From the Author
We are in the midst of a major revolution in the way we work and live. The United States and other industrialized countries are undergoing cultural upheavals. Family and work structures, the icons and certainties we grew up with no longer exist. Transitioning to the Information Age has brought with it new opportunities as well as confusion about the future and fear of the unknown. Over 50% of the products and services that will be introduced in the next decade haven't been invented yet. As we approach the millennium we are undergoing a tidal wave of uncertainty. We are redefining the way we work and relate, our roles and rules. In 1776 we were promised "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This was a new promise for mankind. We still believe it, want it, and expect it. Prior to the Great Depression, there weren't entitlements, retirement, benefits, or weekends. We are now returning to an era of no entitlements, retirements, benefits and weekends. And we don't like it! We are in the process of recreating a new way of living and working.
We live in a culture of mixed messages. Our spiritual values say we are more than what we do while at the same time we define ourselves by our work, our titles, how much money we make, what kind of car we drive. We are endlessly goal driven. We are told we have unlimited opportunities and that we can be anything we want. This is not only a myth but it is also a paralyzing burden. Since 1979 there have been over 43 million layoffs in the US and they are continuing. Job stress is one of the top work-related health problems in America. Since what we choose today may disappear tomorrow, as so many have realized, what is the answer? There is only one:
Do work you love where you keep expanding your natural talents and passions and adapt those to the marketplace.
This is your only security in a world without certainties. It supports who you are in a culture where you are defined by what you do, where job stress is a killer, and where relationships and values fall apart when you bring work stress to them.
I wrote this book because I wanted to give you the information I was teaching in my
Doing Work You Love seminars. When I first proposed this workshop to a seminar organization in 1993, they declined. They said they could never fill career workshops. I persisted because I knew there was a need. They finally said "Yes." It sold out on the first night. People from all professions came to that seminar and those that followed: they were in healthcare, architecture, law, education, business, and engineering. They said they were unhappy, bored, or burnt out. They were angry that they had been lied to, that they were working harder than ever and feeling more and more insecure. Mothers called me to coach their college-age children. They wanted to help their kids make the right decision. There were others who were re-entering the job market. They wanted more satisfying work as well as earning a living; they wanted to have more control and balance in their lives. They wanted a rest. They didn't know what to do next and had given up dreaming. Almost.
They left the Doing Work You Love seminars with "aha's! " One person said "it was as if a veil of superstition had been lifted." I asked them what was different about this approach. They said it was the clarity, the no BS. They said it was rooted in the here and now, that I understood their responsibilities and their concerns because I had been there. They saw they had talents that they hadn't thought of as marketable. They learned where to go for help and resources, and the nitty gritty steps on how to "just do it!" They shared fears, war stories and successes. They saw they weren't alone. You will read some of their stories as well as what they and others did.
Doing Work You Love - Wherever You Are has been written to help you live from your future. You will:
- Uncover myths about work that you believe but aren't true.
Myths such as "You have to be good at one thing for your whole life" are so ingrained in our thinking that we don't recognize them or the power that they hold over us. This book will help you let go of beliefs that are keeping you back.
- Uncover the skills you have but were taught to deny.
Many of us were raised to focus on what we don't do well. If we were good in English but not in math, we were told to focus in math. If we were good in art but not in science, we were told to pay more attention to science. We were taught to diminish our strengths and mold ourselves into the "safest" career. You will learn to expand your natural talents and passions in your work and earn a living.
- Uncover your passions and your purpose.
We long to make a difference, to contribute to others and to feel that our lives have meaning. This often feels like one more complex mystery to unfold. You will learn how to simplify the process and discover your purpose.
This book is designed to help you find work that you love doing in today's world. You can use it as if you were taking my seminar. You can do this alone, with a friend or with a team. My intention for you is that you will:
- Find or create a new job that fits you and your passion.
You are unique. There is no one else like you, with your talents and skills, with your interests and experience. You will learn how to overcome the fears that keep you from moving ahead and show you ways to spark your creative thinking to expand your work possibilities.
- Do work you love in the job you now have.
You may not have to change jobs. You will learn to think of yourself differently - with more control and more choices. You will also read about people in my seminars who discovered they really liked what they were doing and about others who created new jobs in their companies and how they did it.
- Help your kids choose work they will love too.
In a world where even traditional occupations such as law, medicine, and teaching are no longer secure, parents are often baffled by how to advise their children. Doing Work You Love will support you in helping your kids embark on their life's work.
We are all in this together. One of the joys of the work I do is the wonderful people I meet who share their stories. I welcome your stories. Please send them to me. The more we celebrate who we are and expand our gifts, the more we can support each other. As we approach the new millennium, let's envision a world where we all work hard at what we love doing. That's where we make our real contribution. That's the real definition of success!