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Twenty Ways to Find the Work You Love

By Craig Nathanson

Do you ever wish you had a few more options when trying to find the work you love? Here are some ideas that might help expand your thinking.

  1. Change your physical space when thinking about what you want to do. (Motion changes emotion and a new location helps you think about things from a new vantage point.)
  2. Think about your problem (opportunity!) from the perspective of someone else. Imagine someone you admire is giving you advice about what to do. (This takes practice, but you ll get different answers that may be helpful.)
  3. Draw a picture of what you want. Imagine how it sounds, feels, smells, and tastes. (We all make meaning through our five senses.)
  4. Find someone else who is doing what you want to do and ask them for ideas. (This is called modeling. If what they are doing works for them, why not for you?)
  5. Define what being successful means to YOU. (You may need to redefine the meaning of success as compared to all the external meanings you have learned.)
  6. Practice thinking about how you can do what you love. (Think about how you are going to think about it; break your regular negative thought patterns.)
  7. Laugh! (Humor helps break the negative patterns of thinking you may find yourself in during this time of transition.)
  8. Ask yourself, how would an eight year-old deal with this? (It's amazing what questions kids can ask to break it all down.)
  9. Post the challenge on your wall for a few days. (Your brain will get tired of not having an answer.)
  10. Figure out what you have at risk if you don't do the work you love now. (It's hard to be creative when nothing is at stake.)
  11. Define a moving-towards strategy. (Positive and proactive strategies will always defeat negative and reactive ones.)
  12. Disassociate and watch yourself doing what you love. What did you do? (You will be amazed at the ideas you will come up with.)
  13. Move ahead in time by one year and write a letter to yourself telling you what you should do. (Part of the problem with planning in the present is that you include the baggage of the past.)
  14. Write down in 30 minutes all the ideas you can think of to find the work you love. (When we break overwhelming tasks into small amounts of time, our motivation and energy increases)
  15. Ask yourself, What's the next step I should take? Then spend 30 minutes doing physical exercise. When you come back, write down the first answer that comes to mind. (Those endorphins you get from exercise are the best mind advancing drug there is.)
  16. Open the dictionary and read the first word you see. Read the definition. Ask yourself, How could this apply in helping me do what I love now? (Divergent thinking can help you notice solutions from a different angle.)
  17. If you took a big risk right now, what are the worst and the best things that could happen? (Sometimes all it takes is using that risk taking muscle a few times.)
  18. Say to yourself, "I INTEND to resolve this." ("I hope" isn't good enough. Go ahead and try it. No one is listening. Notice the difference?)
  19. Reward yourself as you make some progress. (Internal rewards such as a nap or a ice cream cone will always last longer than external ones.)
  20. Allow yourself ten minutes of quiet time daily to just sit and be aware. Take deep breaths and be aware of your thoughts. (This will become the most magical part of your day.)
Congratulations on taking the first creative steps towards doing what you love! Now write down any new ideas you can come up with for the next steps you can take today. I ll be cheering you on from the sidelines.
Craig Nathanson is a coaching expert who works with people over forty. Craig's book, 'Don't Just Retire and Die,' is designed to help people break free and move toward the work they love. Visit Craig's website at Dr Craig Nathanson where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig books and CDs, get some private coaching over the phone or read stories of mid-life change and renewal. Craig lives in San Anselmo, California.
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