December 2005

In This Issue


Choosing Career and Life Goals:
The Myth of Passion


Choosing Career and Life Goals:
The Myth of Passion

As the New Year approaches our thoughts frequently turn to goal setting and the infamous and often ineffective “New Year’s Resolution.” But this is a good time to focus your goals in a different way, and to choose what you want to experience in your career and life during 2006. And I want to show you how you can do this more successfully.

When clients feel stuck and complain that they cannot find their passion, it is sometimes this very search for passion that keeps them from moving forward to find meaningful work and happiness. An expressed inability to experience joy and peace in their lives leaves them feeling stressed and unhappy. If only they could find the right job, then they would be happy! It is this focus on the future, rather than the present, that actually contributes to their unhappiness. And it is perhaps this perceived need for passion that keeps them from fully experiencing the work that may be available to them now. It is a myth that people need to find passion in their work to be happy.

But isn’t that what you do, help people find their passion?

Sometimes that is what I do. I help those who have not focused sufficiently on who they are to determine what kind of life, career, job, business and work environment best suits them. But even then, just like the passion of a new love interest, the novelty and excitement may eventually wear off and leave disillusionment and burn out.

But nor do I ascribe to the philosophy of a friend of mine who says, “You’re not supposed to like it, that’s why it’s called work.”

I don’t understand. Isn’t it good to have passion in your life and work?
Yes! Passion adds energy and exctiement! But the realities are that it’s still a job, with the requirements of fulfilling quotas and billable hours, meeting deadlines, and dealing with demanding clients. So perhaps it is more appropriate to decide what you want your career experiences to be like, rather than focusing solely on the work tasks and job titles. Your work, and how you do your work, is a reflection of who you are. But likewise, if you are working in a career that you don’t like, but choose to stay in it because it is a financially lucrative way to support your family, then that also is experiencing who you are through your work. A client recently realized that she wanted to immerse herself in a new career once her last child left for college. Her focus then shifted from the family to herself, and she was able to see that her former successful business no longer expressed who she has become. Our work is an opportunity to experience who we know ourselves to be on a conceptual basis. It is an opportunity to “practice” being that person. You should love your work because it supports who you are as a person.

For many it is about finding work that fits them at this time in their life. It could be work that allows them to live in the geographic area of their choosing. Or they may seek different challenges, flexibility in schedules, or greater opportunity to express their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit or particular talents. Some people feel they want to help organizations or people in ways they can’t with their current job or company. Whatever your present situation: accept it, change it or leave it. Those are the three choices. “All else is madness,” says Tolle in The Power of Now.

A recent client started to explore and send out job applications nationally. But she didn’t follow through and missed deadlines. Finally she identified her true feelings, realized that she did not want to move, and that she very much desired to continue living in her community. This choice, once made, allowed her to focus her efforts and to experience what she wants, a greater opportunity to use her talents to support herself and her son in her community.

Two other clients, both with business degrees, are waiting for the easy choice, the one that will fall in their lap, without effort on their part. In their desire to keep their options open and identify a passion, they analyze everything and find reasons why none of their ideas will work. They go for months, even years without making any decision and moving forward. At some point making a decision, even one that does not work out, is better than making none at all. That decision helps you to learn more about yourself, what you want, and how you can contribute to your community.

An important step involves gratitude, accepting and appreciating what is already in your life now. One reason that affirmations don’t work for many people, is that they focus on what they want, rather than what they have. And that implies lack. All you seek to have is already here. It just involves identifying what you want, and making the right choices.

As a client recently stated,

“… it wasn’t until the shift in my focus to “being” that everything started falling into place, quickly and with amazing clarity. As much as I love art, I don’t feel compelled to make art. As much as I love horses, I don’t feel compelled to have a horse. All of those things that used to feel like essential sources of happiness for me are no longer necessary.”

Several years ago I wrote an article entitled:  
Career Goals and Stress: How to Achieve Goals and Maintain Your Sanity.

I invite you to read this article.

Have a Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Year!