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

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

 

The Way of a Heart-Centered Changemaker: 10 Rules for Creating Positive Social Change From the Inside Out

The Way of a Heart-Centered Changemaker: 10 Rules for Creating Positive Social Change From the Inside Out

I see you. There's an inextinguishable fire in your belly to make a difference. Live by these 10 rules to leave YOUR unique mark on the world #changemaker #changemakers #heartcenteredchangemakers #bethechange #socialchange #changeagent #personalgrowth #innerpeace #forgiveness #makepeacewiththepast #inspire #dreambelieveachieve #inspiredcareersAs featured in THRIVE GLOBAL on June 29 2018.

 

I see you.

 

There’s an inextinguishable fire in your belly to make a positive difference. Maybe you don’t fully understand why, but you feel it, without a doubt. You know the world’s predicament and you wish you could do more. It pains you to see how far we’ve drifted collectively from the things that sustain and nourish us. You know there’s a better way. And you’re determined to help steer this big ship called humanity back onto the right course. You must keep playing your part. The world needs you.

Live by these 10 rules to leave your unique mark on the world.

 

1. You Change the World By Being the Happiest, Most Fully-Expressed Version of Yourself.

You know this to be true when you’re in the presence of someone who’s authentic, happy, and lit up from the inside. Their enthusiasm and positive energy ripple outward and you can’t help but be uplifted when you’re around them. They inspire you to be more and do more. Your job is to be you and be you fully. Authentic self-expression is your gateway to genuine happiness and when you’re happy, you change the world.

 

2. Purpose is Power.

Whether you believe you’re someone destined to impact millions, or whether you know intuitively that your purpose is to nurture and inspire the small circle within which you orbit, you need to find what your unique purpose is. There are so many ways you could help change the world for the better, but you can’t do it all. Find the particular area that you feel called to change and throw everything you’ve got at it. You’ll be more impactful when you’re laser-focused and clear about your unique mission. What’s the unique mark you want to leave on the world?

 

I see you. There's an inextinguishable fire in your belly to make a difference. Live by these 10 rules to leave YOUR unique mark on the world #changemaker #changemakers #heartcenteredchangemakers #bethechange #socialchange #changeagent #personalgrowth #innerpeace #forgiveness #makepeacewiththepast #inspire #dreambelieveachieve #inspiredcareersinternational3. Be The Change You Wish to See.

If you want to create peace in the world, start by cultivating peace within yourself. Inner peace is the fertile soil from which true power emerges. Some of the most powerful changemakers in our history have also been the most peaceful. Make peace with the past. Get help if you need to. Make your personal growth your priority. Cultivate genuine self-awareness. People are far more willing to listen when you come from a place of compassion, understanding, and non-judgment. Try to see all sides of a situation and be willing to seek win-win solutions. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

 

4. Focus on What’s Going Right, Not What’s Going Wrong.

Nothing beneficial comes from complaining and whining about what’s not right. Expressions of anger, resentment, and self-righteousness cause people and organizations to get defensive and protective, and that’s not a place from which you can effect change. Put your attention instead on what’s working. Gratitude and appreciation are the express highways to optimism and empowerment. Appreciating the positives generates goodwill. It’s motivating and uplifting. And it’s the place from which true change can emerge.

 

5. Pay it Forward.

As a changemaker, it’s your job to be a catalyst for those around you. Display random acts of kindness. Just as a rude person can destroy your day, a friendly smile or gesture from a stranger can change someone’s day for the better. Count your blessings and pay them forward whenever you can.

6. Know and Protect Your Boundaries.

It’s not possible to ‘be the change’ if you’re feeling tired, depleted, or frustrated because your needs aren’t being met. It’s not selfish to set healthy boundaries and protect them fiercely – it’s essential. Put your own needs first. This is the highest act of self-love. And when you feel good, all those around you benefit too. If in doubt, refer back to Rule #1.

 

I see you. There's an inextinguishable fire in your belly to make a difference. Live by these 10 rules to leave YOUR unique mark on the world #changemaker #changemakers #heartcenteredchangemakers #bethechange #socialchange #changeagent #personalgrowth #innerpeace #forgiveness #makepeacewiththepast #inspire #dreambelieveachieve #inspiredcareersinternational7. Play to Your Strengths.

To be effective and impactful, you must operate in your ‘Zone of Genius’. The world needs those special gifts that you have, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you. Get serious about discovering your unique strengths and find a way to contribute them in service to your unique purpose.

8. Call Yourself Out on Your Own BS.

Don’t let yourself get in your own way. All those little voices inside that tell you that you’re “not good enough”, or “smart enough”, or “good-looking enough” are BS. It’s your primitive ego talking whose job is to keep you safe and comfortable at all cost. But the magic happens outside your comfort zone. If you want to grow, blossom, and make an impact, you’re going to have to get used to feeling scared and uncomfortable. You must feel the fear and do it anyway.

 

9. Trust That Life Has Your Back.

Your path won’t always be easy. But trust that those experiences are created to teach you specific qualities that enable you to grow and to do your specific work in the world. Your greatest insight can come from your deepest suffering. The greatest human achievements have come after immense and enduring pain. Trust that everything is unfolding exactly as it should. You’re right where you’re meant to be, and you’re always being held and guided towards your highest good.

 

10. Find Your Tribe and Collaborate

Find the people and organizations who share your values and ideals and then connect and collaborate with them. Don’t try to operate in isolation. Recognize that when you collaborate, a nеw energy іѕ сrеаtеd that’s bigger than the sum of its parts. Reach out. Ask for help. Get yourself a mentor. Start discussions. Let camaraderie and teamwork be your goal. Keep your focus on the bigger picture and recognize that true power lies in doing it together.

 

No act is too small to make a difference.

And never underestimate the ripple effect of your actions.

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

Relax, You Are Exactly Where You’re Meant to Be: A Powerful Lesson in Trusting the Flow of Life.

Relax, You Are Exactly Where You’re Meant to Be: A Powerful Lesson in Trusting the Flow of Life.

A personal story of realising the perfection of our struggles in hindsight, so that we can relax into the knowing that we are always where we're meant to be #relax #surrender #trust #faith #gowiththeflow #perfection #perfectioninthestruggle #wisdominyourwounds #whisperingheart“Everything is unfolding exactly as it should. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be.”

 

That’s what several well-intentioned people said to me (or words to that effect) when I was in the middle of my ‘dark night of the soul’, more than seven years ago. And those words enraged me. Because it felt like nothing was going as it should. How was I ‘meant’ to be so miserable? Why did my life feel so difficult and heavy? This was not how I had ever imagined my life to be. Very far from it.

 

How and when did everything go so wrong?

 

But, of course, I see now that it was unfolding exactly as it should. I was exactly where I was meant to be, as impossible as that seemed at the time. Because if it hadn’t been for that period of my life, I wouldn’t have undergone the necessary metamorphosis that changed my life for the better. My body had been trying to tell me for years, via chronic illness and fatigue, that I was on the wrong path. But I wouldn’t listen. The more I ignored the signs, the louder they became. It finally took a sledgehammer of painful personal experiences to wake me up to the truth of what needed to be done  (you can read more about my rude awakening here).

Following my ‘moment of truth’, as I call it, I knew that I had to quit my career of almost 15 years as a Consulting Engineer. It wasn’t easy walking into my manager’s office to tell him that I was leaving. No one could fathom why I was making this drastic decision. I’d invested enormous amounts of time, energy, emotion, sweat, and tears into my career from the age of 18. I’d finally built up an admirable reputation that established me as an authority in my field.

 

On the outside looking in, I seemed ‘successful’ and happy. But on the inside I was dying, and I couldn’t understand why.

 

I wished I could be like my colleagues who seemed content with their professional life. I was never content; always searching for a new role, or a new project, that would allow me to finally feel the fulfillment and satisfaction I was seeking. But it got to the point where I knew in my heart that no amount of tweaking of my current professional career would get me whatever it was I was looking for.

 

Quitting was the only option if I was going to recover my health, my well-being, and my sanity.

 

Following my departure from the corporate world, I went through a long identity crisis as I tried to uncover who I really was, peeling back back the layers of my ego that had been heavily invested in being ‘an engineer’ and ‘an important professional woman’. Who was I if I wasn’t those things? I enrolled in every single course that crossed my path on ‘how to find your purpose’ and spent hours in therapy, trying to understand how I’d strayed so far from my true self and what to do about it.

At times I wondered if I would ever figure it all out. I felt completely lost and confused. A turning point came during Jean Houston’s visionary program ‘Living Your Destiny’. We were asked to look at our lives through the lens of The Hero’s Journey. It was the first time I considered that perhaps there was meaning in my journey and my suffering. I came to the powerful realisation that:

 

Our lives are not random. There’s a purpose for each & every situation if you choose to find it.

 

A personal story of realising the perfection of our struggles in hindsight, so that we can relax into the knowing that we are always where we're meant to be #relax #surrender #trust #faith #gowiththeflow #perfection #perfectioninthestruggle #wisdominyourwounds #whisperingheart

When you take the time to stand back and look at the bigger picture of your life, you see a beautiful tapestry of purpose and meaning, woven together by all the different threads of your life experiences. It’s our job to pay attention to the different threads weaving through our lives and to try to understand the larger tapestry that is emerging. And just as there can be no light without the darkness, each and every difficult situation and each emotional wound we experience on our path is necessary to bring out the contrast and texture of the final picture.

My decade-long set of struggles had been necessary preparation for the work I was ‘meant’ to do. Given that my biggest wound had been the struggle to feel happy and aligned in my professional path, I felt that it was my mission to become a ‘Purpose Coach’, helping people find their path and purpose so they can love their professional life and thrive. It felt right in my heart.

And so I took the leap of faith to set up my coaching business. And for the first couple of years, it was great. I developed a process to help people find their purpose, which I trialed on several different clients with great success. The positive testimonials started to build and it felt great to be doing my thing and earning money on my own terms. I was ‘living my dream’.

 

Until everything started to feel really hard again.

 

Over the past year, I’ve had days where I’ve just wanted to give up. I’ve wondered whether I’m really cut out to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I should just go back and ‘get a real job’ again? Maybe I wasn’t meant to do this after all? I mean, I knew my new path wouldn’t be easy. But I never expected it to be this hard. I was really struggling to make it work. I wasn’t “thriving and making a difference doing work I love” – the rally cry in all my personal branding and marketing. I wasn’t making anywhere near the amount of money that I was preaching to others was possible.

Plus, I still didn’t even know my who my specific niche was. Every time someone asked me “Who’s your ideal client?”, I struggled to spit out a coherent, succinct answer. And as all business owners know, if you can’t get clear on who you’re meant to serve, you’re going to struggle in business. And I was. Big time.

 

Talk about feeling like a fraud.

 

But now, once again, I find myself marveling at the miracle of how everything unfolds exactly as it should. I had been intensely resisting the struggles in my business, feeling like “I should have it all figured out by now”. I was pushing, forcing, and getting increasingly angry that I didn’t have it all down to a fine art after three years in business. It got to the point where I got down on my knees and I prayed:

 

“OK Universe, if I’m meant to be doing this, I need some guidance. Please help me.”

 

Soon after, the guidance came. In a moment of frustration, I had stepped away from my computer to go and lie outside in the sun. As I lay there on our outdoor lounge, a series of events flooded my memory in rapid succession.

