piercing questions check it out.

Juliet was bold enough to try something new and participate in one of my exploratory group coaching experiences.  If you’d like to exercise your boldness join us: Creating the Life & Business You Most Want; A Bold Process for Authoring Your Own Life Now!

Killing What Scares You

Don’t kill what scares you.  Embrace it!

What scares you the most is your raw, untamed authenticity.

istock_000003792360xsmallWhat scares the hell right out of you is the crazy brilliance that you know you really are.

This post is a call to action for those who want even more inspiring and fulfilling work.  If you really love your job – quit reading now.  But if you really want to bet the farm on you – read on!

As a career coach, here’s the question I hear most often.

“What will I be when I grow up?”

Here are two better questions.

“What was I before I grew up?”

“What wild part of me have I allowed to be beaten down and killed, for fear of being judged?”

Never destroy any aspect of personality, for what you think is the wild branch may be the heart of the tree.  Mrs. Henry George

Cultural conformity is fear-based pressure created so the real you doesn’t rock the boat

Accumulated conditioning, rules and collective fears, all pushing societal stability, will continue to separate you from your authentic wildness, if you allow it to.

Most folks claim they want their authentic freedom. But they act as though they want stability and safety.

Stability and authenticity exclude one another.

Take a stand.  Refuse fear.  Live fearlessly.

Allow your authentic wildness to flourish once more.

Don’t kill your wildness.  Flaunt your wildness.

If you really didn’t give two shits, about what anyone would say or think – what would you do then?

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss

Choose boldness!

Your time is now.  Waiting is stupid, fearful thinking.  Quit listening to those who fear their own power.  The cement truck could flatten your ass tomorrow.  How’s that for timing?

It’s not timing but expressed uniqueness that truly determines exceptional success.

We increase the probability of creating a life of freedom, fulfillment and financial prosperity to the degree that we are willing to express our exceptionality.

It’s time for you to choose.  Quit allowing cultural appropriateness to crush your wildness.

It really does start with not giving a damn.  What do you think the world rewards more, being nice or being authentic?

By choosing authenticity you’re going to piss some people off.

So what, what has playing it safe done for you so far?

Be naughty.  Misbehave.  Break some stupid rules.

Be the eccentric character you really are and some may hate you.  But some will adore you.

Your only obligation in life is to be true to yourself.  Being true to anyone else or anything else is impossible.  Richard Bach

Don’t wonder what you’ll be when you grow up.  You’re already too damned grown up.  Be a kid again.  Ride your wildness all the way to the bank.

I’m not just all talk about this.  I deliver.

Bold lives are chosen and created.

Have you the courage to create the life you most want to live?

No excuses, you either do or you don’t. If this time doesn’t work for you, go here to request your own test drive coaching experience.

Embrace what sacres you.  The world is waiting for your light.

Starting Over

starting overStarting over at any age is more than possible. I get occasional emails from desperate readers who think they have totally screwed up their lives.  They think they can’t afford to hire me as their coach but they reach out, hoping for help.

I’ll often ask them to do something simple, like read a blog post and email me back what came up for them.  Or I’ll send them a couple of questions by email.  But rather than just answering the damn questions – they’ll write back telling some pathetic story about why they can’t start over.  Bull! Starting over is really your only choice.

It really doesn’t matter how far you’ve fallen or how long you’ve been down.  I know.  I’ve hit bottom and we can always wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start. Always.  At any notch, on the way down, I could have decided to stop there and start over.  I’ve written this post for everyone who thinks it’s too late to create the life or business you most want.

What if there was only one universal truth and all we had to do was get busy following that simple message?

Would you follow this message?

Starting Over

Be yourself.  Stay present.  Trust yourself.  Take frequent action.  Start over.

What if you didn’t need to know anymore than you know right now in order to turn your life around?

What if you are already brilliant enough and equipped enough to get what you want?

What if you already know what you need to know to make your best move?

