What makes you come Alive?

7 Jun

Sean Aiken is the creator of The One-Week Job Project — an inspiring journey across North America in which he worked 52 jobs in 52 weeks to find his passion. He donated all his wages to charity! Check out this inspiring video.

How to make more Money and create more Meaning

6 Jun

By 401K

Recently, in a career conversation with a friend we were discussing how to generate 2 things for her:

1)  More money

2)  More meaning

Obviously she is not alone in this quest.

The first thought for most of us is how to  merge the two areas to find meaningful higher paying work.

However, depending on your skills and definition of meaning, this may be easier said than done- especially in the short term and particularly for those who do not feel they quite fit into a neat and tidy lucrative box.

So, if you too are seeking more meaning or more money- or both –before you quit your day job or pursue a higher paying, potentially all consuming job, consider this possibility: create multiple streams of income by riding the freelance or starting a side business.

The internet has provided a plethora of opportunities for people to create revenue streams.  For example, I have a side business as an Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot which provides me: fun, cash and an enhanced accessories wardrobe. I set the pace and work when I want to and I meet lots of amazing women and have started new friendships and expanded my network.

I  know many people selling products or freelancing to pay for *extras*, or simply to provide fun and meaning. These side gigs can (and often do) turn into full time well-paying jobs that replace people’s previous income.

I think they are also a way to explore under developed or under used aspects of yourself , and build new skills on your own terms. This is also a way to make money while building new skills rather than spending money by re-training.

I had no idea I would love being a part of a company like Stella & Dot- but it has really brought me a risk free way to explore and enjoy my inner entrepreneur.

Maybe you are a writer, social media expert or graphic design guru- offer your services up to small businesses looking to farm out these types of projects.

Really, any skill or hobby can be turned into an income stream, meaningful side gig or preferably both.

The point of this story: the career ladder may not be for you- diversifying your income streams may end up being more interesting, more rewarding and actually more secure in this rapid change economy. If you lose your day job your income has simply lowered rather than vanished.

The rebel in me also likes this as it bucks the need to be defined by your day job, a title or rank and feeds self empowerment.

So claim your niche. No niche is too small…

So first ask yourself this:

What do you know best or think about most?  What do you love to do or read about?  How can this bring value to others?  What makes you and your skills unique and/ or remarkable?  Or even better:  What makes you come Alive?

Then ask your self this:

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
Joseph Campbell

Just follow your heart and other lies people tell you.

22 May

Disney Lied.

It takes more than wishing upon a star.

Your Auntie Artsy lied too: you will need to do more than follow your passion and make a Vision Board.

Your parents lied: ‘just get a good education’ won’t work either. Neither will majoring in business, if your heart, mind and spirit is in psychology, or your hands crave carpentry.

There may be morsels of truth in all of this cliché advice, but none alone will really stand in the storm of our current economy or the rumbling of your soul.

So what is the answer?

I think it takes passion, sweat, and strategy, knowledge of your market, willingness to risk, an unwavering commitment and an eco-system of support.

You also need to have a valuable product or service to offer your customer, audience or client or employer.

Passion + competence + sweat + persistence + ability to risk + eco system of support  ( a mentor or many) + gap/ need in market for your particular valuable service, product or skill.

If you are trying to do this as a freelancer then unless you have investors, a rich spouse, or a trust fund, you may also need to hold down another job while you pursue this particular passion.

This is a good start.

I write this because I am sick of hearing this cliché: follow your passion, visualize success, you will be on your way. I am particularly sick of hearing it from celebrities and self help gurus who want to sell me their book.  But I have a hunch this is where many people stop thinking, and are blinded by endorphins and visions of fame and fortune.. because what comes next in the success equation is much less fun then eating hummus while making a Vision Board with your friends*.

I am also never a fan of soulless, practical, short sighted, market driven career advice, which is typified by many fear based but well meaning parents, poorly trained guidance counsellors, and banal online career articles.

So, I hate to be a party pooper, I want people to believe and follow their passion and make that darn vision board, I just really want you to keep going after that vision board is falling of your studio or office wall. I don’t want to see passionate soulful, intelligent people broke, and doing a survival job they hate, or unable to cover the rent because everyone is leaving out the last half of the story. Or even worse, because they mistakenly believed a ‘secret’ they read and now believe that the rules don’t apply to them.

