Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Creativity unleashed

When you start to accept, trust and love your current work choices, you begin to relax, - mentally, emotionally and physically. And then you release all the blocked energy that went with the divisive state of hating your job, and wanting your passion instead. This unleashes immense creativity that you can now channel towards your passion!

Ruth and Rick have both, just begun to trust the choices they ended up making, to stay in their jobs. (Check my last post for their stories.) I contend that practicality need not rob them of their passion.

A contented Ruth can find several ways in which to indulge her passion, both in the workplace and outside it. In time, this may even lead to the transition into art as a lucrative profession.

So what might Ruth do, for example? Well, to start with, of course, she might practice her art during her off time. She might take classes to improve some particular aspect of her style. Then she might want to think of ways to make a living from her passion. This may include conducting art classes for her kids and their friends, or at the local adult education center. She may even be able to negotiate a way to conduct art workshops at work, as a means of stress relief for co-workers, for instance. And as she increases her visibility this way, she may ultimately sell her own works of art. The sky is the limit!

What about Rick? He doesn’t even know what his passion is! Well there is a wealth of information and knowledge out there, on discovering your passion. There are books and courses, seminars and consulting and coaching opportunities, which have helped many people to find their passion. And because of his job, Rick is comfortably able to pay for any of those.

I suggest a simple 2-step plan to discover your passion:

1.Remind yourself of what you love doing, and do it. This may be totally unrelated to your work right now, and there may be a few different things you may love doing. Make time in the week to do a couple of those things every week. Get in touch with the enjoyment you experience from them. In time, you may come to 1or 2 things that have potential to be your life work.
2.Be open to discovering new loves. What you may have enjoyed doing in the past, may not do anything for you today. Set aside 10 minutes every day to reflect on your day, and to spot incidents or opportunities that sparked some energy in you. Do this for a while, and see what shows up. You may be able to detect patterns that provide a clue.

There are no rules about finding your passion. Don’t get caught up in the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’ around this. You may find that your passion is not unique to you, is not one thing - but 2 or 3 things, is quite mundane after all, and doesn’t quite consume you as you were told it would.

Don’t get me wrong; I have been very inspired by the story of Michelangelo – the agony and the ecstasy of his passion. But I believe that we are all different and passion comes in different packages for each of us – a bright dancing flame for some and a soft, slow sizzle for others. :-) Find yours, without pressure and with authenticity.


Copyright 2006 Ameeta Kaul

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Balancing passion with practicality

Do you trust your choices?

In my last post I suggested that instead of starting with finding what you love to do, start with finding how to love what you do. Then I suggested some questions for you to consider. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Has anybody forced you to hold this job?
  • Are you choosing to hold this job?
  • What is it that you are getting from the job?
  • What is it that you are not getting from this job?
  • What possibilities exist for getting what you want from this job?

Most people come to the conclusion that nobody is forcing them to hold their current job. Are you one of these people? If you answer yes, then you are accepting that you choose to hold your job. Further, I suggest that your choice is probably based on very sound reasons. I can’t know them, but you do.

Consider this example. Ruth is very passionate about art. She loves to create original works of beauty. She is a single mother of 2 children, and she provides for them very well, by working as an HR manager in a successful company. She doesn’t love her job and would rather be painting.

Consider this example – Rick is a manager in an IT firm. He makes enough money, has a great title, and is generally well thought of by his friends. He doesn’t love his job but he doesn’t know what else he could be doing.

In each case, the bottom line is that Ruth and Rick don’t love their jobs. But they are each getting something important from their jobs. Ruth gets to take care of her kids and Rick gets the respect from others that he seeks.

Can you identify with either situation in some way? I suggest that it is important to recognize the trade-offs we make. – Because that helps us to trust our choices.

So let’s imagine that Ruth is considering giving up her job in order to be a painter. Clearly her first priority is to have a certain income regardless of what she does, because she knows that she must provide for her kids in a certain way. So what are her choices? Perhaps she can find a way to change her occupation while making the same amount of money. But she realizes that it is difficult to establish oneself as an artist, and it will take a while to ramp up. If she quit her job and took up art, she would be pursuing her passion, but she would be unhappy about her mothering. She would be worrying about money, and ultimately all this would begin to undermine her passion. So she stays in her job. She is choosing her priorities in life and acting in accordance with them. What could be sounder?

