How to Live and Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good At

How to Live and Work in Your Zone of Genius: Your Strengths are More Than Just the Things You’re Good At

 How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinder

Your strengths are so much more than just the things you’re good at.

 

When I was nearing the end of high school, I was advised by Career Counsellors and many other well-intentioned people that I should pursue Science or Engineering as a profession because I was good at maths & science. But I was only ‘good at’ those subjects because I poured endless hours of study, sweat, and tears into them. I knew that maths & science were highly valued by my school and by my parents (my father was an Engineer), and being the chronic people-pleaser that I was back then, I slogged away to make sure I got good grades.

But no one ever asked me if I actually liked maths & science – I didn’t. I actually kind of dreaded them. And it didn’t seem to matter to anyone else that technical subjects didn’t come naturally to me. They felt hard and heavy. My brain was more wired for Literature, Languages, and Social Sciences. Those subjects felt natural, fun, and easy for me. But after being told countless times that I would never find a high-paying job in the Humanities, I decided I should follow the overwhelming advice to study Science & Engineering. So that’s what I did.

 

And then I spent the good part of fifteen years feeling miserable.

 

I poured everything I had into my career, but it never felt quite right. I would come home from work feeling exhausted and empty. It was deeply frustrating that I never felt completely fulfilled by my work. I felt lost and confused, continuously searching for ways to make my career feel better, but no amount of tweaking of my career gave me the satisfaction I was craving. I started developing chronic illnesses that wouldn’t go away and I was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue, which I struggled with for many years.

 

And then one day I hit burn out, and I couldn’t go on anymore. I knew I had to step away from my career as a professional Engineer altogether.

 

How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinderI now know that your strengths are so much more than just the things you’re good at. And the only way to feel completely fulfilled and satisfied in your work is to find and operate in your own unique Zone of Genius.

Since discovering my own unique Zone of Genius and deliberately shaping my career around it, I’ve felt flow and inspiration like never before. My health is great. I feel energised and vibrant. And I finally love what I do.

 

And it’s all because I consciously chose to operate in my Zone of Genius.

 

So how do you operate in your Zone of Genius?

 

Marcus Buckingham has done great work in the fields of Strengths Analysis. In his book Go Put Your Strengths to Work, he defines four signs of a true strength, which happen to follow the acronym of S-I-G-N.

 

Here are the Four Signs of a True Strength.

 

S is for SUCCESS

A strength is an area in which you achieve success or a high level of proficiency with relative ease. And you’re able to sustain great performance over time. And they’re also the areas in which you’ll improve the most as your train and practice your craft.

 

I is for INSTINCT

Your strengths have an “I-can’t-help-but” quality to them. Maybe you can’t quite articulate why, but you find yourself drawn to particular activities repeatedly. For example, even though I was studying science and engineering at University, I always loved going into New Age bookstores to read anything and everything I could about spirituality, philosophy and personal growth. I did Reiki courses in my spare time and I was constantly drawn to anything that discussed psychology, finding your purpose, and metaphysics. It wasn’t until much later that I could see how all of these seemingly (at the time) unrelated topics formed the basis for my love of Coaching. What are some of the things you find yourself being drawn to repeatedly? Where does your instinct lead you?

 

How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinderG is for GROWTH

Buckingham discusses how, from a neurological perspective, ‘intelligence’ in a certain area develops through the creation of thick branches of ‘synaptic connections’ in your brain. Neuroscientists have now established that a strength is an area where your brain made large connections very naturally and easily; larger than other areas.

 

Nature has a habit of piggy-backing on existing infrastructure, meaning that you’ll grow the most new ‘synaptic connections’ (i.e. brain capacity or ability) in those areas where you already have the most existing ones. You will learn the most, come up with the most new ideas and have the best insights in areas where you already have a natural affinity.

Since you can’t peer inside your brain to see where these thick branches of brain connections already exist and what they relate to, you have to look for the signs yourself. What does a thick branch of synaptic connections feel like? According to Buckingham, it feel like this:

It feels easy. It feels like you’re not trying very hard. It feels like an activity that, for some reason, proved quite simple for you to pick up. You learned it quickly and you find it easy to concentrate on it. You naturally stay focused on it and it feels like time speeds up, and you still stay focused and time speeds up some more. You have to remind yourself to look up at the clock, and when you do, whole hours have flown by while you’ve been completely absorbed in the activity and really enjoying it. It feels like interest, and more, it feels like inquisitiveness. It’s an activity you want to practice, to read up on, to refine with new tricks and techniques, to grow. It feels like true happiness. – Marcus Buckingham

It’s not that these activities are without effort. There is almost certainly effort. But it feels, seemingly, effortless. You feel challenged, but in just the way you like to be challenged. You actually want to concentrate. And when you do, you lose your regular perspective and you become immersed. You become lost in the activity for a long moment.

 

How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinderN is for NEEDS

The final sign of a strength stands for needs. Whereas the Instinct sign refers to how you feel before you engage in the activity, and the Growth sign relates to your feelings during the activity, the Needs sign points to how you feel right after you’ve done it. Some activities just seem to fill in an innate need of yours. When you’re done with them, you may feel physically tired. But you don’t feel psychologically drained. Instead, you feel fulfilled, empowered, restored, the exact opposite of drained. It’s a satisfying feeling, but it’s also much more than mere satisfaction. It feels authentic. It feels right.

Here’s a summary of Buckingham’s SIGN acronym for true strengths:

  1. When you do it, you feel effective, proficient, competent: The S (Success) of SIGN.
  2. You actively look forward to doing it: The I (Instinct) of SIGN.
  3. You feel inquisitive, focused and satisfied while doing it: The G (Growth) of SIGN.
  4. You feel fulfilled and authentic after completing it: The N (Needs) of SIGN.

 

I hope this insight has helped you look at your strengths differently. It’s so important to know what your strengths are. If you can begin to build your awareness of the activities that contain these four qualities for you, you can more consciously align your job or career around your true strengths. And as a consequence, you’ll enjoy more flow, satisfaction, and fulfillment in your day-to-day work. And this is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

 

Do you want to know more about your unique strengths?

Download my high quality workbook Uncover Your Natural Genius for FREE here and learn how to live and work in your Zone of Genius today!

How often are you operating in your zone of genius? The only way to find true and lasting fulfillment is to consciously find and work in your own unique zone of genius. There are four critical signs to look out for in a true strength. Read on to find out what these are! #strengths #findyourstrengths #zoneofgenius #naturalgenius #positivepsychology #workinyourzoneofgenius #strengthsanalysis #strengsthfinder

For more articles on the topic of finding and living in your Zone of Genius, check out these great articles:

1. Forget IQ Tests. Here Are the Real Reasons Why People Succeed.

2. Why is it So Hard To Find a Career You Love? 5 Powerful Tips for Finding Your Perfect Professional Path

3. Create Your Dream Job! How to Get Unstuck in Your Career with Life Design Principles

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
www.katiedejong.com
katie@katiedejong.com

The Art of Purposeful Living: How to Live and Work in Alignment with Your Personal Truth

The Art of Purposeful Living: How to Live and Work in Alignment with Your Personal Truth

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearning

There’s a path that’s perfect for you… let me help you find it.

Kate De Jong

 

It’s been seven years now since I left my corporate career and took the leap of faith to follow my heart.

 

When I finally realised that I not only wanted, but needed, to quit my career to follow my heart, there were no career coaches or mentors I knew who could guide me through the process of transition. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I only knew that continuing on my current path was no longer an option. Fumbling along on my own, my transition was filled with more doubt, fear, and uncertainty than was necessary. And this is why I’m now so dedicated to being a guide for you, to help you avoid the struggle I went through, and to help you transition into a life you love with ease, grace and, most of all – joy.


Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally?


Are you walking your true path?

 

What is your ‘true path’? I define it like this.

 

Your ‘true path’ is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.

 

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningDo you long to feel more fulfillment and joy in your professional life? Do you wish you could wake up each morning excited to jump out of bed and start your day because you absolutely love what you do? Do you wish that your work could energise, uplift, and nourish you? Does all of that sound wonderful, but also like an impossible dream? If so, I’m here to tell you that it might be closer within your reach than it seems, and I’m here to guide you there.

I know how painful it feels to wake up each morning with a sense of dread, knowing that you have a busy day ahead with so many meetings to attend, deadlines to meet and different balls to juggle. And that despite how ‘busy’ and full your days are, you still won’t be able to escape that nagging feeling of emptiness inside.

 

If you’re tired of the struggle and you yearn for something different, it’s time.

 

Your feelings of frustration and emptiness are a signal that you’ve wandered off your true path. Prolonged struggle and frustration are not noble, admirable or necessary. If you’d tried to tell me that seven years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d grown up hearing constant messages like “Success takes hard work, grit, and determination” and “Nothing worth having comes easy”. I had seen my parents work incredibly hard to build their lives and I believed I would have to do the same.

But here’s what I now know: Yes, of co,urse you will have to work hard to achieve your goals and dreams, but if it feels like hard work you’re probably doing the wrong thing. When you follow your heart and do what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about, it won’t feel like hard work. It feels easy, joyful and fun. But you’ll find that you’ll want to work hard, because you love what you do.

 

There’s no ‘struggle’ on your true path, just committed and inspired action that feels good!

 

Take some time to tune into how you feel about your work right now. Do you look forward to getting stuck into your work each day? Or do you feel a certain level of anxiety about it? Does your work inspire and uplift you? Or does it bore you or tax you too heavily? Does it feel light, easy and joyful? Or does it feel constricting and heavy? Does your work fill you with a sense of purpose and meaning? Or is it something you do to pay the bills? You’ll know if you’re on your ‘true path’ or not – and if you’re not, what I’m about to tell you will help you find it.

 

How to Find and Walk Your True Path

“Sometimes your hear a voice through the door calling you…
This turning toward what you deeply love saves you”
Rumi

Step 1: Turn and Face the Longing

The first thing you need to do in the quest to find your true path is turn and face the longing. This is hard for many of us; I know it was for me. I felt scared that if I surrendered to my deepest desires, I’d be completely overtaken by them. I had responsibilities and obligations after all. I had bills and a mortgage to pay, savings and superannuation plans to build, and a rising cost of living to cover. Over the years, the ‘Golden Handcuffs’ had kept my straying heart at bay, with financial benefits and bonuses rewarded to me in exchange for my loyalty to the company. How could I possibly give that up to follow my heart’s wild impulses?

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningAs Oprah says in her book O’s Little Guide to Finding Your True Purpose “Concerns about money and status long ago extinguished most people’s ability to think authentically about their career options.” I’d been so caught up in my perceived obligations and expectations from others that I’d learned to suppress my heart’s desires at all cost.

In my ‘Moment of Clarity’ I’d finally realised that my constant effort to suppress my authentic desires was the cause of all my feelings of emptiness and depletion.

 

It took an enormous amount of courage to walk away from all the financial security into the fire of risk and uncertainty, to surrender to those deep desires.

 

But I haven’t regretted it for a second. The feelings of freedom and satisfaction I now feel are indescribable. With the right guidance and support and a pragmatic risk management plan in place, you can navigate the process of career transition with grace and ease and set yourself up financially relatively quickly. When you do what you love, the money will flow. I have seen this happen too many times with my clients to think otherwise.

If you hear your heart whispering but feel too afraid of the risks involved, I urge you to ask yourself this question:

 

What is the cost to you of not following your heart?

 

How is your current career direction impacting your health, your happiness, your relationships, your family life, your freedom, your ability to have fun and enjoy life, and your sanity? Try to imagine how you will feel at the end of your life about the decisions you’ve made. In Bronnie Ware’s famous blog article Regrets of the Dying she describes the number one top regret of her elderly patients as:

 

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.

 

You have a choice. You can choose to commit to following your heart and doing whatever it takes to be true to yourself. Or you can live with the whispers in your heart for the rest of the days and wonder what it would have been like if you’d had the courage to follow them. Which one do you choose?

 

Don’t be afraid. Turn and face the longing.

 

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningIf you truly wish to live a life that is fulfilling, joyful, rewarding, deeply satisfying and abundant, you must start to listen to the whispers. Your desires contain the seeds of your calling. Yes, your path will be challenging at times like every path in life, but the rewards will be greater than anything you could ever imagine. You’ll feel profound levels of joy, freedom, prosperity and satisfaction when you make the decision to find and walk your true path, full out.

 

Step 2: Start the Process of Figuring Out What You Really Want to Do.

