08/17/2010 01:02 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Changing Careers May Allow You to Fulfill Your Dreams

There are two keys to creating the successful life that you want: the spark of a dream and an innate ability coupled with a fierce, no nonsense, determination to make that dream come true.
You might want to add one more key to help open the door to living successfully -- the key of being willing and able to reinvent yourself and your life. Going forward with a new career choice is sometimes a very necessary part of a successful life.

Two women realized this and made positive changes that helped them on the way to living a successful life.

What do you do if you find that the career you're planning is not the one you really want? Natalie Bencivenga made a choice and a decision that made her change paths career-wise and allowed her to live her dream.

Natalie Bencivenga is twenty-something, beautiful and filled with energy. As the co-editor of an online magazine that is "dedicated to bringing readers excitement, lifestyle and romance in a format that is compelling, user-friendly and free," she doesn't just talk about living a happy, positive lifestyle -- she embraces it and lives it. She believes in girlfriend-ship, having a solid circle of supportive friends and a healthy attitude towards sexuality. And she believes in following her instincts.

On her way to medical school she took a side trip, literally, and found an alternative career as a writer and editor. It was on a trip to New York City that she met Joe Vineis, the editor of a small magazine, who asked her to look over some articles for him and give her opinion. Give it she did and she discovered a new career path opening for her, one to which she took passionately.

"I've always been a writer," says Natalie. "Even as a child writing was a passion of mine. This was definitely something that I wanted to do."

Deciding that medical school was not the right choice for her, Natalie began to take her life in a new direction and became a co-founder (with Joe Vineis), and editor for, a new online magazine. In this venture she brings energy, intelligence and enthusiasm to the online publishing world. She wasn't looking for a change in plans but knew a good opportunity for her talents when she saw one.

What happens if the career path you've taken and enjoyed hits a dead-end? Debbie Gore had her original career stall not once, but twice, and made an executive decision that enabled her to become her own boss.

Dynamic and full of life, Debbie Gore went from twice being a member of the corporate world to becoming a motivational speaker with her own Recipe for Life. Her road to becoming a motivational speaker included 25 years of corporate experience.

A former fashion buyer who survived two economy-related layoffs, she found a new career by doing a favor for a friend who had a start-up gourmet food store; on a volunteer basis she became the buyer for the store. She also found herself talking to customers about food.

"At the time, I did not recognize all the signs that were going to lead me down a new path. Speaking to customers about food inspired me. For once, work felt like play," says Debbie.

Debbie decided to take the plunge, start her own business, and self publish her first cookbook, all the while teaching culinary classes to earn additional revenue. Offering cooking demonstrations and speaking about food to clubs and groups got her press coverage while positive word-of-mouth helped her to expand her business.

Her corporate skills helped. She sent out press kits about her new venture and followed them up with phone calls. Debbie was her own press agent. What started as recreational culinary instruction lead to public speaking and companies began to ask her to teach their employees about healthier eating. Today her program, Recipe for Life, is no longer just about food. Debbie teaches that life is like a recipe; you should only choose ingredients you like and eliminate those that don't blend to create your optimum life recipe. Choose only what is good for you.

Both women thought their career paths were set until something came along to change their minds. Both of them had talents they knew they possessed and hadn't fully used but which would help them in their new careers. When an opportunity presented itself they were able to take full advantage of it and go for something new and satisfying.

Fulfilling your dreams may mean you need to change direction. A change of your life path is a start. Don't be afraid to change.

To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at Kristen and visit her Keys to Happiness blog.
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Copyright 2010 Kristen Houghton