What if you’ve repeatedly made the right decision but for some reason you’ve second-guessed yourself and needlessly stopped short of action?

You are closer than you think you are.  You’re almost over the hump.  Starting over is always a matter of being present and letting go of the past. Your desire is telling you where you need to go and most likely you just need to be bolder sooner while going for it.

Just because there appears to be a lot of folks selling you how-to and what-to-do, you don’t have to buy it.  Often they only know what’s best for them.

You are the best source of your own wisdom.

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been thinking about this commonly shared story about the gold rushes.  There is a mini series showing right now called Klondike that illustrates my point. History shows that more folks got wealthy by selling pans, lumber, shovels, sex, booze and supplies, to the seekers of riches, than those who actually struck it rich.

This story is now told to illustrate the wisdom for becoming a how-to-get-rich info marketer.  The promise is, by selling books, audios, videos and memberships sites, that teach others how to get rich, you’ll get rich.

Like many of you, I’ve been intrigued by the possibility of online riches.  In the past, I’ve shelled out my bucks for all kinds of “can’t miss” info-products and deals.

But here’s why I’ve been questioning this modern day gold rush.  I think, just like the original, it may be a business model based on illusion.  An illusion based business model is one that sells more hope than substance.  Am I nuts or is this really closer to the truth?

image53

We say we like connecting, expressing and media socializing, but how much of this would we be doing, if we didn’t think that it would lead us to finding online gold?

I go back and forth on how best to claim online gold.  I question the value of social media frequently, yet I’m still using it, so I’m not judging any method.  If anything I’m confused as hell as to where it’s all going?  But I’ve learned that confusion often signals opportunity.

I do know this; when I stake my own claim, in this online gold rush, I’ll only sell a how-to system that helps you to express and promote your own uniqueness. That’s the best shot we all have at riches.

Your best shot at riches is to express your authentic uniqueness.

I’ll only sell what I and my clients have proven. That’s why I’m such an advocate for life coaching. Coached people more often create the lives and businesses they want to create. Coached people take more action so they fail and succeed faster, sooner.

Those who think they can go it alone without a mentor or coach are the really crazy ones.

Coaching works because it respects and honors individuality.  Any coach worth his or her fee will help you to take action swiftly and do it your way in a way that promotes your uniqueness.

Some of what I know will work for you and some won’t.  It’s my job as coach, to create the structure and environment that will have you repeatedly choosing, acting, failing and adjusting.

Fail faster better.

Fail more often and you increase the probability of succeeding.  Get to a place of not giving a chit about the outcomes and you’ll try more things.  Try more things and you’ll increase the probability of stumbling on something that works.  How’s that for certainty?

It doesn’t’ matter how often you fail and have to start over.  What does matter is that you do start over. Starting over is your new lease on life. Jump in and enjoy.

Start over. Be yourself.   Stay present.  Trust yourself.  Take frequent action.   Start over.

Contact me here to for a free starting over session to find your aliveness.

Seven Step Small Business Startup Checklist

To beat paralysis and get started on your authentic business you first need to master the inner game of business. What you’re thinking and feeling has direct impact on the actions you are or are not taking. Use this guide as a business startup list to be sure your head’s nailed on straight .

1. Exploit Your Authentic Edge

Your edge, or marketplace advantage, comes directly from your willingness to move into your authentic power. Authentic business building is the willingness to start and maintain a business strategically from your core makeup. The marketplace rewards authentic expression. Your small business idea came to you and that means that you are in the best position to make it happen. Trust your gut. Confidence attracts support and confidence increases in proportion to authentic engagement.

2. Slow and Small Is Better than Not at All

What the hell are you waiting for? Delay is costly – start, complete and sell one small project, product or service.

Speed and size of your initial success isn’t as important as progress. Part-time works, if it works for you. Create your own transition model and follow it.

Decide on your tolerance for risk and your need for a financial/emotional reserve. If you don’t fear shoestring business building – go for it. If you require more back up, secure that first. Decide what works for you and what you need to be your best.

