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Changing Careers? How to Get Around the Three Major Mental Roadblocks to Success

A part of you can’t wait to dive into your new career — but you’re also smart enough to know that you can expect a few bumps along the road to success. By far, the biggest roadblocks exist between your own two ears!Let’s take a look at three common mental roadblocks and learn how to overcome them.

ROADBLOCK No. 1: Wishful Thinking

How many times have you wished you’d hit the lottery? Now, how many times have you actually won the lottery? Far too many people spend far too much time wishing when they should be dreaming.

So, what’s the difference between wishing and dreaming?

Wishing is passive. We wish for things over which we have little or no control. We wish we were taller or thinner. We wish the waiter would hurry up. We wish our boss wasn’t so [you fill in the blank].

The other thing about wishes is that they are often tinged with regrets about past decisions — both big and small. We wish we’d ordered the fish instead of the chicken. We wish we’d taken the other job. We wish we hadn’t let the love of our life get away.

Dreaming is different. For one, a dream is active. Unlike wishes, we can actually do something about a dream. After all, you don’t “wish up” a plan, you dream one up!

You may not get everything you dream of getting, but two things are certain:

1. It doesn’t take a single extra ounce of energy to dream big than it does to settle.

2. You’ve got a lot more to gain by shooting high than by shooting low.

ROADBLOCK No. 2: What If Everyone Thinks You’re Crazy?

You’ve probably already thought about the people you can count on to support your plan to create a more meaningful work/life. But have you also taken stock of those you should make a point NOT to turn to?

Unless you come either from money or from a long line of pioneers, you may not get the support you want from your family. With the best of intentions, you may find your dream of quitting your job to pursue your dream career met with advice to “play it safe,” reminders that “you’re lucky to have a good job,” or a lecture on the seemingly insurmountable odds standing between you and success.

No matter how old you are, or how much you deny it, family approval does matter. Which, of course, makes it all the more painful when the people we love fail to give us the emotional green light we so desperately seek.

Other people’s fear, skepticism, and negativity can be as contagious as the flu. And unless you’ve built up your immune system, these dream stompers can knock you for a loop — especially when they are right in your own family.

You have two choices. You can either continue to turn to these naysayers in hopes that they’ll respond differently — or, you can choose the saner path of acceptance.

Don’t look for support from people whose life experiences have not prepared them to give it fully. Instead, take advantage of the support that really is available.

ROADBLOCK No. 3: Fear of Change

The closer you come to leaving the security of your 9-to-5 job (no matter how much you want out) the greater your level of excitement and trepidation (see “Word to the Wise,” below).

Anyone who has ever ventured out of their safe little world will tell you they had doubts. But when it comes to making a major life change, not only is a certain amount of fear perfectly normal, it’s actually helpful. For example, it’s our healthy fears that keep us from jumping off cliffs. And the great thing about fear is that there are ways to get around it.

So, try laughing in the face of fear. Am I kidding? No. Ridiculing your fears is actually a very effective technique for banishing them — because the mind rejects that which it considers absurd.

The trick is to turn your fears into a ridiculous event in your mind. That way, you allow your natural human reaction to absurdity to take over and dismiss them.

Try it yourself. Take your biggest fear and take it to extremes. Really exaggerate it. Let’s say you’re paralyzed by the fear of failure. Try picturing your entire family, all of your friends, your neighbors, everyone you went to high school with, even your boss, standing outside your cardboard-box home holding up signs that read: “We Told You So!”

Pretty ridiculous, right? When you realize that your worst-case fantasy is just that — a fantasy — what felt overwhelming will now feel much more manageable.

Another way to manage the fear of venturing out on your own is to start small. If the thought of just up and quitting your day job frightens you, start building your client base on the side. Begin with low-risk steps and gradually work your way up to the harder stuff.

Remember, courage is not a matter of losing your fear so you can take action; courage comes from taking action. And that, in turn, helps you overcome your fear. When you can act despite your fears, you will be rewarded many times over.

 

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.

Reprint Permission

You may re-print these articles electronically, in print, or on your website providing the byline appears at the end of each article. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. If your publication is sent via email send a copy to [email protected]

If your publication is mailed, please mail to Changing Course, 7 Ripley Road, Montague, MA 01351. If you publish the article(s) on a website, please email us a link to the article.


