By Scott Westerman
What would it be like to be one of those rare few who live at the intersection of purpose and profession? And why don’t more people make their life’s work their life’s love?

Laura LabovichI met Laura Labovich this week. She’s a highly sought after career coach, a Spartan who helps people manage their work life with intention, and not through reaction. Think of your resume as a stock portfolio. You want it to appreciate over the years and may have different investment goals at different stages of your life. Just like the stock market, our career progression can take an unexpected turn. Laura encourages us to think about career strategies ahead of time, before we need to execute them. This goes for everything from elevator speeches to expressing appreciation and admiration for those in your network whom you admire. Proactive intention not only helps inoculate you against the worst side effects of an unexpected market shift, it can help you develop x-ray vision to recognize investment opportunities before they become visible to others.

Think of your resume as a stock portfolio. You want it to appreciate over the years and may have different investment goals at different stages of your life.

The Career Strategy GroupHow did Laura end up in this magical space? It began when she was a human resource professional at a major corporation. HR people are called to their professions, much like teachers and ministers. They create their positive energy by helping others discover and reach their potential. One day, she found herself having to do the exact opposite when she was tasked with executing a downsizing event. The company had hired an outplacement firm to help point those affected in productive directions. Laura saw people leaving her desk emotionally shattered. But they seemed to come out of the room where the outplacement team was with smiles on their faces.

Thus began Laura’s journey, chasing happiness. She built her career coaching practice slowly, carefully and well, ultimately placing it in proper perspective alongside her role as a wife and mother. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t call her after 3:30 in the afternoon or before 9:00 at night. That’s when the kids are at home. And so is she.

Laura found her professional happiness by deliberately thinking about the dimensions of work and life that were most important to her. It turned out that there wasn’t a corporate job that checked enough of those boxes. So she invented a job that fit her requirements.

Sometimes the ideal gig you seek does not currently exist. So you’ll have to create it.

I juxtapose that with another encounter I recently had with someone who is about to be laid off. For a variety of reasons, finding traditional employment in their chosen field is problematic. But as we discussed some creative alternatives, it became clear to me that this person was not motivated to think outside the box.

As you ponder these tales as two ends of the professional continuum, where would you place your personal brand right now? If you’re not happy with your current situation, what are you doing to change it?

And what’s keeping you from dreaming big?

Dick BealsI just finished re-reading one of my favorite autobiographies. It’s the story of Dick Beals, an MSU Spartan who helped invent the cartoon voice-over business at a time when demand for that skill set was spawning classics like the Flintstones and the Jetsons. Dick was blessed with a condition that prevented his body from going through puberty. He was 4’7″, with the intellect of a college graduate and the perpetual voice of a child. He leveraged that into a rewarding career, that included years as the voice of Speedy Alka Seltzer. Talk with Dick and you would instantly notice that he never looked at his situation as a handicap. He leveraged his unique gifts, which included tenacity, creativity and a knack for selling, into roles as a the CEO of his own advertising agency, an elected official, a private pilot and, ultimately a philanthropist.

Think Big by Dick BealsThe title of his autobiography? “Think Big”.

Why not consider following in the footsteps of giants like Laura Labovich and Dick Beals? What are your unique gifts? And how can you channel them into a profession that touches that part of your heart where happiness lives?

Here’s how to begin. Follow Scott’s “10% Rule”. If you are not where you want to be in your career, relationships or lifestyle, spend ten percent of every day, seven days a week, doing something to point you in that direction. That involves investing about an hour and twenty minutes each day defining and chasing happiness.

Scott’s 10% Rule: If you are not where you want to be in your career, relationships or lifestyle, spend ten percent of every day, seven days a week, doing something to point you in that direction.

Every achievement is the direct result of focusing energy toward positive outcomes. If you don’t exercise the muscles that can take you in the direction of your dreams, they will atrophy. And you’ll find yourself stuck in an uncomfortable current reality with little hope for changing anything.

Are you living the life you want? What should you be doing to ensure that your portfolio is both protected from loss and positioned for growth?

Are you in an unhappy situation? Every mutual fund is made up of stocks that began as investments. What are you willing to invest to change your life for the better?

There’s a corner in each of our brains that loves the status quo, no matter how bad that status quo may be. This is what Seth Godin calls “Resistance”.

The biggest deterrent to making our dreams come true is sometimes defined as “fear”. Seth Godin has a better word for it. “Resistence“. There’s a corner in each of our brains that loves the status quo, no matter how bad that status quo may be. It whispers self defeating messages to your subconscious and makes long lists of why things won’t work. Resistance is nothing more than a wild animal in need of obedience school. It’s possible to keep it in it’s crate. You’ll always hear it barking, but you don’t have to let it bite you.

Think about what life could be like if all your dreams could come true. And understand that the only difference between you and the happiest people on earth is this: Happy people decided to feel that way and focused their energies on manifesting it in every dimension of their lives.

Life is all about choices. And happiness is a feeling we can choose to manifest.

What’s stopping you from Chasing Happiness? What are the messages that Resistance is whispering in your ear? Are you willing to tame the beast and start removing the obstacles that stand between you and your dreams?

Our world has more than its share of unhappy people. But it is also filled with extraordinary spirits who decided to take their future into their own two hands.

Why not you? Why not now?

 

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