  1. I’m 15 years old and I’m in our Science classroom, peering into the fridge to look at the agar plates that we’ve inoculated with mold from an old, decaying orange. Penicillin mold has started to grow and I’m amazed that someone once figured out that this mold could save the lives of millions of people worldwide as an antibiotic. How cool that you can discover something that saves so many lives?
  2. I’m 17 years old, standing on the banks of the Rio Parana in Paraguay, South America, as an exchange student all the way from Australia. Upstream, a large concrete factory is pumping its waste into the river while downstream, my friends and host-family are washing and bathing. I stare in horror as I watch the plumes of toxic waste flow right into the bay where everyone is bathing. I’m outraged and think to myself, “One day I’m going to do something about this.”
  3. I’m 23 years old and I’m working as a Research Scientist with a big mining company on a biological mining process that has the potential to be way more environmentally friendly than traditional methods. But despite our best efforts, the economics don’t stack up. I feel frustrated and disheartened that our economic system doesn’t have a way to quantify the damage we cause to nature. Why can’t we see the long-term damage we’re doing for short-term profit?
  4. I’m working part-time on a project in Indonesia with Engineers Without Borders to provide clean water to a large community in northeastern Bali. I feel such joy and satisfaction when after four long years we finally celebrate the completion of our successful project through close collaboration with the local people. This is what makes my heart sing.
  5. I’m 34 and I’m a Consulting Water Engineer. I’m giving a presentation to the Executives of a large Water Utility about how we can better plan our water treatment systems to be more sustainable. One manager makes an off-hand comment about how I’m simply trying to ‘win work’ for my company, and they decline to consider the ideas in our Strategic Plan. Again I feel utterly disheartened. Why don’t they seem to care about doing the right thing?
  6. I’m in my mid-thirties I walk away from my career as a Consulting Engineer because I’m tired of banging my head against a brick wall. I have an inextinguishable fire in my belly to make a positive difference in the world. But I feel utterly impotent and powerless. And I’m exhausted and unwell.

 

As these memories flooded my awareness, one after another, I realised that so much frustration in my life had been because I desperately wanted to make a positive difference. But it had gotten to the point where I realised that I had a lot of work to do on myself first, before I’d be able to create any kind of lasting change in the outside world. I was a mess and I needed to sort myself out.

 

Suddenly the clarity popped.

 

I am a Changemaker.

And I’m here to serve Heart-Centered Changemakers.

 

There it is. So simple. Yet, to me, so powerful. This clarity has been the catalyst that’s allowed everything in my business to start flowing again, because I finally know who specifically I am here to serve. I’m here to help heart-centered changemakers find and walk their true path. How had I been missing this critical piece? This thread of my life had been so foundational in so many of my life experiences. Why hadn’t I claimed it until now?

Once again, life had a larger game plan. There were things that I needed to experience and learn, through contrast and challenge, in order to prepare me for my work as an effective ‘Changemaker’. Without the struggle and challenge, I wouldn’t have reached the level of clarity and inner knowing that I now have.


“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
– Eckhart Tolle

 

This past year has been another powerful lesson for me in trusting that everything is always unfolding exactly as it should.

 

A personal story of realising the perfection of our struggles in hindsight, so that we can relax into the knowing that we are always where we're meant to be #relax #surrender #trust #faith #gowiththeflow #perfection #perfectioninthestruggle #wisdominyourwounds #whisperingheart

It’s a simple change in perspective, but it makes the difference between flowing contentedly with the rhythms of life or suffering.

 

Life situations only become a ‘struggle’ when we resist what’s happening.

 

If you’re struggling, try letting go and trusting that, indeed:

 

Everything is unfolding exactly as it should. And you are always exactly where you’re meant to be.

 

Please comment below to let me know if you’ve had similar experiences. And can you see how the threads of your life, including the difficult and dark times, weave into a larger tapestry of purpose and meaning? I’d love to hear from you!

 

If you’re needing help, these resources may help you:

Do you need help seeing the bigger picture in your struggles? Read here to find out more.

Are you a Changemaker? Check out my 10 Rules for Heart-Centered Changemakers.

Do you need help finding your unique path and purpose? Click here to find out how.

 

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

The Gift of Self-Awareness That Will Make You Soar in Business & Life

The Gift of Self-Awareness That Will Make You Soar in Business & Life

Did you know that 95% of people think they’re self-aware? But only 10-15% actually are? Find out why, and what you can do to become one of the rare ones who is able to enjoy genuine and lasting happiness, greater levels of success, fulfillment, and better relationships. Give yourself the gift of self-awareness today. #selfawareness #emotionalintelligence #success #happiness #authenticity #fulfillment #mindset #gettoknowyourself

‘Self-awareness’ is the ability to see ourselves clearly, to understand who we are, how others see us, and how we fit into the world. It’s the conscious knowledge of one’s own personality, character, feelings, and individuality.

 

Did you know that genuine self-awareness is the greatest gift you can give yourself, your business, and the people in your life?

 

Here’s why. People with a high level of self-awareness have been shown to be:

  • More fulfilled.
  • More creative
  • More competent.
  • Better communicators.
  • More promotable.
  • More effective leaders with more profitable companies.
  • More powerful and better negotiators.
  • Happier and more successful.
  • Perform better at work.
  • Have stronger relationships.
  • Less likely to lie, steal, and cheat. (Tasha Eurich, TEDx, 2018)

 

Those are pretty compelling reasons to become more self-aware don’t you think?

Self-awareness researcher and expert Dr Tasha Eurich calls self-awareness a ‘meta-skill’ because:

“Self-awareness is the underlying foundation to all of the skills that are required to succeed in the 21st century. It affects your emotional intelligence, influence, persuasion, sales. If you are not self-aware, if you do not understand who you are, how others see you, and the role you play in the world, you are going to come up short.”

 

According to Dr. Eurich’s extensive research on self-awareness of thousands of people over several years, there are two types of people:

  1. Those who think they’re self-aware (95% of all people).
  2. Those who actually are (10-15% of all people).

That’s a staggering statistic!

 

Around 85-90% of us are either lying to ourselves, in denial or just not seeing ourselves clearly.

 

This is why ‘360-degree reviews’ – surveys that allow your managers and colleagues to provide feedback on how you behave in the workplace – can be shocking for many people. Because often, it’s the first time they realize that others do not view them in the same way that they view themselves.

Did you know that 95% of people think they’re self-aware? But only 10-15% actually are? Find out why, and what you can do to become one of the rare ones who is able to enjoy genuine and lasting happiness, greater levels of success, fulfillment, and better relationships. Give yourself the gift of self-awareness today. #selfawareness #emotionalintelligence #success #happiness #authenticity #fulfillment #mindset #gettoknowyourselfbetter

Can you picture someone you know who might be lacking self-awareness? Perhaps they’re easily triggered and prickly, or over-controlling of situations and people, or simply difficult to relate to or to work with. Perhaps they don’t seem very happy.

Now try to picture someone who seems self-aware. Perhaps they’re easy to get along with, accommodating, understanding, consistently positive and able to apologize when they’re at fault. Isn’t it so much easier to work with someone who’s self-aware? Deep self-awareness makes us more rational, more open, more intelligent, and more thoughtful.

According to Ray Van Gilst, the key qualities of someone who is self-aware in the workplace are:

  1. They understand their emotional impact on others (they have high Emotional Intelligence)
  2. They recognize their weaknesses and aren’t afraid to admit them or get support for them.
  3. They lead with their strengths.
  4. They know their limits.
  5. They’re able to anticipate reactions and respond effectively.

 

But if it turns out you’re one of the 85-90% of people who aren’t self-aware, all is not lost. Self-awareness is a skill that can be learned. If you want to grow your own and/or your team’s self-awareness, you can. You just need to know how.

 

3 Ways You Can Become More Self-Aware

1. Take at Least 3 Different Personality Tests

Personality tests work by asking you questions about yourself, and then they use your answers to tell you about yourself. Realizing where you fit into the broad spectrum of human behavior can be very enlightening. Knowing yourself intimately gives you more authentic power.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t excavate your subconscious thoughts, beliefs, and feelings on your own. And because so much is hidden from your conscious awareness, you end up inventing answers that feel true, but are often very wrong. Personality tests act like a mirror, reflecting your subconscious world back to you, and bringing it into your conscious awareness so that you can work with it.

There are many personality tests available online, many of them with a free version that allows you to do your basic typing. In my experience, the most helpful tests are The Enneagram, The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and the DISC Model of Human Behavior. You can learn all about these tests and find the links to the best free versions online in my free E-Book The Happiness Key: Three Free Personality Tests that Demystify Your Unique Path to Happiness.

2. Request Feedback from Friends and Colleagues

This is critical. You can’t become more self-aware by yourself. You need feedback from other people to help you see the things you can’t see about yourself; your ‘blind spots’. They’re called blind spots for a reason – you can’t see them.

Did you know that 95% of people think they’re self-aware? But only 10-15% actually are? Find out why, and what you can do to become one of the rare ones who is able to enjoy genuine and lasting happiness, greater levels of success, fulfillment, and better relationships. Give yourself the gift of self-awareness today. #selfawareness #emotionalintelligence #success #happiness #authenticity #fulfillment #mindset #gettoknowyourselfbetter Requesting feedback can be a big, scary step. You might not want to hear how you’re perceived by others, in both positive and negative ways. But this is why 360-degree reviews are so powerful in the workplace; they make people aware of their patterns so they can adapt them and become more effective, relatable, and competent.

If you’re ready to be brave and take the step of requesting feedback, Dr. Eurich recommends these criteria:

  1. Ask the right people. Don’t ask your ‘unloving critics’, or people who are ‘loving but uncritical’ (those for whom you can do nothing wrong.) You need to find ‘loving critics’; the people who have your best interests at heart and are not afraid of telling you the truth you need to hear.
  2. Ask specifically what kind of feedback you want. Which kind of behaviors do you want to know more about and in which area? Give them something tangible to answer rather than a vague question like “What am I like?”
  3. Use the right process and give them context. For example, you could say “I received some 360-degree feedback from my colleagues and I really want to understand it better. Could you give me some honest feedback on the following areas?”

 

3. Change the word “Why?” to “What”

After researching thousands of people and finding the 10-15% of people who actually are self-aware, Dr. Tasha Eurich noticed a very striking pattern. People who were not self-aware were tended to always ask the question “Why?”. For example, “Why me?” or “Why does she behave that way towards me?” or “Why does that person always behave like that?” Their attention is on the other person and their perceived faults.

Instead, the people who were self-aware looked at themselves and asked how they could adapt in order to improve a situation. For example, “They are really adamant that their way is the only way. I wonder what I can do to help them see other options.”

This finding was so striking that Dr. Eurich did a whole TED talk on the topic: Increase Your Self-Awareness With One Simple Fix.

Did you know that 95% of people think they’re self-aware? But only 10-15% actually are? Find out why, and what you can do to become one of the rare ones who is able to enjoy genuine and lasting happiness, greater levels of success, fulfillment, and better relationships. Give yourself the gift of self-awareness today. #selfawareness #emotionalintelligence #success #happiness #authenticity #fulfillment #mindset #gettoknowyourselfbetter Armed with these three strategies, you’ll have a much better chance at becoming more self-aware. What is it costing you to remain in the 85-90% of people who are not actually self-aware? Greater levels of fulfillment? More happiness and success? I urge you to try these three steps. They won’t be easy, but they will help you beyond measure. Give yourself the gift of greater self-awareness and watch your life and business soar.

