In my 20’s, I ran a full- service advertising agency while raising my young daughter. I was on the fast track to success, but running myself into the ground for all the wrong reasons. “What was the problem? Was it being a mom? No. Was it the high demands of the business?” That was tough, but not the main problem. I learned the hard way that even though I was successful at something, did not mean that it was my passion, or that I had to do it. I was receiving pressure from all sides to stay because outwardly it was going so well. Until inwardly, I crashed and burned. The good thing for me was that this set me on a path of healing, and search to find my purpose. And I never looked back. I made a decision early on that I would only involve myself with work and activities that I was passionate about. As a life and career coach, I often hear, “ I want something more, but I just don’t know what.”
So I developed the Blast Off !Dream Career Questionnaire. It can help spark some ideas to help you tap into your passion to brainstorm ideas for your own dream career.
(This exercise can be done on Interactive Life Coaching Software, Blastation, at www.InteractiveLifeCoach.com.
Instructions: After answering each question, re-read your answers. Do you see a common theme arise?
For instance, if many of your answers lean toward creative endeavors, you would most likely thrive in a career or business that utilizes your artistic touch, such as landscape design, interior design, cooking, fine art or graphic design. If you see travel dominating your answers, a business in importing and exporting of foreign goods, an excursion director or editor of your own travel magazine may be the perfect brainstorms for your dream career or business. Your answers to the following 10 questions are clues to your brightest path as they will reflect your true inner purpose and help you resonate with a dream career that expresses your deepest values, hopes, loves and desires.
1. As a child, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
A ballerina, doctor, teacher, magician, astronaut, veterinarian or a scientist? Our younger fascinations hold clues to what we may be naturally drawn to as adults. As a child, it was much easier to drop into your imagination because you most likely did not have any interference from limiting thoughts or negative beliefs. From our childlike perspective our beliefs were more like, “this is what I am going to be and that is that!” If you dreamed of being a teacher, doctor or joining the Peace Corps, it could mean that you have a natural tendency toward helping people. An engineer or scientist is a path for someone with an analytical style. A pilot, traveler or ballerina would be more experiential; and a painter, actress or gardener would have more artistic leanings.
2. What are some of your favorite hobbies or activities — in the present and in the past, and why?
Hobbies are our true expression of fun and creativity. We are naturally drawn to these activities because they excite our physical, mental and emotional nature. Hobbies are an extension of our inner voice and are great clues to our passions and potential dream career.
For instance, my client Ann Marie’s favorite pastime is to indulge in anything that has to do with history, like going to museums, reading historical novels, listening to elderly people tell their life stories and watching historical documentaries. She even received her college degree in history. She thought all she could do was teach history, which did not excite Ann Marie at all. Instead, I helped her launch her own dream business called My Visual History, where she produces beautiful mini-documentaries of elderly people sharing their life stories. Now Ann Marie is truly living her passion and making a living at it, too!
Here are some examples of hobbies:
Ages 3-10: Dolls, jumping rope, exploring, riding my bike, camping, baking, playing with my dog, coloring.
Ages 10-20: Science, swimming, dancing, singing, reading, board games, hiking, tennis, painting, being with friends, rock climbing, sewing.
Ages 20 to Present: Yoga, meditation, writing, public speaking, scuba diving, going to museums, reading historical novels, animal rescue, decorating.
3. What things have you always wanted to do, but were afraid to try? We often create a million reasons that keep us from facing our fears, and ultimately our brightest lives. We often fear change or the unknown, yet in reality the hardest part is those first few steps. Once you have inched across the threshold, your new and fulfilling dream career becomes so much easier to grasp. The fear will begin to dissolve the more you practice taking small steps of action. I call them Mini Feats.
List several interesting, stimulating, or meaningful activities or ideas related to your personal life or career that have sparked your interest, but you’ve been afraid to try, such as scuba diving, writing a book, living in a foreign country, opening your own business, rescuing animals, producing a movie.
List all your business or personal desires here, no matter how silly, risky or scary they may seem:
4. What do you do or have you done in your life that makes you the happiest? What is it about this that you enjoy so much? What does it mean to you? When you are in a state of joy or bliss, you are completely in the present moment and in total alignment with your true self. When you’re congruent with your passions, intention and actions, success is sure to follow.
Happy moment examples: Sitting in my backyard reading under the oak tree, spending time with my kids, embracing animals, competing in a track race, being surrounded by nature, shopping at the flea market, in the creative zone of writing, painting or singing.
5. What is a cause that you could get behind? Is there a cause or charity you’re passionate about? There may be some career ideas that will support and reflect the charities or philanthropic services that have a place in your heart.
One of my client’s, Connie D., worked at mortgage company for several years. She was good at her job, but it was not fulfilling to her. In fact, she began dreading going to work. Her true passion was volunteering at Hospice and helping the families process their grief. It was in this work that she felt most alive, purposeful and of value. I coached Connie to shift her favorite cause into her own business called Break Through Grief Recovery. Now, she is thriving on all levels because she turned her favorite cause into her dream career as a Certified Grief Facilitator.
6. What personal qualities do you hold most important in your life? If you can incorporate some of the most important qualities of your inner and outer character and your life into your work, you will be truly living a life of value and purpose.
My client, Kenneth, loves parasailing, so he is creating a charity that will help trauma victims heal through this sport. He has found a way to combine his passion and talent to give back to a cause he feels strongly about.
If you are more social and extraverted, you may be best suited in a business where you are surrounded by the energy of several clients or peers throughout your day. If you are a more quiet and introverted type, one-on-one business meetings, such as consulting, may be a better fit.
7. What are your strengths and talents? By tapping into the special abilities that you already own, you can translate them into a dream career without spending too much time or money investing in new skills.
My client, Connie M., has always thrived on fitness. In addition, she loved spending time working with children. In one of our sessions, she recalled feeling frustrated during her pregnancy that none of the fitness trainers she encountered knew how to train pregnant women safely. We tapped into this desire as I helped her create a business called Life Fitness 4 Me. Connie M. became certified to train pre-natal women and children in fitness, and she loves it! We found a way to combine her passion for fitness and children into a prosperous business that fits her perfectly.
List all of your talents. Even the ones you take for granted, such as being a good multi-tasker or a good listener. These are huge assets in the business world!
8. What movies and books have inspired you over the years and why? We are often drawn to books and movies that reflect our personalities, interests, and inner being. For example, adventure books may reflect your interest in excitement or change. If you are artistic or philosophical, you may be drawn to foreign films and musicals. Movies like “Tales of a Female Nomad,” “Avatar” and “Eat Pray Love” all have an independent, spiritual message. If these are your taste, you may be drawn to a career with an outdoor setting rather than being office bound.
Upon completion of Blast Off! Dream Career Questionnaire look at each of your answers. Do you see a common theme throughout? This is a very good clue for your winning dream career. For instance, if all your answers have to do with creative activities, you may fit with a career in the arts, such as landscape design, interior design, fine art or graphic design. If you see travel dominating your answers, a career as a travel agent, excursion director, or editor of a travel magazine may be the fuel for your inner passion. These answers will reflect your inner purpose. A dream career that expresses your values, hopes, loves and dreams is a winning recipe for life of passion and meaning.