The Difference is in the Details: How Reading Between the Lines Can Help You Discover Your Life Mission and Live It

In just about every issue of the Changing Course Newsletter is a feature called “Val’s Picks and Ponderings.” A pick might come in the form of a book, a course, school, other learning opportunity, a website, a resource, information, or an opportunity – anything that can help you nudge your dream along or put it firmly on the fast track.

Some picks consist of a pretty straight-forward sharing of information. Usually though, a pick comes with a bit pondering. Even when a pick doesn’t seem to speak to your unique gifts or interests, on the surface anyway, read it anyway. Why? Because when it comes to trying to make a major work-life change, reading between the lines, digging deeper, making connections and the like can make all the difference.

For one, life changing gems sometimes show up in the most unexpected places. Let me give you an example. I happened to be flipping through the AAA auto club newsletter when there, among the ads for trips to Radio City Music Hall, Niagara Falls, and Rio, under the headline “Journey to Ireland,” I spotted a picture of my local congressman, Richard Neal. As it turns out, he’s part of an upcoming nine day trip to Ireland being sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts (WAC).

In addition to detailing the airfare, deluxe hotel, meals, a performance at the Abby Theater, and other travel highlights, the ad went on to explain that the WAC is also “providing opportunities to meet political leaders and business contacts.” They’ve even arranged a series of special interest forums to highlight such topics as women, youth, education and technology.

My first reaction was, Wow! If you’ve always dreamed of starting an import-export business or otherwise doing business in or with Ireland, what could be better than getting to not only go on a fabulous vacation there, but to be accompanied by a United States Representative of Irish-American descent to personally introduce you to potential business partners or customers! But that’s not all. Since the purpose of the trip is to make business connections, all or much of the “vacation” is tax-deductible! (For details go to http://www.aaa.com or call the World Affairs Council at 413-733-0110.)

The point is, you never know when you might find an info-nugget or a connection or a perspective that can in turn lead to some change-enhancing idea, aha, or insight that DOES support your dream.

Another reason to read between the lines, or in this case, the Picks, is that changing course is about GIVING support as much as getting it. Even though you may not be into financial planning or travel or music or whatever a particular Pick might about, I bet you know someone who is. How great if you could buck the dream-busting mentality out there by passing along some information to encourage someone else’s dream.

Case in point, when I learned about the John Lennon Song Writing Contest I couldn’t wait to tell a very talented singer and song writer I know named Travis LeDoyt. While making quite a name for himself with his Tribute to the King show (last year he was featured in a New York Times Sunday Magazine), he’s also getting ready to release an album of original recordings (check him out at http://www.TravisLeDoyt.com). So, as you read a Pick or an article, see something on TV or on the web, consciously think to yourself, “Whose dream might this information help?

Then there is the Law of Reciprocity. The Law of Reciprocity says that if you help someone else that person, will find a way to reciprocate in some way. What I think is far more importantly than the tit-for-tat element of support is that when you actively begin to support another person’s dreams you automatically begin to feel more excited and hopeful about your own.

The great writer Alice Walker explained the dance of support very well when she wrote:

“Wherever I have knocked, a door has opened. Wherever I have wandered, a path has appeared. I have been helped, supported, encouraged, and nurtured by people of all races, creeds, colors, and dreams; and I have, to the best of my ability, returned help, support, encouragement, and nurture. This receiving, nurturing, or passing on has been the most amazing, joyous and continuous experience of my life.”

Finally, reading between the lines helps address what I believe to be one of the biggest reasons most people never go after their dreams – namely, lack of information. Most people, I find, operate within a very limited range of income generating options – plumber, police officer, social worker, scientist, etc. – all of which come under the j-o-b umbrella. They dutifully scan the job listings, and when they don’t see anything that makes their heart leap, they resign themselves to a life spent waiting for retirement.

Discovering how many fascinating ways there are to make a living, or the vast number of unique learning and training opportunities out there, or the myriad of helpful resources that exist in the world is truly mind expanding. I know. One great perk about my work is that I get to see mind expansion in action all the time. It happens whenever someone asks me what I do.

When I explain that I help people who want more control over their lives to a) figure out what they want to “be when they grow up” and then b) come up with creative ways to make a living at their passion without a j-o-b two things happen. First, their eyes light up. Next, they almost always ask, “And, how do you do THAT?” referring to the second part of the equation. (If you had that same response, click here for my answer.)

