Living on Purpose: Discovering your purpose
Vail CO, Colorado
“I’m miserable in my job. I work long hours; my body hurts and I’m tired of managing people,” Scott said as we started his coaching appointment.
From previous our sessions, it sounded like he was good at his restaurant management job. I wasn’t surprised, however, with this sudden realization. Recently he had been more irritated about work. He had also been taking a pottery class and volunteered his time to a non-profit organization. His time and his passion had been moving more towards these activities.
“What would you rather do?” I asked.
“There’s a new restaurant opening and they have contacted me about the general manager’s position,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity with good pay, less hours and more benefits.”
“Are you staying in the restaurant industry?” I asked.
“I’ve worked in this business for so many years,” Scott said, “I’m not sure what else I’d want to do.”
His energy level had dropped. Scott was ready to leave his job, but not excited about staying in the industry.
“On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being really excited, how do you rate the possibility of changing restaurants?” I asked.
“It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. All of my experience is in restaurants. It’s all I’m qualified to do. What else would I do?” he asked.
“Let’s brainstorm to see what else might interest you. The rules are simple: there are no bad ideas; there is no need to justify or figure out any option; and nothing is out of the question. Just blurt out what comes to you. What would you love to do?”
He thought and then said, “I’d love to be paid to work full time at the non-profit organization instead of volunteering a few hours a month,” he said.
“That’s great! What else?” I pushed.
“A rock-n-roll star,” he added, the look in his eye questioning if this answer would work.
“Perfect. What else?” I asked.
When he realized that no idea was out of the question, he added, “What about creating pottery for a living?”
“Great. What else?”
“Seriously, the best job I’ll get is in a restaurant. We better include it on the list.”
I added it to the list with five additional options.
“As I read each option, tune into your body. Tell me where you feel it in your body and what you are experiencing,” I instructed.
I began, “Being paid to work at a non-profit organization of your choice.”
“That feels motivating, like a fire in my stomach,” he said.
“A rock-n-roll star … ” I said.
“It seems impossible. I feel it in my cheeks. I feel embarrassed,” he said, blushing.
“A potter … ” I said.
He sat quietly. “I don’t feel anything,” he said.
“Restaurant work … ” I said.
“That’s a heavy weight in the pit of my stomach. I feel tense, like I can’t breathe.”
After we completed the list, I asked, “What did you learn through this exercise?”
“I learned I’m very passionate about helping other people. I wonder if I could work for a non-profit organization and get paid for doing what I love!” he added with excitement.
“I also noticed,” he added, “when you brought up working in a restaurant, how terrible it felt. It was a clear sign to me that I don’t want to do that. Maybe sometimes we find out what we DO want by determining what we DON’T want,” he said.
“What will you do this week to further investigate these possibilities?” I asked.
“I’ll look for eight more career options and see how each feels. If it feels positive, I’ll get one more piece of information on that option. I’ll give you a full report next week.”
As he laid out his action steps, I could tell he was passionate about his search to find a better option.
Coaching Challenge: If you feel you are in the wrong line of work, brainstorm a list of 10 possible professions. Use the brainstorming rules above to create your list. Review each item on the list, noting how you feel. Cross off any option that doesn’t feel right. For any items remaining, get at least one additional piece of information to help you move forward in pursuing that option.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Sheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.
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