3. Embrace Mistakes

Count on learning from your frequent mistakes. Let go of the illusion of building the perfect product, business or service. Accept the likelihood that you’ll screw up repeatedly and that’s what you are supposed to be doing in a brand new business.

Let the marketplace shine a light on necessary adjustments. It’s impossible to reach perfection in your own mind. Take your show on the road and evolve from customer feedback.

4. Stay Present – Visualize Success

The only place you can actually build your business is in the now. Always ask this question: “What am I looking to accomplish right now?” Work there – complete that.

If you must engage in future thinking, then decide to only do positive visioning. This means that you refuse to even contemplate any fearful future – or at least spend no more than a few seconds dwelling on fear before catching yourself and moving forward.

Fear of failure and fear of success can only exist if you feed them with fearful future thoughts. Become aware of your dominant thoughts and let go of anything limiting. What you think about comes about, so choose as if your business life depended on it.

5. Be a Merchant – Ask for the Money

If you intend to be a successful businessperson, you’ve got to get past any fear of asking for the order. You’ve got to start somewhere. Produce something small and ask someone to buy it.  Recent online advances make many business resources like merchant services much more affordable these days. Your fear about self-worth, like “who am I to be asking for this business,” fades, – once you’ve asked a few times.

6. Any Movement Works

Any strategic movement works because it creates a fresh perspective which is different from the one that keeps you stuck. The only wrong move is standing pat. “You can’t get there from here,” is only true if you’re not in motion. Fortune favors the bold – primarily because the bold are moving.

7. Be Inspired by Your What & Why

Too many budding entrepreneurs want to first “figure it all out”. That’s an illusion. You can’t “figure it all out,” before hand, in mind alone. Get out of your “how-to” directed mind and into you “what and why” inspired mind. What you want to build and your reasons for building it, will do far more to inspire you to action than a fruitless search for how-to. Once you commit and take action, your optimum “how-to” path appears, – as a result of your actions but not before them.

Which point do you need to focus on now?

Get all seven aligned and you’ll be primed for a successful small business launch.

Related Resources

Free Project Blastoff Email Course

One-on-One Coaching with Tom

Clarity Empowers Progress

When we are crystal clear about where we are and where we want to be, we create less stress and more often hit targeted objectives. It’s darn hard to find our true calling when we aren’t willing to be clear and specific about how we want our life’s work to be.

Enhanced efficiency and effectiveness in the quest for authentic work is more prevalent when we are confidently clear about what we want. And I don’t mean being clear about being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. Selecting an already existing profession can be the deadest of ends. I do mean being clear about how we want to feel in the enjoyment of our ideal work.

Don’t Tell Me What You Don’t Want

Most folks when asked what they want, will clearly answer with what they don’t want. They can tell you how unfair their boss is and how uninspiring the work is.

Or they’ll tell you a story about how hard it is to decide on what they really want. Or they’ll try to convince you that the time is not right to dedicate working on what they want. Some will even present a compelling case explaining why it’s not possible for them to get what they want.

Have you ever wondered why so many are so good at explaining all about what they don’t want?

Why do you think so many suck at just saying what it is that they want?
They already hate their job, how much worse could it possibly get?

You Can’t Get There From Here

The clarity of exactness and preciseness increases the probability of intentional manifestation. Maybe that’s what keeps many from choosing. A couple of participants on a recent group coaching call, supporting our community leveraging experiment, admitted as much.

When we definitely state what we want, in stark specificity, we have chosen, haven’t we? Perhaps that’s why folks choose to remain confused and general because you can’t really commit to a generality, can you?

Try dedicating yourself to excellence in vagueness. Yes you can develop the inspired confidence to move mountains but you’ve got to identify the damn mountains! If you don’t commit then you can’t fail but you can’t succeed either. Without clarity and inspired commitment your only choice is to remain safely frozen in whatever waiting hell you’ve created.

