Innovation and social impact doesn’t always come in a glamorous package. Jasmine Burton saw a global need that would make the difference in many lives and went after it with gusto, calling her mom to declare: “I know what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to design toilets.” Maybe toilets aren’t your thing, but are you an innovator or creative who might join with the policy makers to change the world? What need might you address?
Here are great guidelines to consider as you turn your dream about reinventing yourself into a realistic approach to do just that. Many of the points we work through in Now What?® are part of this process:
- doing your research on your “dream job”
- putting the right support in place
- realistically assessing what will be needed to make the change (financially and otherwise)
- knowing yourself well – strengths, weaknesses, needs and values
Most “overnight successes” did not begin with any resemblance to their future success. What sets them apart is the people who had the courage to follow their vision. They did what many (most) people with great ideas don’t – they took a step and they BEGAN!
“Whether it’s a garage, a basement, or a dorm room, every business has humble beginnings. It’s not about where you start. It’s where you end up.” So, what’s cooking for you? And, what one step could you take today to make your dream a reality?
I’ve written before about being Jewish and why I love Christmas. This past Saturday, when I went to yoga for the first time in awhile, I heard something from the teacher’s dharma talk that gave me new insight into the ‘Secret Sauce’ that makes the holiday season so special.
This may seem obvious, but stay with me. The Secret Sauce is wonder. Yes, wonder!
Obvious in some ways: Kids remind us of the bright-eyed innocence we once possessed, the lights and sights (New York City at Christmastime, a snow covered field) and the glitter and majesty of gifts, parties, and religious rites. But it’s more than that. Wonder is a state of full presence. It’s a state of connection to our greatest capacity for love and compassion.
As Jesse Prinz, a professor of philosophy at the City University of New York, said, we might feel a physical sensation like the swelling of our heart when we are in a state of wonder. Cognitively, we cannot connect what we are experiencing to something we already know or it wouldn’t be wonder. Even if we’ve seen something before, if we feel wonder, we are seeing it in a new way or as if we were seeing it for the first time. We might even gasp and utter the word “Wow!” as we process what we see and feel.
The heightened expectation, even in the face of an event we anticipate annually, puts us in a state of wonder. For there to be wonder, there must be a lack of certainty. We can’t be ‘in’ wonder if we know what is going to happen.
It’s like my yoga class itself. I go to class with a reasonable expectation of what will transpire. We’ll sit on our mats, wait for the teacher to begin, spend some time centering and reflecting, warm up our bodies, then move in to increasingly difficult movements until we hit a high point and start slowing down. Finally, we get to stretch and then lie down in savasana (dead man’s pose—my favorite —who doesn’t love lying down to nap while exercising!?) I know what’s going to happen. But I don’t really .
I have to be fully in the present to be in the poses. The endorphins kick in as the work gets harder. Fully present to breath and movement, and soon, I’m in wonder. Wonder at the simplicity that is also difficult and the collective breath that moves the whole room to a place of greeting the divine within us and each other (although late comers to class asking me to move my mat so they can find a place pisses me the hell off—divine evolution is clearly a work in progress!)
Consider this, if you will. We do this thing called the holidays every year. We basically know what to expect and yet it induces wonder. We must surrender a lot of ‘reality’ to feel the magic.
This can also be a sad time of year for so many. If the ‘secret sauce’ is wonder and not dependent on family (which most people complain about anyway!), can we create that magic for ourselves? How do we take a melancholy time and turn it into wonder? As I said, it requires surrendering reality and getting in touch with the love, the discovery, the newness of right now whether it’s fully desirable or not. It’s not easy but it is in our sphere of influence.
As we enter the final days of this year, consider how you could launch in to 2016 with wonder and do things differently than you’ve ever done before? How might you change things up to allow a state of wonder to guide you?
Ponder that with a hot chocolate or hot toddy. I’ll see you on the other side of the holiday season.
The last few years have felt like they’ve been speeding by and this one is on steroids compared to them. I feel catapulted into outer space by the speed at which time flies. Oddly, the feeling bookends the individual days that seem to have plenty of time in them.
The push and pull, pulse-racing and deep breathing seems to be the ying and yang of recent times and I think it reflects what happens for the clients I work with on their careers. The rhythm of life and business don’t have a steady pace. It ebbs and flows and so does your career search or your ability to move ahead.
Can you harness that or control it? The key is to be ready for it and expect it. Circumstances don’t stay good or bad. Things are always in flux.
The way to deal with it is to create conditions you can control. You can control (or at least plan) a structure within which to work on the changes you want to create. Be consistent in those actions. For example, if you are looking into what you might do next or you are sending out resumes, keep doing the research and wallpapering the internet with your resume no matter what. Repetition is key.
