I am often asked, “How can I really know that I have chosen the right career path?” The short answer is, “You will know it, deep in your bones, when you find it.”
The longer answer is YOU MUST take the journey of finding and following a calling seriously, create time and space to explore options and have epiphanies, and be willing to take risks along the way. Kathryn Pisco’s, Founder of Unearth the World, career transition story demonstrates all three of these practices brilliantly.
1. Take the journey seriously.
Kathryn and her husband Mike, had ticked off all the “right” boxes in their lives: go to college, develop a great resume, climb the corporate ladder, get married to the love of your life, buy a house, travel, but something was missing. They wanted to take time out to assess where they had been, where they were going and how to create more meaningful work, and they did something astonishing, they quit their great jobs and went on their own version of a Vision Quest:
“We decided to take a trip of a lifetime in an attempt to unearth and discover the world. We were passionate about travel and focused on giving back. We wanted to see and experience international cultures from a local’s perspective instead of a tourist’s perspective. We embarked on our 250 day, 20-country journey with excitement and planned 5 separate volunteer projects along the way.”
2. Create time and space.
Finding a calling is a deep and profound experience and sometimes comes out of struggle and patience. Kathryn and Mike’s trip was not perfect. It came with may days of frustration and a realization that volunteer tourism is often riddled with miscommunication, disorganization and a lack of support for the volunteers. They really had no idea that their frustrations would be the fodder for a business but at the end of their trip while working with kids in an orphanage in Ghana, they made a vow to each other to use this experience to help others. The next day, the orphanage asked them to come back with other volunteers and Unearth the World was born. Mike and Kathryn’s new mission: return home and create a company where great NGOs could be served well, while their volunteer tourists would be supported before, during and after trips.
3. Take risks.
Instead of returning to Chicago to look for two jobs after their adventure in October of 2013, Kathryn and Mike struck a deal. Whoever got employed first, would go back to work and the other person would focus on Unearth the World. As Kathryn tells it, she won, because Mike got hired quickly and she went to work full-time on their new venture. It has been a lot of work and a steep learning curve but she would not trade any of it since she gets to follow her passions every day. The hardest part has been the transition from working with large teams on established brands, to learning how to do everything herself including creating a brand from scratch.
Her advice to others is “If I can do it, you can to. Even if you are happy with your life, you owe it to yourself to listen to a call and give your best idea a try.”
© 2014, brightlivelihoods. All rights reserved.