You Can Only Get There From Here

The clarity of exactness and preciseness increases the probability of intentional manifestation by creating a living laboratory for evolutionary learning. In succeeding or in failing we see greater openings for opportunity.

Safety is a myth. Certainly more of us are realizing that the only true economic and emotional security is found within self-created opportunities of self-employment. Calling your own shots includes controlling your own firing squad. It’s not pretty when someone else lines you up from dismissal.

What You Can Do Now

You can embrace this lesson and insert greater clarity, decisiveness and specificity into every aspect of your life. Practice being bold and confident; never again ask, “What are you having?” Order what you want in every aspect of life and you will have increased your probability of getting it.

Yes, clarity and specificity forces commitment and that’s a very good thing.

Now I’m going to tell you a little known secret to discovering the work or business of your dreams.

A wild ass guess from the depths of your own gut and heart is far better than any copycat plan designed by another. Career Coach Tom Volkar

How about you? Could you more exactly state what you want?

Authoring Your Own Life

You are your own best authority. You know what works best for you and what doesn’t. Even though it may appear more comforting to receive validation of a business plan or startup idea from another, your best bet is to trust yourself.

The bottom line is, no one cares about you as much as you do. Authoring ones own life is about engaging the courage to follow ones own gut. It’s about being your own man or woman in every way.

We hear it all the time. Be all of who you are. To do that, it’s necessary to take off all masks you could be hiding behind so that the real you has space to emerge. I work with many would-be entrepreneurs in my career coaching practice and so far, everyone of them, at some point, goes through a crisis of self-confidence.

Even though you may be fortunate to find sufficient encouragement on the outside, your true authority is found within. I find it fascinating that authentic, authority and author all share the same word roots. In fact, the origin of authentic is authoritative, which meant acting as ones one authority. That’s exactly the self-assigned credibility that any new entrepreneur needs to declare.

I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.
George Carlin

Like many of Carlin’s best lines, he wasn’t really kidding. In the design and authoring of your own life, you have more authority than any recognized authority figure. Without recognition of your own authority you have not really accepted responsibility. Without responsibility you don’t have dominion, power, or the prerogative to call your own shots.

Outside certifications, information products and educational degrees could be exactly what you need or they could be just what someone else thinks you need. Going back to school isn’t always the answer. Permission to be fully authentic is a self-given authority. Seize it now.

Everyone needs to question outside authority, because rarely do they have your best interests at heart. But when it comes to your own authority, self-questioning of your inherent ability only leads to greater doubt. Many who question their own authority are really afraid of how their life may change once they are wildly successful.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson

If you’ve never read this entire Williamson passage go here and prepared to be inspired.

Some hopeful entrepreneurs fall into the double trap of comparing themselves to others while at the same time caring too much about what others think. That’s a slippery pit to climb out of because looking without abdicates self-authority.

What’s fascinating is that those same folks think that their success is dependent on the government, the economy or some other outside authority. It’s not. Your success is up to you and that’s a good thing. Along with that responsibility comes your ability and authority to write the script for your own life.

You’re writing it anyway, whether you’re aware of it or not. Might as well add some intentionality to your script and author the life that you most want to live.

Before I came to this realization, in movie genres, my life was mostly a drama. Since I’ve had script control, I’ve decided to make it an inspirational feel-good story.

How about you? What has the movie of your life been so far, a tragedy, a comedy or perhaps even a thriller?

What would you like it to be? Begin intentionally writing today because you’re living it right now.

A New Way to Find Work that You Love

I believe there’s a better process to finding work you love to do, so you can then build a profitable business around it. Traditional advice for discovering work you love involves journaling your passions, talents and joyous activities. This works for some and not for others. If you’re willing to try a fresh approach, you may find this new process to be very fruitful.

This process is based on the following theory: You have been created with unique capabilities, and when these are engaged and expressed in the work you were meant to do, you’ll enjoy greater freedom, fulfillment and prosperity.

Discovering your authentic work and parlaying it into a profitable enterprise is where most folks have difficulty.

