December 27, 2007
Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men. ~ Goethe
Opportunity Knocks: Creative Ways to Make a Living Without A Job
What Does Gratitude Have to Do With Career Change?
Valerie and her wonder dog,
By Valerie Young
As I drove alongside the Connecticut River today, I spotted two snow-white swans gliding elegantly atop still waters. I felt so blessed to have been in that place at that time to experience such a serenely beautiful moment. I feel lucky that way… a lot.
I don’t think I happen upon these moments any more than anyone else does. I just "see" them more than others do. I believe that’s because gratitude is so central to both my life and my work. I also happen to believe that maintaining a state of gratitude is fundamental to the process of changing course. Yet, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard another career counselor talk about gratitude as an essential element of career change. Come to think of it, I’m not aware of any career related books that talk about the importance of being thankful either.
I think perhaps the reason you don’t hear a lot of career change agents talk about gratitude is that we’re in the business of helping facilitate people moving from where they are to where they’d rather be. Changing your work and life are by definition all about the future. Gratitude on the other hand is very much about the present.
I understand that it can be pretty tough to be grateful when what you want is freedom, time, and a deep knowing that the work you do matters, but what you have instead is a soul sucking job that leaves you no time to see, never mind smell, the roses.
And yet if you really want to make a positive change, I believe it’s imperative to shift from a state of constant yearning for what you don’t have to being mindful of those blessings, however small, that you do have… right now. Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin talked about this concept in their groundbreaking book Your Money or Your Life. They write, "So much dissatisfaction comes from focusing on what we don’t have that the simple exercise of acknowledging and valuing what we do have can transform our outlook." Said another way, ungrateful people make lousy self-change agents.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that there is a lot wrong in the world. Far too many good people dying in too many bad wars… far too many people losing their homes because of bad loans… far too many people with no job at all. I know, too, that during this holiday season that some of you may be faced with dire circumstances. Yet, "Once we are above the survival levels," say Dominguez and Robin, "the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude."
Even during my most financially challenging and emotionally discouraging days of struggling to transition from my corporate job to working for myself, I still knew on any given day that I was blessed. I can see. I can hear. I have all my limbs. I am, God-willing, free of disease. I live in relative safety. I have food. I have heat. I have clean water. I have access to medical care. I have transportation. I have friends and family who love me. And I am blessed to have all of you.
At the risk of going all Oprah on you here, to me living life from a perspective of gratitude is not just an exercise in happy thinking. To me it goes much deeper than that. Melody Beattie described the benefits of gratitude well when she wrote:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
On the bulletin board at my post office hangs a quote from the Women’s Theology Center in Boston. It reads, "We must go slowly, there’s not much time." Achieving a dream takes hard work, perseverance, and, yes, time. Yet, life is too short to put off happiness until we have achieved our goal. In other words, with a dream, as with life, the journey is just as important as the destination.
As you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed or the company of a loved one today and every day, pause and be grateful for what and who is in your life right now. Go after that better future… but also be here now and savor the journey.
Add Your Two Cents
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About the Author
"Turning Interests Into Income" expert, Valerie Young, abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
To read more articles about how to work at what you love without a job go to ChangingCourse.com/articles.htm
No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to flee and fly high.
~ Jesse Jackson
Trickle Up helps very poor people make their way out of poverty. They do it by providing business training, seed capital grants, and support to help people launch a microenterprise, helping start or expand more than 10,000 businesses every year. Trickle Up offers grants, not loans, to entrepreneurs because they are committed to working with the extreme poor — people living on less than $1 a day who are unable to obtain a microloan.
Trickle Up identifies potential entrepreneurs with help from local organizations that are active in the regions in which they work. They currently have more than 80 such partners, as well as Trickle Up field offices in Asia, East Africa, and West Africa. Once they have identified an entrepreneur, they work with these local partners to provide them with business training and seed capital of about $100 to start a business. They also help entrepreneurs connect with savings and loan groups. This three-part approach ensures that the seed capital grants are judiciously implemented. It also helps entrepreneurs best realize their potential as independent and capable small-business owners, which leads to self-empowerment.
