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


  1. Nick Redondo says


    As always you nail it! The quote By Howard Thurman is right on the money. Thanks Tom. You’re a great guy!


  2. Nick,

    Yes, this quote is almost as good as my all time favorite by Frederick Buechner. “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” Vigorously alive in our deep gladness, what a way to live! It’s possible for all and it all starts with taking one small action, and then another, and another. Soon you’ll be able to feel the gladness and aliveness as it flows deeply from within.

  3. My shingle would say:
    jungle adventurer/photographer
    come join in the adventure and do
    things you never thought you could!

  4. Christine
    Highly sought after Speaker, Author and Coach
    Rat Race Escape Artist
    Unsticker of Others
    Empowerer of Quarter-lifers and Thirty-somethings
    Inspirational Uncover-er

  5. Laurie – Comparing our shingles it looks like we’d co-produce some exciting events on the island! 🙂

  6. Ari Koinuma
    A Rock Star
    A Life Coach
    The Community Music Ensemble Conductor
    Come on in, I’ll write you a song!

    Ari Koinumas last blog post..The Only One Who Can Teach

  7. Christine – Inspirational Un-coverer sounds kind of sexy. 🙂

    Your sign would cause some interesting curiosity.

    Ari – cool man!
    “Come on in, I’ll write you a song!”

    I love the tag line.

    I’d like to see you try that at a fair sometime.

  8. seanstargazer says

    My shingle would say:

    Sean Stargazer

    Bodywork/Massage Goddess
    Intuitive Guide
    Indie Soul Goddess
    Soul Revue Creator/Headliner
    Spirit songwriter/channeler

  9. Danielle Dews
    Connection Maker
    Experience Creator
    Fanbase Finder

    I find what you need. If it doesn’t exist I’ll make it.
    .-= Danielle Dews´s last blog ..Monday Morning Mishap =-.

  10. Sean – What a wonderfully eclectic shingle. Who wouldn’t want to stop in and visit with you? What you describe is so attractive.

    Danielle – Welcome. Those are powerfully useful offerings. I see we have one in common – Experience Creator!

  11. To that shingle I would drop the massage/bodywork goddess & add Maker Of Beautiful Things.

  12. So I shared this exercise with my stepdaugter, she’s like omg, get a charter fishing boat, you love fishing, do it now, stop analyzing everything, just do it ….

    My shingle: Great fishing, delicious meal, yummy!

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