Category: Pursuing Your Passions


“Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-Post)

This is one of those rare times where I’ve titled my post before writing it. Usually I don’t come up with the title until after having written the post.

The reason for the change this time is because this title is a phrase that’s been blaring in my head for so long.

It’s something I’ve wanted to shout from the roof tops above the popular (and often misled) notion of today’s culture that tells people to “just follow your heart.”

Telling someone to follow their heart is bad advice.

Really bad advice.

The Truth About The Heart

The heart is emotional and therefore fickle.

If everyone went with every whim that came to their hearts, the world would be a lot more chaotic than it already is.

There’s definitely something to be said for self-control. And this is not just common sense, it’s also biblical.

Jeremiah 17:9–10 says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

What this means is, as humans our hearts are inclined toward selfishness and sin, and therefore some decisions made with the heart are made with the wrong motives.

Passion Comes From Your Gut

Passion is different from heart.

Passion is something that burns deep inside your gut, propelling you forward despite whatever you’re feeling in the moment.

It’s what keeps you going and working hard even when things get tough, even when your heart doesn’t feel like complying.

Passion is oftentimes more committed than the heart.

I think this quote says it best:

Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.” Mark Z. Danielewski

Think about this quote in terms of those who are passionate about running marathons.

To be successful, it can’t be just because their heart loves running or likes the euphoria that comes with running.

If that was the case, they would quickly give up during training when they experienced the pulled muscles, the bleeding blisters, the extreme exhaustion, the harsh elements of outdoor running, and so on.

I’ve been guilty in my past of making decisions with the wrong motives and chose to follow my heart instead of my gut. I know from personal experience that each time I’ve ignored my gut I’ve regretted it. And each time I’ve listened to it, I’m glad I did.

Follow Your Passion

So what’s the difference between following your heart and following your passion?

Following your heart is an attempt to gain immediate gratification.

It’s impulsive.

It doesn’t weigh the consequences.

Its desires are temporary.

And it doesn’t want to tolerate the suffering required for results.

Following your passion is committing to something you know you must do.

Even when it scares you.

Even when it’s difficult.

Even when you’re tired.

Even when there’s some suffering involved.

It’s taking the time to do your research, make a plan and count the costs.

It’s being responsible to your gut, instead of a slave to your heart.

When it comes to the big decisions in your life, which would you rather base those pivotal decisions on: pop psychology fluff, or truth?

Will you follow your heart, or will you follow your PASSION? Something to think about!

Learn how to set goals that will stick because they’re based on your passions instead of your heart. Subscribe to my newsletter and receive the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan.

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How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job

It’s a New Year. Time for a New Career?

“How long does it take to realize you’re in the wrong job?” 

This is a question I recently came across on Quora. I’ll share my response with you. But first, I want to ask you:

Are you also wondering the same thing?

Or is it already clear you’re in the wrong job? 

Could it be time for a new career for you? 

It’s a new year, so why not a new career?

Especially if you already realize you’re in the wrong job.

The question posed isn’t, “How do you know you’re in the wrong job?” 

Instead it’s, “How long does it take to realize it?”

My response on Quora actually answers both of these questions.

The Quick Way to Know

It doesn’t take long to know if you’re in the wrong job when you spend a few minutes taking some personal (and honest) inventory. 

Here’s an exercise that’s much more effective than a traditional pros and cons list:

First…

Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. 

The first column should include the things you must have in a job (i.e. your “dealbreakers”). 

The second column should be the things you’re willing to compromise on. 

The third column should be the “icing on the cake” things (i.e. things you would LOVE to have in a job, but don’t necessarily need to be content).

Next…

Compare your three lists to your current job. 

Does your current job have at least 60% of the things listed on your sheet of paper? 

Or at least 60% of the things from the “must have” column?

Then…

If not, it’s time to start looking for the right job that matches the majority of those things on your 3-column list.

Need help looking for the right job? Complete the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

The 60% Rule

I always tell my clients,

“You should love at least 60% of your job.”

Why?

Because nobody loves 100% of their job 100% of the time, but if it’s less than 60%, you’re in the wrong job or career. 

I once had a client who, when he first came to me, was so miserable in his job that there were some evenings he said he would find himself in the fetal position on his couch near tears at the thought having to go back to work the next day.

After reviewing the results of some inventories he’d done with a previous career coach, I said, 

“Do you realize you only enjoy less than 20% of your current job? No wonder you’re so miserable!” 

Another surprising thing I discovered from the results of his inventory was he has a very entrepreneurial spirit. 

This all came as a shock to him because the results had not previously been interpreted to him in such a way.

Revealing these insights to him with a new lens of “passion” instead of just “job” or “career” opened up a whole new outlook for him.

