Stop Career Insanity

Dear Frustrated Right Career Seeker:

Are you vocationally frustrated and confused?  Do you find yourself at a career crossroads without a map?  Tired of guessing and doubting?

If so look into your gut and see if you can believe in the following statement at least 51%.

You came here to fulfill a special purpose and the value of that purpose is best delivered by you.

That means that until you identify and engage your right career, some special group of waiting individuals will be missing the original product or service that only you are equipped to create, in your own special way.

They can’t get what they really want or need, until you wake up and do what you were meant to do.

With me so far? (If you’re one of those special few who is already enjoying career bliss, please email this post to a lost soul of you acquaintance.)

Here’s what’s nuts about the way you’ve gone about finding your life’s work.

You try to be who you are without first knowing who you are.

Your try to do what works without first knowing what works especially well for you.

You try to go for what you want without first knowing what you really want.

Understanding your essential blessing of uniqueness could lead to your life’s purpose and career clarity. No one has a specific core makeup just like yours. But even if you know yourself well – it’s not enough.

That’s why searching for your right career feels like madness. Just knowing who you are is only one third of the right career equation. If you were still a toddler we could bank on that alone.

But you’ve lived some life and that has formed you into a special dynamo of perceptions, preferences and possibilities.

No one has experienced the exact life that you have.

You must not only know yourself as you arrived but know yourself now, as a fully functioning adult.

The trouble is that a lot of the life experiences you remember, are the challenging ones, so you don’t see yourself as functioning well but as the sacred little kid who was unrecognized and under-celebrated.

Understanding this valuable combination of core makeup, life experience and life competency is the key to solving your career/prosperity/fulfillment puzzle.

So the real question is this. Are you ready to end this insanity?

Right career discovery is what I do best. I’ve been career coaching since 1998 and it still floats my boat better than anything else. I’ve written the playbook and I’ve traveled the paths so I can guide you there.

Going it alone is really pretty silly. The trouble is that you are far too close to the challenge to see through the fog.

On this page and podcast I’ve identified 15 blocks that fog your career clarity. Take a look or listen and see which are slowing you down. Perhaps you’ll realize that there is a right career discovery process that works.

In the podcast I explain engaging the process of Divine Coalescence to gather all of your resources and gifts into one workable structure that leverages who you are for the highest good of humankind and for you.

Until now this beautifully empowering process of Divine Coalescence has only been discussed as a concept and as a guided meditation here.

But now I’ve decided to work with a very select group of frustrated right career seekers to put my theories to the test.  You’ll have my special support  in a real life research and development laboratory.

At the very least, reclaim your sanity by valuing your core makeup, your experience and the competency of what has worked well for you.

First Comes … The Courage To Listen

iStock_000009645441XSmallWhat made you begin to listen to your still, small voice within?  Was it the pain of not doing so?  Most of us put off facing even the possibility of true calling for as long as we can stand it.

I think on some level we are aware of the pain and suffering we’re causing ourselves but the alternative of trusting life and the fear of what a calling might demand of us is even greater; so we continue to endure the pain.

I can tell you from first hand experience that following a calling does not make us immune to chaos.  Often things don’t work out the way as planned.  But the decision and ongoing commitment to honor an authentic path does pay off.  The courage to first listen and then accept what we hear is both necessary and deeply fulfilling.

We must be willing to get shaken up, to submit ourselves to the dark blossomings of chaos, in order to reap the blessings of growth.  Gregg Levoy

Recognition + Less Resistance = Increased Clarity of Calling

When you’re on the right track you can feel it.

When you are being more fearless than fearful you know it.

What you might not know is that you are enough. You are strong enough and talented enough to answer your call.   It’s yours and yours alone to be expressed in only the way that you could express it.

But it begins with trust, with trust and with powerful questions.

It will increase your trust and give you some powerful questions.

