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Posts Tagged ‘a life you can call your own

Will you die from an overdose of satisfaction?

The delightful Paolo Coelho quotes Salvador Dali in his blog today.  I deduce that Dali is an artist.  But you and I are probably more interested in his attitude to life.

“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant. At the age of six years I wanted to be a chef. At the age of seven I wanted to be Napoleon. My ambitions have continued to grow at the same rate ever since. Every morning when I awake, the greatest of joys is mine: that of being Salvador Dali. There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.”

Do your ambitions continue to grow?  Do you like being you?

I am pretty sure you do.  I’ve never met anyone whose eyes don’t light up when we acknowledge their existence.

But so many of us are trying to be someone whom we are not.  We are exhausted by our constant pretending.

It’s so much easier to look at each day and marvel at the moments when we were just doing what brings us alive.  We can put aside the long commutes and grubby trains.  We can put aside the dentist’s chair.   As we pick our way through the rubbish tip of western life much as a small child does on the rubbish dumps of third world cities, we can still find time to celebrate not only what fascinates us but that we are fascinated at all.

Can we celebrate being us and not airbrush ourselves out of the picture leaving only the rubbish dump for the world to see?  Hey this is us. Why should we bring our lives down to the tip around us?  I nearly said, “sorry not me”.  But I am not even going to give that possibility that much airtime.  I’m too busy.

Put rubbish in the rubbish bin where it belongs

I say to university students, “when something is rubbish, pick it up and put it in the rubbish bin where it belongs.  And move along.”  They are always so relieved. They think they are obliged to honor rubbish.  They aren’t.  They just have to bin it.  With gusto and applomb.

They are too busy and too interesting to waste time on refuse.  That belongs on the dump.

Have your ambitions being growing at the same rate – chef at 6, Napolean at 7?  If not, then it is time to bring your life alive!

What do you really want to do in life?

Whenever you go near a positive career coach, they are going to ask you what you really want to do in life.

Guess what?

You are going to list excuses. Because if you were off following your dreams, you wouldn’t be talking to a career coach!!

Are you normally a wuss given to excuse making?

Probably not.  If you were, you wouldn’t be spending good money on a career coach.  And we will charge you a lot, just to make sure you are not!

What is holding you up?

So you paid your money, and you know you are up some sort of psychological cul-de-sac and you are making excuses.  What the **** is going on?

For a start, you are behaving normally.

We all have moments when we wake up and are confused about our purpose in life. Typically, this happens when we have been intensely busy.  While we had our heads down attending to detail, we took our eye off the bigger picture.

We are also shy.

It is normal to keep our dreams a little hidden, even from ourselves. We fear success. We are terrified of getting what we want because at that point, we are exposed.  What if it turns out to be a disappointment?  What if we won’t be who we thought we would be?

Making the most important choice in your life

When you go to see a career coach, that is the choice you are making.  You want to know whether you are big enough to step into your own dreams.

Well you won’t know until you try!

Here are five know facts about positive careers that I have rewritten from another blog.  It is a good example of positive career coaching.

#1 You won’t find what you love until you take the time to imagine it and draw it in exacting detail

#2 You won’t move forward until you can name and imagine your fears in excrutiating detail

#3 You’ll become purposefully efficient when you work on actions that move you forward and decisively put aside actions that don’t move you in the direction you value so deeply

#4 You plan will appear not to work until you move toward your destination which puts all other destinations aside

#5 You will get discouraged from time to time and when you do, you have two choices. If you are involved in an activity that does not take you forward, put it in your waste bin with relish and move on to something that does!  If the activity has proved to be an obstacle that you must move through and over to reach your destination, get on with it!

Writing the perfect job description is  #1.