It’s funny how we throw the word authenticity around; everyone agrees it’s a very good thing, but few know how to actually be authentic in their work. The process of bringing forth the core of who you are and authentically expressing that in your work is so much easier said then done.

We agree that to be authentic means to be, genuine, open, unpretentious, honest and forthright. We also agree that authenticity is good for us. But we tend to disagree on how to get there, especially when it comes to our life’s work.

In Seize Your Greatness, I advised that discovering authentic work is better approached from a non-logical framework. For big questions like this, it works to explore peripherally, or to trick our mind into seeing something that is either not obvious, or too obvious to be found with a direct approach.

If you’ve tried the traditional ways to no avail, are you ready for a fresh approach?

Why the old way stops you.

During the discovery process, many folks run into a brick wall that they can’t scale because they try too hard to get the what exactly right. We think that it’s all about nailing the business idea or the exact career that will make our heart sing. That’s the objective, I agree, but searching for the exact what can be extremely frustrating and fruitless – and that’s a telltale sign. Consider your state of mind while feeling frustrated and stumped. Are you more likely to be creative? No. Are you more likely to hit on epiphanies in that state? Of course you aren’t.

Too much pressure thinking on the what stops you cold. Because in an uninspired state of mind, new discoveries are likely to be overly judged and we are likely to be full of self-doubt. In this stage, you could discover your life’s work and not recognize it as such.

The discovery of authentic work is best uncovered from an inspired state of mind – so that the discovery is more likely to be in authentic alignment with its creator.

What state of being do you find most productive and enjoyable? Think of a time when you were in the zone and eagerly creating. You were on a roll. How would you describe that state of mind when the unknown is more a delightful wonder than something to fear?

What’s your attitude like when you can’t wait to begin work? Many employees wonder if they’ll ever experience eagerly rolling out of bed whistling a happy tune as they arise on a workday. But we self-employed know that both our disposition and our destiny is up to us. We are at choice and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So if you’ve yet to find your authentically delightful work, here’s a new process I’m advising you to try. First, begin your discovery work from the disposition of inspired confidence. Inspired confidence works because you are eagerly driven. You are so clearly in the present moment because there is no place you’d rather be. The future is of no stressful concern to you, and the past no longer has any hold on you.

Attaining the Flow of Inspired Confidence

  1. Choose an objective that really turns you on. It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to fire you up. For example, perhaps you too would like to bounce eagerly out of bed every workday.
  2. Imagine in detail how you’d feel in the midst of living your objective. See yourself boldly acting and joyously creating. Feel the inspiration pouring through your mind and being. Imagine each of your five senses in detail, to make the imagined experience vibrant.
  3. From that inspired state, delve more deeply into discovery by asking this series of questions.
    • What small step could I take today that would get me closer to my objective?
    • What could I create this week that would positively alter my perspective?
    • If I must choose today, what work would I begin doing in the hopes that it could develop into work that I love?
  4. Write down your answers and boldly follow through. Without some beginning, you’ll remain at rest. By walking down some corridor, you don’t know what wonderful doors may open. In 1998, I was speaking before a business audience and a guy approached me after the talk to ask if I’d ever done any life coaching. At that time, I wasn’t even aware that the profession existed. And if I hadn’t become a speaker, I would not have stumbled onto my life’s work.

When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.
Joseph Campbell

We hear often how it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. Have you ever wondered why? Often just the possibility of delightful work is enough to raise our spirits to a somewhat inspired state. Just the possibility enhances our emotional reserve so our internal dial can stay tuned to joy and the expectation of greater joy. That’s enough to attract others who want some of that joy to rub off on them. From there you are on your way.

When our work is discovered while in a state of inspired confidence, it feels joyful. What’s created in joy and enjoyed has a much higher probability of remaining joyful. If you are not already experiencing your bliss, are you willing to give this a shot? If you are already enjoying delightful work, please tell us how you found it.

Career Wisdom for New College Graduates

This is the commencement address you probably won’t hear.