You see the thing is, when you open your mind to opportunity the world suddenly gets a whole lot bigger. As your mind and the world open up you’ll experience a similar spurt in options. So, make it a point to read between the lines. When you do, I think you’ll discover that the difference is in the details.

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.

Reprint Permission

You may re-print these articles electronically, in print, or on your website providing the byline appears at the end of each article. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. If your publication is sent via email send a copy to [email protected]

If your publication is mailed, please mail to Changing Course, 7 Ripley Road, Montague, MA 01351. If you publish the article(s) on a website, please email us a link to the article.


Trapped in a Job You Hate? Where to Search for Freedom

This article originally appeared on CareerBuilder.com.

Bill, a 28-year-old web developer and programmer, feels stuck in a job he no longer enjoys. He hates sitting in front of a monitor all day and worries that the stress of corporate life will shorten his life. “I know,” says Bill, “I am trading money for health and happiness.” His real dream is to be his own boss. “This sounds crazy, but I want to be a locksmith or somebody who works with their hands and does not sit in a chair between four walls all day.”

So what’s stopping him? Bill points to three things: ignorance, money fears and time. The solution to overcoming these common dream busters is startlingly simple. The opposite of being ignorant is becoming more informed. The unknown can be frightening. So, the more you know the less there is to fear. And, thanks to the Internet, getting informed takes virtually no time at all. The key here is information, which, like truth, is exactly what Bill needs to be set free.

Here are three places for Bill to begin his search:

Look Within

The first place any dreamer should look for answers is in the mirror. Despite being desperately unhappy in his chosen field, Bill says he is concerned that, “Traditionally a locksmith is not a respected position and the money may not be that great. When I tell people I am a programmer I see something in their eyes that says I am smart.”

Everyone has his or her own definition of success. For Bill, earning a certain amount of money and being seen as intelligent are clearly in the mix. But, to a growing number of people, success means enjoying more control over their lives. When Working Woman magazine asked women business owners why they became entrepreneurs, the number one reason was not money but freedom and flexibility. For many, success equals happiness. In a survey of conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers new college grads said that the most important factor in a job is enjoying what you do (making lots of money ranked 9th).

Looking within will bring Bill and his dream to a fork in the road. If holding fast to some socially contrived image of the kind of work “smart” people do is important – and he is willing to continue to pay the price for this validation – then Bill should stay put. Otherwise, he needs to continue his quest for information.

Look to Others

Perhaps the best source of information about any line of work is someone already doing it. Most people are more than willing to talk about what they do for a living. At least Walter Kulas of BMT Lock and Key in Springfield, Massachusetts was. I plucked Walter’s business out of my local Yellow Pages. Despite catching him in the middle of a job, Walter said that he and the other locksmiths he knows would be only too happy to talk to someone interested in learning more about the work they do. If, after talking to a few locksmiths, there were still holes in the information bucket, Bill still has a vast resource he can tap.

Look it Up

Bill complains of being constantly caught between a clock and a hard place. As he tells it: “I was going to take a vacation once. My plan was to quit it all for a week. Walk out of my house with my clothes and spend the next seven days just being a bum.” Wandering the streets for a week is one option. But think how much more ground Bill could cover if instead, he invested a single hour roaming the information highway.

That’s how long it took me to discover, that despite any reservations Bill might have on the IQ issue, today’s locksmiths have to be pretty smart. The Associated Locksmiths of America tells prospective members that installing electric locks, alarms, access control systems or surveillance devices requires being knowledgeable about electricity and electronics and possessing mechanical and mathematical ability.

Any further image-qualms Bill may have about joining a group of stereotypical “blue-collar grunts” would be quickly put to rest by reading Marc Goldberg’s article, I Am a Locksmith. In it, this young, good-looking entrepreneur explains that his profession isn’t all nuts and bolts. A locksmith is also a businessman, a diplomat and a psychologist.

Another bit of reassuring news comes from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, which predicts no slow down in this field through at least 2008. Perhaps less encouraging is the department’s wages database estimates locksmiths earn, on average, $26,640 a year – presumably far less than Bill is pulling down as a programmer.