He’s now been able to make extra money on the side doing the art work he’s passionate about and very talented at, which could possibly lead to his own full-time business as an illustrator and cartoonist, or provide him have the financial means to leave his current job in search of something more fitting with his foreign language skills. (The guy speaks 3 languages, including Japanese!)

https://www.instagram.com/artbyrobert/

 

Where a pros and cons list would’ve been more limiting, my client is instead more diligent in not compromising on his “must haves” and more open to opportunities that meets at least 60% of the criteria from his 3-pronged list.

I’ve personally found the 3-column list exercise to be more helpful than a pros and cons list when it comes to my own big life decisions. 

The benefits are that it helps with analysis paralysis and keeps you from overthinking or second-guessing your decisions.

It also helps you stay realistic when considering different opportunities.

The More In Depth Approach

Another thing that’s helped me personally and also helps my clients is to spend some time coming up with your own personal mission statement. 

This may take a little time to nail down, but it’s well worth it. 

Why? 

Because you can use it as a filter for your decisions.

For instance, my personal mission statement is: 

“To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.”

When I’m faced with a difficult decision, I look to see if the choice in front of me supports my mission statement or not. 

If it doesn’t, I don’t select that choice. 

This helps me to live authentically and be true to my purpose.

Click here to read more about my process of writing a personal mission statement.

So where are YOU in this all-important decision?

If you know it’s time for a new career, a career coach can help you figure out your options and how to make the transition. 

Don’t wait until the end of 2018 where you’ll find yourself in the same situation. 

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive tips to help you get unstuck and start moving into the right career!

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Make 2018 the Year of the Right Regrets

8 Ways to Avoid the Wrong Regrets in 2018

Like most people, my biggest regrets in life have been the things I didn’t do as opposed to things I did do.

One of my biggest regrets was not studying abroad in Australia while I was in college. I’d waited too late to inquire about it, when I had only one semester of school left.

This was a big regret because I’d always wanted to go to the land Down Under ever since I was a little girl.

Since I didn’t get to go in college, I tried to make up for it several years later by taking a month-long vacation to Australia as a gift to myself for my 30th birthday. 

The Cons

There were a lot of reasons not to go on the trip. 

Like the fact that it cost a good chunk of money. 

And that I was in the midst of a new relationship.

Or that I would have to go by myself since none of my friends could take off that much time from work.

The Pros

But there were also a lot of other reasons for me to go.

The trip would occur during my birthday. I’ve always wanted a summer birthday, and in the Southern Hemisphere I’d get to have one.

I’d be gone during winter break, the same time my students at the college I worked at would also be away. Therefore I wouldn’t put an extra burden on my co-workers.

I had enough time built up to take off 7 weeks from my job at the time (and still had an extra 10 days of vacation left over). 

Also, being single with no children made travel and travel planning easy. It could be another 18–20 years before I’d have that kind of freedom again!

Not Letting the “Maybes” Cloud My Judgment

I can remember my initial thoughts when trying to decide to book the trip or not. They went a little something like this:

“Maybe I should wait until I’m married and go to Australia on my honeymoon.”

OR

“Maybe I should wait until I’m retired when I have more time and money.”

I quickly pushed those thoughts aside. 

I knew there was no guarantee I would even be physically able to go when I retired. 

And why in the world would I want to wait on some man to take me when I can do this now?

So, I hopped online, did a little research, and found a very reasonably priced flight. 

I still wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for a month-long excursion, but I had 9 months to figure it out.

I gave myself a few days to sleep on the information I’d researched. And then I booked my trip.

No Regrets (Except One)

I’ve never regretted my decision. 

In fact, if I hadn’t done it then, I would’ve spent the past 15 years regretting it. 

My only regret? 

Not doing it sooner.

8 Ways to Avoid the Wrong Regrets in 2018

1. Don’t settle for “good enough.”

“Most people settle for ‘good-enough.’ Their diet, dating partners, job, income, and relationships are all merely ‘good-enough.’ But since their choices are common, that’s what their life becomes.” — Anthony Moore

I could’ve settled with my “maybes.” 

I could’ve blindly accepted my initial thoughts of deferring the trip until I was married or retired. 

And I could’ve rationalized those thoughts were a “good enough” plan.

But guess what? Fifteen years later I’m still not married and I’m not even close to retirement. 

In fact, since then, I left the security of a job with retirement benefits to start my own business (something else I don’t regret).

While today I’m probably the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life, undoubtedly due to leaving a 9–5 job working for someone else, I know I wouldn’t have the energy I had when I was 30 to do all the rock climbing, hiking, and snorkeling I did in the heat of the Outback and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Every day I’m so glad I didn’t settle for “good enough.”

I encourage you not to settle for just “good enough.”