On the other hand it is disheartening to pursue a career solely based on monitory gain. As Maslow pointed out, having your security needs covered can be a pre-requisite to strive for or explore greater things. However, research study after research study, shows that after a certain basic threshold, money will not make you happy.

And if you are trying to monetize your passion, you will need to treat it like any business and figure out where your audience is that is willing to pay for your offerings, and then reach out and make an authentic connection with that audience and persist.

After all this you may find that turning your passion into a way to make a living, actually ruins your passion for you.

Monetizing passion can be a passion killer for some.

So, you may find better successes finding a meaningful way to make a living that allows you to focus on your passion without the stress of making a living doing it. This is also known as the Sex and Cash  theory. Which has great merit and seems to be the path I have taken..happiness may just sneak up on you this way. Which reminds me of this quote from Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”

Viktor Frankl

So, please, let me know your theory and how it has or has not  worked for you!

Christine

*I do advocate eating hummus and making Vision Boards with your friends. Just don’t quit your day job immediately after this invigorating exercise.

There’s a Fine Line Between Existing and Living

8 Jun

There’s a Fine Line Between Existing and Living.

Nooks and Crannies

10 May

Lately I have heard people talking about fitting their passions and independent ventures in to the nooks and crannies of their lives.

This reminds me of flowers growing through the slabs of concrete on a sidewalk.

This is always one of my favorite discoveries.

For me this is how our passion finds a crack in our armour. Amid the routine, our ‘shoulds’, paying the bills, and our grown up responsibilities your soul can still find a crack through which to blossom.

Whether it is 15 minutes here, or 30 minutes there, we find time for things that we decide are priorities.

The dishes can wait.

You have mountains to climb.

Take it Public Before it is Perfect

9 May

Blog posts, books, scripts, businesses, all of these require a leap of faith, a bit of courage and a willingness to accept that we can’t wait until the idea is perfect to launch.

Launch early, launch slowly, launch quietly, but for the love of God, launch!

I have blog articles archived on a variety of topics ranging from 1 to 2 years ago. What on earth was I waiting for? The right concept? Enough time? It is not clear.

I am of the mind that if I have a self defeating habit, that there are likely many others with the same loathsome habit.

This means that there are people everywhere sitting on their ideas and creative impulses, stifling themselves.

This is it, this is the moment. Whatever is itching at you, gnawing at you, or quietly whispering to you. Take the risk, take the leap.

Go public before it is perfect.

Christine

What is holding you back?

9 May

I have successfully avoided taking statistics for most of my adult life.

But now, the time has come and I must succumb.
So, I will take a stats class the same way one takes wheat grass: quickly, because it is good for you. For a chaser I will do something I love to do to reward myself for putting up with myself for the duration of the stats class, like finally get my blog posts up and making them public.
As a result of my own misery I would like you to put yourself through something miserable as well.

This sounds counter to most career advice: Do what you love!  Do What You Are! (a great book), follow your passion, it will energize you and make you a millionaire..

Instead I am suggesting you do something you dislike, that is hard for you, that you generally avoid. I am just not telling you to do this for a living.

This is also known as: working on your weakness, which is something most thinking, warm blooded creatures avoid.  For some of you this may mean taking a warm and fuzzy class like: Learning to Speak the Language of Compassion, or Making Hot Soups on a Cold Day.

But more likely if you are a: ‘ right brain, creative, follow your passion no matter how unrealistic it is type’, which is often typified by the ENFP, a class in Advanced Excel may be just what the doctor ordered.
Often the one thing that stands between us and our desired career or life is that one area of weakness or rather that one thing we avoid.

In doing career coaching for diverse clients I have noticed that for each person there is often one area that is keeping them stuck. For some, we get stuck when we come across the ‘unfun’ stuff. These are the detailed, mundane, banal tasks that all projects eventually require.

We may feel like we are abandoning ourselves when faced with tasks that make us uncomfortable, this feels like we are abandoning our dream and this is the greatest horror of all for some of us.

For my more rational clients, say an ISTJ type, sometimes their ‘stuck place’, is allowing themselves to take a risk in to the irrational- the emotional and the nontraditional space that is also required to move forward in pursuit of their creative visions.

We are out of our comfort zone. And yes, this is where the magic does happen.
Sometimes, or maybe almost alwayswe need to do things that are uncomfortable to create the type of life that we want.
Thought for the day:
Do something you avoid, it may make you a lot happier.
Christine
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