Once again though, information to the rescue; Bill may take comfort in a national job posting at The New York Association of In-House Locksmiths for a job in California citing income as high as $60k. Undoubtedly, self-employed locksmiths earn more as well. If money is still a showstopper, Bill should think like a true entrepreneur and calculate how many freelance programming projects it would take to bump up his earnings.

Information could help Bill take a real vacation; maybe even to a place he’s always dreamed of living – like on a tropical island. When not collecting seashells he could be gathering information. Through the St. Croix Directory I easily located five locksmiths. Who knows if any of these operations are looking for an apprentice? But if he were willing to turn his vacation into a fact finding expedition Bill just might discover an opportunity to become a locksmith in paradise.

A mere hour of information gathering and Bill’s “crazy” dream suddenly seems entirely within reach. What IS crazy is not giving a dream even half a chance. Looking for information from within, from others and online is the key to unlocking just about any dream. When it comes to breaking out of an unsatisfying job, information truly can set you free.

 

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.

Reprint Permission

You may re-print these articles electronically, in print, or on your website providing the byline appears at the end of each article. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. If your publication is sent via email send a copy to [email protected].

If your publication is mailed, please mail to Changing Course, 7 Ripley Road, Montague, MA 01351. If you publish the article(s) on a website, please email us a link to the article.


Make Every Day Thanksgiving: How Creating a Better Future Starts With What You Do in the Present

This week most American’s will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Our Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving in October. Other countries and cultures around the world have their own days and ways of expressing appreciation for life’s abundance.

I happen to believe every day is meant for thanksgiving. I also think that recognizing the riches in our lives is integral to the process of changing course. Let me tell you what I mean.

Chances are the reason you’re considering shaking up your life is that you’re unhappy with the way things are right now. In fact, you’re probably painfully aware of exactly what – or who – is contributing to your current misery. It’s your lousy job… or disagreeable boss… or annoying co-worker… or maddening
commute… or the day-to-day pressures and stress of the job… you fill in the blank.

You’re “here” but you desperately want to be “there.” And while you may not know exactly what “there” looks like yet, you do know this: You want your future to look very different than your present. And herein lays the challenge. How do you strive to fashion this future life, yet still live happily in the present?
In a word: gratitude. If you don’t like that word then try “mindfulness.”

You see, I believe that the key to our current well being AND our future success is the ability to be mindful of all that we have right this very minute. This is all the more true if the present is less than desirable.

That’s because, as Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin point out in Your Money or Your Life, “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.” Let me share with you two personal examples of how living in the present and gratitude have transformed my own outlook.

I was on a road trip through Connecticut. I don’t remember now where I was going but I do know that as usual, I was in a hurry to get there. I was making pretty good time when suddenly traffic on the interstate slowed to a crawl.

As I sat there fuming a big tractor-trailer truck edged along side me. Even in my agitated state, I couldn’t help but notice that the side of the truck had nothing on it. It was completely devoid of advertising, company name, or words of any kind. There were no clues as to its contents whatsoever. It was completely white.

As the truck inched ahead, I could see some writing along the back. Maybe it was one of those “How’s my driving?” messages encouraging motorists to call in to report the driver’s performance. As the truck slowly pulled in front of my car, three simple words written in neat black letters came into view. The words were: Be Here Now.

I don’t know what the truck company had intended by that message but I do know the effect it had on me. The first thing I did was take a long, deep breath. My breathing slowed, my muscles relaxed. Heeding the message, I decided that
instead of raging at the traffic gods I may as well pop in a CD, sit back, and do the only thing I could do – enjoy the ride.

I began to compare the simple, yet powerful, message to “be here now” with the popularity of those “I’d rather be…” bumper stickers. Some of our fellow drivers would rather be fishing. Others would rather be shopping. A personal favorite common here in this college town is, “I’d rather be smashing imperialism.” We may all fill in the “I’d rather be…” blank differently but the message is still the same – we’d rather be just about anywhere but “here.”

To be fully in the moment is no small task. Even on a good day our minds have a tendency to race ahead with plans or worries or ideas. Being present is even more challenging when the current state of affairs is the very thing we so desperately seek to change.

