10/17/2012 06:17 pm ET Updated Dec 12, 2012

Introduction to the Passionate Pursuits Series


As I have grown in my professional practice, I've continued interviewing and collecting stories to add to a framework of work. I began with Skills for Success, where I described how to find the courage and risk required for success. This time I'd like to share my research on finding work that is rich with personal meaning to reap interior rewards. I have identified nine catalysts for you to investigate and test for your own discovery. They unfold and evolve, happening in any order at any time in our life. Some of us have been fortunate to have developed on talents, played out our hunches, risked specializing and pursued our intuitive guidance, while others in a different set of circumstances and pressures could or did not. It is our receptivity to the journey's meaning and message that distinguishes the process.

Changes in our culture make these nine catalysts particularly helpful at this moment. Success, particularly the western model, is redefining itself, subtly shifting away from thinking of success only as external manifestations -- money, status, and power -- signs to others through our titles, our real estate, our toys, and trips. We are asking ourselves if we are satisfied, happy, fulfilled. These questions are beginning to matter just as the world of work is changing.

Nothing seems stable. Not love. Not family life. Not money. Not work. Our traditional jobs have been reshuffled. The scenarios vary but the underlying cause is radical change everywhere. Some of us are forced to take two jobs to replace what we had while others must create entirely new work, finding alternative routes of hop scotching or going solo, or burdened when others leave our department and we're left to hold down their job as well as our own. We live with daily re-evaluation of options, fearful about our fate. We despair when we can identify a special need or service we yearn to fill but cannot support ourselves financially to do it. Dissatisfied with what we have, many of us want something else but don't know what it is or how to give it form and direction.

In this historic moment of revolutionary transition we yearn to find our true north, to find work that is best suited to our inner needs, forging congruence between our interior yearnings and the exterior action. How do we change to make our work part of our most visible identity and our most soul-satisfying inner best selves? I've made this search my life's work and over the course of three decades of counseling and interviewing people, stuck and successful, I have created these markers to show you how to find your path. Over the coming months, I'll be sharing these nine catalysts with you along with stories and interviews with people who have found and followed their own passionate pursuits: living proof that it can be done. It can. I promise you. And when it works, I'd like to hear from you.

Make your luck happen!