Now, there are at least 2 possibilities for her to live with her choice. - Happily and not so happily. She could give herself credit for her clarity, and understand the trade-offs she is making in order to be happy in the long term. Or she could resent the practical demands on her, that she herself is making, which rob her of her passion. And she can go on, hating her job.

What I am suggesting here is that when we find ourselves balancing passion with practicality, it robs us of nothing! There are indeed some people who can suffer almost anything for their passion, and I admire them greatly. But most people are like me and Ruth and Rick and perhaps you too, and we want to be secure and safe and engaged, all at the same time.

I am suggesting that the opportunity here is to step out of the confusion of resenting what you will not drop. - To see your choices as a package deal that come with consequences included. - So that you won’t be doing one thing, while looking longingly at another.

Then when you are no longer coveting something else, you begin to more fully accept what you are doing. You open to the possibility of discovering more in your present situation. This is the beginning of loving what you do. Don’t you think?

So does that mean that art is over for Ruth? Or that Rick will have to settle for work without passion? I don’t think so. If you’d like to discuss that, stay tuned.


Copyright 2006 Ameeta Kaul

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Love your job?

Do you love what you do?

Do you love your job? If you answered yes, - well, great! Going by the statistics on this, you are in a blessed minority. Enjoy yourself.

If you answered no, then you are in plentiful company, and that means something’s gotta give! When there is a critical mass of people experiencing pain over an issue, enough inquiry and energy are going into it to make a turnaround possible.

Most people tell themselves, or are told by others, - if you don’t love what you do, well find what you do love, and just do it. That’s sound advice – it sounds nice. But it doesn’t really help the person very much. For how the heck does one find what one loves to do? And then there is the practical stuff to take care of. How long will the search take, and meanwhile, how does one earn enough money to keep oneself and the loved ones alive and well?

Those are legitimate questions. But they are glossed over by people who tell you that what’s wrong with you is that you lack the passion and the drive to really do what it takes. Then they point to the people who sacrificed it all to find what they loved.

When I used to be handed that advice, it made me feel at once, hopeful and hopeless – hopeful because some people did it and so I may be able to do it too, and hopeless because if I haven’t done it yet, then I must truly lack the passion to find what I love!

But then I began to notice something that bothered me even more. I began to notice how everyone who was an authority on ‘doing only what you love’ had already found what they loved and spoke from that place of certainty. Great! But how did they get there? How long did it take? What was the journey like? What hurt? What did not? How many times did they stop believing in the worth of the journey? How did they get back on track? Those are the kind of things I wanted to know.

Are these your questions too?
Almost 5 years after first asking these questions, I have something to share. Start with finding how to love what you do. Put slightly differently - find the love in what you do.

No matter how I put that, it’s going to sound trite. But remember that I am simply asking you to start this way, and not suggesting that this is the whole deal. And I speak from gut-wrenching experience. When you start this way, you achieve one thing right away - you open yourself to possibilities. So take the short cut. Instead of starting with trying to find what you love to do, find how to love what you do.

By now you’re saying, - "ok stupid, but I started by saying I don’t love what I do!". I know, and I’m asking you to jiggle that statement around just a bit.

Here are some questions you might ask of yourself:
  • · Has anybody forced you to hold this job?
  • · Are you choosing to hold this job?
  • · What is it that you are getting from the job?
  • · What is it that you are not getting from this job?
  • · What possibilities exist for getting what you want from this job?

You might want to revisit the questions a few times, with enough time in between repeats, and notice if your answers change.

I’ll bet that each of you would have a slightly different experience. If you’d like, share your experience with me at ameetak@gmail.com. I’ll bet also, that each of you who attempts this with any seriousness at all, will be planting a seed. And this seed once planted, will find a way to grow against all odds, and in time you will find yourself doing what you love.

So, is that all that’s required? - I don't think so. But it’s a great first step. And if you’d like to consider a next step - stay tuned.


Copyright 2006 Ameeta Kaul