And yet, neglecting the present invariably leads to future regrets. Being too busy to spend meaningful time with our children, visit a sick or aging relative, exercise, or even have fun is the stuff regrets are made of. None of us will look back at our lives and wish we’d done less, but we will all wonder why we didn’t do more.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Lennon understood that life is for living… today. What I’m trying to say is this: As you work to create that new and different future remember that changing course is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

To fully enjoy this ride called life requires that we appreciate each and every day and that we be mindful of all that we have. I realize this may not always be easy… especially when faced with illness, or hunger, or loss.

Yet even in the most dire circumstances, I’ve learned that there is always something to be grateful for. My friend’s Aunt Nancy had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was given no more than six months to live. She hung on just long enough to attend her grandson’s graduation. As we were driving Aunt Nancy to the ceremony, we saw the most beautiful sunset. Grinning from ear to
ear I heard her whisper, “I’m so lucky. I’m so very, very lucky.” I can tell you, we all felt pretty lucky that night.

“Once we are above the survival levels,” say Dominguez and Robin, “the difference between prosperity and poverty lies simply in our degree of gratitude.” When you consciously focus on life’s gifts instead of its challenges, you’ll begin to feel rich beyond measure.

So as you enjoy a drink of clean water, a warm bed, or the company of a loved one, pause and be grateful for who and what is in your life right now. Strive toward that new future, but remember to be here now and savor the journey.

To all who celebrate this special holiday, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.

Reprint Permission

You may re-print these articles electronically, in print, or on your website providing the byline appears at the end of each article. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. If your publication is sent via email send a copy to [email protected].

If your publication is mailed, please mail to Changing Course, 7 Ripley Road, Montague, MA 01351. If you publish the article(s) on a website, please email us a link to the article.


How To Get Paid To Play: Turning Your Hobby Into Your Job

This article originally appeared on CareerBuilder.com.

Hobbyists are passionate about their avocation. According to Webster’s Dictionary, an avocation is, “A subordinate occupation pursued in addition to one’s vocation, especially for enjoyment.” But what if you want to turn your avocation into an enjoyable full-time vocation? Here’s how:

Get Creative About Making Money 

Successful artist Ann Kullberg always loved to draw. But when this single mother of two discovered professional-grade colored pencils it wasn’t long before her art was winning awards.

Ann knew that drawing alone wouldn’t pay the bills – at least not right away. So in the early years, she supplemented her art by substitute teaching and cleaning houses. Ann also got busy coming up with creative ways to spin her love for drawing into income. Thirteen years later Ann travels the country teaching classes, does commissioned portraits, has a contract to write a second book, and is designing colored pencil by number kits for beginners.

Ann also came up with the idea of having her own on-line magazine where professionals and novices alike sign up for book reviews, critiques of artist’s work, business and art advice, workshop listings and more. In the first four months over 200 paying subscribers signed up.

Do Your Homework 

Get a notebook and label it “Shopping for a Living,” “Knitting,” “Fly Fishing,” or whatever your particular hobby might be. Then start filling it with the research you’re going to do on all the ways people are getting paid to shop, knit, or fly fish.

Associations are a great source of information. For example, if you’re into crafts you’ll find a wealth of information at the National Craft Association’s website including a list of craft and trade shows, a small business center, and a directory of wholesale reps. Love writing and history? Check out the Association of Personal Historians.

Book stores are filled with how-to and business-related books for just about every hobby you can think of. My personal off-the-beaten track favorite is a little book titled Knitting With Dog Hair: Better a Sweater From a Dog You Know and Love Than a Sheep You’ll Never Meet. (Don’t laugh. I read about one knitter who has a six month waiting list for her $300 sweaters.)

Along these same lines, there are niche magazines for just about everything. Check out the magazine section of any large bookstore and you’re bound to find publications like Cats & Kittens, Canoe & Kyack, and Gold Prospecting. Be sure to peruse the ads for clues as to how other people are making money from this interest area. 

Get Busy

After you’ve filled your notebook with lots of neat ways to turn your hobby into your job it’s time for action. Break your larger goal down into a series of small, manageable steps. Block out time at night and on the weekends to start working your plan. Before you know it, your work will feel like play!

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.


Quick Tips For Keeping Your Dream On Track

Tip 1: Write your goal on the back of two business cards. Then use a rubber band to wrap one card around the bills in your wallet. Wrap the other card around your credit cards. By connecting your goal to your money you’ll be more inclined to make short-term purchasing decisions that support your long-term dreams.