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

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

The Art of Unlearning: 5 Powerful Myths I Had to Unlearn to Build a Life I Love

The Art of Unlearning: 5 Powerful Myths I Had to Unlearn to Build a Life I Love

Learn how to 'unlearn' and uncover the seed of your true authentic self. Here are the 5 powerful myths that I personally had to unlearn in order to live a life I love. #authenticity #unlearning #artofunlearning #makeyourmessageamovement #findyourpurpose #liveyourlife #livelifeonyourterms #freedom #livefromyourheart #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #inspiration #motivation #inspirationalquotes #beyourself #betruetoyourself #followyourheart

In 2017 I was fortunate to work alongside 10 powerhouse female entrepreneurs to create the much-anticipated anthology THE ART OF UNLEARNING: CONSCIOUS CHOICES FOR EMPOWERED LIVING.

This beautiful book collaboration explores the art of ‘unlearning’ all the explicit and implicit messages we hear as we grow up, in order to be ourselves fully and to live life on our own terms.

 

The book is a collection of inspirational stories by women who have thrown off the shackles, rewritten their own life rules and overcome difficult obstacles to find a way to live from their heart and thrive.

 

When the two instigators of this beautiful collaboration – Lisa Marie Pepe and Divya Parekh – put out their call for authors early in 2017 with their title ‘The Art of Unlearning’, I knew I had to be a part of the project. ‘Unlearning’ has been the central theme of my life journey so far and is now at the heart of my work as a Personal & Professional Freedom Mentor.

 

What is ‘Unlearning’?

As we’re growing up, we unknowingly absorb a multitude of messages in the form of parental and societal expectations about what it means to be ‘a good person’, or ‘successful’ or ‘morally correct’. Sometimes these messages are in alignment with our own personal truth, and sometimes they’re not. When we try to conform to those expectations that don’t feel true for us, we stray from our authentic selves and we end up feeling frustrated, empty or unfulfilled as a result. And if we stray far enough from our true self, we can end up depressed or unwell. Prolonged negative feelings and emotions are our own internal guidance system, designed to alert us when we’re out of alignment with our own personal truth. As you’ll find out in the book, the more I personally tried to suppress or ignore my own negative feelings in my journey of life, the more miserable and unwell I became.

 

It wasn’t until I started acknowledging, listening to and acting on those emotions that things started to change for the better.

 

There is most definitely an ‘art’ to figuring out what is true for each of us, and it is equally an ‘art’ to live our life in accordance with that truth. ‘Unlearning’, as the word suggests, requires that we first unlearn everything we already know, in order to learn a new way of thinking and behaving.

To embrace new ways of viewing the world and to re-shape our lives inside of those new beliefs, we first need to unlearn any limiting mental models, false internal narratives or beliefs that we’ve developed and embraced throughout our lives.

 

And because this requires us to change, it can feel uncomfortable.

 

Learn how to 'unlearn' and uncover the seed of your true authentic self. Here are the 5 powerful myths that I personally had to unlearn in order to live a life I love. #authenticity #unlearning #artofunlearning #makeyourmessageamovement #findyourpurpose #liveyourlife #livelifeonyourterms #freedom #livefromyourheart #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #inspiration #motivation #inspirationalquotes #beyourself #betruetoyourself #followyourheartIn the foreword of our book, Literary Strategist Ann Weber uses a great analogy for unlearning: learning to drive a car on the ‘other’ side of the road. When you go to a country that drives on a different side of the road to what you’re used to, it takes a lot of effort, small mistakes, feelings of discomfort and persistence before you can forget how to drive on the side that you’re used to, in order to drive effectively on the ‘other’ side.

And the same goes for adapting any new belief or behaviour; we first have to forget about how we used to think, and really consciously and proactively CHOOSE to believe and act in a new way. And it’s so easy to slip back into the ‘old way’. Which is why we all need guidance and support during any period of change – to keep us on the path we truly want to walk.

In our book THE ART OF UNLEARNING, nine different women share their own stories about what led them or, in many cases, forced them, to unlearn outdated ways of thinking, in order to shape their own lives in accordance with their personal truth and heart. The book is an uplifting, inspiring read that will – I hope – inspire you to dig deeper to find your own personal truth and to make conscious choices to align yourself more closely to it.

 

Below I share the 5 powerful myths, messages, and beliefs that I personally had to UNLEARN before it was possible for me to step into a new way of living for myself, in alignment with my heart and soul. You’ll have to get yourself a copy of the book in order to find out what happened to me – and 8 other women – as a result of believing our societal myths … and how we found ways to rebuild ourselves and our lives from the ashes of these false truths!

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

THE 5 POWERFUL MYTHS I HAD TO UNLEARN

 

1. The things you love doing and that feel easy are for ‘hobbies’; not for a real job.

In high school, I loved languages, literature, and the humanities. They felt so natural and easy to me, it was as though my brain was wired for them. I could sail through exams with relatively little effort, in comparison to the maths and sciences subjects, which felt hard and tedious and required huge amounts of effort to get decent grades. And yet, when it came time to choose a study at University, the well-intentioned people around me advised that I choose financial security by studying science & engineering, which I pursued for 15 years, at the cost of my overall personal happiness and health, as you’ll find out more about in the book.

THE REAL TRUTH: The things that you love doing and that feel easy form an ESSENTIAL and very central part of your most joyful and abundant life path and purpose.

 2. It’s not practical or responsible to do what you love.

 

Learn how to 'unlearn' and uncover the seed of your true authentic self. Here are the 5 powerful myths that I personally had to unlearn in order to live a life I love. #authenticity #unlearning #artofunlearning #makeyourmessageamovement #findyourpurpose #liveyourlife #livelifeonyourterms #freedom #livefromyourheart #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #inspiration #motivation #inspirationalquotes #beyourself #betruetoyourself #followyourheart

It’s not hard to understand why our parents and teachers might have cautioned us into choosing ‘security’ over ‘joy’. For many of our parents, their families had been busily trying to rise up out of the first two layers of the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Emerging out of the post-depression era, many of our Baby Boomer parents knew nothing but hardship and struggle growing up, which they passed onto us. But fortunately for many of us today (particularly in the developed world), we’re experiencing unprecedented times of prosperity and we’re at a stage in our human evolution in which self-esteem and self-actualization are now possible.

THE REAL TRUTH: When you engage in activities you love, that you’re good at and that you’re passionate about, you become magnetic and unstoppable and you find ways to make an abundant income no matter what the circumstances. Doing what you love ensures that you’re the happiest and most balanced version of yourself, which has positive ripple effects to everyone in your life, both financially and emotionally. In actual fact, it’s irresponsible and not practical TO SUPPRESS your genuine desire to do what you love.

Learn how to 'unlearn' and uncover the seed of your true authentic self. Here are the 5 powerful myths that I personally had to unlearn in order to live a life I love. #authenticity #unlearning #artofunlearning #makeyourmessageamovement #findyourpurpose #liveyourlife #livelifeonyourterms #freedom #livefromyourheart #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #inspiration #motivation #inspirationalquotes #beyourself #betruetoyourself #followyourheart3. Others know what’s best for you.

As children, we start out being very connected and in-tune with our own hearts. And yet many of us are taught from a young age that our parents and teachers know what’s best for us and that we can’t trust our own inner impulses and desires. We’re told that they aren’t possible, or realistic or practical. Over time we learn to disconnect from our hearts as we’re forced to suppress the internal whisperings we hear, pushing them into the background as wishful thinking.

THE REAL TRUTH: Learning to connect to and trust the pure intelligence from your heart is the fastest path to living an authentic and joyful life.

4. You’re not supposed to enjoy work. If it was fun, they wouldn’t call it work.

I truly used to believe this one and I do believe it’s the reason I stuck it out in my career for so long, even though I felt so empty and miserable. As I was growing up, I understood work to be a necessary evil to help pay the bills. As I looked around me, it seemed that everyone who was ‘successful’ was working incredibly long hours and sacrificing much of their personal life for the demands of their job. And it seemed natural that I would have to do the same. But can you think of someone you know who absolutely loves their work and how they seem to just naturally THRIVE, emotionally AND financially? That’s because we experience abundance in all areas of our life when we commit to doing what feels joyful.

THE REAL TRUTH: You ARE supposed to enjoy work. When your work is accompanied by feelings of joy and positive emotion, you tap into an unlimited reservoir of creativity and potential that has limitless positive ripple effects. If you really don’t enjoy your work, it’s a sign you need to do something else! You’re doing yourself and everyone else around you a disservice by sticking it out in a job you really don’t like. Of course, every job has parts we don’t like. But if you don’t come home with a genuine, overall feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction at the end of each week, maybe it’s time to start doing some deep self-reflection to find out how you can start realigning your life with your own personal truth and happiness.

Learn how to 'unlearn' and uncover the seed of your true authentic self. Here are the 5 powerful myths that I personally had to unlearn in order to live a life I love. #authenticity #unlearning #artofunlearning #makeyourmessageamovement #findyourpurpose #liveyourlife #livelifeonyourterms #freedom #livefromyourheart #personalgrowth #personaldevelopment #inspiration #motivation #inspirationalquotes #beyourself #betruetoyourself #followyourheart5. Success means owning your own home, driving a nice car and earning lots of money.

This was certainly something that seemed true to me while growing up; that my success would be measured by the material possessions I’d be able to accrue. It certainly seemed to be the way everyone else measured each other’s success. Unfortunately, the more money I seemed to make, the more miserable and empty I felt inside.

THE REAL TRUTH: The definition of ‘success’ is personal for everyone. For me personally, it’s having mutually nurturing relationships and connections, being able to spend time with my precious friends and family, being able to make a positive impact through my work, loving the work I do and the people I work with, having time to travel and experience the world and feeling a deep sense of joy and gratitude each and every day.

To find out about some of the other very real and POWERFUL MYTHS that other women have struggled with in life, and how they’ve managed to UNLEARN them in order to live a life true to their hearts and THRIVE, get your copy of THE ART OF UNLEARNING: CONSCIOUS CHOICES FOR EMPOWERED LIVING today!

Please leave a comment below if something resonated with you! And if you liked this article, please share using the social share icons below!

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

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

Finding Your Inner Compass: The Most Powerful Guidance You’ll Ever Need is Right There in Your Heart

Finding Your Inner Compass: The Most Powerful Guidance You’ll Ever Need is Right There in Your Heart

Finding your inner compass: The most powerful guidance you'll ever need is right there in your heart. #innerguidance #innerwisdom #innerGPS #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #followyourheart #meditation #stillness #mindfulness #presence #heartwisdom

If you’re feeling stuck or confused about a particular life challenge, it’s easy to feel even more confused when you start looking for answers, because everyone has a different opinion about what you ‘should’ do.

 

Friends and family have their own opinions based on their perspective and life experience, and well-intentioned people will offer you their advice if given the chance. It’s in our nature to want to help others when they open up about their struggles. But the problem is that you can end up feeling confused and completely unsure about what to do if you don’t take the time to access the one-and-only truly reliable source of guidance – your inner compass.

One of the most powerful things my counselor said to me back during my ‘dark night of the soul’ – the term I use to refer to my period of extremely challenging and difficult circumstances in my mid-thirties – was this:

 

“You need to stop seeking the answers outside of yourself and realise that you have them right there inside you.”

