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OTHER ITA SITES:
Aligning Work with Your Life Purpose
If you are doing work that is right for you, you will get energy from your work. Sunday nights and Monday mornings will be joyous and you will know that your head and your heart are in sync.
Often my coaching clients' passions and interests are completely unrelated to the work they are performing. Well, that's why they call it work, right? Wrong! I believe that our work is our greatest opportunity to express ourselves in this world. Work, if aligned with our true selves, can be the purest form of self-expression.
Work as Duty
Too often, we let our "shoulds" guide us down the conventional career path and then at mid-career we wake up and think, "how did I get here?". Every time I feel a "should" creeping into my thinking - I need to stop and be aware of where this "should" is coming from. Most of our "shoulds" we pick up from other people - our parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, and others. Rarely is a "should" an authentic guide to what will bring us happiness or fulfillment in life. I recommend living by the saying "don't should on me".
Work as Energy
I also believe that we incorrectly view our jobs from a limited viewpoint that doesn't understand how energy flows in the universe. I will work 40 hours and receive $$$$. Our goals is often to work the least amount of time possible for the most amount of money.
Work is really a giving activity. It is a path of service. I give 100% of myself and talents. I give unselfishly of my energy. And I receive energy in return in the form of money. In this viewpoint, our goal is to provide the most value possible, knowing that the universe will match our energy in return.
I have a coaching client who has decided to go to graduate school and get her masters degree. She is trying to decide between two programs. One is a more traditional program that will prepare her for a myriad of corporate jobs when she graduates. The other program will set her on a path to be a freelancer. She knows that her heart is not in the first program, but feels it is her "safer" option. She is afraid to choose the unconventional program.
Follow Your Heart to Discover Meaningful Work
Why are we so afraid to follow our hearts and pursue our bliss? Why have so many of us lost our inner compass? One reason is the over-intellectualization of our culture. Ever since the Scientific Revolution, we have favored our intellect over our intuition. The Scientific Revolution has definitely improved the quality of life for many people and has freed us from some destructive superstitions, but at what price? I'm not going to address this question at the macro level (environmental issues, distribution of wealth, etc.) but at the individual micro level.
Our society and its educational institutions teach us to live in our heads. We favor our rational intellects and many of us are disconnected from our hearts and bodies. Without this connection, it is difficult to use our inner compass to chart our life course and follow our bliss. I work with my clients to integrate the head, heart, and body so that they are functioning holistically from their body-minds.
I worked with one woman who wanted to find work that she was passionate about. She told me, "I just need to sit down and think about this some more." And therein lay her trap. We often believe that if we just think harder about something, a solution will present itself. When it comes to finding work you are passionate about, the answer will not come from your rational, logical brain - it will come from your heart and soul. To connect with your heart and soul, you need to be able to access your emotions and body sensations in real-time and connect them to your thoughts.
If you don't believe me, then think of peak moments in your life - moments when you felt happy, blissful, relaxed, energized - like all was well with the world. Where did this feeling come from? Your head or your heart?
To discover meaningful work, you need to connect with your heart by paying attention to your emotions. Dismiss any shoulds that appear. And pursue work from a path of service, knowing that this is the legacy you will leave to future generations.
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