So, what do you really want to do? That’s the million dollar question! And it’s not one we’re easily able to answer. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably heard the whispers in your heart and you know you can’t ignore them any longer. And yet you don’t have enough clarity to know what those whispers mean and how they could possibly translate into a new career direction. It’s very difficult to decipher the whispers and yearnings to know what you really want. As the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow once said:

It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.
– 
Abraham Maslow

So don’t be discouraged if you feel lost and confused; it’s completely normal.

I know how difficult it can be to feel the longing for a more joyful and fulfilling professional life, and at the same time to have no idea how to make sense of the longings to create a new career direction that really is the right direction.

The last thing you want to do is give up your current career and financial security to follow a brilliant idea you have, only to find out that your new direction doesn’t leave you feeling truly happy and fulfilled either.

 

So before you take the leap of faith to forge a new career path,  take the time to do some deep self-reflection to uncover the four elements that are critical to finding your true path.

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearning

Your True Path or Purpose: Where your natural ability meets your true nature, your passion, and your ability to meet a societal need (profit).

 For a full description of each of the four elements, refer to my article Pathfinding: How to Find Your Unique Professional Path & Purpose.

You’ll know when you’ve found your purpose: You’ll find unlimited creative energy, motivation, inspiration, dedication, devotion and a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.

 

Finding your professional purpose feels like coming home.

 

It connects you to something fundamental to your sense of identity, purpose, and well-being. Living in this zone provides a sense of self-revelation, of defining and expressing who you really are and you finally know – without a shadow of a doubt – that this is what you’re ‘meant’ to be doing with your life. There’s a feeling of devotion and obsession, almost. Many people who finally find their unique calling describe it as an ‘epiphany’.

 

Are you living purposefully? Are you living fully in alignment with your personal truth, both personally and professionally? After spending 15 years climbing the ladder, only to finally realise that I had my ladder up against the wrong building, I’m now passionate about helping you find and walk your true path so that you can finally experience deep and lasting joy in all realms of life. #personalgrowth #personaltruth #truth #findyourpurpose #findyourcalling #truepath #liveyourbestlife #positivityrules #dreambelieveachieve #dreambelieveachieverepeat #followyourheart #followyourintuition #yourheartknows #motivation #inspiration #purpose #yourbigwhy #startwithwhy #purposefulliving #theartofunlearningStep 3: Clarity Comes Through Consistent, Inspired Action

If you’re waiting to find out exactly what your calling is before you start to take action, you might end up waiting forever. You’ll only discover what you’re ‘meant’ to do by getting out there and trying different things. You might have lots of wonderful ideas, but it’s not until you actually engage in them that you discover whether they really are the foundation of your true calling. When experimenting with different ideas, be sure to pay close attention to what lifts your energy and excites you and to keep moving in that direction. If you try something and realise it’s not what you thought it would be, that’s OK and completely normal. Try to view the whole exercise of finding your calling as one of trial and error, adventure and discovery.

 

There is no failure, only feedback.

 

All feedback is useful and helpful. But don’t quit your job and pin all your hopes on a big idea you have before you’ve had a chance to test it out. The big question I often get asked is “When is the right time to quit my job?” This will depend entirely on your unique situation and the answer is different for everyone. If you’re happy (enough) where you are to try different ideas while still holding down your full-time job, that is the best option. Try to provide yourself with as much financial stability as you can while experimenting so that you don’t have the stress of finances while trying to find your way. If you want to break free and go it alone, figure out how much money you’ll need to cover your cost of living for at least six months and make sure you can cover it before you throw yourself into the new venture.

 

It takes time to build momentum and get traction.

 

Inform yourself as much as you can about your idea or new career direction. Read up on everything you can and better still, talk to people who are already working in the fields you’re interested in. You’ll find that most people are happy to let you buy them a coffee in exchange for some insight into what their job is like and what a typical day looks like. Dave Evans and Bill Burnett call these Life Design Interviews, where you interview people with the intent to find out more information about different vocations. A wonderful by-product of these conversations is a valuable network and connections in fields you’re interested in.

Don’t jump into a new venture without first informing yourself fully. Research, investigate and talk to as many people as is humanly possible.

Step 4: Leap!

As scary as it sounds, at some stage you will have to take the leap of faith and dedicate all your time and resources to your new career direction. This feels incredibly scary, I know. Something I’ve discovered since quitting my corporate career in 2011 to build my own thriving coaching practice is this:

 

Fear and excitement are in constant tension on your true path.

 

You’ll be called to do things you haven’t done before. You’ll have to jump without knowing whether you’ll land on safe ground. And you must be prepared to feel the fear and do it anyway. In Jenny Blake’s wonderful book Pivot she reminds us “Do not expect courage to rain down from the sky before you make a move. It comes from taking action. Courage will not arrive in full [beforehand]; it will appear afterward, when the confidence from making a life-changing decision settles in… The more courageous action you take connected with your vision and values, the more confident you will feel along the way.”

 

Step 5: Get the Right Guidance and Support on Your Journey

Finally, remember that you can’t do it alone. We all need guidance, advice, support, cheerleading and mentoring from those who have walked before us. I’ve been so fortunate to have the help and support of many mentors throughout my journey who each provided a valuable piece of the puzzle. It’s thanks to their wisdom and guidance that I’ve managed to build my thriving coaching practice that allows me to do what I love and love what I do while helping countless men and women to find their true path and live the life of their dreams. If you feel stuck and need help, I’m here for you! Please do get the guidance you need. I know how frustrating it is to feel lost and stuck, and it’s not necessary!

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to help you navigate through the fear, doubt and uncertainty into your ‘zone of magic’ where your clarity, confidence, and abundance reside.

To find out more about finding your true path, get yourself a free copy of my E-Book Pathfinding: How to Find Your Inspired Professional Path & Purpose.

Pathfinding - How to Find Your Inspired Professional Path & Purpose #purpose #career #careerchange #bestcareer #calling #lifepurpose #findmycalling #findmypurpose #careeradvice #findyourpurpose #purposefulliving #heartcenteredchangemakers

If you have any questions at all, I’d to help you. Please reach out to me at katie@katiedejong.com and I’ll be in touch within 24 hours.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
Katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Business and Family at the Same Time

How to be a Mother and Successfully Grow a Business and Family at the Same Time

Learn about my 5 truths to follow if you're serious about being a successful Mum in business #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #mombossBeing a working mother requires an almost supernatural ability to keep dozens of balls in the air simultaneously.

 

And if you’re a Mother who’s chosen to grow your own business while simultaneously raising children, you’ve taken on the ultimate challenge. Many of us choose to become an entrepreneur because we’re passionate about our business vision and we want to have the flexibility and freedom to fit in around our children and their needs. But the harsh reality is that juggling business building with motherhood is hard – and there are a few truths you need to be aware of if you want to be successful in both.

Here are 5 truths to live by as a Mother and Entrepreneur.

 

1. If You’re Not Obsessed with Growing Your Business, Step Away Now.

As mothers, we carry the entire mental load of the household – costumes for school assembly, dentist appointments, food shopping, school lunches, after-school activities, and the list goes on. And growing a business can be all-consuming too. Squeezing the demands of a business into our already-overcrowded mother-minds is no small feat. And just like a child, if your business doesn’t get the time and attention it needs to grow and flourish, it will simply wither away and die. It requires not just passion, but obsession, in order to succeed. Obsession will get you through the tough times and inspire you to keep going. Without it, you’ll simply run out of steam and give up. Make sure your business vision is one you’re willing to obsess over.

Learn about my 5 truths to follow if you're serious about being a successful Mum in business #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #momboss

2. Figure Out What You Will and Will Not Sacrifice

To succeed in business while being a mother, you’re going to have to make your business an equal top priority. Which means you have to sacrifice certain things. Despite what some idealists declare, the reality is that we can’t have it all. We can’t be there for every school event, or always tuck our children in at bedtime, or have a perfectly tidy home while simultaneously growing a business.

Get yourself really clear on what you absolutely will not sacrifice. Are you willing to give up your marathon training? Your spot on the Parents & Teachers Board? Or being there at school pick-up every afternoon? And let go of the guilt of not being “the perfect Mum”. There’s no reason to feel guilty anyway. In fact, some heartening research from Harvard Business School across 24 different countries shows that children of working mothers experience a whole range of positive benefits later in life. So you’re giving your children a gift when you choose to prioritise your business equally as high as your children.

 

3. Stop Making Excuses and Ask Instead “What Do I Have to Do to Make This Happen?”

During my time as a Business Coach for women, I’ve heard all the excuses – “I didn’t get time because I had to take my son to the doctor”, or “I couldn’t attend the workshop because I had the kids”. I can absolutely relate because I’m a mother too and I know how hard it is with the usual plus unexpected demands on our time. But if you’re serious about succeeding in business, you’ll need to figure out what’s required to grow your business, and then make it non-negotiable. What are the core activities that will win you new clients and allow you to serve more effectively? And what do you need to do to make it happen? Do you need to get a regular babysitter you can call on? Do you need a live-in nanny for a while? Does your partner need to take care of Wednesday or Friday pick-ups? What do you need to do to achieve your business goals? Stop making excuses and make them happen.

 

4. Invest in Yourself and Your Business In Order To Grow

Be willing to invest in yourself to develop the skills and competencies you need to be a successful business owner. And be willing to invest in your business to set up the right systems and structures, grow your brand awareness, win clients, and serve them effectively. For every ‘expense’ that comes along, ask yourself “What’s the Return on Investment?” If it’s going to win you new clients or help you to deliver an improved service, it’s not an expense but an investment. It’s the chicken and egg thing. But the reality of business building is that you need the chicken before it will grow an egg. Business growth requires investment. And if you’re not prepared to invest up-front in order to grow yourself and your business, perhaps entrepreneurship isn’t the right path for you.

 

Learn about my 5 truths to follow if you're serious about being a successful Mum in business #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #momboss

5. Find Your Tribe

Combining business with motherhood is hard and not everyone ‘gets’ it. Find a tribe of like-minded women who encourage and support you to keep going when the going gets tough, and who understand you and what you’re going through. It takes time to build a company from scratch. And it ‘takes a village’ too. So find your tribe and get the support you need. It’s our mission in the Secret Women’s Business Academy to provide a powerful tribe to support mothers and women in business. None of us can do it alone. If you haven’t found your tribe of inspired, ambitious, and heart-centered women yet, please come and join us here!

 

Keep your chin up, keep going, and know that you’re doing an amazing job.

If you need help growing your business, jump on over to The Secret Women’s Business Academy to find out more.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

 

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

Why is it So Hard To Find a Career You Love? 5 Powerful Tips for Finding Your Perfect Professional Path

Why is it So Hard To Find a Career You Love? 5 Powerful Tips for Finding Your Perfect Professional Path

Are you struggling to find a career that lights you up and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Find out about my 5 powerful tips for discovering the path that's perfect for you #career #findtherightcareer #careerchange #findajobyoulove #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findtherightjob #loveyourcareer #pivot #grit #strengths #findyourpassion

I’m sure you’ve heard the famous quote allegedly said by Confucius, the Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher who lived more than 2500 years ago.

 

Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.
– Confucius

 

It sounds so easy. And yet the seemingly simple task of “choosing a job you love” is, in reality, not so easy at all. Maybe you’ve also struggled with finding a career you love. If so, you’re not alone. A Gallup study of more than 140 countries in 2011/2012 showed that only 13 percent of employees worldwide are actively “engaged” in their jobs, or emotionally invested in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve.

That’s a staggering statistic. Because it means:

 

 87 percent of employees worldwide are not engaged in their work or focused on helping their organizations improve.

 

How is it possible that so many of us spend a third of our lives in jobs we don’t even like? Not to mention how incredibly inefficient we must be collectively when 87% of the workforce worldwide is, at best, not motivated or exerting any effort.

The benefits of doing work you love are well documented and a quick Google search returns hundreds of articles telling you why you should love your professional life.

But it’s not that easy to find work you love. Here’s why.

 

Have you struggled to find a career that inspires you and makes you want to jump out of bed each morning? If so, this article is for. Learn 5 powerful tips for finding the professional path that's right for you. #careerchange #findtherightcareer #findyourpurpose #purpose #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #intuition #innerGPS #innerwisdom #strengths #loveyourcareer #inspiredcareers #inspiredliving

1.  Our Education Systems Don’t Prepare Us to Make Effective Career Choices.

Learning how to manage your career is a lifelong process that needs to start early on in secondary school – but rarely does. Imagine if, for example, during Math in high school, you learned about professions that include Math like Weather Prediction, Construction, Space Travel, Astronomy, and Global Economic Analysis, just to name a few. Would you be a little more excited to attend those dreaded classes?