 

The problem was, by the time I started seeing my counselor, I’d strayed so far from my true self and become so disconnected from my own inner guidance, that I had no idea how to access the answers that I apparently had within me. I’d spent my life people-pleasing and trying to live up to the expectations of others – I didn’t know how to access my inner knowing.

And I know that this is true for most of us. As we’re growing up, we’re taught not to rely too heavily on our own gut instincts, but rather to trust the advice from our parents and older people in our environment, because they’ve lived longer and therefore know better. And if we feel a strong urge to move in a certain direction, often the people around us make us question the decision, so it’s easy to start doubting ourselves and our own judgment. And when we become disconnected from our own inner knowing, we’re rudder-less and anchor-less – flapping about in open seas in the wind.

 

If you’ve become disconnected from your own inner guidance, the good news is that you can reconnect to it – and most importantly, with time, learn to trust it.

 

Listening to my own inner guidance is an ongoing process and something I have to work on constantly, but the good thing is that the more you practice connecting to your own inner guidance, the stronger the ‘knowing’ becomes and the more automatic and second-nature it becomes. It really is the only way to make good decisions.

Below I’m going to share with you the process that my counselor suggested I use to reconnect to my inner guidance. It takes less than ten minutes a day, and it works.

 

What is Your ‘Inner Compass’?


Finding your inner compass: The most powerful guidance you'll ever need is right there in your heart. #innerguidance #innerwisdom #innerGPS #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #followyourheart #meditation #stillness #mindfulness #presence #heartwisdomYour Inner Compass is synonymous with your inner wisdom, intuition, inner GPS – whatever you like to call it. It’s your true essence; the part of you that is all-knowing, all-powerful, creative, loving, and limitless – connected to the infinite part of you. It’s not limited by fear, anxiety, or self-doubt. It knows the path of your fullest expression.

 

Connecting with your inner compass brings you into alignment with your highest and most fully-expressed potential.

 

The trouble is, when life is busy and chaotic, you’re not able to hear the gentle guidance constantly coming from within, particularly if you’re not paying attention to the signs. To hear your inner guidance, you need to have a specific intention to converse with it. And then you need to create enough space in your life to be in a receptive state, to receive its guidance. It speaks to you during those peaceful, contemplative moments when the hyperactive mind is quiet enough for it to be heard.

 

An over-busy mind drowns out anything that your inner guidance might be trying to whisper to you. You need to get quiet and find ways to cultivate stillness inside.

 

You might not always like the guidance you get. Maybe it doesn’t fit within the picture of where your ego wants to go – the part of you that’s bound up in expectations of others, or the image you want to project to others. The guidance might push you out of your comfort zone and require you to stretch and grow in ways that feel uncomfortable. But your inner wisdom is never wrong. It will always strive to bring your outer world into alignment with your authentic desires, your personal truth, and your true priorities.

 

How to Connect with Your Inner Compass

 

The following meditation is the fastest way I know to connect to your own inner compass. I give all credit for this process to my mentor Gina Maria Mele who introduced me to this specific process. It’s saved me countless times.

1. Sit quietly with your eyes closed (I prefer sitting because then you’re less likely to fall asleep!). Put your hands on your belly and take deep, slow breaths through your nose, all the way down into your belly. Feel your hands move in and out as you breathe. Breathe as long as it takes to feel your body and mind relax. Keep focusing all your attention on the breath.

Finding your inner compass: The most powerful guidance you'll ever need is right there in your heart. #innerguidance #innerwisdom #innerGPS #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #followyourheart #meditation #stillness #mindfulness #presence #heartwisdom2. Bring your attention to your chest. Feel it rise and fall with each breath in and out. Do this until you feel all your awareness in your chest. You can even try to feel your heart beating if this feels right for you.

3. Think of a time in your life when you felt real joy, love, and/or happiness. Maybe it was holding your first puppy? Your first kiss? Holding your baby in your arms for the first time? When you finally visited a place you’ve always wanted to go? Think of any experience that invokes strong feelings of joy and love.

4. Take yourself back into that experience and re-live it in your mind. Remember how it felt, how it sounded, how it looked, how it felt. Really take yourself back there and feel all the feelings and sensations you felt in that moment.

5. As you sink into those feelings, imagine a big white light radiating outwards from your chest, up to 1-2 meters around you.

6. As you hold the happy memory in your thoughts, bring this white light all the way up to about a meter above your head. As you breathe deeply, now bring it down to about a metre below your feet and all around you, until you’re completely surrounded by a large bubble of white light. You may not be able to visualise this and instead just feel it (depending on your dominant sensory mode).

7. As you sit in the memory of your experience in your bubble of white light, bring your focus back to your chest and ask a question that you really want to know the answer to. For example, “What should I do in this situation?”, or What do I really want?” or “What is my unique gift to give to the world?”, or “What steps can I take right now that are in alignment with my highest truth?. Ask whatever question is most relevant to you right now.

8. Sit quietly and wait for any images, sounds or feelings to come to you. Don’t force anything, just sit quietly and listen in an open, receptive mode. If nothing comes, that’s OK too. It will come later. If your mind drifts, bring it gently back to your question and be open and receptive to any guidance.

Sit in this state for as long as you need. Enjoy the experience. You have just connected with your heart. You just felt its energy.

 

The act of connecting to feelings of joy, happiness, and love while focusing on the area around your chest is the fastest way I know to connect with your heart and receive its guidance.

 

If nothing comes during the meditation itself, rest assured that it will come to you in some way as you go about your business in the next few days or weeks.

Finding your inner compass: The most powerful guidance you'll ever need is right there in your heart. #innerguidance #innerwisdom #innerGPS #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #followyourheart #meditation #stillness #mindfulness #presence #heartwisdom

You may not notice anything different initially, but if you commit to doing this for 5-10 minutes every day, you’ll notice your life starting to shift in a subtle but very tangible way.

 

You’ll start receiving insights seemingly out of nowhere. You’ll start feeling more optimistic, inspired and joyful. You may suddenly just feel a lot clearer about where you want to go. Or you may notice certain relationships are easier and less strained, and you may notice you feel more compassion.

 

 

If you take the time to do this visualisation regularly, you’ll notice that you start feeling a gradual reconnection to your true essence and an emergence of real clarity. Take the time to slow down and hear your inner whispers. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like help in identifying that unique calling that’s yours to live, be sure to 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.

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
The Gift in the Struggle: How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Challenges

The Gift in the Struggle: How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Challenges

How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Struggles. The questions I explain in this article were the missing piece that I had been seeking in my role as a mentor who helps people find their true professional path and purpose. If you need help discovering your purpose, I urge you to try them out. #purpose #passion #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findyourpassion #calling #truecalling #purposefulliving #whisperingheartAre you still trying to find your professional purpose? Try these powerful questions – they may just give you the answers you need.

 

Recently I learned about a powerful set of questions from the visionary thought leader Jeffrey van Dyk, a man who’s on a mission to help people change the world through business and entrepreneurship. These questions felt like the missing piece that I had been seeking in my role as a mentor who helps people find their true professional path and purpose. Those of you who know my work will already know that I believe there are four main pieces to discovering your purpose as shown below.

How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Struggles. The questions I explain in this article were the missing piece that I had been seeking in my role as a mentor who helps people find their true professional path and purpose. If you need help discovering your purpose, I urge you to try them out. #purpose #passion #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findyourpassion #calling #truecalling #purposefulliving #whisperingheart

I have in-depth techniques to help people get clear on their True Nature, and their Natural Genius, and it is not usually too difficult to figure out what people will gladly pay for. But I was missing a powerful technique to help people uncover their passion. Of course, there are the usual questions such as “What triggers an emotional response in you when you’re watching a movie, or hearing the news?” Questions like that can usually give a good indication of what someone is passionate about. But I didn’t yet have a technique that could help people drill down into the specifics of their particular passion, and how that relates to their purpose.

 

Until I discovered Jeffrey’s questions.

 

His questions are a powerful way to either confirm that you’re on the right path or to help you get clearer on the specific mission that you feel called to fulfill in this lifetime. Jeffrey’s approach requires you to look at the ’emotional wounds’ that you’ve suffered over the course of your life so far. This may seem like a strange place to start looking. But it just happens to be the approach that brings the most powerful insight to people in the search for their unique purpose.

The big underlying assumption – which I believe is the magic key – is this:

 

The one thing that you have struggled with the most in your life is the one thing that you are most qualified – and most passionate about – giving back through your work.

 

The other underlying assumption is that if you’re someone who feels as though you have a specific ‘calling’ to fulfill, it means that you care about your contribution to the world. You’re not just concerned about money or status or image. You feel as though there must be some way that you can contribute your unique gifts and talents in a way that is meaningful and impactful, and allows you to make a positive difference.

When you discover the nature of your largest emotional wound, it’s enlightening and empowering, because most often this is the one thing that you want to help other people with. You feel passionate about preventing other people from experiencing the same pain that you went through. In order to understand Jeffrey’s approach, we first need to understand the answer to the question:

 

What is an ’emotional wound’?

 

We’ve all been wounded in some way over the course of our lifetimes, despite the good intentions of our parents or caregivers who tried to protect and nurture us. You may have experienced an acute wound (in the form of the death of a sibling or loved one for example, or physical or emotional abuse) or an experiential wound that was not intended by anyone to cause pain, but nevertheless caused you emotional pain, and caused you to take on certain behaviours to protect yourself into the future.

As painful as these wounds were (and still are for many of us), you can choose to view these wounds as sacred because in some way they changed who you are at a core level. They taught you valuable lessons and forced you to develop certain positive qualities. And they contain the seeds of your unique purpose.

 

Allow me to introduce you to Jeffrey’s process.

 

Follow these steps in order to uncover your specific purpose.

  1. Write down the top 6 – 8  emotional wounds you experienced as a child. This could be anything from “My best friend moved to another town” or “My Dad never wanted to see me” or “A mean boy at school called me names” – or anything at all that stands out in your memory as causing some kind of pain to you as a child.
  2. Next, write down the top 6 – 8 wounds that come to mind during your adult years. Remember, these could be acute experiences or long-standing patterns (e.g. “No one understood me”).
  3. When you’ve finished, reflect on all the wounds you’ve written down. You might begin to notice that there’s a predominant theme running through them. Not all wounds will fall under this theme, but many will relate to it. Try to see if you can find one thread that links the majority of the wounds together.
  4. Once you’ve been able to identify a theme running through the emotional wounds, try to answer the following questions.

How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Struggles. The questions I explain in this article were the missing piece that I had been seeking in my role as a mentor who helps people find their true professional path and purpose. If you need help discovering your purpose, I urge you to try them out. #purpose #passion #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findyourpassion #calling #truecalling #purposefulliving #whisperingheart

6 Questions to Help You Uncover Your Unique Purpose.

 

1.       What happened? – What happened to you that made you feel so sad or wounded? Was there a common theme in these experiences?

2.       How did you feel? – How did these experiences make you feel? Try to find the words to describe it.

3.       What did you crave? – In those moments when you felt so wounded, what was it that you craved to be given? Or how did you crave to be treated?

4.       What did you do? – How did you start behaving to try to give yourself the things that you were craving?

5.       How did you develop as a result? – How did those experiences change you and what kind of person did you become as a result?

6. How might your answers to these questions relate to your unique path and purpose?

 

To help you along, here are the answers to my questions that helped me get closer to understanding my purposeful path.