Trickle Up focuses their support on women. That’s because the majority report that, once they have launched their businesses, they are able to provide better nutrition, health care, and education for their families. They also focus on providing support to people with disabilities.
Changing Course is proud to donate a portion of all profits to this worthwhile organization. I hope you will consider givingtoo. Learn how atTrickleup.org
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. ~ Mark Twain
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. ~ Erich Frohmm
Keeping the Dream Alive
Like the song by Linda Ronstadt, "a dream is a wish that your heart makes." To lose a dream is to die a little yourself. It means closing down the part of you that can soar above the reality of your current life to see new and exciting possibilities.
Whenever she walks down a street, a friend of mine notices details of architecture, shapes and colors. As a child she fantasized about being an interior designer, but her parents, Italian immigrants, discouraged her from pursuing what they felt was an insecure way to make a living. "I was crushed," she says, "and the dream just died."
Our dreams are fragile. It is important not to talk about them at an early stage to anyone whom we sense will not support them. Often others project their own fears and doubts onto us.
I have known since my teen years that I wanted to write fiction. No one in my family supported my dream, because anything in the arts was considered unreliable. Nevertheless for years I managed to write and sell short stories and work on novels while holding down a full-time job. As rejection slips started pouring in, it became more and more of a struggle to keep my dream alive.
By then I realized that I needed positive reinforcement from other writers and joined one writing group after another until I found the right team. Many experts in goal achievement stress the importance of getting support when pursuing a dream. "Isolation is a dream killer," states Barbara Sher, career counselor and author of five popular books including Wishcraft and It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now.
Valerie Young, founder of Changing Course (website and newsletter) points out that assistance can come from a number of sources including colleagues, mentors and role models. Although friends can make a difference, she says, "you soar when you tap into the larger constellation of help that is available."
Listed below are the steps I followed in keeping my dream alive. These can help you nurture your dream as well, especially when you are busy making a living and/or raising a family and do not have any resources set up to help you get started.
Get support and encouragement
Find others in your field of interest. This could be through discussion groups on the Net, correspondence, or joining an organization. Workshops or seminars are also excellent ways to connect.
A wonderful thing happens once you connect with people doing what you love to do. You begin to see yourself as one of them.
Speak to professionals who are already living your dream; see how they did it. I wrote to the best-selling novelist, Charlotte Vale Allen and received useful advice in revising my book as well as encouragement.
Read everything you can about your interest - and APPLY what you learn to your work-in-progress.
In my case I read many books and magazine articles on writing, covering topics from plotting and character development to marketing and used much of that information in my work.
Fit a LITTLE into your life, as often as you can
Too many of us wait for the perfect time to do the things we are dreaming of. It is far better to feel the satisfaction of doing something now.
I went through a period where I was stretched between work demands (a reorganization at my company) and family needs. No longer able to find time to write fiction, I discovered tanka, a five-line lyric verse that conveys powerful emotion. This allowed me to fit creative writing into a very tight schedule.
Use visual reminders
I pasted images in a scrapbook to remind me of my writing goals. I also gave myself a date when I would leave my office job to write full-time and put it on my fridge. Seeing these visual reminders on a daily basis motivated me to make things happen!
To develop a dream you also must make room in your life. This may require sacrifice – whether it’s a smaller income to buy time or fewer social engagements or outings with your family.
I believe that by paying attention to your longings, you are steered towards a more fulfilling life. Pursuing and achieving dreams is not for the select few. If you give your dreams the attention and support they need to flourish, you may be surprised at the results.
About the Author
Thelma Mariano, life coach and author, is dedicated to bringing clarity and direction to people’s lives. See her on-line coaching programs, articles and column at
U-Unlimited.ca, email at [email protected]
Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live. ~ Dorothy Thompson
Upcoming Workshops and Teleclasses
Here are a few featured workshops and Teleclasses; you'll find a complete listing atChangingCourse.com/courses.htm
Turn Your Everyday Snapshots Into Cash
This January in Austin, TX, You Can…
Learn from professional photographers the techniques they use to shoot pictures that sell for $150, $400, $600 -- and even higher…
Get hands-on practice applying your new skills -- while you explore one of the world's most enchanting cities…
Discover how travel photographers create a need for their photos -- and double or even triple your photography income…
Find out just how easy it is to turn your snapshots into cash… and enjoy the freedom, independence, and travel that freelance photography delivers…
The Ultimate Money-Making Photo Workshop
January 31 - February 2, 2008
Visit: ChangingCourse.com/recommends/photographyworkshop for more details or (866) 415-1425 or local at (202) 370-6459 from 8:00am -5:00pm Eastern Standard Time. Spaces are limited.