It’s my life’s work to help others find their work life freedom. I believe that work life happiness and work life freedom go hand in hand. In terms of the work choices available to new graduates and their willingness to seize their work life freedom, not a lot has changed in the 35 years since I’ve graduated college.

New graduates with technical skills can generally find higher-paying entry-level employment. But this message is for well-rounded, right–brained, Bachelor of Arts grads – the modern day generalists and renaissance men and women. You are dubiously blessed with many interests and the ability to do a lot of things well. Who you are, what you can do, and the options available to you are what seem to make your employment prospects gloomier.

In 1973, I was you. Much like today, it was a tight job market for new graduates. I had just graduated with a degree in Political Science that I suspected I’d never apply to my actual career. Social unrest and the Vietnam War had soured me on ever working in politics.

I began to look for work. After a few months, my options were between two lousy choices. I could enter the management-training program of a national steakhouse chain, or I could take a self-employed position selling life insurance on straight commission. I often wonder what turns my life may have taken if I had chosen differently? I was young and ignorant, yet I accepted the insurance opportunity simply because of the work life freedom it offered. As long as I sold enough, no one told me what to do or where to go – and I found that deeply appealing. I made an important decision based on what I valued, even if I wasn’t even aware of the concept of values until much later in life.

That’s my point. Even though you may be unaware of it – your life is speaking to you right now. Are you listening? To do so, you’ll need to tune out all the chatter of well-meaning folks who want you to conform and take the best job you can get. But is a job really right for you? At what price will you compromise your freedom and your happiness?

If you are one of those uncertain renaissance folks, I want you to know that you are truly more fortunate because you don’t exactly fit any existing employment positions. I know this can be a very scary time for you. Many of you feel that getting a job means growing up and surrendering your freedom. Well, you’re right about that. I can understand your hesitation; who in their right mind voluntarily surrenders their freedom?

I also understand that a lot of fear around the lack of money comes into play in all of your decisions. You may need to temporarily put your dreams on the side burner while you create a small financial reserve. But even if you go for a job for only financial reasons, allow your heart and soul to have some say in the decision. Every choice you make has consequences. Even some for-the-money-only jobs are better for you than others.

I’ve seen a lot after 10 years of work life happiness coaching. I’d like you to consider this. What if you didn’t have to give up your freedom? What if you could be paid well just for being yourself? Would that be appealing? What would you do if you knew, beyond any doubt, that the following three statements were true and would turn out to be true for you?

1. Even now your life is trying to speak to you through your available options. It may be hard to get your attention, but somewhere among your options is a choice that will ultimately serve you well because it will put you on the path that is a better fit for who you are. It’s your duty to choose the option that will make you feel most alive.

2. It’s more likely that you’ll find your work life happiness and freedom in a self-employed opportunity of your own creation than in the higher paying, but much more restricted, life of an employee. Your parents and most everyone else will want you to be cautious and go for the steady, more stable financial situation. This will calm their fears, but they aren’t the ones who could end up slaving away in uninspired work for the next 35-40 years. You are. It’s your life and your choice.

3. You may not think that you have what it takes to be your own boss own right now, but your suitability to life and work will increase sooner by boldly claiming your freedom now. The longer you wait to be the person you really are, the more difficult it will be to choose what makes you happy. Even if you miss badly, the experience of going for it will ultimately pay off for you.

Life is challenging. However, by being genuine and by making authentic choices, we get more competent at living. Meeting challenges, and not just going through the motions, is the only kind of life worth living.

“Self-esteem fully realized is the experience that we are appropriate to life and to the requirements of life. To trust one’s mind and know that one is worthy of happiness is the essence of self-esteem.” Nathaniel Branden

You are worthy. You are capable. Who you are is enough to create a life of freedom and happiness. Get started today. You can be true to yourself now or you can believe in the “make money first” myth and hire a career coach like me after two decades of uninspired living. The choice is yours. It’s your life. Be happy now.