 

Here’s how I found my professional ‘purpose’ in the pattern of my life struggles.

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

I felt pressured to walk a path that didn’t feel authentic for me – Science & Engineering. I loved writing, languages, and theatre and I knew that those were my natural gifts. But I felt very pressured to excel in technical subjects because the people in my environment only valued those subjects. As I entered University I felt I had to follow a technical academic path in order to be loved and approved of as a person. I ended up spending almost 15 years in a career that was not aligned with my authentic desires, my natural skills or my true nature. As a result, I ended up feeling empty, unfulfilled and spent many years feeling lost and off-track. My health and relationships suffered severely as a result.

How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Struggles. The questions I explain in this article were the missing piece that I had been seeking in my role as a mentor who helps people find their true professional path and purpose. If you need help discovering your purpose, I urge you to try them out. #purpose #passion #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findyourpassion #calling #truecalling #purposefulliving #whisperingheartHOW DID I FEEL?

I felt pressured, trapped, stressed, and anxious when I was younger. I didn’t enjoy learning all the difficult technical subjects at school and University, they were a struggle for me. Success in these areas required hard work and sacrifice. I had to ignore my heart, which wanted to be immersed in creative pursuits. During my professional years as a corporate consulting engineer, I felt inauthentic, misaligned and as though my true nature and natural genius were suppressed. I felt unseen for who I was and simply not heard. I did not feel loved for who I am – my authentic self – at my core. I felt disconnected from my truth and my essence.

WHAT DID I CRAVE?

I craved approval and permission to be who I am. I craved to be loved, seen and heard as my true, authentic self. I yearned to follow my heart and pursue things that bring me alive and allow me to unleash my natural gifts in service to others. I craved joy, freedom, abundance and full creative expression.

HOW DID I DEVELOP?

In order to fulfill my longing to be seen, valued, and loved, I embarked on a lifetime of over-achieving to gain the approval I desperately wanted. I became something that in my heart I knew was not me. I became a wonderful actor, pretending to have it all together and to be living a successful life. Sometimes I even fooled myself. I over-achieved at the expense of my health and relationships. I believed life was a struggle and meant to be difficult. I neglected myself and my needs, I self-abandoned, all to try to be something I am not. This had disastrous effects on my emotional and physical well-being and my relationships suffered terribly too. Eventually, I was brought to my knees and I was forced to realise that no-one was benefiting from me living an inauthentic life. I needed to give up the false pretenses, let go of everything that felt misaligned and instead tune into my heart to follow my authentic desires. When I gave myself permission to do this, everything changed.

 

How to Find Your Purpose in the Pattern of Your Most Difficult Struggles. The questions I explain in this article were the missing piece that I had been seeking in my role as a mentor who helps people find their true professional path and purpose. If you need help discovering your purpose, I urge you to try them out. #purpose #passion #followyourheart #findyourpurpose #findyourpassion #calling #truecalling #purposefulliving #whisperingheart

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO MY UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE?

I feel called to help people find their own authentic voice and to find a way to bring their unique gifts and talents into the world in a way that has a positive impact and feels deeply fulfilling. I help them find work that allows them to express themselves fully. I long for everyone to feel seen, heard and appreciated for the beautiful being they are, and to help them bring their whole self into the career and into the workplace.

 

I feel called to help people let go of everything they’re not and find a way to embrace everything that they are.

 

Do you get the idea? I hope so. If you have half an hour to invest in trying out this beautiful technique, have a go and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear whether you found this useful for you.

If you’d like help in identifying your unique calling, please be sure to download my free E-Book PATHFINDING: How to find and start living your unique calling and learn all the tips and strategies you need to build a life you truly love.

how to find your purpose

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

What’s Your Bliss? How to Find the Career You Love So You’ll Never ‘Work’ Another Day

What’s Your Bliss? How to Find the Career You Love So You’ll Never ‘Work’ Another Day

What's Your Bliss? Use these questions to uncover what your ideal career looks like - the one that makes you one to jump out of bed each and every morning because your heart is FULLY in it! #career #careerchange #careerpath #findyourpurpose #purpose #livefromyourheart #listentoyourheart #careertransition #careerplanning #yourbigwhy #findyourbigwhy

Why is it so hard for so many of us to find a career path we love?

 

Most of us have 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. There are a number of reasons for that, including:

  • We’re told to choose a career path when we’re very young, with little life experience, and without having had a chance to experience what many different career paths look and feel like on a day-to-day basis. The reality of many professions is very different to the preconceptions or fantasies we have about them.
  • We’re filled with societal expectations from a young age that teach us falsehoods such as “If you’re smart, you should become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer” or “The measure of success is the amount of money you make” or “Choose job security over passion” and other such misleading statements.
  • We’re taught not to trust our own inner instincts from a young age. We’re encouraged to take the advice from teachers and adults more seriously than the whispers in our hearts. Over time most of us learn to ignore those whispers completely.
  • We’re told that following our passion is not responsible or wise.
  • We’re told that our specific talents and gifts are not necessarily something that the world needs and that we should choose something more practical instead.

 

I took all these subliminal messages very seriously and they eventually led me down the completely wrong path.

 

What's Your Bliss? Use these questions to uncover what your ideal career looks like - the one that makes you one to jump out of bed each and every morning because your heart is FULLY in it! #career #careerchange #careerpath #findyourpurpose #purpose #livefromyourheart #listentoyourheart #careertransition #careerplanning #yourbigwhy #findyourbigwhyI spent fifteen years of my life in a career path that was a complete mismatch for my personality, strengths, and passion. And as a result, I spent years feeling unwell, miserable, and exhausted.

My journey has led me to believe that THIS is probably more like the advice we should follow instead:

  • To find a career path you love, get out there and try many different things. The only way to know if a certain career path is right for you is to try it. There is no shame or failure in realising that you’re on the wrong path. All experiences, whether good are bad, are feedback. Let your experiences inform you and guide your future decisions.
  • Trust your own inner instincts. Learn to listen to those whispers from that little voice in your head. They’re your very own internal GPS system, guiding you through life and to your true path. Be sure to spend time in quiet reflection and develop the ability to listen to your own intuition coming through those whispers. It’s the most reliable advice you’ll ever get.
  • Don’t feel pressured to lock yourself into one particular path. Choosing one particular direction does not mean you’re locked into it for life. Allow yourself to ‘pivot’ when you have to and try to stay open to what life is trying to tell you. Your life is constantly giving you feedback; it’s up to you to learn how to read the signs.
  • Your mood and energy levels are a wonderful gauge as to whether you’re on the right path or not. If you feel positive, have lots of energy, and come home feeling fulfilled and satisfied each night, even if it’s been a difficult day, chances are you’re on the right path. And the opposite is also true.
  • If you chose to go to University, view your degree as a wonderful foundational building block for your life and appreciate it for all the skills it taught you. Don’t let it lock you into a particular profession. All the skills you learned at University are transferable and can be used in any profession.
  • You have unique and specific gifts and talents that the world needs. Your job is to find out what they are, and how to apply them in a way that feels fun, fulfilling, and meaningful and allows you to make a positive contribution. Many research studies have shown repeatedly that those who feel the most satisfaction in their job are those who feel that they’re making a meaningful contribution to society.
  • You have passions for a reason. They’re a guidepost for your unique path and purpose. They’re clues to your ‘big why’, your purpose. Yes, you have a unique purpose. And it’s your task to find it. You won’t find it overnight, but it will eventually reveal itself to you and you will know, without a shadow of a doubt, when you have found it. All of a sudden you’ll have all the energy, inspiration, and motivation you need and more.

In my blog article Pathfinding: How To Find Your Professional Path and Purpose, I define your ‘true’ path and purpose like this:

 

Your ‘true’ path and purpose is the 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.

But the big question still remains – How do you find that particular path?

The most important thing is to give up the notion that you have to find it straight away. The key, I believe, is to simply start by doing the things that bring you joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction, and to view your journey with curiosity and wonder. Stay open to how different jobs and activities make you feel, and keep going in the direction of the ones that feel good. Here are some questions to ponder along the way.

  • What is it that brings you joy? What makes your heart sing?
  • What brings you a deep feeling of fulfillment and love for life?
  • How could you build a career around these things that allows you to thrive?

 

These are not easy questions to answer, and many of us can spend years, if not a lifetime, getting clear answers. In my own quest to find my joyful professional path, I’ve come across a technique that helped me get closer to my true essence and authentic joy. It’s a process of reflection that I call “Those blissfully happy moments.” The key lies in reflecting back on those moments in life where you felt ecstatic joy, aliveness, and connection; where your heart literally overflowed with happiness. Most of us have experienced at least a couple of these moments in life.

The key to your heart’s joy and true passion lies in those moments if you’re able to feel back into them and understand what they represented. They’re not random moments of happiness that you just happen to remember as highlights of your life, but rather they give you insight into the depth of your unique joy and the values that you hold most cherished. And they contain the seeds of your true calling.

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 #followyourpassion

Try this process to more closely understand your own personal ‘bliss’:

 

Take a moment to describe those fleeting moments in your life when you felt exquisite happiness. Where were you, what were you doing, and with whom were you doing it? Which feelings did you experience and why?

Write them down, and then look for the hidden signs to your cherished values in there.

Here are some examples from my own experience to help you define yours.

 

My blissfully happy moment #1

I’m on a road trip up north in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia with friends and we stop at a roadhouse somewhere to have dinner, in what feels like the middle-of-nowhere. Behind the roadhouse there’s a small hall where some locals are doing Karaoke; we decide to join them. Several drinks and many cheesy songs later, we walk outside to find our camper-van to sleep in. We come across a group of beautiful little Aboriginal children playing outside on the grass. One of them comes up to us, beaming with her big white teeth in an ear-to-ear grin. I strike up a conversation with her and we laugh and connect. Such a beautiful, innocent little girl who is a victim of circumstances – born into a race of people who have been mistreated and often looked down upon in White Australia, living in poverty and a world of limited opportunities.

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 #followyourpassion

I ask her if she likes dizzy-whizzies and she says “yes!”. I pick her up, swing her around and she squeals with delight. I do this a few more times at her request, and we swirl around and fall down, laughing from dizziness and fun. Finally, I tell her I have to go (or my drinks are going to come up!). My friends have already left. As I leave I give her a big squeeze and she grabs me back in a beautiful, giant hug. I feel her heart and her warmth, her beautiful, radiant soul. We stay locked in this beautiful hug and in this moment it feels like the world has stood still; two strangers locked in an embrace, sharing our humanity and love. I never saw her again, but she taught me so much and in that moment: I knew I wanted to be a vehicle for everyone in this world TO BE SEEN AND HEARD, for everyone to be able to step into their full light and brightness, regardless of their background, skin colour or social setting. THIS WAS A SEED OF MY CALLING.

 

My blissfully happy moment #2

I’m boarding a plane at London Heathrow airport where I’ve been living, bound for Milan, Italy for a three-day weekend to go to a concert of Italian rock icon Vasco Rossi. I have nothing with me but my small backpack containing two changes of clothes, my wallet, my camera and my toilet bag. I’ll be staying with a good friend in Italy for the weekend, both of us huge fans of Vasco and what this rock legend represents – rebellion against the system, full expression of everyone’s uniqueness and individual identity, living life to the fullest in all its pain and glory. The exquisite, joyful feeling starts at the check-in counter when they ask me if I have baggage to check in. I say ‘no’ (traveling without baggage feels like a true symbol of freedom for me). I walk through the security area, sit down at a bar to wait for my flight and enjoy a large beer – just me and my small backpack. The feeling of freedom and joy is indescribable.