We currently emerge from school with little to no idea about how the subjects we’ve studied relate to professions in the real world. And we’re not armed with essential life skills like self-awareness, emotional intelligence, or career management skills. So how can we be expected to make effective career choices?

 

Career guidance needs to be right at the heart of education, not an afterthought.
– Tristram Hooley

 

What To Do Instead

There’s an art to finding the right career path. If you, like most of us, weren’t given appropriate guidance on how to find your ideal path, it’s not too late. But it requires deep self-reflection and a willingness to ask yourself some hard questions. I define 4 P’s that are essential elements in finding your meaningful path – your Personality, your Proficiency, your Passion, and Profit. The area where these four different characteristics overlap is your Purpose, or ‘Big Why’ – i.e. your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. When you find your Big Why, you tap into an infinite well of energy, inspiration, and grit that fuels you forward. To learn more about the art of finding the right career path, click here.

 

Are you struggling to find a career that lights you up and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Find out about my 5 powerful tips for discovering the path that's perfect for you #career #findtherightcareer #careerchange #findajobyoulove #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findtherightjob #loveyourcareer #pivot #grit #strengths #findyourpassion

2. Reality Can Be Different From Our Preconceived Ideas.

You’re asked to choose a career path when you’re young, with limited life experience, and with little idea of what many career paths are actually like on a day-to-day basis. The reality of many professions is that they’re very different from the idealistic fantasies we might have about them. And if you choose a certain path only to discover it’s not what you thought, it’s hard to change your mind after you’ve spent years attaining the appropriate qualifications and accumulated large amounts of student debt.

 

What To Do Instead

Before you lock yourself into any particular professional path, get out and talk to as many people as you can who are already working in the fields you’re interested in. Do your research. Get direct work experience if you can, even if you’re ‘pivoting’ in your current career. One of the best ways to determine fact from fiction and discover what you really love is to follow Dave Evans and Bill Burnett’s Life Design Principles so that you can actively create a career path that you love.

 

Are you struggling to find a career that lights you up and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Find out about my 5 powerful tips for discovering the path that's perfect for you #career #findtherightcareer #careerchange #findajobyoulove #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findtherightjob #loveyourcareer #pivot #grit #strengths #findyourpassion3. We Prioritise Extrinsic Values Over Our Own Intrinsic Values.

Extrinsic values are things that your external world (i.e. society, family, friends etc.) deem to be important, while your intrinsic values are the things that are important to you personally. Particularly when we’re young, we tend to place a lot more importance on extrinsic values.

But the definition of success is personal and different for everyone. It takes self-awareness and often deep soul-searching to figure out exactly what your intrinsic values are. But one thing is for sure, you won’t be able to find or build a career you love if you don’t know specifically what’s important to you and how you measure success, personally.

 

What To Do Instead

Take the time to understand what happiness and success mean for you personally. If you could imagine your dream workday, what would that look like? What kinds of activities would you be engaged in and how would you be interacting with other people? Discover your most cherished values and make sure that the career path you choose aligns with them and allows you to express them fully.

 

4. Let’s Face it, Good Career Advice Hasn’t Always Been Easy to Come By.

Back in my day, the school Careers Counsellor attempted to fit your personality and skills into a certain box of limited choices. I was told that because I was good at Math and Science (even though I hated them), I should pursue science and engineering (that ended badly). One of my friends who is now a thriving creative entrepreneur was told by her school Careers Counsellor that she should either be a prison warden or a police officer. There is so much more to choosing a meaningful career than simply looking at your grades or doing simple psychometric tests. Finding the right career path is about getting all aspects of your nature playing together in harmony

 

Are you struggling to find a career that lights you up and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Find out about my 5 powerful tips for discovering the path that's perfect for you #career #findtherightcareer #careerchange #findajobyoulove #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findtherightcareer #loveyourcareer #pivot #grit #strengths #findyourpassion

What To Do Instead

Fortunately, these days there are great resources available for finding the right career path. Books that will help you ask the right questions in order to find the right answers are: Nicholas Lore’s The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success, Jenny Blake’s book Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One and Chris Guillebeau’s Born For This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do, and Richard Bolle’s What Colour is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers.

Cleverism provides a great article about 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Career.

 

5. We’re Taught to Doubt Our Own Intuition and Self-Belief.

You came into this world with perfectly intact self-belief (believing you can do anything) and intuition (the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning). But you’re taught from a young age to doubt these essential qualities. It’s no wonder we feel unhappy and lost when we become disconnected from them, drifting around in a sea of other people’s opinions and ideas and a world trying to make us believe we’re not enough to make our dreams come true.

 

What To Do Instead

If you’ve become disconnected from your intuition, don’t worry, you can reconnect to it again if it’s your intention to do so. You can do this by spending time in quiet reflection, by going for walks in nature, or whatever it takes to get you into a peaceful, meditative state. It’s in those quiet moments that your intuition whispers to you (read more here). You’ll know when you’ve received intuitive guidance because you’ll suddenly feel an urge to do something that just feels right, even if a little scary. The next step is to believe that you have whatever it takes to do what your intuition is urging you to do.

 

As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know once you’ve found the career path that’s right for you.

 

Finding the right path creates a state of mind that transforms your life. Having a deep connection to your work makes you happy and gives you the motivation to keep going even when times get tough, leading to higher levels of success and satisfaction. It’s a positive, upward spiral that has beneficial ripple effects into all areas of your life.

Need help finding yours? Be sure to get your FREE E-Book: PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE.

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspiration

Have you struggled to find a career that inspires you and makes you want to jump out of bed each morning? If so, this article is for. Learn 5 powerful tips for finding the professional path that's right for you. #careerchange #findtherightcareer #findyourpurpose #purpose #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #intuition #innerGPS #innerwisdom #strengths #loveyourcareer #inspiredcareers #inspiredliving

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

 

Pathfinding: How to Find Your Unique Professional Path & Purpose

Pathfinding: How to Find Your Unique Professional Path & Purpose

Do you wish you could find the professional path that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? In this article you'll find out how. #findyourpurpose #howtofindyourpurpose #purpose #career #careerchange #careertransition #loveyourjob #liveyourbestlife #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #followyourpassionTimes are changing. There’s so much conflict and suffering in the world. Big changes are happening on a global scale that are causing many to feel unsafe and threatened. And yet as a result of all the turmoil, it seems more and more people are feeling a call to action; an intense desire to somehow contribute to making the world a better place.

 

Many people are connecting to the causes they’re passionate about and finding ways to create positive change while building thriving enterprises that are highly profitable. In the old paradigm, dedicated altruists struggled to find ways to make a decent living. Nowadays, you can dedicate yourself to a positive cause and thrive financially while doing it. Many others are simply feeling a sense of restlessness in their career and find themselves constantly wondering if perhaps there’s something else they could be doing. It’s no longer considered reckless to make a complete career switch mid-life and it’s becoming more widely accepted that we may have a couple, if not many, different career paths during our working lives.

In addition to these changes, the internet is making it possible for everyone, everywhere, to be connected. ‘Virtual classrooms’ are connecting teachers to students all across the world. People are doing business deals while lounging by swimming pools at holiday destinations. Social media is enabling anyone with similar interests, anywhere in the world, to connect and develop friendships. Stay-at-home mums are running businesses from home while raising their children. The term ‘Mumpreneur’ has already made its way into the Urban Dictionary to describe entrepreneurial mums who combine business with motherhood. This global interconnectivity means it’s no longer necessary to be bound to a desk or an office to do your work and more and more people are embracing the freedom and flexibility that the internet is offering us. Small start-ups and entrepreneurs are flourishing more than ever before. As this sea of possibility and opportunity is opening up, we’re feeling a call to self-actualise and do something deeply meaningful with our lives.

 

Do you wish you could find the professional path that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? In this article you'll find out how. #findyourpurpose #howtofindyourpurpose #purpose #career #careerchange #careertransition #loveyourjob #liveyourbestlife #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #followyourpassionPeople are increasingly feeling called to find their PURPOSE – a professional path that feels meaningful, joyful and impactful.

The wonderful thing about living in these exciting times is that the concept of ‘FOLLOW YOUR HEART’ is no longer an impossible fantasy. BUT – it’s not an easy decision to leave the comforts and security of a stable career. We all have financial obligations and commitments and it’s simply not always possible to throw caution to the wind and make a big career change, without the assurance that we’re going to make good money while doing it and it’s actually going to give us the fulfillment and meaning we’re chasing. Otherwise, we’ll end up back where we were. So before making a big change, we want to be sure we’re making the right decision.

And this is why I believe it’s so important to find and live your ‘true path’. What do I mean by your ‘true path’? This is how I define it:

 

Your ‘true path’ is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself and your potential fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.

 

Your true path feels like coming home. All niggling feelings of doubt and frustration are replaced by a deep and lasting sense of fulfillment. You know deep inside that you’re finally doing exactly what you’re ‘meant’ to be doing. It comes with a feeling of sudden clarity, optimism, and energy.

Tim Kelley at the True Purpose Institute calls your unique calling your ‘true purpose’. In his book True Purpose: 12 strategies for discovering the difference you are meant to make, he suggests that we each have a purpose that we’re uniquely designed for. He proposes three things: 1) That your purpose has always been within you and has already been influencing the course of your life, 2) That some part of you already knows your purpose, and 3) That it’s possible to communicate with the part of you that knows your purpose. You can refer to that part of you as your ‘heart’ or your ‘soul’. Tim claims that our soul knows our purpose, and is always gently trying to guide us in the right direction. We get into trouble when our ego – the part of us that is concerned with our sense of identity and success – tries to over-ride the guidance from our soul; and this is when we feel out of alignment, lost or off-track. So if you can make the time and space in your life to get quiet, often, you’ll have a better chance of hearing that inner guidance and wisdom that’s always trying to communicate with you (Tim teaches wonderful techniques for connecting with your inner wisdom and Divine guidance that really work.)

I believe we come into this world already having a sense of what our joyful and meaningful professional path could be, but most of us go through a process of disconnecting from our ‘true self’ at a young age, while trying to become acceptable citizens and to fit into the mould that our society or family imposes on us.

 

For most of us, learning how to grow up in this world meant learning how to conform.

 

If you’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in an environment that encouraged you to nurture and embrace your unique self, it’s likely that you’ve been able to live a life true to your heart and you have a good sense of your true professional purpose. However, if like most of us, you grew up trying to be a ‘good kid’ or to fit the image of success that your environment demanded, you may need some more time to excavate the nature of the specific calling that lights you up and makes you want to jump out of bed each morning, and allows you to be fully you. After years of reflection on this topic and coaching others to find their purpose, I’ve come to believe that the ‘secret’ to finding your true path and purpose is to look for the special zone where the following 4 things overlap:

Your big why - or purpose - is the path or vocation that allows you to fully express your true nature, your natural genius and your passion. . #findyourpurpose #howtofindyourpurpose #purpose #career #careerchange #careertransition #loveyourjob #liveyourbestlife #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #followyourpassion

Figure 1: Your PURPOSE – or BIG WHY – where your natural ability meets your passion and your true nature.

Let me define what I mean by these terms.

 

Do you wish you could find the professional path that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? In this article you'll find out how. #findyourpurpose #howtofindyourpurpose #purpose #career #careerchange #careertransition #loveyourjob #liveyourbestlife #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #followyourpassionYour Natural Genius

Everyone has many different abilities and skills. But when you’re trying to find your joyful and authentic career path, you need to connect with what I call your natural genius. Everyone – yes, EVERYONE! – has a zone of natural genius. These are the things you’re naturally good at without even trying. The problem is, we’re often blind to the things we’re really good at, because we assume that everyone else finds these things easy too. You might be an excellent organiser, or be able to connect intuitively with animals, or make delicious meals without recipes, or take amazing photos without much effort. There will be something that you’re extremely good at. Perhaps you discounted it as a child because it wasn’t valued or rewarded in your environment. Perhaps it’s so obvious that you can’t even see it. Or perhaps you haven’t discovered it because you haven’t yet had the opportunity to express it or develop it.

Strengths tests such as the Gallup Strengthsfinder 2.0 can be very helpful in helping you narrow down the areas of your natural genius. But take heart – you absolutely have your own specific zone of natural genius and with a little exploring, you can find it. A good way to start finding your natural genius is to think back to the things that came easily to you as a child. What would your friends ask for help with? What came naturally to you? What would the people in your environment compliment you about? Ask your friends, family and work colleagues what they think you’re good at. Often they can see these things more clearly than we can.

