This weekend, I held my workshop called Manifesting the Career of Your Dreams. It was great fun and I really enjoyed working with all of the attendees. For those of you who missed it, a recording will be available to download on this website soon — in the meantime, here are some highlights.
We focused first on exploring our calling. Your calling is your unique contribution to make to the world — that you were born to make a difference on this planet, no matter how great or small. You know something is your calling because it brings you great joy or a deep sense of peace. My favorite book on this topic is A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do by Thomas Moore.
We then made a choice around whether our calling is something that is part of our professional life or something we attend to outside of our jobs and careers. Some people get paid to do their calling and most people do not. However, it’s important that you attend to your calling by making it a priority in your life.
Did you know that the average person has 5 careers in his/her lifetime? Five! There may be some relation between them and there may not. But over our lifetimes, we will have a range of careers and then several jobs within each of those careers. I like knowing that statistic because it takes the pressure off of figuring out what you want to do when you “grow up.” All we have to focus on is what is next. What is next for you?
And then we talked about our “professional pies.” Our professional lives are much more than a career or job at any one point in time. It is the sum total of all the ways we make contributions in the world using our skills and gifts. Sometimes we receive compensation and sometimes we don’t.
For me, I have many interests and skills that I like to use. But I rarely find one job where I can use them all. Instead of feeling limited, I find ways to satisfy all the parts of my self through different activities and opportunities — the slices of my professional pie. For example, I love to do public speaking, I love to help people grow and develop (especially in small group or one-on-one settings), and I love to wrap my brain around a challenging project. There are more but those are the primary ones.
For public speaking, the right amount for me is 4-6 times per year. So I put myself out there to do speaking gigs at conferences, professional meetings, and community events. Some are paid and some are not but either way, I get to satisfy this part of my life while making a contribution to others. This is probably the smallest of my pie slices in terms of actual percentage or time.
Helping people grow and develop happens with Soul School but also in classes that I teach. And even trainings I do for groups and organizations. For me, the key is to have a certain length of time so that I can work more deeply and meaningfully with people. This needs to be the largest slice of my pie because it is the most meaningful to me and is actually part of my calling.
And for the challenging project, I enjoy collaborating with others on solving some kind of issue. Recently, this has been the main focus of my job at Antioch University where I was charged with overhauling the entire BA Program. It was really fun and I got to work with some great people as we figured out how best to do this. We have been implementing the plan and it has been fun to see such visible results. This slice of pie was really big the past two years and now it’s time for me to rebalance the size of this slice with the helping people slice. There is a certain balance that just feels right for me.
I share this because each of us has many sides to our gifts, talents and preferences. While a few of us will be lucky enough to find a job that allows all of these parts to be expressed, most of us won’t — but that shouldn’t stop us. Consider your professional pie to be much bigger than your current career or job. What slices do you want to have in it? How big should each slice be in relation to the others? And what actions can you take to them happen?
It might be as simple as letting people know. (Pssst, I am available for speaking and training gigs — call me!). Or you might want to volunteer your services to a local organization or event. What can you do on a freelance basis and cultivate some individual clients on the side? The possibilities are really endless. I find the ability to build my professional life from a variety of sources, and not just one job, to be key to my ultimate satisfaction.
Take time to consider your own professional pie and how you will build it over the next few months. Then add a generous dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!