It’s not until later many years later that I realise what the joy in this moment was telling me; that FREEDOM is one of the highest values I cherish. Freedom of expression, freedom to live life according to our own agenda, gifts and talents, freedom to contribute to the world in the way we want, freedom to allow others to be their own exquisite selves. Freedom from shame, expectations and internally or externally-imposed limitations. Freedom to be ourselves, fully and unashamedly. ANOTHER SEED OF MY CALLING.

These moments didn’t give me DIRECT answers. But they helped me understand more about my authentic passion and joy and about the values I hold most cherished. And there are many more moments I could allude to; all pieces of the puzzles that have helped me get closer to my ‘bliss’, even though it’s an ongoing journey that reveals more and more of itself as life goes on.

 

You need to look beneath the feeling of joy you experienced in those blissfully happy moments and ask yourself what they were trying to tell you. Were they random moments of happiness or was there a message in there for you? I’ll bet you there was.

 

So I wonder, what are those moments in your life that have made your heart overflow with joy? What were they trying to tell you about what you value and cherish most in life? And what guidance were they giving you about your purposeful and joyful professional path? I invite you to spend a few minutes reflecting on those blissfully happy moments and ask yourself what’s hiding in there. You might just find the next clue that will light your way on the road to following your bliss.

Need help in identifying your joyful professional path and purpose? 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!

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 #followyourpassion

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Personal & Professional Freedom Mentor
Whispering Heart Coaching
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

The Art of Dreaming Big: How to Harness Your Imagination and The Law of Attraction to Create What You Want

The Art of Dreaming Big: How to Harness Your Imagination and The Law of Attraction to Create What You Want

There is a definite 'art' to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotesI recently experienced first-hand how the magic of the Law of Attraction can work in our lives.

 

I recently completed a fantastic course for entrepreneurs and business owners called ‘Profit Quest’ by Jeanna Gabellini at Masterpeace Coaching. Her tagline that drew me into the course was:

“Double your profits, double your fun!”

When I first saw her promotions I thought “Wow, that’s a big call.” Can I really double my profits and double my fun in my small coaching business by the end of her course? I enrolled in her course to find out and lo and behold – it appears her system really works.

 

It’s powerful and yet it’s so simple. And it’s based on the Law of Attraction.

 

Do you remember the big ‘hoo-ha’ surrounding the movie “The Secret” when it came out all those years ago? That movie was all about the Law of Attraction. I really liked the message in the movie, but at the time I thought it was also a bit simplistic and materialistic, telling people they could have whatever house or car they desire if they could just imagine having it. But I’ve since realized that there’s much more to the Law of Attraction.

 

The Law of Attraction teaches you how to be a co-creator in your own life – to align yourself with a vision you love and then allow it to unfold.

 

The Law of Attraction is basically this: Like attracts like. So within, so without.

 

When you imagine having, being or doing something you care about deeply, something that feels joyful and exciting, you create an energetic ‘blueprint’ for what you desire. When you step back and surrender, and (importantly) believe that you can and will have the thing you desire, then quite miraculously, what you desire starts turning up in your life somehow. Not always straight away (although sometimes it does!); but the steps to reach it will start appearing. You’ll start getting intuitive insights into what you need to do. Suddenly you’ll meet the right person, or you’ll find the perfect resource to help you take the next steps.

The key is to let your imagination run wild and to feel into what you would really, really like to manifest in your life. And here is the catch – most of us are so trained into thinking a certain way; we have so many beliefs about what we think we can and can’t have. And when we focus on what we would really love to create in our life, we come up against all the internal, negative programming that tells us we can’t have that.

 

We’re not trained to dream big. In fact, most of us have been taught to keep our dreams small.

 

There is an art to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotesOne of the tasks we had to do early in the Profit Quest course was to define exactly how much money we would love to make by the end of the year, if everything in our business suddenly started aligning and flowing. This was quite difficult to do. At first my head took over and I wrote down a number that I thought I could realistically achieve. That number, however, is not a number that got me excited or inspired. We were asked to write down the dollar amount that would make us feel super excited – not a number too far out of our league that it feels impossible and overwhelming (hence leading to disappointment and fear of failure), but a number that feels like a big stretch, but also feels energizing and exciting.

So I wrote down a number that felt super exciting. At the time I wrote it down, I didn’t actually believe that I could make that much money, but I thought it would be cool if I did!

When we allow ourselves to think big like that, all of a sudden things start showing up that align with that vision. I’ve only been doing this for around 6 weeks now, but since doing it I’ve experienced major positive growth in my business, all because I’ve managed to make big shifts in my internal mindset around what is possible for me, my business and my clients.

Jeanna makes a journal available called her Speed Dial the Universe (both digitally as an App and in hard copy), and it’s been an incredibly powerful tool for me. It’s a daily reminder to dream big and to set your internal compass towards allowing miracles to manifest in your life. I was skeptical at first, but my experience with it has shown that it really does work. The journal is a fun way to start your day because it focuses your mind, body, and soul on positive outcomes that you desire in your life.

 

Here’s How The Law of Attraction Works

Manifestation  =   Clear Desire  +  Surrender  +  Belief  +  Gratitude 

How to activate the Law of Attraction to create more of what you want #LOA #lawofattraction #abundance #create #dreambelieveachieve #thepowerofthemind #scienceandspirituality #liveyourdreams #dreams

 

First, you need to be able to dream big and set a big, clear intention about what you want to create.

 

There is a definite 'art' to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes

This isn’t easy when we first start out. Our internal beliefs put all kinds of limits on what we think is possible. But you can strengthen this ‘muscle’ and over time, if you commit to doing this practice daily, you will find that you’re able to allow yourself to dream bigger and bigger. And when you start seeing the signs and small steps of what you desire appearing in your life, it’s so much fun!

The other important ingredient is surrender. You have to set your clear intention and then let go. This part can be really hard! We’re so used to controlling everything we want to create in our lives. However, without surrender, you can’t be in a receptive state and be open to receive the insight and wisdom that’s trying to be transmitted to you.

And finally, belief. This is very intertwined with surrender and can be difficult. With many things that I write down in my journal, at the start I’m not sure I actually believe I can have those things. But I’m willing to write them down. And with this simple act, it opens the floodgates for possibility, belief, and optimism to flow in. And this allows us to start behaving as if we already have the thing we desire. This in itself opens the doors to miracles.

 

So when you start acting as though you already are someone who has the things you desire, you become a ‘vibrational match’ to the things you want, and you start attracting those things into your life.

 

When you have a clear intention, you start calling it forth. I’ve experienced profound internal shifts since using the Speed Dial the Universe journal each day. I haven’t doubled my profits yet, but I’ve definitely doubled my fun and I finally have real clarity and inspiration about exactly how I can double my profits too. And I can’t wait to implement them as they feel energizing, authentic and magnetic. I’m receiving insight and guidance each day and the next steps seem to be appearing effortlessly on my path. I feel excited, clear and optimistic. And I know my course colleagues have all experienced similar internal shifts that are helping them create a very real and clear roadmap to live the life they love.

There is a definite 'art' to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotesFeel like giving it a try? Start dreaming big, focus daily on the things that you would really love to create in your life and then sit back and enjoy the ride. And let me know if anything shifts for you. As always I would love to hear from you!

To read more about The Law of Attraction and how to apply it in your life, take a look at my two recent blog posts:

HOW TO CREATE MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT USING THE LAW OF ATTRACTION – PART 1

HOW TO CREATE MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT USING THE LAW OF ATTRACTION – PART 2

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
You’re a Hero! How to Find Meaning & Purpose in Your Life with The Hero’s Journey

You’re a Hero! How to Find Meaning & Purpose in Your Life with The Hero’s Journey

How to find purpose and meaning in your life with Joseph Campbell's archetypal template of The Hero's Journey. Read on to discover how this template changed my life! #herosjourney #josephcampbell #purpose #meaning #theherosjourney #findyourpurpose #findmeaning #writing #storytelling #myth #archetypesIn my mid-thirties I was in a very dark place. Life felt heavy, overwhelming and hopeless. My heart ached constantly and every morning I struggled to get out of bed, tired of the continuous sadness, depletion, and exhaustion that plagued my life.

 

Nothing made sense and life seemed cruel and meaningless.

 

As I forced myself to put on a brave, smiling face every day to go to work and face the never-ending deadlines and meetings, inside I felt like I was dying. It was exhausting to put on this facade, day in, day out, to pretend that I was happy, coping and succeeding. While inside I was desperately sad and exhausted – emotionally, physically and spiritually.

As often happens when we’re in these dark places, I prayed for help; for some small sign that there was meaning to all of this, and a glimmer of hope that things would get better. Shortly after, an email landed in my inbox from the visionary thought leader Dr. Jean Houston. The email was about her upcoming course Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. To this day I still don’t know how I got onto her e-mail list. I didn’t know who she was or anything about the work she had been doing in the field of Human Potential. But somehow her email landed in my inbox and caught my attention. After years of feeling like I was on the wrong path and of asking myself “How did I end up here?”, Jean’s call to finally uncover my purpose felt like an absolutely essential and urgent thing for me to do. So in spite of my head telling me I didn’t have the time or money to do this course, my heart urged me to sign up immediately.

Jean Houston’s course – among other serendipitous things that happened soon after I sent out my S.O.S call to the universe – was the start of a slow but massive shift in my life. One of the key elements in her teachings is the power of story and myth to create meaning in our lives. One of the assignments we had to do as homework was to describe the story of our in lives in the context of the ‘Hero’s Journey’.

 

The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of storytelling identified by the famous American scholar, Joseph Campbell, that weaves through many human stories, movies, drama, theatre, and myth. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization.

 

How to find purpose and meaning in your life with Joseph Campbell's archetypal template of The Hero's Journey. Read on to discover how this template changed my life! #herosjourney #josephcampbell #purpose #meaning #theherosjourney #findyourpurpose #findmeaning #writing #storytelling #myth #archetypes

Since becoming aware of this pattern of narrative in our storytelling, I’ve noticed it running through many films and stories in our entertainment world; the most famous and obvious ones being Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I now recognise it when I see it woven into children’s movies or stories when reading with my young boys.

When I was asked to write my life journey so far within the framework of The Hero’s Journey, I was skeptical at first about the significance that this task could have. But I dutifully sat down and started. I made up a fictional name for myself and started writing about my life in third-person, describing the key events and relationships I had been through. As I wrote about the different phases of my life, amazingly I began to see how my life has roughly followed this basic theme.

I can’t explain the uplift and joy I felt after recognising my life story within the archetypal pattern of the Hero’s Journey.

 

Suddenly my pain and suffering felt meaningful and a necessary part of my life’s journey to greater happiness and peace.

 

To help you understand the various stages in The Hero’s journey, below is a short summary of the 12 stages in (mostly) my words. I have adapted some text from Dan Bronzite’s article ‘The Hero’s Journey – Mythic Structure of Joseph Campbells’s Monomyth’.

 

The Hero’s Journey

 

1.    The Ordinary World
You’re bumbling along in life, unconsciously reacting or responding to events, people, and situations. You’re blissfully ignorant of the limits of your societal conditioning and messaging that you’ve grown up with.

