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Issue 31

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In this issue ~~

* Be Sensible or Follow Your Bliss?

* Creative Tip

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf

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Be Sensible or Follow Your Bliss?

One of the biggest career dilemmas today is whether to do what seems practical -- to pursue what you're good at and make as much money as you can -- or, as Joseph Campbell said, to follow your bliss. Sometimes we're fortunate enough that the two overlap, but that's not always the case. And to complicate matters, creative people tend to have a myriad of interests and talents to choose from.

When you're young, you may find yourself facing thousands of dollars in school loans, rent to pay or perhaps a family to support, and you do what's expedient to make money. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

But later in life, you may come to a point where you've become an expert at your job -- you can do it in your sleep and you've got a great income . . . and you're bored or stressed out. And there's this thing lurking in the background that you've always wanted to do -- to write; to act; to close up the big house, move to the country and live a simpler life doing crafts. But there's that great income and professional status that's so hard to give up.

Or you're on the verge of choosing a career, trying to decide between a big-money job and one that makes your heart sing, but that will probably mean living on a budget for some time to come.

How do you choose?

While I can't tell you unequivocally that you should do one thing or the other -- that's a complex personal decision -- I can offer you some questions to contemplate:

~ Do you have a driving need or desire to follow your passion? How would it change your life to do that?

~ Do you have a need to make a lot of money at this time? Can you set a goal of doing that job for a certain amount of time, saving your money and then doing what you really love?

~ Is your current job adversely affecting your health and well-being? Are you finding it harder to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Are you depressed, frustrated, anxious, angry or sick a lot?

~ Doing what you're good at can make your life easier, but following your heart can be more fun. Are you willing to work harder or make sacrifices to achieve the emotional gratification of doing what you love?

~ Is there something you love that, if you never get around to doing it, will cause you pain and regret in the long run?

~ Doing what you love doesn't preclude making a good income. How could you turn your passion into a viable career? Use your imagination and come up with ways you can make your passion work for you.

~ Can you pursue your passion in a more commercial form? For example, could you be a graphic artist by day and a fine artist by night? A jingle writer by trade and a songwriter for your own pleasure?

~ If you can't afford to "quit your day job," how else can you incorporate your passion into your life? Could you have two part-time careers, one for love and one for money? Could you have an avocation that might even bring in a little extra income or turn into a career somewhere down the road?

~ How could you reduce your expenses and save more money so you could afford to live on less if you choose to make a change? Can you create a financial reserve -- the equivalent of 6 to 12 months' income in a savings account -- that would give you money to live on while you find a new job or start a business?

~ If you have a spouse or partner, have you told them what you want to do? How about your kids? Can you make this a family project and work something out together?

While we all want to live prosperous lives, not pursuing something you love can have its consequences. Back in the 1950s, psychologist Abraham Maslow stated that when our basic survival needs are met, it's imperative that we move to our higher, or meta-needs, to "self-actualize." He warned about what could happen when we ignore these needs: "If the essential core of the person is denied or suppressed, he gets sick sometimes in obvious ways, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes immediately, sometimes later." We see this all around us in the form of depression or stress-related illness.

How you choose to structure your life to include your talents and passions will vary according to your distinct needs and desires. But when you make your choices, be sure to measure both the inner and outer demands. Be honest with yourself, and be imaginative in working out ways to have what you want. There's no better place to use your creativity than in crafting your own life!

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Maslow's List of Meta-Needs
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* Wholeness (unity)
* Perfection (balance and harmony)
* Completion (ending)
* Justice (fairness)
* Richness (complexity)
* Simplicity (essence)
* Aliveness (spontaneity)
* Beauty (rightness of form)
* Goodness (benevolence)
* Uniqueness (individuality)
* Playfulness (ease)
* Truth (reality)
* Autonomy (self-sufficiency)
* Meaningfulness (values)

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Creative Tip

If there's something you love doing but can't find the time for, start doing it 10 or 20 minutes a day, or an hour on the weekend. Once you begin and become absorbed in the activity, you'll find the allotted time expanding effortlessly.

 

Wise Words

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."

~ Rumi

"To find in ourselves what makes life worth living is risky business, for it means that once we know we must seek it. It also means that without it, life will be valueless."

~ Marsha Sinetar

"The best career advice given to the young is 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.'"

~ Katherine Whitehorn

 


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Bookshelf

(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

Follow Your Career Star: A Career Quest Based on Inner Values . . . Jon Snodgrass, PhD

Find Your Calling, love Your Life: Paths to Your Truest Self in Life and Work . . . Martha Finney, Deborah Dasch

Where Do I Go From Here?: An Inspirational Guide to Making Authentic Career and Life Choices . . . Kenneth C. Ruge

SoulWork: Finding the Work You Love, Loving the Work You Have . . . Deborah P. Bloch, Lee J. Richmond

Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life . . . Carole Kanchier, PhD

The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success . . . Nicholas Lore

 

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© 2000 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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