Aligning Work with Your Life Purpose
By Debra Lea Thorsen
If you are doing work that is right for you, you will get energy from
your work. Sunday nights and Monday mornings will be joyous and you will
know that your head and your heart are in sync.
Often my coaching clients' passions and interests are completely
unrelated to the work they are performing. Well, that's why they call it
work, right? Wrong! I believe that our work is our greatest opportunity
to express ourselves in this world. Work, if aligned with our true
selves, can be the purest form of self-expression.
Work as Duty
Too often, we let our "shoulds" guide us down the conventional career
path and then at mid-career we wake up and think, "how did I get here?".
Every time I feel a "should" creeping into my thinking - I need to stop
and be aware of where this "should" is coming from. Most of our
"shoulds" we pick up from other people - our parents, grandparents,
teachers, friends, and others. Rarely is a "should" an authentic guide
to what will bring us happiness or fulfillment in life. I recommend
living by the saying "don't should on me".
Work as Energy
I also believe that we incorrectly view our jobs from a limited
viewpoint that doesn't understand how energy flows in the universe. I
will work 40 hours and receive $$$$. Our goals is often to work the
least amount of time possible for the most amount of money.
Work is really a giving activity. It is a path of service. I give
100% of myself and talents. I give unselfishly of my energy. And I
receive energy in return in the form of money. In this viewpoint, our
goal is to provide the most value possible, knowing that the universe
will match our energy in return.
I have a coaching client who has decided to go to graduate school and
get her masters degree. She is trying to decide between two programs.
One is a more traditional program that will prepare her for a myriad of
corporate jobs when she graduates. The other program will set her on a
path to be a freelancer. She knows that her heart is not in the first
program, but feels it is her "safer" option. She is afraid to choose the
Follow Your Heart to Discover Meaningful Work
Why are we so afraid to follow our hearts and pursue our bliss? Why
have so many of us lost our inner compass? One reason is the
over-intellectualization of our culture. Ever since the Scientific
Revolution, we have favored our intellect over our intuition. The
Scientific Revolution has definitely improved the quality of life for
many people and has freed us from some destructive superstitions, but at
what price? I'm not going to address this question at the macro level
(environmental issues, distribution of wealth, etc.) but at the
individual micro level.
Our society and its educational institutions teach us to live in our
heads. We favor our rational intellects and many of us are disconnected
from our hearts and bodies. Without this connection, it is difficult to
use our inner compass to chart our life course and follow our bliss. I
work with my clients to integrate the head, heart, and body so that they
are functioning holistically from their body-minds.
I worked with one woman who wanted to find work that she was
passionate about. She told me, "I just need to sit down and think about
this some more." And therein lay her trap. We often believe that if we
just think harder about something, a solution will present itself. When
it comes to finding work you are passionate about, the answer will not
come from your rational, logical brain - it will come from your heart
and soul. To connect with your heart and soul, you need to be able to
access your emotions and body sensations in real-time and connect them
to your thoughts.
If you don't believe me, then think of peak moments in your life -
moments when you felt happy, blissful, relaxed, energized - like all was
well with the world. Where did this feeling come from? Your head or your
To discover meaningful work, you need to connect with your heart by
paying attention to your emotions. Dismiss any shoulds that appear. And
pursue work from a path of service, knowing that this is the legacy you
will leave to future generations.
About The Author
Find out how to break free from the corporate world. Debra Thorsen helps
individuals create real wealth and happiness without 9 to 5 jobs.