Sunday, June 5th, 2011
I have dedicated my life to answering one question: How do you help teens and adults find work they love?
In the development of Bright Livelihoods, I researched, sought out and interviewed many people who love what they do for a living, including teachers, business people, scientists, clergy, artists and entrepreneurs. In this study, I found that they had a few things in common:
✦ When they work, they often lose track of time
✦ They are curious about their craft or field of study no matter how long they have been at it, and continue to hone skills and knowledge
✦ They feel at home with their work, peers and colleagues who are also striving for excellence. They admire this “tribe” of other people who love what they do
✦ They can answer the following three questions:
1. What are my talents?
2. What is my purpose?
3. What is my dream for the future?
I now know that anyone can find their calling and share the experience of these fulfilled people if they are willing to do the work necessary to contemplate their past, define their values, create a vision and courageously go after it.
My quest to clarify my own career has been challenging, and rewarding. The stops along the way included building a traditional corporate career, yoga ashrams, and graduate school. Eventually this search brought me to mentors who led me through a Native American Vision Quest. Vision Quest is a ceremony that has been practiced by Native Americans for thousands of years to help identify each tribe member’s purpose and role. In keeping with their ancient tradition which differs from tribe to tribe, I participated in a seven day ceremony each April for four consecutive years.
Each year, for part of this experience, I was isolated for days in nature where I sat on a blanket, fasted, and went into a deep meditation, to ponder how I might best serve myself and those around me. My Vision Quest was filled with new sensations including being exposed to hot wind, cold nights and soft rain. Sounds included songs in traditional language sung in the distance with heart beat like drumming reminding me of the love of the people who were supporting my journey while at night I never felt more alone as I heard animals moving in the trees near my spot.
In the last year, I was isolated for four days and received the following purpose from my vision quest after seeing an owl fly over my blanket:
To be a leader in helping individuals find their home in the world of work.
My purpose became to translate ancient Vision Quest ideals into a practical and contemporary program. Bright Livelihoods now provides a present-day ritual tied to the wisdom of indigenous cultures, so that people in the modern world can also find how to do in the integrate their internal life with what they do.
Like a Vision Quest our program allows you to fully concentrate on your purpose in life. Here are some lessons I learned from Vision Quest and how they all were woven into our process:
Ø It may take a long time to attain clarity, but it is worth the wait: Our program is not a quick fix, it takes at least 14 weeks of focus, determination and hard work with support of a coach to get results
Ø When you are on a quest for direction, strive to ask for more help than you think you need: Our program stresses right relationships with your loved ones, co-workers, network and community
Ø Often clarity comes from a quiet knowing inside of you when you slowdown from our hectic pace of living and working: We do not ask you to sit in nature for four days but we do give you twelve 5 minute audio visualizations, many contemplative writing assignments and we help you to do two soul adventures for 4-12 hours each throughout the process
Ø Your visions can be related to relationships, family, health, work, finances, spiritual growth, hobbies, volunteering and/or your career: Our curriculum delves deeply into all these areas and options
Ø Your plans for your future can range from the very simple and focused to the exceedingly complex: Our approach is very personalized to your needs, hopes and lifestyle
Ø The most important thing about your vision is that it resonates with you: The results of the program include knowing and galvanizing your values, purpose, priorities, and plan for making your vision a reality
The coaches I have trained and I are very privileged to do the work we do. We work with clients who trust us to help them unearth a new purpose and then, allow us to support them in making their dreams a reality. This work is challenging, sacred, fascinating and incredibly satisfying. Our goal is to help our clients feel the same way about their vocations.