 

Your True Nature


Your true nature is who you are when you’re being yourself fully. It’s the type of person you are when you’re not worried about what others think of you, or when you’re in an environment that makes you feel at home and connected to yourself. There are certain environments that bring out your true nature more than others. Do you know what those environments are for you? Perhaps you love being with animals, or working with antique furniture, or being out on the water, or solving complex technical problems. Perhaps you love being in large groups, or working alone. Perhaps you love drawing, or orienteering, or leading, or coming up with new ideas. It’s important to think here about the things you love doing. When you’re being true to yourself and you’re engaged in activities you love, feelings of joy, happiness and fulfilment emerge as a natural consequence.

Write down all the things you love doing. If you had an abundance of free time, how would you spend it? What are the things you get so completely immersed in that you lose track of time? What are the things in life that bring you joy and satisfaction? Another good exercise is to write down all the ‘high points’ of your life; times when you felt blissful and carefree. What were you doing and where were you? Often those high points contain important clues about your true nature and where your joy lies.

 

Your Passion


When you’re passionate about something, it means you care very deeply about it. But being passionate about something doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always feels upbeat and joyful. In fact, in Joseph Campbell’s famous book The Power of Myth he explains that the Greek root of the word passion translates to suffering. Annabelle Parr describes beautifully that “Following your passion means choosing a vocation that is so important to you, so vital to your being that you’re willing to suffer for it.” She goes on to define passion as being “where fulfilment, growth, joy and change exist”. Your passion will push you to your growth edge and force you to fully develop and express your gifts which can feel scary, challenging and very difficult at times. But through this unfolding of your full potential, while being in service to something you care about, you’ll naturally feel deeply fulfilled and satisfied throughout this process of growth and change.

A good place to start looking for things you’re passionate about is to find those things that evoke an emotional response in you when you’re watching TV, listening to the radio, or hearing others talk. What breaks your heart the most in the world? What would you most love to dedicate your precious time and resources to? Studies have shown that people who feel most fulfilled are those who are giving their gifts in service to something larger than themselves, to something they care about. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can about things that you’re passionate about. Write them down.

 

What Society Gladly Pays You For

Of course, in order for your purpose to be a true, sustainable livelihood it must generate a reliable and abundant income for you. So you need to find a way to integrate all the aspects of your purpose into something that people need and will happily pay for. But don’t worry, this part comes very easily when your intention is to be of service to others and to contribute something valuable to society. Where there is a genuine need met or a positive outcome generated from your work, people will gladly pay you for your help.

 

Bringing It All Together

The key now is to reflect on your answers and to see where and how these different parts of you might overlap. Brainstorm different ideas or vocations that would incorporate the three different areas. At this stage it’s important that you don’t limit yourself – wild and crazy ideas are very welcome at this point! You have to think wild and crazy before you can locate what feels ‘right’. Make a list of all the ideas you can think of. I highly recommend LiteMind’s technique of writing a ‘list of 100’ to do this properly. Also, think of your role models and people you admire and use what they do to inspire your ideas. A good litmus test for any idea you come up with is to ask yourself if it would bring you great joy, if it’s aligned with one of your deepest passions, and if it would allow you to fully express and develop your natural genius.

 

When you finally tap into your BIG WHY – your true PURPOSE – you’ll find unlimited creative energy, motivation, inspiration, dedication, devotion and a deep and lasting sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. It feels like coming home.

 

 

Do you wish you could find the professional path that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? In this article you'll find out how. #findyourpurpose #howtofindyourpurpose #purpose #career #careerchange #careertransition #loveyourjob #liveyourbestlife #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #followyourpassionFinding your purpose connects you to something fundamental to your sense of identity and well-being. Living in this zone provides a sense of self-revelation, of defining and expressing who you really are and you finally know – without a shadow of a doubt – that this is what you’re ‘meant’ to be doing with your life. There’s a feeling of devotion and obsession, almost. Many people who finally find their unique calling describe it as an ‘epiphany’. You might start to feel unfulfilled, empty, burned out or lost when you find yourself in one of the following three situations:

 

1. You have passion and ability, but no joy

You might feel deeply passionate about your work and dedicated to making a positive difference in your chosen field. And you might also be naturally very good at the work you do (you’re in your zone of genius). But if it doesn’t feel light and joyful, you’re not in your sweet spot of life and things may often feel like a struggle. When you’ve found your unique calling, you’ll love what you do and the sense of lightheartedness and joy will light you up and fill you with positive energy.

 

2. You have ability and joy in your work, but no passion

You might be really good at what you do, and love doing it. For some people this is absolutely enough and they lead a happy and content life in this zone. But if you don’t feel completely fulfilled and satisfied, it’s probably because you have a niggling feeling that there’s something more you should be doing with your life; you want to feel truly passionate about the field you’re working in or the cause you’re contributing to. Many studies have shown that people who feel most fulfilled are those who are giving their gifts in service to something larger than themselves. This is the key to feeling deep and lasting fulfilment. Perhaps you feel like there’s a positive legacy you’re meant to leave, but you don’t know what it is. And you won’t feel truly content until you find it.

 

3. You feel joy and passion in your work, but you it’s not in your zone of genius

It’s almost impossible to feel fulfilled and deeply satisfied in your work if you have to struggle or work really hard to produce great results. You’ll tend to feel frustrated and demotivated because you’re not operating within your own specific zone of natural genius where things flow easily and effortlessly. In your zone of genius you don’t have to try to be good at your work; it’s what you’re naturally brilliant at anyway.

The problem I had in my professional career of almost 15 years was that I wasn’t operating in my zone of natural genius and my work didn’t feel joyful. I only had one of the circles covered in the diagram above – passion; I was passionate about my field of environmental protection. But despite my passion, the work always felt hard and a struggle and it drained me of energy. As a result, overwhelm eventually turned into chronic fatigue and a perpetual feeling of being on the edge of burnout. I don’t recommend living like this!

 

You’ll want to have at least three of the four elements covered in your life work (natural genius, passion, abundant income and joy). But the intersection where all four overlap is where the real magic happens. This is where you’ll find your joyful professional purpose.

 

The search for your unique purpose can require a little excavating and digging. The fastest way to uncover your calling is to make space and time in your life right now, to not only get very quiet on a regular basis and connect with your heart, but to also start doing things that come easily to you, that feel joyful or that ignite your passion. Start by doing anything that fits into one of these categories, even if it’s just for ten minutes a day initially. You purpose will start to reveal itself to you as soon as you set the intention and make the commitment to find it, and then start taking actions in the direction of something that feels joyful. If you’re feeling the call to action, go ahead and get started my friend. The rewards and treasures are awaiting you. You won’t be disappointed. And the world needs your precious gifts more than ever right now. You have something incredibly special and valuable to contribute.

 

As Dr Wayne Dyer always used to say “Don’t die with your music still inside of you”.

 

Try not to be one of those people who wishes they had taken their dreams seriously when they had the chance! Studies show that the number one regret people have when they’re dying is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” [See Bronnie Ware’s famous article Regrets of the Dying].

If you’d like more help in identifying that unique calling that’s yours to live, please download my free eBook PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE and learn all the tips and strategies you need to build a life you truly love.

Want to find your unique path and purpose? This article tells you how. #findyourpurpose #purpose #howtofindyourpurpose #career #careerchange #careertransition #howtofindtherightcareerIn service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

7 Powerful Strategies to Help You Get Through Those Days When You Just Want to Give Up on Your Dream

7 Powerful Strategies to Help You Get Through Those Days When You Just Want to Give Up on Your Dream

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveupI’m not usually one to focus my time and energy on things that aren’t working because I’m acutely aware that “What we focus on grows” and all of that.

 

And yet, I also think there’s enormous value in sharing our vulnerability and real-life struggles so that we know we’re not alone and so that we can help each other through them. And sometimes we have days where it all just feels really hard. Running your own business can feel like a lot of hustle for little return at times. Sometimes it sucks. And it’s OK to feel that way every now and then. It’s part of the natural cycle of things.

Today I had one of those days when I sat down at my desk and I couldn’t find my ‘mojo’. I’d had a couple of deflating incidents; some people unsubscribing from my email list, very little engagement on an offer I put out that I’d been really excited about. All a very normal part of doing business, but sometimes those things feel deflating nonetheless. My head was full of thoughts like “Who’s going to care if I don’t coach or publish or offer anything today. Maybe I should just go back to my old corporate job.” … and a tirade of other unpleasant thoughts.

It can be hard to pull myself out of those moments.

 

Because starting your own business is hard. And there are days when I just want to give up on my dream.

 

My dream for the past six years has been to run my own thriving coaching practice from home, while being a Mum to our two young boys. I quit my previous corporate career in 2011 after more than fifteen years in the field of water process engineering. I’d chosen my field of study for mostly the wrong reasons; trying to please my parents and live up to the expectations they had for me to be a successful professional woman in the technical fields. And I chose it for the stable financial future that everyone told me I would have if I followed Science & Engineering. Which I did have, but that financial freedom failed to make me happy. I had mostly ignored the gentle pleads from my heart to follow my natural joy; languages, social connection, and writing.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #nevergiveup

But in 2011 I was finally forced to my knees and I had no other option than to step out of my profession.

I’d been through a very long ‘dark night of the soul’ (which I write about here Authentically Me: My Journey of Coming Home to Myself). I could no longer ignore the whispers in my heart that had now turned into a loud roar.

I remember the mixed emotions I felt when I finally made the decision to quit my job after almost 15 years of intense sweat and tears poured into my profession. Enormous relief, exhilaration, freedom, joy. Followed closely by lots of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety about what others would say and think. And many questions and doubts about what I would actually do going forward. I had never contemplated ‘going it alone’ before or being a business owner or entrepreneur. Those words had never even been inside my head in relation to ME.

 

But I’d been through so much struggle and inner turmoil to get to that point that I was determined to make my own way on my own terms.

 

After much soul-searching, I decided I wanted to save others from the struggles that I had been through, feeling off-track and miserable in my career for so long, to help them find their authentic and joyful professional path. I was determined to make it work.

I was lucky (or was it synchronicity?) that at the time I decided to quit my corporate consulting engineering career, my husband was offered a job overseas and I had finally fallen pregnant with our first baby boy. And so I took that to be a ‘sign’ and decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into pursuing a coaching certification while simultaneously becoming a mother twice over (our boys are now aged 3 and 6). In 2014, I finally became qualified as a Certified Coach and I’ve been busily working away at building my business ever since.

I feel fortunate that I’ve had so much passion and purpose to fuel me through the start-up phase because it hasn’t been easy.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveupIt’s not an easy task going back to ground zero, starting out in a new field in which you know nothing, building connections in a field that you have none, developing new skills and competencies completely outside of what you’ve always known.

 

Not to mention the difficulty of setting up the actual nuts and bolts of a business, or the many costs of setting up and running one. There are so many little things that add up over time; business name registration, domain name purchase, building a website and everything that goes along with that, branding and logo design, purchasing graphic design tools, email list building software, online course platforms, social media/content scheduling tools, business insurances, legal documents, office set up … and the list goes on.

One of Sydney’s rising start-up entrepreneurs Jon Westenberg said recently:

 

“If you don’t have a plan to make money, all you have is an expensive hobby.”

– Jon Westenberg

 

And sometimes that’s what it’s felt like, an expensive hobby. Especially in those early years. Over the past six years, I’ve completed countless courses and programs from some of the biggest ‘gurus’ in the industry, trying to figure out MY plan to make money. Everyone seems to have a different idea or opinion on what it takes to “make it happen”. And I’m slowly realising that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach and each business and person is entirely unique and as such requires a unique approach. I’ve tried several different approaches; some have worked, some haven’t. But with time I guess you could say I’m slowly figuring out the best business model for my personality and services.

I’ve been extremely fortunate that my husband has been able to pick up the slack financially, especially in the beginning, because it certainly takes a long time to develop anything near a ‘sustainable income’. It takes time and a lot of patience to build a sustainable, functional business foundation. And it takes a lot of time and patience to build visibility and a platform of followers interested in your message and your work.

 

There is no quick fix, no overnight solution. It takes a lot of consistent, hard work before you begin to see the fruits of your hard labour.

 

And some days it feels like I’m putting my work out into a vacuum. Those are the days when it’s hard to get motivated. It’s hard going it alone. It’s hard being the sole person responsible for generating income from your business. If you slack off, no money comes in. I’ve read all the promises of the 4-hour work week and ‘passive income’ and while they sound great, it’s much harder to implement in reality.

