Category: Career

The Key to Getting Out of the Midlife Career Rut: Eliminate PDD (Passion Deficit Disorder)

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What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of a career?  Probably not “passion”.  For most people being passionate about their career is a dream, at least according to a 2005 Harris Interactive Study which found that only 20% of people were passionate about what they were doing.

If you are currently at a crossroads in your life and in a rut, not knowing how to climb out, perhaps it’s time you started discovering what you’re passionate about.  The journey will bring clarity and focus. It will help you find possibilities and directions.  Following your passions is about work becoming a joyful experience, about days becoming more meaningful, about happiness showing up more frequently and about relationships becoming more meaningful.

Your passions will change over time.  What you love to do today will probably not be the same in 20 years.  Perhaps you’re a person who doesn’t find their passion until later in life. Take for example, John James Audubon, one of the greatest wildlife artists. He was an unsuccessful businessman for most of his life. It didn’t matter how many times he changed locations, partners or businesses, he failed miserably.  Not until he understood that he had to change himself did he have a chance of succeeding. So what changes did he make? He followed his passion.  He always loved the outdoors and was a great hunter. In addition he was a good artist and would draw birds as a hobby. His life changed when he started doing what he loved.

To get started on this road to discovery, take some time, sit down and write out your answers to the following questions. Go with your first impulses.

  • What do you love to do?
  • What kind of environment do you love to be in? Predictable and slow-paced or fast-paced and constantly changing?
  • What kind of people do you love to be around?
  • If you could swap jobs with two other people, who would they be and why?
  • Are you more comfortable in a large or small organization?  One that is formal, conservative, or creative?
  • What excites you, turns you on, gets you charged up?
  • What are you “a natural” at?  What do people compliment you on?
  • What did you like about previous jobs that you would love to do again?
  • What do you need from an organization or team to be motivated?
  • What opportunities for advancement and development do you need?
  • How important is long-term job security?
  • Do you need a high or low level of responsibility or influence?
  • How important is recognition of success?
  • Is work/life balance a priority for you?
  • Do you like to be under the pressure of constant deadlines or targets?
  • Is being creative important to you?
  • How far are you willing to commute?
  • What sort of volunteering would you like to do? Is that also a possible career?
  • If you could be a teacher, what two subjects would you like to teach?
  • Imagine someone gave you $500,000 to invest in a business venture. What would it be?
  • If you could attend any conference anywhere in the world at no cost, what would the topic be?

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you’ll have a better idea of the direction in which you might want to head.  If you’re still in a fog, take a F-R-E-E profile analysis to gain greater insight into your current situation and make your vision of the future even clearer.

It’s pretty cool! Check it out here:

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Passion Deficit Disorder in the Workplace

A recent Careerbuilder survey found that 40% of workers say they have had difficulty staying motivated at work in the last year. As a result, employee turnover is expected to rise in the next year as disgruntled employees look for better positions and more flexibility in the workplace.

While the recession has caused employers to reorganize their operations to remain viable, it seems that many employees have felt neglected in the process. PDD (Passion Deficit Disorder) is obviously rife in the workplace. Or expressed another way, employees are not engaged! Does this apply to you and what are you going to do about it? Wishing and hoping that your employer will fix it for you, is not going to get you very far. And finding a new job may not happen for some foreseeable future.

One thing you might do is start living in the here and now. When we compare what we have now to how much more we had in the past or how much better off we were, we are going to become disgruntled. The past is over. Life is a series of cycles. They are not good or bad unless we decide to view them that way.

“It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so” - William Shakespeare

At the other end of the spectrum, perhaps you are engaged in wishful thinking about how much better it could be. Planning for a better future is one thing. Constantly wishing you could already be living that future, without taking any sort of positive action, leads to dissatisfaction with the present. It leads to a life where the present is never good enough. Where you never even see the “silver lining” that might be hiding there because all your energy is being placed in the “good old days” or the “brighter future.”

If you start adopting the mindset to find the positive in the present, giving it your full attention and best efforts, that positive energy will help draw you to the better opportunities you are looking for. Continuing to find fault, blame and unhappiness with the current moment will only keep you locked in negative energies and attracting more of the same.

I recently watched a client go through an amazing transformation after she took notice of how her thoughts were keeping her stuck in unhappiness. Locked in a job she hated, she was spiraling out of control, finding it an immense chore to get up for work every morning. When she started focusing on doing her very best, even when faced with the most mundane of tasks, she felt more at peace. Soon thereafter, once her superiors started to notice a change in her attitude and demeanor, she was given greater responsibility and more fun duties. As a result she is now well on the way to getting a promotion that will bring her much more fulfillment.

So remember, to change your life, you have to change your thoughts! When you change your thoughts, you can change PDD (Passion Deficit Disorder) to PED (Passion Every Day).

If you are stuck on figuring out what you’re passionate about, the following book can give you some clues.

Now that You’ve Hit Midlife, What are you Going to be When You Grow Up?

Sometimes you get forced into change through no fault of your own.  Although it is often scary, change can be an opportunity to finally do what you’ve always wanted, assuming you know what that is!  How can you make the most of the changes you’re going through?  How do you decide which changes will steer you in the right direction and which ones won’t? 

You do it by creating a stable, internal point of reference – a clear picture in your mind of what you need to feel satisfied. To feel in control and actually be in control, you need to make choices based on your inner direction. The choices of the past have brought you to where you are now. If where you are now is not satisfactory, you can make new choices.

If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would that be?

If you don’t know, start by thinking about where your greatest pleasure is.  Think about those times when you’ve been supremely happy, when you felt like you were your best self, when you felt “jazzed” and alive.  Those times when you’ve felt a deep sense of satisfaction. 

This may not be a quick exercise and it may not be easy but persevere. Make a list of 20 such experiences. Perhaps some of these were early on in your life.  These parts of you may have been lost or hidden as you made your way through life perhaps taking on many of the expectations of others.  Let these hidden gifts come out into the open and provide direction for positive change.

Which of these gifts would you like to use more fully in a new career?

Which ones do you need to express? 

Where might these be needed?

How do you want to act on them?

Great ideas come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirrings of life and hope.  Albert Camus

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