Monday, May 12, 2008

Four Steps to Finding What You Were Meant to Do

Would you like to be the next Tiger Woods? It's possible.

Woods is a competitor. He doesn't let anything get in the way of sinking that little white ball into the hole every chance he gets. He wants to do it more times than anyone else on the golf course that day. He's passionate about what he does.

While you may not be able to play golf like Woods, there is no reason that you cannot feel that same passion for what you do.

So, maybe you love to play golf or tennis or won't walk away from a game of Monopoly until you've won. The point is that such a competitive spirit, which is a natural passion, can be turned into finding a career that you love.

The key is looking at what makes you feel excited, whether it's helping other people, bringing order to chaos or pitting your talents and skills against others in the marketplace. But how can you discover what you were meant to do?


Begin by:

1. Giving yourself permission to find your passion. Talk to family and friends about what they believe the source of your energy to be. Look for common themes. For example, maybe you love the thrill of competition and could use that passion to launch a new company or head up a new project at work. The key is looking for themes that get your blood pumping.

2. Embracing the bumps in the road: Marriage, death and divorce are all life-changing events that can help you re-discover where you really want to be in life. Think back to how you felt during those times, and what seemed really important to you. Brian Clark wrote a great post about this on Copyblogger about a snowboarding accident.

3. Trying something new. Get out of your comfort zone. Take some risks. Try something out that you've been intrigued by but perhaps afraid to try. During this process, evaluate how you feel. Do you lose lose track of time? Does it just feel right? These are all signs that you are on the road to finding your passion.

4. Evaluating: As you investigate these new avenues, you can feel overwhelmed. Set goals for yourself along the way so that you can take a pause and see where you’re going. This will help the situation not feel so out of control, but rather a natural progression toward something exciting.

Are you living your passion? Do you feel you're doing what you were meant to do?


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Monday, May 5, 2008

Feeling Dumb May Be the Smartest Thing You've Ever Done

Have you ever felt like the dumbest person in the room? If not, I highly recommend it.

I just returned from the SOBCON08 in Chicago. That's a conference for bloggers. That means a bunch of people knew a whole lot more than I did about everything blogging, web-related and a lot of technical stuff. I had dinner with people I were convinced were speaking Klingon at times.

"Well, you've got to take the XRwhingerwhammer jitbat and use it to open the Latvian mother's code or it will take you to the goose ginger," said Lorelle VanFossen.

People like Brian Clark and Chris Garrett, co-author of "ProBlogger" would nod and jump in with: "But don't forget the hangman's fifth gibber or the pickleman's lockdown."

OK, at times I threw in something if if I knew what they were talking about. But I did a lot of listening and asked a lot of questions. It was pretty reflective of a weekend where I spent most of it asking:

"How do I?"
"What's that?"
"Where do I find that?
"How does that work?"

And of course, the ever present: "Huh?"

But I had a lot of "A-HA!" moments as well. It felt like a giant, weekend-long V-8 commercial because I was slapping myself upside the head so much. "Why didn't I do that?" I thought (slap). "I could have done that!"(slap) "Why didn't I think of that before!"(slap)

David Bullock had the answer: Everyone feels that way. No one knows all the answers, and we're all going to make mistakes along the way. What you DO know is of value.

So, as much as I was often confused and feeling pretty dumb, I really enjoyed every minute of it. I started to get it. I started to understand. (OK, maybe not all the tech talk, but I took a lot of notes so I could look up stuff later.)

I had a weekend of mental gymnastics, of being around people that made me feel dumb -- but were also really nice and willing to let me learn from them and ask questions. And here's the thing: By jumping out of my comfort zone and exposing myself to people and ideas and thoughts and viewpoints that were new to me, I started to see possibilities and opportunities and new paths for myself and my career.

And that was really, really important. At a time when newsrooms across the country look like Tony Soprano and his gang have been there because so many bodies have been whacked, it was really energizing and uplifting to know that I didn't have to give up what I love doing, I just had to think of it in different ways.

I can't think of any better career advice for today. I want you to think of talking to someone today, of experiencing something this week, that makes you feel dumb. Ask questions. Learn. Grow.

I dare you.

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