If you ever get into one of those downward spirals of despair and negativity, here are some tips on how to pull yourself back up and out of it. These are some of the things that help me on a regular basis when I get into a funk.

 

1. Force yourself to step away from the desk and take a short break.

Because any action you take while in that negative frame of mind is not going to be productive or inspired. It’s important to get yourself back into a good frame of mind before attempting to do anything at all. Do whatever it takes to re-center and re-align yourself.

 

2. Get yourself out into nature and do something nourishing for your body, mind or soul.

Get outside into the garden, or go for a walk, or do something uplifting, comforting and nourishing for yourself. If you need some inspiration on how to do that, I wrote about 10 ways to do that in my blog article:
Soul-Care – 10 Ways To Comfort Your Being In Times of Overwhelm.

 

3. Focus on what you love about working for yourself.

Take some time to remember the reasons you decided to work for yourself. Write them down. For example, I remember how much I love the complete freedom and flexibility of my schedule and my pure freedom of creative self-expression. I love the ability I have to work from home, to be there for my kids, and to focus my time on what I want, when I want. What is it that you love about working for yourself? I wrote about mine here: Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons Why You Should Break Free and Follow Your Heart.

 

4. Remember WHY you’re doing it. And get inspired again by your goals.

When you’re in this state of mind, it’s important to reconnect with your PURPOSE – your ‘big why’. I remind myself how much pain I felt when I couldn’t find my professional purpose and joy for the longest time. And I think of all the people who have told me how desperately they want to find their joyful career path and to live a life more aligned with their heart and soul. I take the time to go back and read my Business Inspiration and Vision.  And then I go back to the exciting goals and vision that I set for my year ahead, which I do each year through Quest with Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup

5. Re-read some of the positive feedback from your clients and appreciate the areas where you have traction in your business.

Go back and read or simply remember some of the positive things people have said about your work and the impact you’ve made on them. And spend some time appreciating those areas of your business where you ARE experiencing flow, traction and momentum. Find a way to remember that your work matters and that people need and appreciate what you have to offer.

 

6. Remember that you’re making progress, even when you can’t yet see the fruits of your labour.

Building a business requires us to continuously plant seeds and they don’t always germinate when we’d like them to, or sometimes they don’t germinate at all. Some days I can feel disheartened when I feel like I’m not seeing any results of my hard work. But then I experience an unexpected surprise or breakthrough and I’m reminded that progress is ALWAYS being made, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #keepgoing #startup #hanginthere #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup

7. Don’t give up. You just may be on the verge of making a breakthrough!

No matter how bad your day is feeling, don’t give up. You might be just about to make a touchdown. Keep your thoughts and energy focused on the vision you hold and how good it feels to be living your dream, on your own terms. If you need help staying tuned in to positive energy and the flow of abundance, take a look at my article How to Attract More Abundance & Joy Into Your Life.

And if all else fails, take a day off, go and do something you love and tomorrow is another day. But most importantly, hang in there. The world needs your precious gifts! And if you ever need to reach out for some moral support, I’d love to connect with you. You can reach me at katie@katiedejong.com.

 

 

 

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

 

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

Need help finding your unique professional path and purpose? Get your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE here.

The Power of Purpose and How to Thrive in the Emerging Purpose Economy

The Power of Purpose and How to Thrive in the Emerging Purpose Economy

Purposeful people and businesses are set to thrive in the newly emerging Purpose Economy - find out how‘Purpose’ is driving the new economy. Your professional purpose – or BIG WHY – acts like your internal compass that keeps you finding ways to serve and thrive financially, no matter how much instability and upheaval is going on around you.

 

It’s not often that a book comes along that feels like a real game-changer, but that’s exactly how Aaron Hurst’s book THE PURPOSE ECONOMY (Oct, 2016) felt for me recently. His book felt like a welcome confirmation and validation of everything I’ve been observing and witnessing over the past several years, and his ability to clearly articulate what I’ve been sensing for a long time felt so significant that I wanted to share it with you.

You might have seen this happening around you too: People are increasingly craving more MEANING in their work. It’s no longer enough to simply go to work to pay the bills, or to view work as a means to an end. We spend such a large percentage of our waking lives working that more and more people want to ENJOY their work at the very least, but preferably ALSO experience these three things in the workplace too:

1. Authentic self-expression and personal growth;

2. Nurturing relationships and connection with others (community);

3. Engaging work that’s impactful; we want to feel as though our work MATTERS.

The emergence of the Purpose Economy defined and how purposeful people and businesses will be the ones who thriveAnd this is where Hurst’s book comes in: THE PURPOSE ECONOMY – HOW YOUR DESIRE FOR IMPACT, PERSONAL GROWTH AND COMMUNITY IS CHANGING THE WORLD. In his book, Hurst describes how as a human species we’ve evolved through various different economies in the past few thousand years and how this evolution has created the era of PURPOSE that we’re experiencing now. I’ve summarised the evolution of these different economies briefly below.

The Agrarian Economy

Starting out as hunter-gatherers for many thousands of years, we eventually learned how to farm and cultivate the land in ways that allowed us to produce more stable sources of food and to stop moving around. An economy began to develop, centered around our agricultural interests. As the farms grew, so did the first villages and towns. This also marked the beginning of land ownership, social classes and specialised trade. Wealth and freedom were tied to owning the land and the ability to optimise its output.

The Industrial Economy

With the invention of the first commercial steam engine in Britain in 1712, a new wave of industrial innovation was born and the new Industrial Economy emerged in which wealth was tied to the large-scale production of goods and services and value was placed on increasing efficiency. Many industries needed more and more specialised labour and saw education expand to develop the talent needed. As people moved from farms to factories, vocational services were introduced. Modern democracy merged. International trade boomed, connecting cultures around the world. All of this came at enormous cost to the natural world, with widespread pollution and the mass extinction of countless species.

The Information Economy

By the middle of the 20th century, the marketplace was dominated by large corporations and institutions. The bigger the organisations became, the greater their need for improved communication and information systems. In the Information Economy, the commodity of value was information and the ability to develop it and transmit it quickly and efficiently. We’ve been fully immersed in the Information Economy for at least the past 30 years. And we’re now standing on the rising tide of the Purpose Economy.

The Purpose Economy

What is the Purpose Economy?Purposeful business creates value for all stakeholders - not just for the short term profits of a few

As Hurst says: “The Purpose Economy describes the new context and set of ways in which people and organisations are focused on creating value and defines the principle for innovation and growth; the quest for people to find more purpose in their lives. It is an economy in which value lies in establishing purpose for employees and customers.

The emergence of purpose as the new organising principle of our economy is a product of our current moment in time, based on where we stand in history: our current culture, values, education, technological abilities, social organisations, political realities, and the state of our natural environment.”

 

These are the global forces shaping the emerging Purpose Economy:

  • Our increasingly interconnected global community. The Internet has allowed people all across the globe to connect, communicate, and collaborate, independent of our physical location. As a result, we’re collectively more aware of global issues and how our actions impact the world around us.
  • Our evolution upwards in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Many people around the globe have reached a level of personal fulfillment and now desire to transcend our own needs to prioritise the needs of all society and future generations, seeking more connection and self-actualisation.

 

The Purpose Economy is emerging thanks to our collective evolution up the Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs

  • Longevity. The average lifespan in 1796 was 24 years old. Just 100 years later, the same person could live to be 48. And now 100 years later that average has almost doubled again. And given the aging population, we won’t be able to retire at 60 and live off our savings and pension anymore. We’ll be required to work until we’re much older, which means we need to find something that feels purposeful and that we ENJOY doing, or life will get very tedious!
  • Changing families and evolving roles. Both parents in most families now work, and we’re hiring people in record numbers for the jobs highest in purpose – caring for our kids and aging parents. We want to know that our carers feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their work too, since we’re trusting them with our precious people. AND since we’re giving up our precious time with our families to work, we want to know that our work MEANS something and has an impact.
  • Environmental, economic and political turmoil has created great instability, upheaval, and uncertainty worldwide. The pace of change in our lives is ever-accelerating as large institutions and organisations restructure, collapse or merge in order to stay relevant and survive. People are seeing this upheaval and turmoil and desire to do something to help.
  • A rising desire by many to have a positive impact on the world somehow.

All of these factors have caused major changes globally that were magnified by the ‘Great Recession’ in 2008. The global instability has drastically changed the fabric of today’s professional workforce. We no longer have a single employer for our entire career and the average tenure in a company has dropped steeply, with the average employee staying at a single job for a mere 4.5 years today. As Hurst says:

 

“We’re all becoming defacto freelancers, on our own and navigating great uncertainty in every direction. The global shift has placed MEANING AND PURPOSE at the heart of the contemporary workforce. Purpose, rather than career longevity, now provides the stability we need.”

 

In the new Purpose Economy, WIN-WIN SOLUTIONS are the new commodity of value. People increasingly respect companies that provide a product or service that creates a positive net benefit or outcome for other people, nature, and the economy. There is no longer any respect or room for exploitation or selfish aggrandizement.

 

If your business doesn’t create positive value to ALL stakeholders, it won’t survive. There’s a rising need and requirement for businesses to lead the way and show how to not only create a win-win solution but to THRIVE because of it.

 

 

Here’s why I’m personally so passionate about PURPOSE:

Oprah Winfrey's famous quote on finding your life purpose

I quit my corporate career of fifteen years in 2011 to start my own business in a completely new field (career coaching), because no matter how many changes I made or roles I took on in my previous career as an environmental engineer, I just couldn’t find or sustain a real sense of fulfilment, satisfaction or JOY in my work. And my health and relationships suffered terribly as a result. I felt completely lost and off-track. It wasn’t until I made the decision to quit my career to follow something more aligned with my strengths and passion that my health started improving and my life started feeling better and better. Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to understand why some of us seem to easily find a professional path that we love, while some of us really struggle with it.

Through talking to people, coaching many clients and doing in-depth research on the topic of career satisfaction, it seems that there’s one thing that separates someone who really LOVES their work from someone who feels just “meh” about their work, and that is:

A clearly defined sense of PURPOSE.

Once I was finally able to clearly DEFINE and CLAIM my own unique purpose, everything fell into place and my life took on a whole new level of meaning and joy, both personally and professionally. Over the years I’ve pondered the topic of ‘purpose’ extensively and developed my own definition for it. It reads like this:

Your PURPOSE is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.

I discuss in detail how to find your joyful and purposeful professional path and purpose in my related blog article: PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR PROFESSIONAL PATH & PURPOSE.

In summary, there are four different and very critical components to your purpose, as shown below.

How to find your BIG WHY - how to find your purpose

When you manage to get these four different components working in harmony in your professional life, work feels GOOD and deeply fulfilling.

Last week I came across a beautiful example of a ‘purposeful business’ when I was looking for furniture for our new home. I was so excited and uplifted by this business that I made a short video about it which you can view below. To find out more about this thriving, purposeful business, creating win-win solutions for people, nature and the environment, go to STORIES ON THE WALL.

So how do set yourself up to THRIVE in the new era?

To adequately prepare yourself for the Purpose Economy, it’s essential that you take the time to do some deep self-reflection and take stock of your biggest asset – YOU. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my particular skills, strengths, and unique abilities and how can I leverage those more fully? #naturalgenius
  • What is my authentic personality and which environments or activities fully support and nurture my authentic self? #truenature
  • What kind of organisation, profession or business idea will allow me to more fully express myself authentically? #authenticselfexpression
  • What do I actually care about enough to want to dedicate my time, energy and resources to it? #passion
  • How can I contribute my unique gifts and talents to something that I care about deeply? #service
  • How can I make a positive difference and make an abundant, reliable income? #financialabundance
  • What is the positive impact I personally want to make and how? #impact
  • What is my unique purpose and my BIG WHY? #purpose

Getting clear on your PURPOSE is an essential step to thriving in our society going forward. If you need help answering any of these questions, be sure to get your copy of my FREE E-Book PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE.I'm so excited to offer my free Ebook on how to find your unique professional path and purpose

As always, I love hearing from you, so please reach out at any time at katie@katiedejong.com.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
www.katiedejong.com
katie@katiedejong.com

The Moment of Clarity: How Do You Know When it’s Time to Follow Your Heart?

The Moment of Clarity: How Do You Know When it’s Time to Follow Your Heart?

