Posted by: tiggerproject | May 14, 2012

Changing careers: following your passion and authentic self

For over a decade I  worked in elementary education as a Montessori trained teacher and finished a Masters degree while working full-time.  I found my work very rewarding and fulfilling.  I love children and realize that being with them helps me to lighten up and laugh more.  When I left my teaching position last summer to work for one family as their private tutor/personal assistant, I quickly found out that my new job was not in alignment with who I wanted to be and what I wanted to contribute.  Working for this wealthy family as one of several staff members, was the equivalent of modern day servitude.  The word “no” was unacceptable and putting boundaries in place created resentment in my boss’s wife.  None of the staff members I worked with (except the private chef who worked part-time and loves to cook) was particularly happy or satisfied with their work.  In fact, all of them were quite stressed out.  One of the housekeepers dreamed of becoming a hair stylist so I helped her look up schools she could attend part-time.  When you’re terminated from a job, you find that no one prepares you for the awkwardness (and anxiety) of unemployment.   But when you surrender and can find some humor in these experiences, it allows you the space to consider new possibilities.

As I contemplated what I could create for my life going forward, I got in touch with my passion for empowering people to fulfill their purpose, their goals and live lives filled with greater vitality.  To further that passion and intention,  I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach and will graduate in May 2013.  I picked IIN because the program’s philosophy is about teaching clients how to nourish all aspects of their lives while supporting healthy habits.   In the meantime, I’m working odd jobs, substitute teaching and writing this blog.  If I can re-invent my life after calling off a wedding and losing a job, so can you.

It has always amazed me that folks will be exceptionally picky about who they date or marry, but relegate themselves to jobs they despise.  When did we decide we were not worthy of offering our greatest contribution and living with passion?  Why do we “suck it up” instead of taking the steps towards something more fulfilling?  You may have several mouths to feed, mountains of debt, or feel yourself to be too old to start over.  They are all excuses holding you back from creating your very best life.  Excuses will simply keep you from being a large player in your family and your community.  Inaction keeps you safe from the risk of failure, and it also keeps you from your own success and happiness.  What gifts are you yearning to share?   If you’re unsure where your passions lie, I recommend you look at the magazines you are drawn to purchase as well as the non-fiction books on your shelf.  Who do you admire? Learn more about their story and get inspired.

There are always creative ways to re-purpose your life to a more rewarding situation.  Quitting work is generally not an option for most people and neither is taking a year-long pilgrimage to Italy/India/Bali like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.  Nonetheless, consider going back to school part time.  If you have extra hours, volunteer at the place you are seeking to work (I know someone who did this at Save the Children and then was asked to join the staff).  If it’s a creative endeavor that you’re longing to express (like writing a book or singing in a band) by all means dedicate some time to it each day!  You can measure your progress in small, incremental steps.  As you look back, you will see how far you have come.  Following your passion requires courage and dedication, but your contributions are valuable.  Believe that you are worth it!

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