2.    The Call to Adventure
At some stage, you hear a ‘call to adventure’. You hear a whisper in your heart; a rising desire to do something that feels out of place. It doesn’t fit within the straight lines and boxes of your current existence. And yet it feels exciting and appealing.

“The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero.”
– Joseph Campbell

 

3.    Refusal of the Call
As exciting and appealing as the call sounds, you refuse it. It would be crazy to consider such a thing. You might get rejected by people. People will laugh at you. And anyway, you feel like you don’t have what it takes to do that. You wish the desire would go away. It’s irresponsible. It’s crazy.

4.    Meeting with the Mentor
And then you meet someone. They change your perspective and open your mind to new possibilities. They’ve answered the call themselves and they’re passionately living their truth. They inspire you to move closer to your own truth and to consider that maybe those desires you’ve been feeling aren’t so crazy after all? This person is a positive role model and their courage, faith, and strength rub off on you. After some time, the little voice inside your heart is getting louder and more urgent and finally, you decide you must cross the threshold. You can’t go on living in the ordinary world.

5.    Crossing the Threshold
You summon all your courage, faith, and optimism and you step across the threshold. You’re so excited that you did it. It feels exhilarating.

6.    Tests, Allies, and Enemies
And yet it’s difficult – really hard. Surely it isn’t meant to be this difficult? You’re confronted with challenge after challenge and you start doubting whether you made the right decision. You discover enemies you didn’t know you had. Your faith is tested. You wonder if you should turn back. And yet you know you can’t. Thankfully, you find allies who support you and encourage you to keep going. You forge ahead.

7.    Approaching the Cave
You can see a cave ahead of you with a beautiful treasure inside. You know that the treasure is the elixir that you have been seeking. But the entrance to the cave is guarded by fierce protectors who will not allow you to enter the cave easily.

8.    The Ordeal
You must face a dangerous physical test or a deep inner crisis in order to survive or for your new world to continue to exist. Whether it be facing your greatest fear or your most deadly foe, you must now draw upon all of your skills and experiences gathered upon the path to the innermost cave, in order to overcome this most difficult challenge.

Only through some form of ‘death’ can you be reborn, experiencing a metaphorical resurrection that somehow grants you greater power or the insight necessary in order to fulfill your destiny, or to reach your journey’s end. This is the high-point of your journey where everything you hold dear is put on the line. If you fail, you will either die, or life as you know it will never be the same again.

How to find purpose and meaning in your life with Joseph Campbell's archetypal template of The Hero's Journey. Read on to discover how this template changed my life! #herosjourney #josephcampbell #purpose #meaning #theherosjourney #findyourpurpose #findmeaning #writing #storytelling #myth #archetypes9.   The Reward (Seizing the Sword)
Somehow you defeat the enemy, you survive death and finally overcome your greatest personal challenge. You are ultimately transformed into a new state, emerging from battle as a stronger person and perhaps with a prize.

The Reward may come in many forms: An object of great importance or power, a secret, greater knowledge or insight, or even reconciliation with a loved one or ally. Whatever the treasure, which may well facilitate your return to the Ordinary World, you must quickly put celebrations aside and prepare for the last leg of your journey.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
– Joseph Campbell

 

10. The Road Back
You must now return home with your reward but this time the anticipation of danger is replaced with that of acclaim and perhaps vindication, absolution, or even exoneration.

But the Hero’s journey is not yet over and you may still need one last push back into the Ordinary World. The moment before you commit to the last stage of your journey, there may be a moment in which you must choose between your own personal objective and that of a Higher Cause.

10.  The Resurrection
This is the climax in which you have your final and most dangerous encounter with death. The final battle also represents something far greater than your own existence, with its outcome having far-reaching consequences to your Ordinary World and the lives of those you left behind.

If you fail, others will suffer and this places more weight upon your shoulders and fills you with fear and trepidation. This is more than just about you. This is about a higher service. Ultimately you succeed, you destroy your enemy and you emerge from the battle cleansed and reborn.

11.  Return with the Elixir
In this final stage of the Hero’s journey, you return home to your Ordinary World a changed person. You have grown as a person, learned many things, faced many terrible dangers and even death, but you now look forward to the start of a new life. Your return may bring fresh hope to those you left behind, perhaps a direct solution to their problems or perhaps a new perspective for everyone to consider.

The final reward that you obtain may be literal or metaphoric. It could be a cause for celebration, self-realization or an end to strife, but whatever it is it represents three things: Change, success, and resurrection of some kind. The return home also signals the need for resolution for the story’s other key players. Your doubters will be reprimanded or forgiven, your enemies punished and your allies rewarded.

 

Ultimately, as the Hero, you will return to where you started but things will clearly never be the same again.

 

 

“If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential. You must follow your bliss.”
– Joseph Campbell

By choosing to answer my own personal call and to step across the threshold over the past 5-10 years, I’m now on my way to ‘returning with the elixir’, tapping into the joy, flow, and abundance that comes to us naturally when we align with our heart and soul.

 

The road hasn’t been easy and I’ve been tested and tried, as the journey says we will be, but it’s the only road that makes sense to me now. Going back is not an option.

 

Sometimes my inner skeptic tells me the Hero’s Journey is just something we tell ourselves to help ourselves feel better. And then I think – so what? If we find meaning, comfort, strength, and motivation by seeing ourselves within this context, as the Hero within our own lives, surviving trials and tribulations on our path to finding the treasure, then isn’t that great? And isn’t that all that really matters?

I hope you find comfort in realizing your own life journey within the context of the Hero’s Journey. And may you slay your dragons, undergo your personal transformation and return with your very own elixir!

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
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
What Does it Mean To Be True To Yourself? My Personal Journey of Finding My True Voice & Path

What Does it Mean To Be True To Yourself? My Personal Journey of Finding My True Voice & Path

There is so much out there now about 'being yourself', 'following your heart', and 'being authentic'. What does it really mean to be true to yourself? After living the first half of my life according to everyone else's expectations, it took 10 years of struggle, pain, and finally a personal crisis to wake me up to my own true voice and life path. #authentic #authenticity #beyourself #liveyourdream #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #dreambelieveachieve #livelifeonyourterms #onyourterms #betruetoyourself #truth #courage #havenofear #nofear #change #embracechange #youcandoit #positivityrules #successmindset What does it mean to be true to yourself?

 

This question has fascinated me ever since a recent epiphany I had on this very topic. I realised suddenly that so many years of struggle and pain I had endured were because I had been living an inauthentic life. It was Katherine Woodward Thomas who came up with these words during one of her coaching calls and they were a true ‘ah-ha!’ moment for me. It was cathartic to finally find the words to name the reason for all my struggles and to see clearly in how many ways I had been inauthentic to my heart throughout the course of my life.

 

I’ve since been on a rampant search for my own true, authentic voice. Who am I really? What do I really want? What does it mean for me to be authentic?

 

We receive so many messages when we’re young. So many messages that are not necessarily true for us, yet we take them on as if they are, because who are we to know? We’re young and parents and teachers know better, they’ve experienced the world. Of course, the messages we receive are radically different depending on our cultural background, our gender, our parents’ social class etc. And how we react to them also depends on our own individual personality.

In my case, a middle class white family in suburban Australia, I received messages like: You’re a good girl if you do this, you’ll get far if you do this, you have to work hard and struggle to get anywhere but it’s worth it, success takes sacrifice, education is the most important thing in the world, particularly science & engineering as those fields will always have jobs, corporate careers are the way to make money, we have to sacrifice what we love to do what is best, financial security is paramount, creative talents are for hobbies, not a real career, there is no money in the arts, humanities studies are not real studies, you will never make money as a linguist, you are loved and valued for what you can achieve… . As an impressionable young girl, desperately wanting my parents’ love and approval, I took these messages seriously.

 

I ignored the whisperings of my heart, telling me…

 

You love writing, you love languages, you love creative expression, you love people, community and connection, you love stories, you love dancing. Because the messages I received allowed no room for these whispers. They simply didn’t fit in my world of parental expectations. I was fortunate that I did not ignore every whispering I received from my heart. I’m blessed with quite a stubborn, rebellious and adventurous spirit that urged me to spend 12 months in rural Paraguay (South America) as a cultural exchange student, which was a life-altering and heart-opening experience, and to take 12 months off university after my second year to backpack and work my way around Europe. I learned the art of living off the lowest wages, of doing any job that came up to cover the next train ticket, of feeling at home in all kinds of squalid accommodation, befriending people from all walks of life and all different countries and lifestyles.

Each of these experiences cracked me open in some delightful way, allowed the light to flow into my heart and reach the furthest corners where my true essence was lying there waiting for me to tap into it. I discovered my love for people of all cultures, all races, all backgrounds, a deep compassion for those born and raised into poverty and difficult circumstances, a deep compassion for the planet and all the damage we are inflicting upon it, a deep joy of connecting with other human beings and listening to their stories.

 

But somehow the childhood messages were deeply ingrained.

 

I remember the exact moment at which I made the decision to ‘sacrifice’ my heart’s joy for the noble good of earning a decent living and setting up a financially secure future. I was sitting in a plane on the way back from Argentina, having travelled there over the university holidays on money earned from working three part-time jobs (yes I had a tendency to burn the candle at both ends) and savoring the delicious experience I had just had. My heart opens in an indescribable way in South America, there’s something about the way they value family, fun, community, and dancing above all else, and live a seemingly uncomplicated and joyful life. At that moment I was on my way back to finish my final year of university, which I knew would be tough, and I knew I would have to do postgraduate degrees after the basic degree to find a good job in my particular field.

If I’d had the courage to put aside my childhood conditioning when deciding what to study at university, I would have chosen to study languages without a doubt. Learning and speaking other languages brings me so much joy, I absorb them quickly and easily, with almost no effort. Wouldn’t that be a sign of your heart’s purpose, if something feels so joyful and effortless?

But my childhood conditioning and parent’s advice urged me to pursue a career in science & engineering, given the increased job opportunities I would have. In that moment sitting in the plane, coming back from my overseas holiday, I knew the fun times were over. From now on it would be hard work, sacrifice, and time to build that much coveted financially secure future…. my heart sank and I knew I was making a choice that was perhaps not authentically me. But what choice did I have? A financially insecure future was no option in my mind of beliefs. I knew that a secure future would require sacrifice, hard work, sweat, and tears, right?

 

And so I embarked on the journey of being an inauthentic version of myself

 

…seeking financial security, job opportunities and deep down, my parent’s approval. I knuckled down and finished my degree with Honours, then on to completing my Doctorate (self-sacrifice is honorable right? And we’re seen and loved for our achievements right?). This is where I started unraveling at the seams. While I was passionate about my chosen field, the whole field was simply not in my zone of genius. I’m a creative soul, a linguist, a humanitarian. So why on earth was I doing science & engineering? The work was tough and difficult, I had to work long hours to keep up with the demands, it didn’t come naturally to me yet I was determined to do well. There was no room for failure. My health plummeted; I was drained, depleted and completely exhausted. Yet I had to achieve and do well, after all that was how I would be seen and loved. I was chasing that elusive abundant financial future and job security. I was chasing love and approval.

 

Childhood conditioning runs deep.