2. End the wrong relationships.

So what about the relationship I’d just started a few months before going to Australia? It ended one week after I returned. 

Even though it was heartbreaking, looking back I’m so glad the relationship didn’t work out. (What a regret that would’ve been if it had!)

Don’t wish you hadn’t wasted time in an unhealthy relationship. 

Instead, start the year knowing you can make it on your own and you’ll be available for an even better relationship before or by the end of the year. 

3. Say no to opportunities that don’t support your life mission statement.

Speaking of relationships, I’ve written before about how I had to make the decision to end a relationship a little over a year ago because I recognized it didn’t allow me to fulfill my mission in life. 

Having a life mission statement in place will help you to say no to choices you’ll regret later. 

4. And say yes to opportunities that do support your life mission statement. 

A life mission statement will also help you say yes to some pretty cool things you hadn’t previously challenged yourself to.

Even if nothing materializes from these opportunities by the end of the year, you can know it wasn’t time wasted because these things will have led you further in fulfilling your mission in life, which may lead to something even bigger and better down the road!

5. Learn something new.

Don’t let another year pass having not learned the one thing you’ve always said you wanted to learn. 

Instead, end the year knowing you’ve developed a new skill. 

I personally have always been a big believer in lifelong learning and continually encourage my clients to embrace also it.

Just recently I started learning Italian. I hope by the end of 2018 I’ll be somewhat proficient in it.

I may never have an opportunity to use it in my future. But at least I’ll have further developed the language center of my brain and added a new skill to my repertoire. 

(Even if the only thing I learn is how to say “food” in Italian [“cibo”], I know I’ll be able to survive getting lost in any future trips to Italy!)

6. Start that side hustle or passion project.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

If there’s something you’ve wanted to start, whether a hobby, a side business, or a passion project, what are you waiting for? 

Just start!

Don’t put any pressure on it to be perfect or even successful. Just let it be a creative or fun outlet for you from your everyday routine. 

Let it evolve and be open to what it might grow into organically.

For instance, a few years ago I started writing a blog about my adventures in stand up paddling and the spiritual parallels of those adventures. It was really just a place for me to record and preserve my thoughts. I didn’t promote it at all. 

My little side project turned into my 2nd published book, which eventually helped fund my recent mission trip to the Amazon jungles of Brazil.

You never know what can happen with your own passion project. And you’ll definitely never know if you never start.

7. Turn your side hustle into your full-time gig. 

If you start to see some momentum with your side hustle and discover a market for it, it may be time to consider turning it into a full-time gig. Especially if you already know how to think like an entrepreneur.

It was much easier for me to start my own business after working it part-time for 9 months before going full-time with it. 

But, eventually I had to pull the trigger and take a leap of faith because I knew it would never be the right (or perfect) time to leave my job and pursue my business full-time.

While being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, if you’ve got the desire to do your own thing and you’ve calculated the risks and counted the costs, this year may be the year to give it a go.

If it doesn’t work out, you may have some regrets, but you won’t die.

And you’ll never have to live with the regret of never having tried. 

You may even experience freedom and success like never before!

8. Develop your positive self-talk.

You’ll never be able to accomplish the above if you keep listening to your negative-self talk

What if I had listened to my “maybes”? 

What if I had told myself I couldn’t go to the other side of the world by myself? 

Well, I don’t have to wonder “What if?”

Instead, I have memories of the places I visited, the beauty I experienced, the wildlife I saw, and the people I met. Some of whom I still keep in touch with to this day. 

When you start to hear the negative thoughts that are determined to keep you in just a “good enough” existence, re-frame them with positive self-talk. 

Stepping Out in Faith

Shortly after I’d stepped out in faith and booked my dream vacation to Australia, things started to fall into place. 

I found a fun part-time gig to help me earn a little extra money for the trip. 

Also, I received a sum of money previously owed to me which covered the remainder of my cost for the trip. 

And remember how I said I was able to take 7 weeks off of work and still have 10 vacation days left over? This all occurred because at the time I worked for a state university and for two years in a row we didn’t receive a raise. 

To compensate us for it, we were all given 20 extra vacation days on top of our annual 3 weeks’ vacation time for salaried employees. 

Add in to that amount the holidays we all got off during winter break and I had it made!

I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family before leaving for Australia. 

Then I spent my birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Down Under. 

Finally, I was able to have a week for some much-needed rest and time to readjust my internal clock before returning to work, just in time for the students’ return to campus.

Without the vacation compensation, I probably wouldn’t have had so much time to really relish the experience. 

The timing turned out to be perfect and “the stars aligned” for it to all work out. But I had no way of predicting all those things would happen. I didn’t have a crystal ball telling me it would all work out. 

I just had to take a chance while at the same time being smart about it. And I’m all the better for it. 