How do you know when it's time to give up the struggle and follow your heart? Is there ever a good time? Find out about the moment I KNEW it was time to take the leap of faith and turn my life around #findyourpurpose #purpose #followyourheart #followyourbliss #livefromyourheart ##healing #selflove #bethechange #innerwork #mindset #shineyourlight #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #positivityrules #successmindset #authenticity #listentoyourheart #listentoyoursoul #courage #faith #resilience #powerofpositivity #dreambelieveachieve #noregrets #havenofear I remember the moment so clearly.

 

I was sitting on the terrace of a beautiful outdoor cafe in a leafy green suburb right on the beach. The warm sun was gently caressing my shoulders and there was a gentle breeze in the air. I’d just been for a swim in the crystal clear, blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the underwater visibility so beautiful as I swam to the edge of the pier and back, watching the ripples of sand on the ocean floor and fish swimming by in small schools. Stepping out of the water I had felt cleansed, nourished and uplifted.

Now as I was waiting for my coffee and breakfast to arrive I glanced over at the waitress serving our group of tables outside on the peaceful terrace. She looked relaxed, happy and sun-kissed, as though she’d had a fun, long summer, probably stopping to work for a few months here on the West Coast as she backpacked around Australia, which is what I gathered by the Irish lilt in her accent. She looked focused on the milk she was frothing for the cappuccinos she was preparing, in a joyful and contented way. She laughed and tossed her hair as a passing colleague made a funny comment. I was suddenly struck by an enormous feeling of envy at the ease and joy she exuded, of the deep sense of peace and happiness she seemed to feel.

How long had it been since I had felt so at ease and in love with life? I had once been like that, just like this carefree waitress, I remember it well; that feeling of light-heartedness, spontaneity, ease, and joy.

 

How had my life become so difficult, dark and heavy?

Since those uncomplicated and carefree days in my late teens and early twenties, it felt like my life had been slipping deeper and deeper into an abyss and I had no hope of clawing my way back out. I’d been through a five-year battle with chronic fatigue, my parents’ heart-wrenching divorce, enormous struggle to establish my career, struggle setting up my life in another country and in a new language, difficult relationships, the pain of ‘unexplained infertility’ and most recently, two devastating miscarriages that turned my whole world upside down. It took all my willpower just to get out of bed in the mornings and to face another day, when all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep, or better still – never wake up.

I had recently walked into my manager’s office at work and told him that I needed to take two months off work. I couldn’t go on any longer. I was on the verge of a breakdown and I just could not keep up the facade. I needed help, I needed time out. Until this point, I had pushed through every difficulty of my life, never giving up, always pushing on, always struggling through. I had been intent on never letting anyone down, of fulfilling my duties and obligations no matter what state I was in. I had no more strength to do this. I was drained and depleted.

 

My cup was empty, every last drop.

 

How do you know when it's time to give up the struggle and follow your heart? Is there ever a good time? Find out about the moment I KNEW it was time to take the leap of faith and turn my life around #findyourpurpose #purpose #followyourheart #followyourbliss #livefromyourheart ##healing #selflove #bethechange #innerwork #mindset #shineyourlight #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #positivityrules #successmindset #authenticity #listentoyourheart #listentoyoursoul #courage #faith #resilience #powerofpositivity #dreambelieveachieve #noregrets #fearless

This was the first time in my life that I had put my own needs first, by deciding to take time off work and just be for two months. Even though I was exhausted and felt so incredibly run down, I drove down to the beach each morning to enjoy the soothing calm of the waves lapping the sand and to watch the birds frolic in the waves, to try to instill some peace and comfort within my being. I had never before felt entitled to take time out of the rat race to honour my needs, to listen to my body and heed the whispers of my heart. I had always felt a sense of duty to go on, a responsibility to keep contributing my salary to our household income and fulfill my work obligations, to put on a brave face and soldier on no matter what inner guidance I may have been getting. But losing our second pregnancy, after trying to create our family for so long, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The sense of grief and anguish was so deep and heart-wrenching, the pain touched every part of my being in every single waking moment. I was heart-broken and depleted. It was simply no longer possible to muster the energy to pretend everything was OK. It was not OK. After almost fifteen years of pain and struggle I had finally realised that this was very far from OK. Something had to change.

 

In that moment on the café terrace at the beach, as I sat in silence enjoying my coffee, it suddenly dawned on me that I had the power to change my life.

 

Until now I had felt trapped in my chosen career path and life circumstances. I had invested so much in my career, I couldn’t possibly abandon it … could I? Is it possible to leave something behind when you’ve invested your sweat and tears in it, when you’ve depleted and drained yourself to achieve it, when you’ve spent more than fifteen years pursuing it and dedicated every cell of your being to it? And you’ve finally got there? When you’ve finally built up the career and reputation you’d been working so hard to achieve all those years? Could I leave all that now and finally admit that I had been barking up the wrong tree? That this is absolutely not how I want to spend the rest of my life? That this life I’ve been living is not me?

There was something inside me in that moment that changed forever. I finally opened to the possibility that perhaps I could decide to leave my career behind to pursue something closer to my heart, more aligned to my strengths. Perhaps I could do something that brings me real joy and flows naturally and easily to me. Until now my career and way of life had been nothing but struggle and an uphill battle, I’d been desperately trying to prove myself in a world that was not authentically mine. I’d always felt a little like a fraud and a square peg in a round hole, in my corporate career that valued logic, rational thought and ladder-climbing. While deep down I knew my strengths are creativity, linguistics and human relations. The only way I felt I could be accepted and respected in my corporate career was to be outstanding at what I did. That way no one could detect that I was putting on a facade.

 

What would it feel like to let down the facade, to drop the act and discover the real me?

 

And that’s when a voice deep within me said “Yes. Give up. Listen to your heart for once and follow its guidance. You’ve been ignoring it since you were a teenager. Look where it’s gotten you. Sure, you’ve climbed your way up the academic and corporate ranks, you’ve gathered nice titles behind your name and achieved great things, but at what cost? Is this what living life is about? Being forced to take time off work because you’re on the verge of breaking down completely; living life in a heavy fog of sadness, exhaustion, depletion and anxiety? Life is not meant to be this difficult!”

As I let the thought “give up” enter and permeate my being, something happened. It felt as though a veil was slowly lifting around me and light was slowly seeping in. Suddenly the colours around me seemed brighter, the sounds became louder, I could see a beetle on the tree a few metres away from me and appreciate its intricate beauty. A lightness filled my being, a feeling I had not felt in a very long time.

 

How do you know when it's time to give up the struggle and follow your heart? Is there ever a good time? Find out about the moment I KNEW it was time to take the leap of faith and turn my life around #findyourpurpose #purpose #followyourheart #followyourbliss #livefromyourheart ##healing #selflove #bethechange #innerwork #mindset #shineyourlight #liveyourdreams #followyourheart #positivityrules #successmindset #authenticity #listentoyourheart #listentoyoursoul #courage #faith #resilience #powerofpositivity #dreambelieveachieve #noregrets #havenofear

In that moment I knew.
This was a turning point. It was time for me to reclaim my life.

 

It was time for me to listen to my heart, to be true to myself, to acknowledge that I had been living my life according to other people’s expectations, that I had abandoned the desires of my heart to pursue a life that was not authentically my own. And now I had the power to change that.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy to give up my career and pursue something closer to my heart. There would be many people surprised by my decision and perhaps many who would be disappointed. There would be many who would laugh. But now that I’d felt the connection to my heart’s desires and the subsequent energetic lift that it created, there was no going back.

 

The ‘good girl’ in me no longer cared about what others thought; it was time for me to like the life I live.

 

You can read my full story in What does it mean to be true to yourself? My journey of finding my true voice and path.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

 

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons to Break Free and Build Your Own Business

Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons to Break Free and Build Your Own Business

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspirationIf you’re one to keep an eye on the latest trends around the world, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that there’s a steadily rising number of people quitting the ‘rat race’ to build their own business.

 

The combination of shifting personal priorities and a greater desire for more freedom, flexibility, purpose, and creativity has meant that more and more people are choosing to throw in their stable 9-5 job to pursue their own business, on their own terms. Plus. the increased accessibility of high-speed internet almost everywhere has meant that professionals can easily do business from their laptop, regardless of their location. With this increased access to flexibility and freedom, thanks to the internet, it’s becoming less and less appealing to stay bound to an office desk.

 

Freelancers now make up 35% of the American and Australian workforces, and these numbers steadily are on the rise.

 

And the percentage of freelancers is even higher among the younger workforce. A survey conducted by Upwork and published in The Herald Sun showed that in Australia, “Among workers aged 18 – 24 years old, 47% are freelancing either part-time or full-time, versus 28% of Baby Boomers”. Having grown up in the digital world, it’s natural that young people in the modern era are more flexible, agile, networked, and connected – the perfect ingredients for entrepreneurship and freelancing. It’s interesting to note also that the majority of  older people who chose to start their own business did not do so out of necessity, but by choice (57% of the total), with flexibility, freedom, and improved work-life balance “luring them from the rigid confines of the 38-hour work week.”

I know that when I was growing up, freelancing seemed incredibly risky to me; the responsibility for generating your own income throughout all economic cycles seemed like a far bigger risk than I was willing to take. However, independent workforce surveys such as the UpWork survey in the USA show that freelancers are now, in fact, earning more relative to their old jobs. Among respondents in the UpWork survey, more than half are earning more than they did getting a steady paycheck in their former job. A total of 46% were able to successfully raise their rates in the past year.

 

Fifty-three percent of freelancers believe that having a diverse portfolio of clients is more economically secure than having one employer. Times are changing indeed.

 

 

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspirationBut if you’re sitting on the fence about whether to finally answer that little voice that’s nudging you to quit your day job to pursue something closer to your heart, I understand from personal experience how hard it is to make that decision. Deciding to leave a stable career path and reliable salary for an unknown outcome, no matter how exciting or appealing the idea, is absolutely not an easy decision to make to. And it’s not one that I made lightly myself. It wasn’t until I started suffering from severe chronic health issues that I was finally forced to change direction (you can read my full story here).

And even when all the signs were pointing to the fact that I needed to branch out on my own, it was still an absolutely terrifying thought; I had a lot of fear and insecurity to overcome before I was able to consider the idea of becoming a ‘business owner’ seriously.

But since taking the leap of faith to start my own business, I haven’t looked back. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, for the reasons I’m about to share with you. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy.

 

Starting your own business is not for the faint-hearted. It requires enormous amounts of resilience, grit, perseverance, and most of all, belief in yourself. But the rewards more than outweigh the sweat and tears you put in.

 

There are days when it all feels too hard and I want to give up on my dream (as I write about in my article Those Days When I Want to Give Up On My Dream – And 7 Ways I Manage to Get Through Them). But they’re happening less frequently as I establish more reliable structures, systems, and approaches that allow me to earn a more reliable and predictable income. Establishing yourself successfully in your own business won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. As long as you approach it with a practical, low-risk strategy and get advice from those who have gone before you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

 

Here are 5 big reasons why you should break free and start your own business.

 

1. You’ll Enjoy Greater Freedom and Flexibility

If you’re tired of the groundhog days of alarm clocks, rushing and commuting, then you’ll love being your own boss. No more forcing yourself into the office early in the morning no matter how late you stayed up the night before, or the complete lack of free time to do the things that sustain and nourish you. As your own boss, you can work according to your own schedule and work with the natural rhythms of your body clock and creative impulses. I love that I can now take time off when I need to and catch up on my work in the evening if I have to. Freedom and flexibility have become especially important to me since becoming a mother to our two young children.

Yes, you’ll need to have robust self-discipline and sufficient structure in your days to force you to be productive and be able to enjoy the traction and momentum you need in your business. But when you’re doing something you love, it’s not hard to find the motivation to get onto your work.

 

It’s been my experience that structure and routine are your best allies as a small business owner. The good part is, you get to decide on the business structure and routine that suits you.

 

2. You Can Do Things on Your Own Terms

If you’re someone who finds it hard to be micro-managed or to follow someone else’s ideas (especially if you don’t agree with them), then you’ll love being your own boss. In the great article “Why entrepreneurs choose freedom over money”, they conclude:

“Despite the fact that people who work for themselves often work more, have fewer benefits and experience more on-the-job stress than those who work in a company, the majority of Americans would prefer to be entrepreneurs. Our research shows that entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their jobs – and happier in general. Workplace autonomy is a powerful motivator.”