 

As I moved from university into the corporate world, I was finally able to enjoy my first decent income. So it was all worth it right? I had a great permanent work contract with a great company, I had interesting and challenging projects. I’d made it. I was secure. I consistently ignored the signs of my inner wisdom. I over-rode them. I was getting more and more tired, my brain was becoming foggy, my attention span was dwindling. I was tired, always tired. Physical symptoms started manifesting, indigestion problems, sleep problems, and finally an acute over-active thyroid that caused me insomnia and a loss of 10 kg within one month. You would think this sign would get my attention that something in my current life was not right, right? Well, not really.

I read Louise Hay’s book on the spiritual causes of physical illnesses. The spiritual cause behind an over-active thyroid was ‘when would it be my turn?’ This was absolutely what I was thinking. When I looked around me, I saw all my friends enjoying life, with active social lives, budding careers, travelling, starting families. While I was stuck in pursuing a difficult career that had wonderful career prospects and financial security, but with my physical body that was falling apart and a mind that was in torture but had no idea how to escape it. There was no room for changing my career path. I had invested so much in this path, I’d given everything, my blood, sweat, and tears — literally. My partner and I had bought a house and we were financially stuck. We needed my income. There was no room to take time out. I hadn’t earned enough sick leave at this early stage of my career to take time off.

 

I had chosen this path and I had to make it work.

 

As ways to survive I delved into yoga and meditation that helped greatly. I read spiritual teachings, hoping to discover my true life purpose and how to live it. I rested as much as I could. I got help through acupuncture and bio-resonance to alleviate my physical symptoms. I maintained a semi-decent social life. On the surface, things looked pretty good. My career was flourishing, I had been invited to be a Shareholder of my company and I was holding down senior management positions. I was facilitating workshops, attending conferences and presenting well-received papers. This was everything I had always wanted, wasn’t it? So why was I still always so tired? And why did I feel so empty? Something was missing. Something big was missing. I wasn’t getting my gifts into the world. I didn’t feel as though I was making an impact, my soul was under-fed and under-nourished in every possible way.

 

And at a deep soul level, I was simply exhausted.

 

I believe the Universe never stops giving us gentle nudges in the direction we need to be going to live our purpose. I had ignored my gentle nudges for so long that they were eventually turning into sledgehammers. The final wakeup call came when my husband and I wanted to start our family. We went through two devastating miscarriages within a 12 month period. For the first time in my life I actually thought I could no longer go on. I entertained thoughts of leaving this world. Nothing could explain the deep, gut-wrenching pain and sadness I experienced every waking moment. I had always wanted to be a mother. I couldn’t understand why the Universe was making me endure this, after all the suffering I had been through continuously since my early twenties, with the constant fatigue and physical symptoms, why this on top of that? Hadn’t I suffered enough?

 

But fortunately, the Universe knows the game plan. Somehow it knew that this was the only way to wake me up from the deep illusion I had dug myself into.

 

It didn’t work after one miscarriage. I went straight back to work and into the same old routines and behaviours as before. Over-doing everything. Over-achieving in everything, as a way to prove my worth and that I was good enough. It took a second miscarriage to shake me up sufficiently such that I would walk into the office the next day and request 3 months off work. I handed over my job and went home to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. For the first time in my life, I was choosing for me and my needs. What an amazing feeling. At the age of 35 I realised I had never done this before, put my own needs first, I had always been trying to please others, live up to others’ expectations of me. It was during this time, away from the grind of corporate office life, sipping coffee at the beach one morning, that I had an epiphany.

 

I had a choice.

 

I could continue this life of chasing love and approval through things that do not feed me spiritually and emotionally. Or I could choose to leave that life behind and find the path that is authentically me.

There is so much out there now about 'being yourself', 'following your heart', and 'being authentic'. What does it really mean to be true to yourself? After living the first half of my life according to everyone else's expectations, it took 10 years of struggle, pain, and finally a personal crisis to wake me up to my own true voice and life path. #authentic #authenticity #beyourself #liveyourdream #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #dreambelieveachieve #livelifeonyourterms #onyourterms #betruetoyourself #truth #courage #havenofear #nofear #change #embracechange #youcandoit #positivityrules #successmindsetI didn’t take this decision lightly, given how much I had invested in my career to date, but once the thought had entered my head that there was another way, there was no going back. It felt like a tonne of bricks had been lifted from my shoulders. It felt like the light was seeping in under the veil of illusion that had kept me separated from my authentic self. I felt my heart fill with joy. It felt like the Angels were rejoicing and celebrating that I had finally heeded their call.

It’s been two and a half years since I left my corporate career and finally became a mother, to our absolute delight. We were given the amazing opportunity to embark on overseas postings through my husband’s work, which has given me time and space to dig deep and discover my true passion and calling (does the Universe suddenly support us in every way after we’ve woken up to the call to find our authentic self?). After much reflection, I decided to study remotely to become a Life Coach and to focus on writing. Through coaching I am finally following my heart’s passion, connecting with people, listening to their stories, helping them find their own authentic self. I cannot explain the synchronicity that has followed me since I made the decision to be true to my heart and soul, doors opening at exactly the right time, my health improving out of sight, my energy levels soaring, meeting the right people at the right time, being guided to the right books, the right teachers and the right clients at the right time.

 

I cannot explain the synchronicity that has followed me since I made the decision to be true to my heart and soul…

 

… doors opening at exactly the right time, my health improving out of sight, my energy levels soaring, meeting the right people at the right time, being guided to the right books, the right teachers and the right clients at the right time.

How did my friends and family react to my decision to leave my old career behind and follow my heart? Initially with shock and disbelief (I had many people openly laugh at my decision), followed by understanding and compassion, and these days with admiration and respect. People are realising more and more that the only path to real, authentic joy, is to be our real, authentic selves. There is something that happens when we dare to connect with what is authentic and true in our own heart. In my case, I feel like I’m finally tapping into the Universal power, opportunities miraculously open up, synchronicities abound, I feel I am flowing with the river instead of swimming upstream and I feel a deep sense of relief, joy and clarity that I had never felt before. I wake up excited about the new day ahead and uplifted by the positive contribution I can make through my own unique gifts and talents.

To me, this is what it means to be authentic. My heart and soul feel alive and connected to all of humanity, I feel aligned, I feel infinite gratitude and deep inner happiness, and most importantly, I finally feel free. I don’t believe there can be anything more beautiful than being able to joyfully serve others, in a way that feels authentic to our hearts. I think we pay a high price for being inauthentic.

 

It’s as though the Universe is programmed to increase our pain and struggle exponentially the further we get away from our true, authentic self.

 

There is so much out there now about 'being yourself', 'following your heart', and 'being authentic'. What does it really mean to be true to yourself? After living the first half of my life according to everyone else's expectations, it took 10 years of struggle, pain, and finally a personal crisis to wake me up to my own true voice and life path. #authentic #authenticity #beyourself #liveyourdream #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #dreambelieveachieve #livelifeonyourterms #onyourterms #betruetoyourself #truth #courage #havenofear #nofear #change #embracechange #youcandoit #positivityrules #successmindsetSo I wonder, how do we help each other to find our own authentic selves? In their hearts, our parents had the very best intentions for us as children. It isn’t their fault they embedded messages into our belief systems that encouraged us into directions that may not be our authentic path to follow. They grew up in difficult times when financial security was the only thing that mattered. It was still about survival, not self-actualisation. And I don’t want to paint a bad picture of my parents; they were very loving, very supportive and simply wanted the best future for us. I wonder how many of their generation and all the thousands of generations before were able to be their authentic selves? How many people actually had a choice? I dare to think not many. The fortunate few who were able to be authentic to their heart and soul were the lucky minority. We are so fortunate that we’re now entering a time of prosperity, of increased choices and opportunities to explore deeply how we can earn a living doing what we do well and what we love. Times have changed.

I am now 100% committed to helping others find their own authentic voice. I’m passionate about helping people experience that degree of freedom and joy that comes when we take the time to slow down and listen to those whispers in our heart that lead us back to our authentic self. It has to be acknowledged that the path of our authentic self is not always easy. We are still challenged with many things we need to learn along the way, it can be difficult creating a secure financial base and livelihood from doing what we love. It takes courage to escape the confines of our secure jobs that provide for all of our needs except perhaps our spiritual and emotional ones. We have responsibilities in life and commitments, it is not always possible to take that leap of faith when we want to. But I do truly believe that once we make the commitment to find our authentic self and to courageously take steps in that direction, we suddenly find unlimited support and opportunities opening up to help us, the support of the Universe is suddenly up underneath us and limitations we thought we had dissolve or go away. Miraculous things can happen when we decide to ‘go for it’, all the way. Just as it seems pain and struggle increase the further away we get from our authentic selves, in reverse, joy and ease seem to increase the closer we get to being our authentic selves.

 

So what would I recommend we do in our quest for finding and being our authentic self?

 

There is so much out there now about 'being yourself', 'following your heart', and 'being authentic'. What does it really mean to be true to yourself? After living the first half of my life according to everyone else's expectations, it took 10 years of struggle, pain, and finally a personal crisis to wake me up to my own true voice and life path. #authentic #authenticity #beyourself #liveyourdream #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #dreambelieveachieve #livelifeonyourterms #onyourterms #betruetoyourself #truth #courage #havenofear #nofear #change #embracechange #youcandoit #positivityrules #successmindsetNumber one, we need to listen to our hearts. Stop, slow down, take time out, get quiet, and listen. I know we lead busy lives, I know we think there isn’t always time. But once we make the commitment to be true to ourselves, we find we can make time, and suddenly and miraculously we find our access to time increases. The whisperings are there in our heart, just waiting to be heard. We need to ask ourselves, what do I love doing? What kind of person do I love being? Within those things we love doing lie hidden the treasures of our own specific, unique gifts that we uniquely have to bless the world. The world desperately needs our specific gifts because no one else can give them except us. If we don’t nurture and contribute them in service, we and the world will have missed out on our biggest blessing and the Universe will mourn that loss. The heart cannot give false advice, it always leads to growth and expansion, to service in joy and a profound blessing to our soul and the world. So we just need to get quiet and listen.

Of course, we encounter obstacles along the way, those false nagging beliefs that tell us we can’t do that, or we’re not good enough to do this… we are all slaves to our internal beliefs. But these beliefs can be overcome through gentle and deep belief work that remove the obstacles we have created in our minds. We might come up against unforeseen challenges that make us feel we’re on the wrong path after all. However, I believe the Universe continues to provide us the challenges we need to grow, strengthen and evolve the skills we need to be doing the work we want to do. Being authentic requires growth and expansion, healing and love. It is not a journey for the faint-hearted, but it is one that is guaranteed to bring us back to our soul, where all that is joyful and wonderful in this life resides.

If you feel lost and need help uncovering your most authentic and joyful path and purpose, download your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE and start taking steps to build a life you love today. Live a life of no regrets! Time is short, don’t waste another day – you CAN make a difference and earn great money, doing what you love. Find out how in my E-Book, and until next time, lots of love.

There is so much out there now about 'being yourself', 'following your heart', and 'being authentic'. What does it really mean to be true to yourself? After living the first half of my life according to everyone else's expectations, it took 10 years of struggle, pain, and finally a personal crisis to wake me up to my own true voice and life path. #authentic #authenticity #beyourself #liveyourdream #followyourheart #listentoyourheart #livefromyourheart #dreambelieveachieve #livelifeonyourterms #onyourterms #betruetoyourself #truth #courage #havenofear #nofear #change #embracechange #youcandoit #positivityrules #successmindset

 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