But that’s not the only benefit. By putting your written goal in a place you’re apt to see every day will serve as a repeated reminder of your dream. And when your mind is focused on a goal, you’ll be more tuned into opportunities that will help achieve it.

Tip 2: Identify and eliminate any obstacles. W. Clement Stone, author of Success Through Positive Mental Attitude offers this technique to get around those psychological and logistical roadblocks.

Write your goal at the top of a piece of paper and then draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left side of the page list any and all obstacles standing between you and your dream. Use the right side to note ways to overcome these obstacles as well as great ideas to help you achieve this goal.

Review this page frequently adding new obstacle busters and ideas as you go.

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.

Reprint Permission

You may re-print these articles electronically, in print, or on your website providing the byline appears at the end of each article. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated. If your publication is sent via email send a copy to [email protected].

If your publication is mailed, please mail to Changing Course, 7 Ripley Road, Montague, MA 01351. If you publish the article(s) on a website, please email us a link to the article.


When It Comes to Finding the Career of Your Dreams, Timing is Everything

One of the very first things I did on day one of the Making Dreams Happen workshop was take a survey of the group. As I suspected, participants fell into four categories:

~ Completely clued into their dream

~ Got a few different ideas in mind

~ Got a faint glimmer or two

~ Completely clueless

I knew that between Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, and I, we could definitely help the first three groups. To my clueless friends, I had to deliver the perhaps unwelcome news that over the next four days they may NOT discover the work they were meant to do. Not that myself and the other speakers weren’t ready, willing, and able to do everything they could to help. The reason they may not find their dream is that their dream may not yet be ready to be found.

That’s because, Find Your Calling is a lot like finding your soul mate. For those lucky enough to be with your life partner, you know that you came together when the right circumstances presented themselves. If you had met a year earlier, you or s/he, may, in one way or another, have been unavailable. When you finally came together it was because you were both in the right place, at the right time, for your hearts and minds to connect.

It’s the same with finding your life work. Take Mathias “Mick” Duda. Duda had been a dairy farmer in Easthampton, Massachusetts. That is until one Halloween night in the early 1960s when he was out plowing under the light of a full moon. When his tractor stalled, Duda went to a neighbor’s to borrow some gas. The neighbor happened to mention that some nearby property was for sale along the Connecticut River.

Mick bought the fertile waterfront property the very next day with the intention of farming. Now and then he’d look out over the river and consider boating as a possible hobby. But since he’d never been on a boat, never mind driven one, he didn’t give it a lot of thought. Over time though, Mick began to recognize the potential the property held and bought a few boats. One thing led to another and in 1975 the Oxbow Marina was born.

Today Mick is the owner of a thriving marina that he runs with the help of his son, daughter, and 30-plus employees. All 300 boats slips are occupied and expansion plans are in the works to accommodate more. In addition to selling boats, Duda’s company also services them. Mick even owns and flies a four-seat Cessna amphibious floatplane so he can better service customers in other locations like Lake George and the Hudson River in New York.

If this dairy farmer hadn’t run out of gas on that fateful Halloween night, he’d probably be milking cows today. Mick’s dream presented itself first in the form of the land for sale and then in the form of an idea to use the riverfront, but in both cases, only when the timing was right.

Does that mean I’m telling you to sit idly by, just waiting for Mr. or Ms. Dream to sweep you off your feet? Not at all. In fact, the more active you are in pursuing current interests and exposing yourself to new learnings and experiences, the more apt you are to meet up with your dream career.

But remember, if it doesn’t happen today or tomorrow or even next year, it may be because the time is not yet right. Don’t worry, your dream is out there. And when you and your dream are ready to come together, just as with a soul mate, it will go one of two ways. You may experience love at first sight and leap into the waiting arms of your long lost dream. Or, you may enjoy the slow dance of falling in love with your dream over time. Either way, be patient. Because when it comes to finding your dream career, timing really is everything.

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.

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Want the Perfect Career? Take a Page Out of Helen Hunt’s Success Book

Starting out, what kind of career did you want? When PBS’s Charlie Rose put this question to Helen Hunt, the actor replied confidently, “This one.”

Can you say that?