Broaden your horizons as you expand your bank account! Help the poor and gain more fulfillment and fun.
Ecuador Import & Export Tour
After 12 years of traveling, digging, exploring and enjoying themselves all over Ecuador; Steve and Merri Scott invite those of you who want to really get out there and experience the Export Trail. You’ll gain exciting ways to increase your security, independence, freedom, wealth and well-being while helping this very deserving country and its indigenous people.
Improve the quality of your life, expand your horizons and reduce the tax you pay as you increase asset protection by having an overseas company and overseas income!
You’ll go to the high Andes. You’ll see products from Zuleta where they create handmade "green" cotton-one-of-a-kind tableware, shirts, and specialty items. You’ll travel every day to see different markets, crafts people and masters who create special products that will make your eyes gleam with delight…both for their uniqueness and salability.
Ecuador Import & Export Tour
February 18-23, 2008
Learn More at ChangingCourse.com/recommends/ecuadortour
"How to Become Joyfully Jobless" Teleclass Series hosted by Barbara Winter
Learn what it takes to live the joyfully jobless life from the master − Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job. A vivacious and wildly popular speaker, Barbara will address such topics as the power of multiple income streams… how to stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur… why starting small is the smartest (and most profitable) way to launch your new enterprise… and much more.
Like mini-workshops, these monthly Joyfully Jobless Teleclasses are interactive, which means you get to ask questions and benefit from firsthand feedback from the woman I call the "Muse of Self-Bossing."
This series is free to current members of the Fast Track Your Dream Community*. Non-members are welcome to attend for $19 with all proceeds going to the non-profit micro-grant organization TrickleUp.org
*To learn more about how you can fast track your dream of working at what you love - and get a two month membership FREE - go to ChangingCourse.com/fasttrackyourdream.htm
**A portion of all revenue from this Teleclass will go to support the entrepreneurial aspirations of impoverished people in the US and internationally via the micro-grant organization TrickleUp.org
With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity. ~ Keshavan Nair
The View From theOther Side
"It’s not just my story. It's the story of a lot of people who grew up and took a lot of crap – and decided, 'I'm going the other way.'"
~ Chris Gardner in his autobiographical book, The Pursuit of Happyness, which was turned into a major motion picture
Resources for a Change
Here are four resources for people who want to turn their love of wine into an income stream
Wine Across America by Charles O'Rear and Daphne Larkin is a great example of two people who found a way to combine a passion for travel and photography with a love of wine in this fascinating photographic survey of the U.S. wine industry. The authors travel to small vineyards in all 50 states to sample such unusual varieties as garlic wine from California, pineapple wine from Hawaii, cranberry wine from Michigan, and grapefruit wine from Florida. Listen to the entire interview on National Public Radio at ESYUrl.com/3vl
The Sommelier Society of America offers a 20 week certification program focusing on wine regions of the world, varietals, viticulture specifics, techniques of tasting, food and wine pairing, and distilled spirits, business, legal aspects, and licensing in the wine business, etc. Classes are held in New York City and Long Island. (SommelierSocietyOfAmerica.org)
Canadian Wine Studies courses (ESYUrl.com/3vm) are offered through the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and elsewhere through Fine Vintage Ltd (ESYUrl.com/3vn)
SommelierJobs.com lists jobs internationally for sommeliers, cellar masters, and wine directors. Recent listings included a sommelier for a five star hotel in Bombay, India and a wine director for a French resort.
Note: Changing Course does not accept paid advertisements from any of the resources listed here. This list is provided to expand your thinking about just how many interesting ways there are to make a living without a job!