"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs
"When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else."
– Joseph Campbell
Do you love what you do? Most Americans don't. According to CareerFinders.com, four out of five Americans do not have their ideal jobs.
It's not always easy to do what you love for a career, but it's definitely possible. Some of us are told from a young age to follow the expectations of family and society rather than to investigate one's own horizons. This can lead to professional success, at the expense of meaning and fulfillment. My executive coaching clients, including many who make six digits a year in prestigious positions, often disclose to me privately an "emptiness" inside. "I make over $200,000 a year, so why am I so unhappy?" one confided.
What is your bliss? A bliss is the type of work you love so much that you'd be willing to do it for free if you didn't have to pay the bills. You know you're following your bliss when you wake up in the morning looking forward to your day, and go to bed at night feeling good about what you've done. A bliss is a calling, something within each of us that we're meant to do. I believe all of us have at least one such calling in life, many have more.
Bliss may be followed either as a career, or via endeavors outside of work. This article focuses on ways to identify and pursue a blissful career. It may seem unrealistic to speak of this subject during an economic downturn. While it goes without saying that it's important to do whatever it takes to make ends meet, the current crisis may also represent an opportunity to position (or reposition) oneself for when the economy improves. The following are three factors that may help you identify and follow your bliss:
1. Know your true potential
"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence."
We're all good at some things in life. Some of us are good with people, some with tools, and others with information. When we understand where our true potential lie, we begin to access our calling. If you're not sure about your talents, there are excellent resources available that can help you identify them. See the list following this article for some of my recommendations.
2. Follow your passion while keeping your feet on the ground
"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you."
– Oprah Winfrey
Once you discover your potential (most of us have natural ability in several areas), the next step is to align your strengths with careers that you feel passionate about. From the list of professional fields you identify, evaluate each one in terms of employment prospect. What is the job picture in this field over the next ten, twenty years? Ask several people who have succeed in this profession for input. Of course, you don't have to choose a career based on availability of jobs. There's a lot to be said about marching to the beat of your own drum. This article simply takes a more pragmatic approach.
For tips on how to express yourself effectively, see my articles Are You a Poor Communicator? Stop the Damage and Improve Relationships, and Seven Ways to Say “No” and Keep Good Relations.
3. Dedicate yourself to working hard and working smart
"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
– Theodore Roosevelt
Once you have identified your potential and passion, the last piece is to work hard, and become one of the absolute best at what you do. It's also important to work smart, so that what you offer is unique, valued, and more indispensible. Because you're tapping into your true potential, you're most likely gong to excel at what you do. And because you have passion, chances are you'll be driven and won't mind the hard work.
For tools on life success, see my articles Five Keys to Enhancing Your Emotional Intelligence, Eight Keys to Life Hardiness and Resiliency, How to Be Ultra Productive, and 6 Strategies to Secure Your Job and Advance.
Not everyone gets to do what they love. Most people get stuck in a rut, and live in what Henry David Thoreau calls "quiet desperation." You can beat the odds, if you choose to follow your bliss.
"Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you
"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart
give yourself to it."
For more on personal and professional success, download free excerpts of my publications: "Communication Success with Four Personality Types," "How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People," "The 7 Keys to Life Success," "Wealth Building Attitudes, Values, and Habits," and "Branding Your Career Like Steve Jobs — Seven Essential Lessons in Work Success."
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Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nipreston.com.
© 2012 by Preston C. Ni. All rights reserved worldwide.
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