 

3. You’ll Experience More Fun and Pleasure in Your Work

I really needed to pinch myself the first time I received money for my coaching services; it seemed such a gift to be paid for something I found so enjoyable and enriching. Doing something you love really is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Plus, entrepreneurs are a fun bunch of people! It continues to amaze and inspire me to see how much entrepreneurs seem to enjoy their work. One of my favourite mentors Jeanna Gabellini always says:

 

“If it ain’t fun, don’t do it!”
– Jeanna Gabellini

 

A central part of Jeanna’s work and message is teaching people how to harness the Law of Attraction in their business to attract more profits and abundance, and having fun is an essential part! This was something that took me a long time to get used to. I was used to having to work hard and to ‘struggle’ at work; I’d come to accept that work is a necessary evil to pay the bills and to get ahead in the world. It feels so great to now to actually have fun in my work each and every day.

 

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspiration4. You Get to Fully Express Your Unique Gifts and Talents

You have your own unique zone of ‘natural genius’ – the things that you’re naturally good at without even trying. During my corporate career, I think I was operating in my own zone of natural genius only about 20% of the time. The rest of the time I was doing things that weren’t aligned with my natural strengths and didn’t feel joyful. I know that every career includes tasks and activities that we like and many task and activities that we don’t like. But when you’re working in a way that allows you to fully express the gifts you do have, somehow the other parts don’t feel so onerous or annoying – they’re in service to the beautiful thing you’re creating through your business.

 

 

5. You Get to See the Direct Results of Your Efforts and Enjoy Making a Positive Difference

Do you often wonder whether your daily work is having any impact? In my former career I spent countless hours writing Business Cases, proposals and strategic plans that were often shelved, delayed due to lack of funding, or often dismissed because it was “not the way we’ve always done things”. And while I was part of some important breakthroughs during my career, I wanted to spend less time justifying and defending my ideas and more time just getting on and doing them.

When you work for yourself, you can pitch your idea and philosophy clearly and those who resonate with your vision – and need exactly what you’re offering – can respond. And then you can get on with the task of serving those people directly and effectively. I believe the more people who embrace their yearning to make a difference and put themselves out there to start serving in their own unique way, the faster we’ll see things improve in the world.

 

Are you ready to leave your day job to start your own business?

 

If you’re at the point of wondering whether you should leave your career behind to pursue something closer to your heart, Helena Klein suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you have to justify your job to yourself and others?
    Do you find yourself saying your work is actually ‘not that bad’, when in reality you know there must be a more joyful and fulfilling way to spend your working days?
  • Is your work giving you energy or draining you of it?
    Is there at least one part of your work that you look forward to each day? If there’s no part of your work that truly excites you, it’s time to make some changes.
  • Is there anybody I work with whose life I would like to have?
    If you don’t see any positive role models at work to look up to and who have the kind of life you want, then why are you there? There is no use in working your way up to a job that you don’t want to have.
  • Do you feel inspired by your work?
    Are you able to think freely, out of the box? Or do you feel trapped and patronized? If you spend too much time completing other people’s tasks, ignoring your own thoughts, or withholding your talent from the world, then it’s time to think seriously about change.
  • Last but not least: is my work in line with my personal values?
    If the things you’re doing at work don’t feel good to you, this is a big warning sign. You should feel proud of what you do and feel good about yourself when you do it.

 

As Farnoosh Ahram says:

“If you want to venture out on your own, pursue a call to greatness and live a meaningful life on your own terms, do it. Do not wait for permission. Do not wait for acceptance or validation. Do.Not.Wait, my friend. Because time is the one thing that you cannot buy back with all the gold and power in the world.”

 

Do you yearn to discover your unique path and purpose and to thrive financially, while doing work you love? Then get yourself a FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: How to Find Your Unique Path and Purpose and learn how to build a career that unites your true nature, your passion and your natural genius into work that is a full expression of yourself, allowing you to get your unique and valuable gifts into the world in a way that is FUN and deeply fulfilling!

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspiration

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com
Create Your Dream Job! How to Get Unstuck in Your Career with Life Design Principles

Create Your Dream Job! How to Get Unstuck in Your Career with Life Design Principles

Are you feeling stuck, disillusioned, or frustrated in your career? Harness the power of Life Design Principles to get yourself unstuck and loving your work! #career #careerchange #dreamcareer #lifedesignprinciples #lifedesign #lifedesigninterviews #careertransition #dreamjobJob hunting can be one of the most soul-destroying, confidence-zapping processes to go through. If you’re currently without work or stuck in a job you hate, then I’m sure you know how depressing the whole job-hunting process can feel.

 

You troll the internet for job vacancies, then try to mold your cover letter to express a (perhaps inauthentic) desire for the job and then wait seemingly forever for a confirmation email or response that sometimes never comes. The trouble in this situation is that you give all your power over to a process that you have absolutely no control over, and get yourself into a downward spiral of low self-confidence and negativity pretty quickly.

This week I learned of a staggering statistic in Dave Evans & Bill Burnett’s wonderful book Designing Your Life: Build a Life That Works For You:

 

Only one in five jobs are actually posted in job search engines or anywhere on the internet. This means that four out of five jobs are not advertised – anywhere. No wonder so many people feel frustrated and rejected when job seeking.

 

If only one in five jobs are advertised, where are the other four out of five jobs? Evans & Burnett call it the Hidden Job Market, which they describe as “the job market that’s only open to people who are already connected into the web of professional relationships in which that job resides. This is an insider’s game, and it’s almost impossible to get inside that web as a job seeker.”

So how do you become one of the ‘insiders’ when you’re on the outside? Accessing the hidden job market all comes down to one thing – networking. In a recent LinkedIn study, it was shown that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking [1]. ‘Networking’ is a word that makes some people cringe while conjuring up images of making small talk with potentially helpful strangers or approaching people cold turkey with a business card. But it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be that way. The whole process of networking to access the hidden job market can be turned into a very pleasant and enjoyable – and extremely productive – process, through a technique that Evans & Burnett describe as Life Design Interviews.

 

In the Life Design Process, you first figure out what your dream career path would be – don’t settle for anything less.

 

Figuring out your dream career can be a challenging task in itself and it’s important that you first take the time to get clear on what that might look like. If you need help with this, be sure to get your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: How to find and start living your unique calling.

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspiration

Once you’re clear on what you want, you then invite someone who is already connected into your desired field to have a conversation with you about what it’s like to work in that field or job.

 

You approach the conversation with a mindset of curiosity and interest and with the intention to find out whether this kind of work really is something you desire yourself.

 

Are you feeling stuck, disillusioned, or frustrated in your career? Harness the power of Life Design Principles to get yourself unstuck and loving your work! #career #careerchange #dreamcareer #lifedesignprinciples #lifedesign #lifedesigninterviews #careertransition #dreamjobPeople are generally very happy to be interviewed to talk about themselves and their work, especially when they know that the intention is to seek information, not to request or apply for a job. Evans & Burnett state that you must approach the conversation “as a sincerely interested inquirer – someone looking just for the story (not looking for the job). That’s how this works.”

 

There’s something magical that happens when you move from a place of desperation and neediness into a place of open-minded curiosity and non-attachment.

 

There’s a shift in your energy and you open up the conversation to an authentic connection and conversation, as opposed to an attempt to coerce the other person into giving you something you need. People are very good at picking up on ‘needy’ energy and it’s repelling. Curiosity, on the other hand, is inviting and appealing.

There are two great outcomes of this approach:

1) You find out first-hand whether this profession really is what you think it might be and whether it’s something you really do want to commit your time, effort and resources to, and;

2) You establish a connection with an insider in that field. You are networking in a completely organic and non-forced manner, bringing you closer to accessing the hidden job market.

The more people you interview, the more information and insight you learn and the more connections you make. Evans & Burnett describe how one of their clients, Kurt, started off as a job-seeker. He submitted thirty-eight job applications, along with his impressive resume and thirty-eight individual crafted cover letters. Out of all his applications, he received terse rejection emails from eight companies and never heard back from the other thirty. “No interviews, no offers, no follow-up calls.” Needless to say, he became disheartened and dejected. After learning of the Life Design Interview process, Kurt then identified people he could talk to and went out and conducted 56 life design interviews in different companies and organisations related to his dream field. During that process, he established a wide web of authentic connections and in the end, was offered seven wonderful job offers and had to spend significant time considering which one was the best fit for him.

 

He turned his situation of desperation into one of being connected and in-demand. This is how the Life Design Process works.

 

Are you feeling stuck, disillusioned, or frustrated in your career? Harness the power of Life Design Principles to get yourself unstuck and loving your work! #career #careerchange #dreamcareer #lifedesignprinciples #lifedesign #lifedesigninterviews #careertransition #dreamjobTo get unstuck in your current career crisis, it’s crucial that you shift yourself out of a powerless, dependent-on-others mindset into an empowered, proactive and non-attached mindset. This shift in itself will create several positive benefits you hadn’t anticipated. Take back your power and rather than wait for the next best thing to come along, get busy deciding what you want and figuring out how to create it. Burnett & Evans describe five Life Design Principles that are essential to accompany your Life Design Interviews.

Life Design Principles

 

1. Be Curious

There is something interesting about everything. Endless curiosity is key to a well-designed life. Which fields interest you and what would you like to know about them? Which kinds of people could you talk to to find out more information? What do experts in this field argue about and why? What are the key issues people in this field deal with? What are the problems/issues/challenges that keep these people up at night and are these issues you are passionate about too? “Endless curiosity equals increasing knowledge, options and clarity about your life direction.”

 

2. Try Stuff

When you shift into a mode of bias-toward-action you stop being stuck. There is no more analysing, worrying, pondering, or solving your way through life. Evans & Burnett talk regularly about “building your way” into your dream job. Keep figuring out the next action to take and do it. Who can you talk to next? What is something you could do to find out more about a certain field? What can you read or learn to find out more about a particular idea you have? Are there any courses or self-study modules you could follow to learn more and upskill yourself?

 

3. Reframe Problems

Reframing is a change in perspective, viewing something from a different angle and changing the meaning around it. For example, a dysfunctional belief could be “I’m too old and it’s too late to find my dream job”. A reframe would be “It’s never too late to design a life you love and I have the power to create anything I desire.”

Ask yourself “What perspective do I actually have in this situation?” and if there is a way to change it for your own benefit and empowerment. We have the power to reframe any situation and substitute a limiting belief with a resourceful one. We get to choose and design our own life.

 

4. Know That It’s a Process

Knowing that building your dream career is a process means you don’t get frustrated or lost and don’t ever give up.

 

5. Ask For Help

We’re not meant to walk this path alone. Our success depends on building networks of support and collaboration. Find yourself a mentor (or several) and join groups or networks of like-minded people with similar aspirations. Facebook Groups is an amazing resource for people looking to link in with groups of people on a similar path. As Jeffrey Davis always says “Doing it Together (DIT) beats Doing it Yourself (DIY)”.

So get yourself unstuck by brainstorming who you could conduct some Life Design Interviews with and get out there and start actively and intentionally building the career you desire. You are in charge of your life and your destiny and only you have the power to build the life you want.

And good luck dear friend, please let me know how you go in the comments below!

 

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

[1] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-survey-reveals-85-all-jobs-filled-via-networking-lou-adler

Forget IQ Tests. Here Are the Real Reasons Why People Succeed.

Forget IQ Tests. Here Are the Real Reasons Why People Succeed.

In this article we're busting the myth of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, thanks to cutting edge research by Scott Barry Kaufman at Yale #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #manyformsofintelligence #youareintelligent #everyoneisintelligent #mythofIQtestsHave you ever felt constrained by a label? Or been unfairly compared to others?

 

I felt compelled to write this article because I’ve seen the destructive forces of labels playing out in the lives of many people close to me and I’ve felt them acutely myself.

Labels put us into artificial boxes that don’t exist and they limit — or over-inflate — the way we feel about ourselves. Plus, they can become self-fulfilling prophecies in that what we believe about ourselves tends to become our reality.

Labels can hold us back. By comparing ourselves to others, we feel less-than. And they don’t allow for the ever-changing nature of our authentic self to unfold and flourish.

As a Career & Life Coach, one of the biggest hurdles I experience when coaching people to unlock their full potential is their own internal beliefs about themselves. I see them get all excited and lit up by a vision they hold for their future, and then I see the fear and inner gremlins creep in that tell them they’re not good enough, or ‘smart enough’ to make it happen.

 

Below you’ll discover why IQ tests are not necessarily an indicator of your potential and the four real reasons why people succeed. Plus I’ll tell you how you can apply these four principles in your own life to thrive and love life.

 

“In the 40-plus years that I have worked with children, I continue to be in awe of each young soul whom I am privileged to get to know. I have learned a great deal about each Self. I’ve experienced their emotions, anxieties, joys, passions, and ambitions, and I see that each Self is perfect in itself. It is only when we start comparing them to each other that we begin to see imperfection.”

