I’d like to share a personal experience and some insights on envisioning your work path from a larger perspective from my forthcoming e-book-- Successful Transitioning to Work You Love: Inspiration for Those on the Path to Heart-Centered Livelihood and a Life in Balance.
For myself and many people I’ve coached, seeing our professional future and the picture of our lives based only on our past experience, training, education, and family expectations was a logical point of view that limited our ability to make a fulfilling change. Only when we began to envision a career and life as an integrated whole based on what truly motivated and inspired us in the present were we able to go forward and create satisfying, lasting change.
I remember my first major career transition-- from a nonprofit program director to a somatic therapist. When I was 38, I’d just finished working for seven years as the director of a successful non-profit educational program in San Francisco, and I was burned out.
I realized that the part of this work I really cared about was interviewing, supporting, and writing articles about the volunteers, finding out what motivated them to make this kind of commitment in their lives. I loved hearing about their excitement in making a difference in the lives of young people, supporting literacy, helping teachers offer more to their students, and becoming an active part of their community.
But this was only twenty percent of my work week. The rest was administrative tasks to support the project and the organization-- and I felt a lack of engagement, a lack of meaning in how I was spending most of my time on the job.
The shift happened at a slow-simmering pace, partly because-- as I realize now-- my original vision for myself was so small, and I had absolutely no support in creating this transition. If only I’d had a life coach then to help me envision work and a life that felt authentic to me! As it was, I was only capable of imagining going on to direct other programs at larger organizations-- not that I could radically alter my career path.
It was only after continuously experiencing a sinking sensation in my belly after each new interview that I realized I didn’t want to manage programs at all. Then one day I saw the movie, Dirty Dancing, which just blew me away with the passion and enthusiasm of its performers! I felt my energy soar, lifted by that free-spirited dancing into another level altogether.
After that, I reconsidered my career direction again and realized I intended to do something radically different. I was going to explore the possibility of becoming a somatic therapist.
Why somatic therapy? Several years earlier, I’d tried different types of alternative healing to help with menstrual cramps and tension headaches that seemed intractable and were able to make several days a month a misery. I finally met a somatic therapist who connected me to the power of touch by simply placing his hand on my belly with great presence. I felt this tremendous energetic opening of golden light flowing from my body and a sense of being vibrantly alive. The message I got instantaneously was, “Your life is too cramped and narrow. You need to open to wider-- and wilder!-- possibilities.”
This was the beginning of my intuitive knowing that I wanted my primary work to be directly with people, allowing them to feel that kind of energetic opening for themselves and be inspired to make the life changes that mattered to them based on that energy.
For me, it was a gigantic leap into a career vision that I didn’t even believe was possible, because it was so entirely different from anything I’d ever done before.
Fortunately, I found a mentor who supported me in making this huge shift in my professional identity. When I later decided to take yet a new leap into becoming acareer and life coach, I had the support this time of a coach who helped me navigate the transition into the “wider-- and wilder!-- possibilities” that came to infuse my whole life with richness and purpose!
If you’re interested in exploring your desire to take the leap into “wider and wilder” career and life changes, please join me for my upcoming teleclass-- “Successful Transitioning to Heart-Centered Livelihood and a Life in Balance”-- on June 6th and June 13th, 2012, 9 - 10:30 AM Pacific Time. You’ll be receiving more information about this in a couple of weeks. If you have any questions now, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.