Now I have no fear of traveling alone (or doing anything else alone for that matter). 

I have more knowledge about the history of one of the most fascinating continents on earth and a new respect its native people, the Aborigines. 

I no longer have a fear of bugs. (Sleeping on the ground in the Outback where the spiders are the size of your fist will help you overcome your fear pretty quickly!)

I encourage you to commit to at least one of the 8 ways to avoid the wrong regrets in 2018. 

If you can commit to all 8, you’ll likely end the year with only the right regrets.

And who knows where those will lead you in the years to come! 

If you want to make 2018 the year of the right regrets, subscribe to my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan to start setting the right goals for your future!

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paNASH’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

Check it out! Below are paNASH’s top 10 most popular blog posts of 2017. They include topics such as such as pursuing your passions, career and life advice, interview tips and more.

This past year I’ve been posting my blog entries not only here on the paNASH web site but also to the awesome platform Medium. This has allowed for more reach and therefore the ability to accomplish my 2017 goal of using my business to help more people get unstuck in their careers. 

Please remember to “clap” on Medium for the articles you find most interesting. Doing so allows me to continue sharing my content with you and other readers!

paNASH’s Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017:

  1. The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview
  2. 8 Simple Hacks to a More Passionate Life and Career
  3. 7 Comfortable and Easy Networking Tips for Introverts
  4. 5 Books That Will Make a Huge Impact On Your Life and Career
  5. What NOT To Do In a Job Interview
  6. Modern Interview Advice to Make You Stand Out From the Competition
  7. How to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)
  8. 10 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Freelancing
  9. The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions
  10. Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You

Note: If you have trouble with any of the above links, you can view the same articles here on the paNASH blog.

Are You Where You Wanted to Be at The End of 2017?

In January, I wrote a post entitled “Where Do You Want to Be At the End of 2017?

I shared with you my goals for the upcoming year, along with three challenges to you the reader:

  • Try something new you’ve always wanted to try and make it happen this year.
  • Find at least one way to step out of your comfort zone this year.
  • Set at least one goal you want to achieve by the end of the year.

Today, I’m asking myself, “Am I where I wanted to be at the end of 2017?”

The answer to that question is yes, and no.

Because, as we all know, life happens which can sometimes mess up our plans.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.” Woody Allen

2017 Goal Re-cap

Sometimes, either goals don’t happen, they get altered, or they get delayed. This happened with some of the goals I shared in my post in January.

The 2017 Goal That Never Happened

First, my goal to experience tiny living didn’t happen for various reasons. It’s still something I want to do, but will have to become a goal for sometime in the future.

The 2017 Goal That Was Altered

Second, my goal for my very first mission trip got altered.

Originally, I was supposed to go to Brazil in March with my own church where we would travel down the Amazon River on a boat and sleep in hammocks while making stops in small communities along the river to help with everything from construction and home visits to ministry.

Unfortunately, my church didn’t have enough people signed up for the trip to make, so I got assigned to a different group for a mission trip scheduled for July.

This trip would still go to the same area, but instead would involve teaching jungle pastors at a small, makeshift conference center overlooking the Amazon River. Instead of the experience of staying on a boat while traveling to various villages, the pastors of those villages came to us.

When Changes Occur for the Best

This actually worked out much better than the original plan for several reasons.

One, after an unexpected complication from an unexpected surgery in late January and an extended recovery time, I wouldn’t have been physically able to go on this trip in March. But by July I was doing much better.

Two, the type of work this particular trip required was much more in line with my gifting and my skillset. God was able to use me in the best way possible.

Three, when I arrived in the jungle, I saw the boat I would have stayed on had I gone in July, and I realized, that trip would have been too far outside my comfort zone!

The challenge of no A/C, sub-par plumbing, limited electricity, and learning to communicate with those who speak a different language was just the right amount of discomfort I needed to learn to appreciate from my first mission trip.

I was in what’s called the learning zone (the area where you’re outside your comfort zone but not so far outside it that you panic and therefore are unable to learn anything from your experience).

One of the 2017 Goals I Accomplished

Finally, I was able to accomplish my goal of helping more people in my business get unstuck in their careers and find a new direction that complemented their passions.

But even that goal was delayed because of my surgery. But I accomplished it and have the same goal for 2018.

Are You Where You Wanted to Be At the End of 2017?

Now I’m asking, are you where you wanted to be at the end of 2017?

If not, why?

The good news is, there’s still some time left in this year. And, come January 1st, you get a clean slate of 365 days to work with.

What’s one new experience you want to have in 2018?

What’s one way you can step out of your comfort zone in the new year?

What goals do you want to achieve in 2018?

Don’t let time get away from you. Learn how to achieve all of the above with my complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan by subscribing to my newsletter.