It took me several career iterations to get on my right life’s path – becoming a mental health counselor. But for as long as I can recall, I’ve felt “a calling” to be in a helping profession. How long? Since I was 13 years old.
Recently I ran across a page from a football program in 1972 (complete with coffee stains), when I was part of a Pop Warner Football jamboree. My picture appeared along with a couple of paragraphs, which read in part:
“I am 13 years old…I’m considering going into the field of psychology. I would like to be a social worker or guidance counselor…”
I have no idea how I knew what the field of psychology was, or what a social worker did, but I knew. And I wanted to be one.
For each of us, finding our purpose, our calling or right life work, is critical to our happiness and health. As they say, if you find work you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Because when you use your gifts and talents, you get filled up – versus feeling drained by work that doesn’t suit you. Or perhaps the work is on target but the environment and the people aren’t your tribe.
The good news is, it’s never too late to change. As I’ve been writing my book on “Reinvention”, helping women find their bliss or true calling, I have spoken to women in their 20’s to their 60’s (so far). Reinvention is a lifelong process and one can begin at any age. All the women I’ve interviewed report being far happier since they took the plunge to change – to reinvent. (Stay tuned for updates.)
There are many good books and resources on the topic, but an old classic is “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard Bolles. In it he talks about clues to finding your right life work and one is: “Where do you get your natural enthusiasm? The greek root word for “enthusiasm” is “en theos” or “God in you”. Your God-given gifts and talents can be used to make the world better and to fill your heart.
Whether you believe “enthusiasm” is God-given or just happenstance, your passion, your enthusiasm, what is as easy as breathing for you – are all clues to what you’re best suited to do in the world of work. It’s what will make you most successful and happiest.
If you are thinking about making a change, below are a few more books that I have used over the years with clients. I would also encourage you to search your own past for clues. What did you love to do when you were younger? What have people always told you you were good at? What did you want to be when you were 13?
A Few Good Books on Finding Your Right Life Work
- What Color is Your Parachute?, Richard Nelson Bolles
- Zen and the Art of Making a Living, Laurence G. Boldt
- Finding the Hat that Fits, John Caple
- The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success, Nicholas Lore
- Life Makeovers, Cheryl Richardson
- Do What you Love, The Money Will Follow, Marsha Sinetar
- Finding Your Way, Dan Webster and Randy Gravitt