Passions and your Past

Tom was a marketing manager who wanted out, out of the day-to-day corporate grind. Out of the pressure cooker. He felt undervalued, unappreciated, and un-acknowledged for who he was and what he brought to each project, each assignment. He felt angry and frustrated, and some days oppressed, and just wanted out.

The problem for Tom, he still had a mortgage to pay, a son and daughter still in school, and no inheritance coming his way to allow him to live in the lap of luxury. He worried about his ability to earn the money he needed to support himself and his family. And so he also felt a bit trapped.

Tom, like many of us, begins the journey of career transformation with a simple calling to “get out” – to leave their current work situation that is causing them pain. And like many of us, Tom longed for a calling toward something, he just didn’t know what that something was. When we first met, Tom wanted to know how he could know what he was called to do, or at least, what he was called to do next.

The thing I find fascinating is that the keys to unearthing your own calling exist in your own life. You have left your own trail of clues, once you know where to look. There are 3 places Tom and I explored to help him find his “something” he was called toward.

1. Personal or professional achievements that brought him joy

What were the accomplishments from throughout Tom’s life that he felt proud of and enjoyed doing? The trick here is to make sure Tom only puts on the list items that he felt proud of, not that others acknowledged. Also, include only items that he enjoyed while doing, so not things that he overcame or survived, unless overcoming or surviving were fun for him. Tom then chose 5 and wrote a story about each one, what he did, how he did it, who helped him. Tom learned that in fact he loved marketing, and marketing like activities. He always has. Even as a child, he would package his book reports in a way that enticed the other students to want to read his book.

2. Passions that moved him

What were the top 10 moments in the past 10 years where Tom felt in the zone, losing his sense of time and enjoying what he was doing and who he was with. Tom chose 3 and wrote a story about each one, what he did, how he did it, and who was with him. Tom discovered he loved working together with a group toward a common goal, especially one where everyone benefitted. He didn’t like to compete. He didn’t like earning money for money’s sake.

3. World needs that move him

What were the top 5 issues in the news over the past 10 years that really got Tom going? What moved him? What really bugged him? Were they local? Or national? Were they about groups or individuals? Tom chose 3 and wrote out the story of each one. What is the issue? What does he want people to understand about the issue? What bothers him most? What does changes does he want people to make to address this issue? Tom found his stories all centered around doing business in a socially conscious way. And really creating communities where families could live and work and care for the environment.

In these stories are the keys to our own calling, to identifying who we are today, and what we want to be doing now. The answers to what we want to do, and where we want to do it can be found in these stories about ourselves, our accomplishments and our passions.

Tom began to explore the idea of working locally, for his community, as part of a project to transition to making the community greener, through supporting local businesses, and encouraging changes to make it a live-work community. He was hired to lead marketing and communications for the project, to help educate and inspire the businesses and the community on the project. Tom found his calling for what to move toward.

What is your calling? What are the clues and keys from your life?  I invite you to share your discoveries on my blog below.


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