Looking to find your life's work? The elusive bliss that pays the bills? Or aching to launch that floundering dream into an industry or empire? As a leading career coach for the last 20 years, I'll tell you that it's only one belief that stands in the way of everything you want.
I don't know what your block is, but I changed my entire life (and the lives of thousands of others) by questioning one ridiculously limiting, prehistoric assumption I had. I longed to be a writer, but I assumed/knew "writers don't make money."
So I attended Harvard Law School, then practiced law. Of course, I got depressed, because that's what happens when you deny the reason you're on the planet. Finally, a friend questioned my allegiance to suffering. "If you're this successful doing work you don't love, what could you do with work you do love?" he asked.
What if I could make money as a writer? Opening to that possibility launched the greatest adventure I've ever known. I left law, plunged into uncertainty, and over time wrote the books I longed to write, both of them being on creating the work you love. Both ended up becoming bestsellers, but more than that, writing them healed me. Today, I help others discover, launch, and thrive in the work and businesses of their dreams.
Finding your calling isn't like taking a pill or the right assessment test to pin the tail on the donkey. There's no recipe. This work, which can take place in your ordinary life, feels like meeting a shaman in the desert and employing the joy of your heart to blow your mind. It's changing everything you think you know about reality, one belief at a time.
Of course, in a fast-paced, gotta-have-it-now society, many of us demand templates and action plans. But unleashing your life's work is not about doing. It's about undoing all the beliefs that stand in your way. You already have an off-the-charts destiny for your life. You already have the hard-wiring to be the most exquisite version of yourself. But you have ideas that obscure your way. As a career coach, l use wild love to shred your assumptions. I help you try on new beliefs. I encourage intuition. I demand exploration. The rest is birth, destiny, and alchemy. And it always works.
So I want to offer you these seven shifts of thinking, because you may just be blocking yourself from the greatest life you've ever known. And I'd hate to have that happen on my watch.
1. Clarity Is a Rarity
You do not have to know what your calling is before you start taking action. Follow anything that speaks to you right now, even if it's a nap or a cranberry scone. This is a path of following your heat and energy and learning how to trust your instincts by abandoning the impossible burden of immediate certainty.
As a writer, I rarely know what to write before I start writing. But through dabbling, the fog lifts and I am moved in surprising directions. I encourage my clients to play and allow joy to mark what's real. Wouldn't you date before you marry? Let yourself experiment and research with your feet. Stop worrying about "what" you are. Action provides information and revelation.
2. Doing Your Dreams Gives You More Security, Not Less
Following your calling is an investment in your health and wealth. The richest individuals in the world seized their gifts. They did not shrink in careers they despised; they did not battle meaninglessness. Through honoring their instincts, they leveraged stamina and genius.
On an inspired path, where you start out is not where you end up, so don't monetize your butterflies. Give ideas a shot. One creative desire can spontaneously erupt into another direction that leads to opportunities you can't imagine. Joy will change your brain chemistry. You will discover more energy, spontaneous intelligence, and income-earning potential. You may even fall in love with your day job while you nurture and build your dream empire on the side.
3. You Don't Need to Choose One Thing; Just Choose One Moment
Ahhh. Take a deep breath, you who love Reiki, oil painting, organic nutrition, politics, car racing, micro-financing, helping children, raccoons, coyotes and kittens. You do not need to choose just one interest or weave everything together into some master plan. Follow the passion that has the most energy right now. Every passion feeds your strength. Your truth will emerge. Your instincts are not erratic but inspired.
You may also discover the wonder of "multiple income streams," making money from different interests that in and of themselves don't generate enough money, but together add up to pay a sweet salary. One of my clients is a therapist, an artist and an author. Everything feeds her soul and her bottom line.
4. There's Not a Glut of What You Want to Strut
Sometimes you might look at the market and think, "Does anyone really need my cucumber jalapeño soaps? One more love song, screenplay, memoir, or alternative law and mediation practice?" The world is huge. And it's starving for innovation and talent. Your love is the real thing. The real thing always stands out. As you answer the call within you, you become the answer to someone's prayer.
Your gifts are not for you. There is a brilliance within you that is meant to help others. You will never even know how talented you are until you start doing the work you are meant to do. You will have your people. There are those who are waiting for your gifts right now.
5. You Can't Fail When You've Already Won
I feared giving up a financially "sexy" career as an attorney to pursue writing. I feared failure. But as much as I feared failing, I feared regret more. I knew I had to give myself the chance to write. In my book Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life's Work! I define "unstoppable" as never stopping yourself. This is a path of giving yourself a thousand chances. I've coached business leaders and artists. They never "failed" because of conditions. They failed when they stopped believing in their instincts. There is always a way if you keep showing up with love.
Besides, wild success isn't about your portfolio. It's about knowing you're doing the right thing with your time on Earth.
6. You Don't Need a Map; You Need a Fire
You can't plan an inspired life. You may crave a business plan. But I say find your fire instead. Fire is the source of holy mojo, business tenacity and inspired direction. Fire moves you.
I spent 12 years writing my first book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love without an agent or publishing contract. Following instinct, I self-published it. A VP of Random House discovered it, wrote, "This is best book I've read on finding your calling," and helped get it published by my dream publisher, Tarcher/Penguin. I couldn't have designed those events. Had I followed conventional strategy, I would not have landed where I did. There is a plan for you. But you can't plan it.
7. You Are Worth a Lifetime of Radical Joy
You might believe that everyone else is suffering, so maybe you should just buck up, eat your spinach, and stop thinking about writing poetry. But your desire for an extraordinary life is a healthy, responsible, irrepressible expression. You have your gifts to give to others. I am blessed to receive thank you emails for my books and teaching. My deepest happiness serves many.
What you consider reckless joy, the universe considers service. Don't play small. Please don't squelch your talents and desires. The world hungers for more love and creativity. Be a role model for your children. Be a light instead of a compromise. Grab this life. You ache for this journey for a reason. Shining is your spiritual destiny.