I’ve recently started to step up my exercise regime after a long streak of doing minor amounts of physical activity due mostly to back issues. I hate working out so much it was easy to let the smallest amount of pain keep me from trying. However, the middle-age spare tire has been growing and the lazy streak had to stop. I’ve had to get back up to speed slowly—first taking restorative yoga classes and aerial yoga which is very easy on the body. Finally, it was time to take an intermediate level class. After the first one, I couldn’t walk for five days. Once I could walk, I came back every other day. My level of fitness is increasing. Weight loss will come but consistency is going to be the most important factor. I’m not back to doing a headstand or handstand. I am not back to full flexibility but I know it will come if I keep up consistent action. I know that they gym with weights and cardio will interest me again as I keep feeling better and wanting to build strength further and further.
Here is what I want you to take away from this. Consistent action. We can’t wait to see success. We have to just keep building and stop measuring the results.
Obviously, you are not going to persist if something is not working at all but with steady, consistent work peppered with the occasional burst of high-intensity creativity and action will get results. Just don’t give up. I’m saying that to myself too.
I worked with Scott in the last year on figuring out what he wanted to do with his life. We succeeded at gaining clarity on what his next career move needed to include to gain the satisfaction he was missing. When we parted ways, his job was to keep networking to make his way into a new field. What transpired over consistent action and time (less then four months) was that he was approached by a vendor he worked with through his job to lead their $800 million company. Scott’s story will appear in the updated and revised anniversary edition of Now What? coming out March 2015 so stay tuned for details.
Be consistent. Keep on your career quest. I’ll keep going to the (yoga) mat. Time won’t stand still for us but we will be less at the effect of it if we stay the course.
Finding yourself losing your satisfaction with your work or feeling like you just can’t motivate yourself the way you used to? Maybe you are even losing steam on a job search. Whatever the scenario, knowing why you are doing something and having a compelling reason to do so (besides a pay check) is a huge factor in succeeding at what you want to do.
Many people don’t realize it, but their loss of interest or mojo may have everything to do with what had motivated them in the past to get them to where they are now. What I mean is that we can actually outgrow our motivation! For example, if you were motivated to not be poor like your parents and now you have plenty of money but are losing interest in your work, it may very well be because you are not running on a motivator that means anything to you today. You already reached where the old motivation got you to! It’s time for a new drive!
On the other hand, there are situations where people are sooooo driven, that they ruin their relationships or the quality of their lives in tireless pursuit. Neither way seems to be how we are supposed to be living. The ideal, as years of listening to people tells me, is to have passion and a sensible balance (although not always consistent or perfect).
To find new motivation that is both healthy and up to date think about the following questions:
What vow did you make a long time ago that may now need updating?
(i.e. I’ll never be poor like my parents or I won’t be stuck like my mother/father was or I won’t be a teenage pregnancy statistic)
What needs must be met for you to be happy at work?
What issue calls you or galls you to the point where it motivates you to take action?
What image for the future compels you to want to make it happen?
When you are running on new fuel that matches who you are today and that means something to you, you will find it so much easier to take action even in the face of adversity.
Get into DRIVE and go!!!!
by Kirsten Meneghello, Now What® Facilitator
Our family went to the state fair this weekend and had a great time. I love to see the cows, pigs, llamas, and the proud 4-H kids showing off the animals they have raised. It’s a big deal.
While we were visiting the commercial exhibitors/vendors, we passed the requisite guy selling knives while slicing and dicing veggies and telling corny jokes. But I also met a really interesting guy who was selling an invention called the “Molecat.” It’s a device that kills moles instantly with percussion. It’s a pretty clever device and as I was talking with the salesman, I could tell he was really jazzed about it. I asked him, “Are you the inventor?” and he said proudly, “Yes.”
Since I’m a curious person, I asked him his name and how he came up with the idea. Vern said he used to work for Intel as a “troubleshooter” but was laid off a few years ago. He was helping his wife in the garden and they encountered a big mole problem. He put his troubleshooting and engineering skills to work and created a solution — the Molecat. Now Vern has a patent pending on the device and he and his wife run a business selling Molecats.
I was so touched by his story because when he got laid off from his job, he didn’t see it as the end of the world. He put his same skills to work — troubleshooting and engineering — and looked at opportunities to use them in his daily life. When Vern saw this opportunity, he took action and did something about it.
Since the economy has taken a downturn, there are a lot of people who have been laid off and have not taken it as well as Vern. But even if you have lost your job, you have to remember you have not lost your skills, creativity, work ethic, and knowledge that you have gained along the way. It’s important to step back, realize all you are and all you have accomplished and then apply it in a different way. I know all of us aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs or inventors. But we can “re-invent” ourselves, if we are OPEN to opportunity and take ACTION when we are presented with options.
P.S. I’m not affiliated with Vern’s product in any way, but if you are curious (like me!) about Vern and his Molecat, his website is www.molecat.com.