  • Take your job description and rewrite it to match your dream job.  Put in your job title.   Write down who you report to and who reports to you.  Do the whole shooting match.
  • Now review your daily activities and remove what does not take you towards your dream (if you can).  Leave what takes your forward and what you do for love and fun.
  • Get moving!
  • Now do #2.  Imagine your fears in excruciating detail.  Imagine the villain to your hero as sympathetically as you imagine yourself. Let the story of you life unfold!
  • And when you are discouraged, take a walk in the park, get over the immediate emotional shock, then decide.  Where does this setback fit in to your journey?  Is it an obstacle that you will enjoy conquering on the way to your perfect job?  Or is this just trash to be put aside and ignored?

Get writing that job description!

Until you have it in technicolor glory, then you will be stuck at your crossroads wondering whether you are your boss is writing the story of your life?  That is the choice you are making.

Do you have what it takes to conquer your fear of being successful?

Feb 8 2009 High Street South & Steeple snow pi...
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Will your degree really take you where you want to be?

I’ve just read story in the TimesOnline about a mature student who returned to university and read psychology, very successfully, only to find that there are insufficient places for students to complete their professional qualifications.

I am sorry to hear this story. There is a breach-of-confidence here that shames us all.   When students go to university, they accept in good faith our implied promises of progression within their degree and access to their chosen profession.

Very sadly, these promises are often made lightly.  And quite often universities deliberately conceal the facts, if not by commission, then by omission.  They quite consciously don’t collect information on student destinations, and they just as consciously don’t make these facts available.  It is certainly time for regulators to insist that these facts are published on University websites and kept up-to-date!

Not only do I think publishing student pass rates and destinations should be mandatory.  I think universities should loan fees to students and recover the loans themselves!

Caveat emptor

Until the day that regulations are tightened up, then I afraid it is a matter of caveat emptor, buyer beware.  Students need to be wary of making large investments in services that have no warranty!  Should they discover that the university’s promises are inflated, they will be able to recover neither their money nor, more importantly, their time.

Craft a life plan that is far bigger than uni and the professions

So what can students do to avoid this trap?

The advice from contemporary positive psychologists is this.  Don’t plan your university studies around a specific job and employment route! Neither is guaranteed.  Indeed, we have seen from the banking crisis that nothing in this world is guaranteed.

Rather, see your university education as a supplement to your life plan.  Let me give you this example.

Young Nick Cochiarella from my village of Olney has already launched his first social network, SpeakLife while he is at college.  He’s a hardworking guy and he also has a job at the local Coop.  He is taking a slightly circuituous route doing technical training before he goes to university.  But he is not waiting for anyone.  It is true that his hard work still guarantees him nothing.  But he is not deferring his dreams, and his university training supports, rather than defines, his life’s purpose.

But I need a job now!

It can be tough to start living our dreams.  We often get into an enormous tangle.

The biggest distractor is the desperate belief that we will somehow be safe when we follow a road carved out by others.  But it is not safe, as we have seen.

And even if it were safe, why do we think that other people’s dreams will be enough for us?

Wouldn’t it be better to have our own dreams and to work with others to find where we can temporarily work together to make the path easier and broader for both of us?

A plan big enough to include now

Ned Lawrence has been challenging me to refocus this site on the needs of the ordinary person – the person who lives these dilemmas.

What do you think?

Is it possible to make a plan that is big enough to include now?

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Sleepwalking to work, through work, at work?

David Bolchover, who wrote The Living Dead: Switched Off Zone Out – The Shocking Truth About Office Life and guest posted for the Timesonline, wrote on his book blurb that he left corporate life to do something with his life!

I also got an email for an organization that specializes in Career Shifts – you know those awkward career changes when you are going to do something different. They quote Howard Thurman whom I am sure David would like too.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.”

British poet David Whyte says similarly:

“There is only one life you can call your own, and a thousand others you can call by any name you want.”

If you can’t bunk out to the nearest bookstore to look for one of his books of prose or poetry, spend part of Easter listing all the times at work and play that you have felt truly alive.

It would be great to hear which of those you could sneak into your work life . . .

UPDATE:

To sneak good stuff into your job, look for Dr Rao speaking to Googletalk (on YouTube). There is no reason to be in job that is deadening.  But it might be way we “hold the conversation” that needs to change.


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