Follow Your Obsession

{Joy pillow cover by LovesParisStudio}

{Joy pillow cover by LovesParisStudio}

I naturally have an obsessive personality. It started when I was a kid. I couldn’t stop asking questions. Unfortunately for my mom, I didn’t stop asking even if it was the middle of the night. This led me to do fairly well in school and in my professional life. It did not bode so well personally, however. (I admittedly spend too much time on the internet googling potential illnesses, for example.) Nor did it fair well when I didn’t have something concrete to focus my energy on.

That may be you too. If you’ve got a tendency to pour into a subject as if it could save your life, you’re also probably pretty creative. I learned early on that while it was a blessing to be so passionate about something, if I didn’t pay attention to what was really calling me, it could also be a curse.

If you want to get on the “right” path toward your dreams, you need to be inspired. And you need to follow what calls you, what inspires you and what you’re truly obsessed about.

If you find that you’re thumbing through gossip magazines, surfing the web for every physical symptom you have or spending more time reading other people’s blogs than working on you’re own, you’re probably off-track.

This might be the wake up call you need.

Maybe you’re ventured too far from your dream of being a writer, an artist or an entrepreneur. Instead of expressing your creativity, instead of working on your goals, you got scared, burnt out or lost your focus. Now’s the time to get back to it.

One of the biggest clues that’ll help you figure out your true purpose is to observe when you feel happiest, most at peace and filled with joy. For me, it’s reading through catalogs. I pour over copy the way some people read through novels. I also love watching reality TV shows that show people who are positive and inspiring. These little bread crumbs have shown me that copywriting and inspirational writing are my true passion. And online shopping and DIY medical diagnosis? Not so much. Just ways to temporarily sideswipe me from my dreams.

What about you? What fills your life with joy? How are you incorporating them into your every day life?

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The Baggage On Your Journey

Oprah says we all have a calling. And we should find that calling as soon as possible. Who wouldn’t want to find it? As best-selling author and spiritual teacher Carolyn Myss said in her newsletter recently:

“…any human being who consciously ignites or accepts his or her soul’s path awakens their charism – their unique grace that once unlocked, reshapes their world in ways that person could never imagine. It is only then that a person can truly begin to live a fully original life.”

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a golden path leading to it? There would be no question where to go to fulfill our purpose.

Yet, we’re not completely left in the dark.

It can feel that way when we’re going from job to job or staying the same one for twenty years. It may even feel like abandonment. “Why have all the good ones been taken?” you ask. “Why is there nothing left for me?”

It’s only insecurity, lack of confidence, a mislead intention that blinds us. What I’ve come to learn is that what you want is already in front of you. You just need to remove the blinders to see it.

The Blinders Impeding Your Path

What I can tell you from my own experience with 15+ jobs in the last 15 years is that your greatest obstacle to finding your true calling is you. If you were to shred any fear you have of failing OR succeeding, if you were to remove any financial worries or concerns about what other people would think, you would know what you’re put here to do. A lot of times we let external circumstances dictate our life.

I spent several years taking jobs that I thought I “should” take because of the money. I spent those years miserable, angry, resentful over the time I spent in them. I mistakenly believed that like “no pain, no gain,” you had to hate your job to make a living.

This is why it took me over a decade to find what I already knew in elementary school! I spent weekends pretending to be a reporter. I asked for a typewriter when I was a kid. I was on my school’s news bulletin and later high school newspaper staff. I majored in English. But instead of pursuing a career as a writer, I worked as a private investigator, a research assistant, a marketing assistant, a counselor. All great careers by the way. All experiences that have helped me be a better writer. But it’s taken me that much longer to figure out my true calling.

Hopefully, it won’t take you that long to find yours.

How to Get Back on Track

If you’re gotten off track and need a few bread crumbs to dig you out, listen to this woman’s advice on spotting a great opportunity from Oprah.com:

“When you’re weighing an opportunity, make the question that simple: Do I really want this, or am I doing it for the money or the prestige or because I think I should? It can’t just be about those things. It has to make you feel good, too.” – Christina Wayne, former senior VP at AMC, current president of Cineflix Studios, and an executive producer of the new BBC America series Copper

And ask yourself these same questions about the current job you’re in. Are you where you are because you chose this course or are you here to feel validated, to make money, to please someone other than yourself?

This type of soul searching will push you in the direction you need to go. It takes courage to answer truthfully. But you will get there if you allow your true voice to come forward.

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I Don’t Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

{photo by The Inspiring Bee}

If you found yourself revisiting this question as a grown up, you know how frustrating the process of self-discovery can be. Perhaps, you took the first job you got after college or you simply fell into the career you have now. But it doesn’t fulfill you anymore. It pays the bills, but doesn’t make your heart soar.

If you find yourself asking, “Is that all there is?”, don’t despair. No matter how old you are, you always have a second chance to grow up again.

Speaking from someone who’s had over ten jobs in the last ten years, I don’t only know it’s possible, I’ve lived it.

The problem is most people are too scared to venture out into the unknown. We develop a false sense of control, and a weak web of security. But it’s enough to keep us away from the edge. Much better to live a safe life than to risk BIG.

At the same time, we drool over full-time bloggers, successful authors and entrepreneurs. “Lucky,” we think, never believing we can do it too. Yet, it’s only our minds that limit us and our ego that keeps us from venturing out of our shells.

The Truth About Taking a Leap

It is scary and it can feel risky and dangerous. But if anyone ever told you that staying where you are is safer than taking a risk, they’re mistaken. It’s NOT moving and resisting change that’s most risky. This is especially true right now when employers are looking for people who have multiple experiences and can juggle and manage a lot of different things.

Here’s what I know.

If we have just this one life and we were all born with a purpose, then not following the voice that tells us “this isn’t what I should be doing,” not only hurts us, but it hurts the world.

In all the years I’ve been exploring my life purpose, I’ve realized that I already knew what it was all along. I didn’t need career tests, books or webinars to tell it to me. All I needed to do was revisit my childhood, listen to my inner voice and trust in that. I’ve spent more than a decade trying to find my dream job and ended up doing what I wanted to do as a kid-write.

I spent my free time as a child creating a portfolio filled with mock ups of commercials, ad campaigns, and copy for faux products. I watched Bewitched on TV and Full House and wanted to work for an ad agency like Darrin Stevens and Jesse and Joey respectively. In high school, I did a project researching copywriting because it’s something I wanted to do.

And then college came and I heard things like: “You need to get a job that makes money. There’s not much jobs like those here.” I got confused and got lost in the tediousness of accounting and marketing classes and gave up. I did end up graduating with a BA in English. But I let go of my dream of being a copywriter. It seemed too hard and an impossible endeavor.

After graduation, my career went on a crazy course from research assistant to private investigator. It gave me good fodder to write about. But it also took me that much longer to finally recover and find the destination of my childhood dreams.

So I say to you now, the you who has been unhappy with your current job, the you who knows you deserve something more, although finding your dream job is worth the wait, you don’t have to wait to find it.

  • Think about what you loved to do when you were young.
  • Revisit the past-times you couldn’t live without.
  • Recall the jobs you dreamed about doing when you were a kid.

Follow the crumb left by your childhood self and you’ll eventually get there. Your adult self will finally catch up to your little kid.

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