— Annemarie Roeper, quoted in Ungifted, by Scott Barry Kaufman.

 

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about the concept of human intelligence and the idea that some people are inherently more ‘intelligent’ than others. I’ve simply always known intuitively that it’s not necessarily accurate.

 

I’ve always believed (and experienced) that we’re all equally intelligent, but in radically different ways.

When I was about nine years old I was made to sit a test called PEAC (Primary Extension and Challenge), based on IQ (‘Intelligence Quotient’) measurement. I was very surprised that I scored highly on that particular test, because I knew very well that I wasn’t any more or less intelligent than my classmates. I was under no illusion and I knew that my classmates were very good at some things that I wasn’t, and vice versa.

 

We were all different and clever in our own, very different way.

 

My mind just seemed to work in a way that made me score high on this particular IQ test. As a result, I was labeled ‘gifted’ and channeled into after-school extension classes. Suddenly my afternoons that were once filled with play time were spent sitting in a classroom learning about electronics, meteorology, ancient mythology and Italian. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I really didn’t enjoy those classes (except Italian, which I loved). It became a real source of anxiety for me to attend them. Plus, the label ‘gifted’ was very uncomfortable for me among my peers as well as at home among my siblings and created all kinds of unwanted tension. Comparison really is the beginning of all problems.

 

Then there is the story of Scott Barry Kaufman.

 

Scott is the author of the wonderful book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, who at a very young age was diagnosed as having a learning disability based on IQ tests. As a result, he was channeled into special classes for the learning disabled. Like me, he knew that he wasn’t any more or less intelligent than the others, but his particular kind of intelligence wasn’t fully quantifiable in an IQ test. He tried and tried to escape the label of ‘learning disabled’, which affected him in immeasurable ways (as you can imagine), and it wasn’t until one particular teacher in high school took a chance on him and allowed him to enter her ‘normal’ classroom. Scott went on to prove his school psychologist (and countless others) wrong by graduating from high school and he eventually completed a Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology at one of America’s most prestigious universities, Yale.

 

After being labeled ‘learning disabled’, he is now one of the most respected Psychologists in the field of human intelligence and is a wonderful example of how labels can be proven utterly wrong.

 

In this article we're busting the myth of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, thanks to cutting edge research by Scott Barry Kaufman at Yale #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #manyformsofintelligence #youareintelligent #everyoneisintelligent #mythofIQtests

Kaufman’s book highlights the real limitations of IQ testing. He discusses how the first modern IQ test was developed in France by Alfred Binet in 1905, who was given the task of inventing a test that would distinguish ‘fast learners’ from ‘slow learners’ in a school environment. The IQ-test that Binet developed was quite effective at doing so, but Binet himself knew the limitations of the test.

After working with hundreds of children and their test results, Binet knew that the outcome of the test was not 100% reproducible and depended on a number of factors including the level of anxiety of the child at the time of the test, their current level of maturity, their environment, how motivated they were to do well in the test and the amount of stimulation they received until that point.

 

Binet knew that the IQ-test was not a direct sign of potential, which depends on a myriad of other factors.

 

He said himself “With practice, training and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.”

And yet despite his public statements about the limitations of the test, the test was fervently adopted for measuring human intelligence worldwide. Lewis Terman, a professor of psychology at Stanford University in the USA was smitten with the Binet test and with some modifications developed the Stanford-Binet test in 1916, which went on to propel the IQ-test forward as the gold standard for human intelligence testing and remained America’s test of choice for half a century (Kaufman, 2013).

Terman and his team believed that intelligence is fixed, enduring and hereditary (which we now know is not the case). His labels influenced a whole new generation of IQ classification schemes. Interestingly, as Kaufman discusses in his book, Terman’s impact surprised even himself. As he noted about fifteen years after the first edition of his test was published “I knew that revision of Binet’s tests was superior to others then available, but I did not foresee the vogue it was to have an imagined that it would probably be displaced by something much better within a few years.”

 

Well, the imperfect IQ-test was not superseded by something better within a few years as Terman predicted. It’s still the basis behind most intelligence testing used worldwide today.

 

In his book Ungifted, Kaufman refers to research by Kevin McGrew which showed that IQ tests are “fallible predictors of academic achievement.” He explains how for any given IQ test score, half of the students will end up obtaining final achievement scores at or below their IQ score. Conversely, and frequently not recognized, is that for any given test score, half of the students will end up obtaining final achievement scores at or above their IQ score [2]. So as you can see, IQ tests are not a be-all-and-end-all summary of your potential. They simply “measure an important but limited slice of intellectual functioning in a very limited test environment”, as Kaufman says.

 

So what is intelligence then?

 

I’m a big fan of Nicholas Lore’s definition of intelligence in his book The Pathfinder: How to choose or change your career for a lifetime of satisfaction and success.

“Intelligence is a natural gift for doing anything well.” – Nocholas Lore

 

We all have a natural gift for doing something well. And therefore, we are all intelligent.

 

Each of us is unique, with a very distinct and particular zone of what I call natural genius; a particular set of skills, gifts, and talents that are unique to us. And who are we to judge whether one set of skills and abilities makes us more intelligent than someone with a completely different set of talents and abilities?

I call the things you do naturally well your natural genius because I believe that the term genius shouldn’t be reserved only for those who become successful and wildly famous because of their specific gifts. It should be acknowledged that we all have a specific kind of genius, and the only things that separate you from a well-known ‘genius’ are these following things:

· The right conditions, environment, and support to nurture and develop your particular zone of genius;
· The belief that you have a very unique and particular zone of genius;
· An attitude of ‘grit’, a term gaining popularity to describe “A passion and perseverance for long-term goals” (defined by Angela Lee Duckworth);
· A passion and love for something that allows you to sustain and fuel an attitude of grit, which in turn allows you to develop and express your genius to its fullest extent.

 

In her famous book Wishcraft, Barbara Sher discusses how we’re each born with a ‘seed’ of genius that contains the maximum potential of our fully expressed life; a bit like the acorn contains the blueprint of the fully developed oak tree.

 

But that acorn will not become a fully developed oak tree unless it is nurtured in the right conditions with nutritious soil, water, sunshine and air. Your natural genius needs a special kind of nurturing too with regards to the environment you grow up in and live in. Sher explains that all accomplished ‘geniuses’ received the right conditions to nurture their particular genius, including support from their environment, encouragement, stimulation, and opportunity.

Kaufman (2013) says that a nurturing family environment is a necessity to help a child flourish, just as a fish needs water to swim and survive. And one of the most important discoveries in recent years is that the environment you’re in triggers gene expression. This means that some talents lie dormant in all of us, waiting for the perfect environmental conditions to trigger them. So a supportive and stimulating environment is critical to the development of your own unique intelligence.

To understand whether your own zone of natural genius was nurtured as you were growing up, try to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following questions [from Wishcraft].

 

Was your natural genius carefully nurtured while growing up?

 

1. When you were a child, were you treated as though you have a unique kind of genius that was loved and respected?
2. Were you told that you can do or be anything you want, and that you would be loved and admired no matter what that was?
3. Were you given real encouragement in finding out what you wanted to do, and how to do it?
4. Were you encouraged to explore all your talents and interests even if they changed regularly?
5. Were you allowed to complain when the going got tough, and were you given sympathy?
6. Were you rescued when you got in over your head, without being punished or reprimanded?
7. Were you surrounded by happy, fulfilled people who were pleased when you succeeded?

If you answered ‘no’ to four or more of these questions, then it’s likely your natural genius wasn’t provided with the optimal conditions to fully unfold and develop. It’s possible that you don’t know what your natural genius is and perhaps you feel skeptical about even having one.

On the other hand, if you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of these questions, it’s likely that your natural genius ‘seed’ was nurtured very well and allowed to germinate, perhaps grow into a seedling, or perhaps even into a fully developed tree. It’s likely that you have a clear and healthy sense of your own abilities and your unique gifts and talents.

 

That’s a wonderful thing. You’re very lucky!

 

In this article we're busting the myth of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, thanks to cutting edge research by Scott Barry Kaufman at Yale #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #manyformsofintelligence #youareintelligent #everyoneisintelligent #mythofIQtestsIf you’re not sure what your particular genius is, I cover tips and strategies for uncovering this is my free E-Book Pathfinding: How to find and start living your unique calling.

One of the best places to start looking to uncover your natural genius is in your childhood. What are the things you loved doing as a child, what did you naturally gravitate towards and what would others say you were naturally good at? And what do you love doing? The seeds of your natural genius will be hidden in there.

 

There are many different kinds of intelligence and an infinite number of ways in which these types of intelligence can interact and complement each other within each of us.

 

Commonly referred to as ‘talent stacks’, different combinations of talents can result in very different and powerful abilities. Thankfully today there are numerous approaches, systems, and tests for discovering your own particular innate strengths, which can help you understand the best professions and environments that suit and nurture your particular genius.

I’ve highlighted just some of the many different ways the innate abilities can be classified in Table 1 at the end of this article. What’s important is that you recognize that you have a zone of natural genius. In her book Coach Yourself To A New Career, Talane Miedaner says:

 

“Our inherent abilities are so much a part of our makeup that they can be like breathing; we may take them completely for granted and not even recognize them as special talents and abilities”.

– Talane Miedaner

 

In this article we're busting the myth of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, thanks to cutting edge research by Scott Barry Kaufman at Yale #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #manyformsofintelligence #youareintelligent #everyoneisintelligent #mythofIQtests

You’ll know you’re operating in your zone of natural genius if:

· It feels fun and easy;
· You can do it for hours and you are more energized afterward, not less;
· Time collapses around you. You lose track of the hours when you’re engaged in your natural talent;
· You create superior results with less effort;
· You add value effortlessly to those around you;
· It is easy to be successful;
· You are happy and fulfilled;
· You feel fully alive and self-expressed (Miedaner, 2010).

 

So how do we realise our maximum potential and succeed?

 

Potential, Kaufman says in Ungifted, is a constantly moving target. The more we engage in something, the more we develop our brain capacity in that area and the more our potential grows.

In his book Brain Rules, John Medina describes how what you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like — it literally rewires it. So you can absolutely develop intelligence in an area, depending on how much time you dedicate to something.

There are four essential ingredients for success:

1. Grit.

2. Perseverance.

3. Belief.

4. Passion.

 

In this article we're busting the myth of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, thanks to cutting edge research by Scott Barry Kaufman at Yale #IQtests #grit #perseverance #determination #attitudeiseverything #manyformsofintelligence #youareintelligent #everyoneisintelligent #mythofIQtestsIn her compelling TED talk, Angela Lee Duckworth describes how in study after study, she found that the most telling factor for success was grit (passion and perseverance for long-term goals). Talent and success are usually unrelated or even inversely related. She argues that it’s all about perseverance and follow-through.

This brings me to the other essential ingredient for developing your potential — PASSION. Passion is what fuels and sustains grit and follow-through. When you’re passionate about something, it means you care very deeply about it. But being passionate about something doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always feel upbeat and joyful. In fact, in Joseph Campbell’s famous book The Power of Myth he explains that the Greek root of the word passion translates to suffering.

Annabelle Parr describes beautifully:

 

“Following your passion means choosing a vocation that is so important to you, so vital to your being that you’re willing to suffer for it.”

– Annabelle Par

 

Annabelle Par goes on to define passion as being “where fulfillment, growth, joy, and change exist”. Your passion will push you to your growth edge and force you to fully develop and express your gifts which can feel scary, challenging and very difficult at times. But through this unfolding of your full potential, while being in service to something you care about, you’ll naturally feel deeply fulfilled and satisfied throughout this process of growth and change. Many studies have shown that people who feel most fulfilled are those who are giving their gifts in service to something larger than themselves.

 

Find your passion and you will discover your capacity for grit, which will allow you to develop your intelligence and proficiency to follow your dream.

 

So please, if you ever feel those inner gremlins creeping in that tell you haven’t got what it takes to fulfill your dreams, I am here to remind you of this:

· You are a genius in your very individual, unique way. Don’t let an IQ test result, or anything else for that matter, stand in the way between you and your dream;
· The world needs your specific gifts.
· The way to develop and express your full potential is to forge ahead with grit, perseverance and belief in yourself.
· Find your PASSION and let it fuel and sustain your grit and perseverance, and take you to the most fully-expressed, happy and fulfilled version of yourself you came here to be.

 

“Greatness is not born, but takes time to develop, and there are many paths to greatness.”

— Scott Barry Kaufman

In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com