Sure she’s a famous movie star at the top of her career, but Hunt’s success was neither quick nor easy. She began acting at nine and spent two decades working in television, film and theater before landing her co-star role on the hit sitcom Mad About You. Hunt finally made her mark on the big screen with an Oscar for Best Actress for As Good As It Gets opposite Jack Nicholson. Her next role paired her with mega-star Tom Hanks and she is now one of the top-paid women in Hollywood.

Mad About Making It

Here’s how Helen Hunt says she got the career she always wanted – and how you can too.

Move toward what scares you.  Early in her career Hunt was living and working in Los Angeles. What scared her then was the idea of auditioning for stage parts on Broadway. For most people fear is a showstopper–not Hunt. “If I started to feel too safe doing anything, I would move toward what scared me.” So she headed to New York City to move both literally and figuratively toward her fear. After going on what she called “a lot of bad auditions,” she landed a role with Spaulding Gray. If you’re staying in a job or career you’ve outgrown use your fear to positively spur you toward an exciting change.

Create a vacuum for fate to fill.  When you’re in a highly competitive industry it’s tempting to grab whatever comes your way. Yet, around this same “pre-star” time in her career Hunt began turning down been-there-done-that film roles in “hopes that something better might come along.” The idea, says Hunt, was to “kind of create a vacuum to make room for what hopefully, fate has in store.”

Sometimes you need to tempt fate – or at least give it a little space. Make room for new and better opportunities by saying no to commitments that don’t support your goals. Then have enough faith in your dream to wait for the right pitch.

Swing at the ball and enjoy the game.  When long-time idol Woody Allen tapped Hunt to be his co-star in The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Hunt’s initial reaction was a combination of awe and anxiety. Had this opportunity come along earlier in her career, she admits fear may have gotten the best of her. Instead she decided “to just take a swing at the ball.” Once at the plate, she didn’t let the fear of striking out keep her from having fun: “I thought if I don’t do well, he’ll fire me. So, until that happens, I’m just going to enjoy this experience.”

When the opportunity to realize a long-held dream presents itself, draw courage from your past experience to help you step confidently up to the plate. Once you’re in the game – have fun!

Have a grateful heart. For Hunt, the four Emmys, the five Golden Globes, the Oscar and all of the rest were but icing on an already rich cake. Reflecting on her years as part of the Mad About You creative team, Hunt told Rose, “If none of these other things had happened and I’d had only that, I would have been a very, very lucky actress.”

Don’t focus so much on what lies ahead that you fail to appreciate past and present blessings. Taking stock of how rich your life is right now will make any future success all the sweeter.

You don’t have to be a Hollywood celebrity to reach for your own career star. Just take a page out of Helen Hunt’s book. Follow these simple steps and soon you too will be able to say with confidence that the career you have is just the one you always wanted!

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.


Who Says You Can’t Live Your Dreams?

Dreamers beware: for every dream there are 10 naysayers just waiting to dash it. It almost happened to Beverly Goodman Park. Park was close to 60 when her marriage ended. At an age when most people are contemplating retirement, Park decided to pursue a long-held dream of becoming an attorney. A lot of people told her she was too old. Undaunted, Park went to law school while working full-time, passed the bar exam, and at 61, landed a job at a law firm. Of her critics she says, “I thought this age stuff was baloney.”

Walter Anderson, author of the Greatest Risk of All, says by the time we are in our 20’s, we will have heard 25,000 “can’ts.” Don’t expect a lot of support for your “foolish dreams.” Instead, be prepared to reach deep within to turn “can’t” into “can.” Here are two motivation-boosting tips to get you started:

Become the Future You

Dreams, by their very nature, are about the future. With so many present-day demands your dream can start to feel distant. The more far-off the goal, the less likely it is you will act on it.

How can you make sure your dream doesn’t fall prey to the out-of-sight out-of-mind syndrome? By bringing it into the present. To do this you must become the future “you.” Here’s how: The next time someone asks what you do for a living, try answering, not in terms of the present, but as if you were actively engaged in pursing your dream right this minute. In other words, squelch your pat “I’m an accountant/in sales/a social worker/a homemaker” response and instead try saying something like: “I’m an aspiring mystery writer,” or “I’m looking into returning to school to become an oceanographer,” or “I’m in the process of changing careers to pursue my love of gourmet cooking.”

