About Your Guide - Personal Journey & Credentials
My Personal Journey
Some people are fortunate in that they have always had a very clear sense of direction in terms of the career or life they want to lead. Despite this being the minority of people the cultural expectation persists that we should have clarity in terms of the career we feel best suited to. In meeting and researching people who are doing unique and fulfilling things, I’ve learned that they have typically gone through a long process to find their passion, develop their gifts and then work out how to express them in a way they can also earn a living.
This has also been my own experience in striving to find an authentic career match.
The first spurious idea I had to work through was a belief my parents instilled that one’s career choice should be determined by what offers the most income and security. This simply didn’t resonate with me. What did ring true was the ideas I found among more poetic and inspired thinkers such as Wordsworth when he wrote, “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star.” The notion that life might hold a far greater purpose beyond mere survival always stuck with me.
The second faulty idea I had to navigate came through my education, which taught me that my career choice should be swayed most by what I was good at. After following this advice I wasted a decade or more doing work that came easily but offered little in the way of satisfaction or meaning.
The third inauthentic idea I wrestled with was the notion that there could be something much more suitable out there for me, which would also be attainable. What helped me to shift the tendency we have to play small was learning of an idea posed by mythologist Joseph Campbell. He suggested that we are each invited to abandon the conventional path of security and instead undertake the hero’s journey. The hero’s journey, or self-actualised life, is one in which we excavate our latent gifts and abilities in order to contribute to creating a better world. Campbell suggested that taking this road less travelled leads us to hear the “the song of the universe,” in that individuation calls out to each of us.
He went on to say that most people allow their authentic call to be dulled and denied, but if do stay with it, “you’ll not only hear the song, but you’ll hear it in great symphonic composition.” This idea that you can find and follow your deepest passion is not just put across by Western thinkers like Joseph Campbell or Abraham Maslow; Eastern sages like Patanjali advocate it as well:
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."
I have found that once I summoned the courage to open up to greater possibilities, opportunities have presented themselves and this last decade of my working life has been the polar opposite of that first, arid one.
The final false idea that I have been coming to terms with is the notion that we simply find a career we’re ideally suited to and we stay there until the end of our days. For some people this is true, but for most of us, it is not. So rather than focusing too much on an outcome such as the perfect job I have learned to pursue work that offers me ever greater alignment between the things I value and what a job affords me. Or as the wise have long advised, to appreciate the journey rather than the destination.
So in addition to covering the major career factors you must consider in finding a more aligned, satisfying career, our work together will also incorporate the sharing of our stories and journeys thus far, in order to reflect on experience, not just as theories. In taking a holistic approach to career development you are much more likely to satisfy both the heart and the head.