Doing What I Love to Do

By October 24, 2010Career

A funny thing happened along the way to figuring out what I didn’t want to do in my career. I figured out what I wanted to do. And, what I loved to do.

For many years, I struggled with finding my path in life. I would go for days and months accomplishing great things and moving forward in my career, but never feeling my career was truly an extension of me. I knew what I did well and often found myself in positions that capitalized on my strengths. The disconnect was that I didn’t really enjoy the work, even though I was utilizing my strengths. I was caught in between the things that I could do very well yet never feeling complete joy and satisfaction in my work.

As my career progressed, I found myself feeling lost. I had achieved all the common milestones: finished undergrad, landed starter job, left starter job for the next job, started and finished graduate school, and got promoted. I kept working for the next promotion and then kept working for the promotion after that. Once I finished grad school and moved up within the company, I found myself stalling and feeling sidelined. Each opportunity leveraged my strengths yet brought me face-to-face with work that I didn’t completely love.

During one particularly stressful period at work, I became more discouraged and frustrated. I spent numerous days mulling over the work that I disliked and what I didn’t want to do in the next job. I knew that my career path at some point would involve owning my own business, but I struggled to figure out what that business would look like. And then, one evening, as I was standing in my kitchen gazing out the window, it hit me. It very honestly and really hit me. For all the days and months I had spent focused on what I didn’t want to do, and frankly, what I absolutely disliked doing, I made a simple shift in my thinking that allowed me to discover my path and my purpose.

The simple shift that I made involved framing the question differently than I had up until that evening. Instead of framing the question in the negative, I shifted my thinking to “What can I do?” and “What would I really love to do?” and “What gives me energy?” and “What is my purpose?” And that’s when it hit me. The light literally went on and there was a momentary flash. I remember feeling really happy and really scared all at the same time. In that moment, I was able to connect all the pieces of what I loved: working with people, serving as a resource, advising and coaching people to solve business, leadership, and career challenges, and helping people to grow personally and professionally. I’ve always been an avid gardener with a real love and passion for cultivating seeds into beautiful flowers. Coaching represents all the things that I love about gardening and gardening is everything that I love about coaching. So it all began.

I’d like to say that the very next day the business was launched. The reality is that it took two years from that evening. I needed time and space to build a plan, plant seeds, and grow into doing what I love. It was a pivotal evening nonetheless and one that put me on the path to doing what I love. Today, not only am I running down that path, but I’m cultivating the business and career of my dreams and my life is fuller, richer, and happier for it.

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