Face up to this dear reader.   There’s a good reason why you’re drawn to read about true callings.  You can sense the sacred invitation to follow your path.  It comes first as a whisper, then a nudge and eventually a violent shaking of your life.   You do have the courage to listen now.

It’s more fulfilling and magnificent to call on your boldness in the good company of those who also are committed to answering their call.   Take a small step forward and you’re life will be changed forever.

Don’t make it about the money.

 

Wounds + Authentic Makeup = True Calling

iStock_000000231241XSmallWould you be the person you are today without the experience of surviving your major life wounds? I’ve been pondering the idea of a truly benevolent Universe. In such a Universe everything conspires for your highest good.

Everything includes every annoyance and even your most heart-breaking disappointments.  Every challenge has been for your good and the highest good of everyone else involved.

Normally when we say “it’s all good”  – it’s after a big hurt when we are coming to terms with a disappointment or an outcome that at the time was not a desired.

Yet if the Universe is indeed a benevolent, cooperative environment, that takes everything into account for our ultimate blessing, then perhaps these are its operating principles.

1). You and I came equipped with the exact completely unique and authentic makeup we need to create whatever life’s work we most want.

2). Our less than encouraging childhood not only frightened us from expressing authentically but at the same time built our strength and determination to one day become more fully authentic.

3). Our stumbles, failures and suffering were all necessary so that our resolve to serve others with the same suffering, could build itself to a point of unwavering commitment.

Our wounds influence our passions.  These passions over time become our heart’s desires.  What if we needed the experience of being scared to death in order to really care enough to seize a true calling?

Perhaps our true life’s work means so much to us that deep within we can’t imagine not going for it.

Is it possible that your vocational uncertainty and resistance to working a true calling is an attempt to deny the very pain that has made you who you are?

Perhaps your one true vocation calls you like no other because no other could have felt your pain like you have.

Yes both your authentic makeup and your life experiences have prepared you to answer your sacred call.  It’s great that you’re afraid.

If you aren’t afraid then you can’t really care enough to make a difference.  If you don’t make a big difference, you won’t make a lot of money.  If you don’t make a lot of money you’ll be less able to be generous with others.

That’s the beauty of being selfish in service to others.  What’s really good for you is even better for humanity.

Embrace your wounds; they have made you the strong woman or man that you are.  Your existence here is not a cruel joke.   You were meant to do the work that only you can do.

Life is for living all out!  You can make a difference and make more money by being the boldly beautiful being that you are, wounds and all.

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?

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.

What Everybody Ought to Know About Finding Work You Love

There are nine ingredients to finding work you love and these ingredients are influencing your search whether you’re aware of them or not.

Puzzle
Nine Ingredients of Right Livelihood

The surest way to clearly hear your true work calling is to deliberately work through all nine essential ingredients by journaling your realizations and conclusions as you go.

  1. Honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.
  2. Identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural Strengths.
  3. Energize your Heart’s Desires.
  4. Flaunt your natural personality Traits (‘bad ass’ self) and feel good about it.
  5. Orient your life around your Values.
  6. Connect to a deliberate Vision that works for you.
  7. Commit to your nonnegotiable Requirements.
  8. Move through Fears and blocks that are holding you back.
  9. Discover and create Environments to thrive within.

In this post I’ll share some methods to go deep within to honor your Core Self (inner voice) to bring forth the glory of your soul so that others can feel it and support it.

The masters tell us to be who we are or to be all of who we are.

“To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s.” – Dostoevsky

But how does one go about discovering and honoring his or her core self? What’s the process? Let’s begin by understanding what our core self is. I’m referring to your essence, the heart of you or vital core, what some call your soul. According to Dictionary.com, soul is defined as follows.

Soul is the emotional part of human nature, the seat of the feelings or sentiments.

Soul is the animating principle, the essential element or part of something.

Soul is the inspirer or moving spirit of some action or movement.