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t written a single page of your future bestseller, sent away for one college catalog, or lifted a finger to pursue your passion for cooking. What matters, is that the dream that once felt elusive will suddenly begin to feel real. And when that happens, you will be amazed at how much sooner you’ll get the change ball rolling. Before you know it, you will actually BE the future you!

Get Inspired

Someone who knows a lot about the power of “acting as if” is Steven Spielberg. Hoping to fulfill his filmmaking dreams, Spielberg explains that he snuck onto the lot of Universal Studios and became a “squatter” in an empty office. He even bought plastic letters to mount his name in the building directory. Security guards and exec’s alike thought the guy belonged there. His high jinks paid off. Spielberg’s first directorial break came when the studio bigwigs finally saw his first film and liked what they saw.

This and other success stories can be found in Mischief Marketing: How the Rich, Famous, & Successful Really Got Their Careers and Businesses Going. Author Ray Simon reveals how famous people as diverse as Mother Teresa, Duke Ellington, Andy Kaufman, rap artist Big Pun, and Benjamin Franklin really got started in life and how you can use their mischievous techniques to do the same.

As encouraging as success stories can be, learning about another’s failure can be just as inspiring. Did you know that Bob Dylan was booed off the stage at his high school talent show? Or that Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper job for “lacking ideas?” Or that Thomas Edison failed to perfect the light bulb until his ten-thousandth try? How many “can’ts” do you think these dreamers had to endure?

And when faced with a dream-buster, these “failure stories” can make great come backs too. Would Parks’ critics have been so quick to discourage had she pointed out that Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 80 years-old and that, of her over 1,500 paintings, 25 percent were produced when she was past 100?

“Persistence,” said Robert Half, “is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite.” As anyone who has ever chased a dream will tell you, disappointment, self-doubt and failure go with the territory. The trick is to recognize these setbacks for what they really are – bumps in the road, not the end of the road.

Publisher Katherine Graham said it well: “To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?” This is your life we’re talking about here. So what are you waiting for? Catch a dream, have some fun and start turning can’t into can!

 

Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at what you love on your own terms.

Did you like this article? Read more free articles about Changing Course.

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.


Instant Career Change: The Fast and Easy Way to A Great New Career

So maybe you’re not naive enough to fall for the “Make $10,000 a month stuffing envelopes from home” or other get rich quick scams. But admit it; the title of this article caught your attention, didn’t it? Whether you’re looking to lose 20 pounds or make a major career change, the promise of a quick-and-easy solution is enticing.

Take Stu. Stu phoned to say he’d love to get into voice-over work but didn’t know where to begin. I knew enough to explain he’d need to practice, make a demo tape, and then shop it around to different studios.

After a long pause, Stu said, “Gee, that sounds hard. Isn’t there an easier way?” Jokingly, I suggested he lounge by the phone until a client randomly selects his name from the phone book. Stu liked this idea much better.

Some people do get discovered, hit the lottery, or strike it rich on a game show. Apply this same “get change quick” thinking to your career dreams though, and your odds of success will likely be the same – namely, one in a million.

Here are three perspective-shifting remedies for what I’ve dubbed Fast-and-Easy-Career-Change Syndrome:

1. Snap Out of It!

Yes, making any kind of change IS easier said then done. Maybe, though, we need to rethink our views on effort. According to Carlos Castenada, “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.” When you think about it, it takes the same amount of energy to go after your dream career as it does to moan and groan about your #&@!*job.

2. Stop Waiting for a Miracle.

Too many people waste time daydreaming about being rescued by “Mr. Job.” The career equivalent of waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, this passive approach is sure to disappoint. Face it; the only person who’s going to liberate you from job hell is you! If you want to live happily ever after, take a proactive lesson from Jonathan Winters who said, “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”

3. Accentuate the Positive.

If you want to grow your dreams, stop dwelling on how much work it’s going to take to cultivate the soil and plant the seeds. Instead, focus on the bounty your efforts will yield. Barbara Winters, author of Making a Living Without a Job, is also the publisher of a wonderful newsletter called Winning Ways that included a powerful essay called Sacrifice or Stepping Stone? In it Barbara reminds us that, “…giving up something in the present in order to have something greater in the future, is actually a wise pay-off.” Make a list of all the great pay-offs you’ll enjoy from making that exciting new changing course. Get positively motivated. Then, get going!

About the Author

“Profiting From Your Passions®” 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.


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