I’ve found that the process of honoring my soul (core self) begins by setting the intention to carry on a lifelong dialogue. Our soul provides us with an inner compass that we can align with to become more in harmony with the life we were meant to live. Like wild geese somehow knowing when and where to fly south, our compass is just as accurate and fitting for us.

So we begin this dialogue by simply stating the sacred intention to be true to ourselves. One excellent way is to simply take a deep breath and say out loud. “I choose to be true to my core self.” Then thank your soul for getting your attention in this important matter and invite it to show you ways in which you can. You can jumpstart the process by journaling the following questions.

  1. What parts of myself have I been thus far reluctant to express?
  2. How can I honor myself and bring them out?
  3. What environments do I enjoy so much that just by being in contact with them I embody grace?
  4. What are the ways I like to work that bring me most alive?
  5. Like migrating geese, what wonderful, unseen urge is calling me?

These questions are powerful. But that sad thing is you’ll never know how powerful unless you invest the time to ask them and carry on the dialogue. This is a somewhat tricky process that can only show its gold to you in the doing of it.

“We understand why children are afraid of darkness, but why are men afraid of light? The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato

You can do one simple thing better than anyone else in the world: be yourself. When you do that, without holding back, the results are indeed magnificent. Yet that process only begins with rigorous self-examination.

In summary there are nine essential ingredients to get your search for work life happiness and freedom really cooking. Will you begin a dialogue with your soul today so this most important ingredient is present? In my next post I’ll share how to identify, clarify, verify, fortify and gloriously express your natural strengths.

What Work Would You Do Marooned On An Island?

In an earlier post, I challenged you to ask yourself some questions about what kind of work you would do if you lived on an enchanted island and the only requirement was that your work must naturally bring you alive and make your heart sing.

Isle of Delightful WorkTo make sure I was right there with you, I answered the questions myself; frankly I was surprised at what I discovered!

The questions were:

  1. What kind of work would you do?
  2. What would your unique contribution be?
  3. Who would you be?
  4. What could others say about you that they cannot say now?
  5. If you woke up tomorrow and such a miracle happened, what would you see differently?
  6. How would you feel?

Something I almost didn’t admit was that I found these questions a real challenge to answer. As a coach, I’ve lived an extremely aware life for many years. I’ve made vocational choices by following my heart since 1992 – so I was surprised at how difficult this was for me!

What happens when suddenly we have the opportunity to imagine what it would be like to live in complete vocational bliss? You may have a different experience, but mine was fascinating. When I began answering these questions, I faced a great void. My relatively safe and formerly dark hole of dreams was now illuminated. Then, once the pressure was completely off (i.e., I didn’t have to be concerned about the marketability of what I did on the enchanted isle) it felt heavily on like never before.

Why? I’m going to take a few guesses.

  1. When we finally have permission to let our wild, unrestricted selves out, when faced with freedom, we hesitate to seize it. Kind of like the animal who becomes so used to the boundaries of his cage that he still won’t cross them once the walls are down.
  2. Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say we want to find our true calling, but when faced with the actuality of following through… another level of fear arises.
  3. We really do care what others think. But when faced with living in an environment like the enchanted isle, where people are not judgmental and the only requirement is that what you do brings you deep fulfilling happiness, yet another excuse is removed. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Theodore Geisel, (Dr. Seuss)
  4. We become intimidated by our own power to chose to be who we really are. It’s time to stop pretending. “If you do not pretend to be more than you are, you will dare to be all that you are.” – Susan Thesenga

So I decided to drink my own Kool-Aid and answer all the questions myself. Rather than bore you with the details, I summarized my responses and created a shingle for my cottage on the Enchanted Isle of Delightful Work. Here it is:

Tom's Shingle

On the Enchanted Isle of Delightful Work, what would your shingle say? Exercise the courage to let your heart answer these questions, and then boil your answers down to the words you’d hang by your cottage for your fellow islanders to view.

What would your shingle say? I’d love to see it, if you’d like to share it with me (you don’t need a graphic – text is fine)!

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman