Tag: pursue your passions


You Don’t Have To Be a Slave To a Paycheck

You may remember reading about my client Robert in my post entitled “How to Know If You’re In the Wrong Job”. Robert is the one who has talents and passions in both illustration and foreign languages.

But instead he had a job he dreaded going to every day.

When you first heard about Robert, he was just starting to turn his passion for illustration into a side hustle with the hopes of eventually leaving his job pursuing it full-time.

Over the weekend I received this update from Robert. It truly is inspiring, and can show how applying paNASH’s coaching techniques can be life-changing!


A Drastic Career Change

Hi Lori,

I hope things have been going well for you. I’ve finally had some drastic changes in my career take place recently I wanted to update you on.

A couple of years ago I found out there was an instructor at Lipscomb University who used to be one of the top tier animators for Disney feature films for 15 years. He animated moves like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

Once he left Disney, he moved here to the Nashville area. Then, Lipscomb University recruited him to teach and develop an animation program.

I had heard about him and for a long time I’d always wanted to get in touch with him. He’s a real celebrity in the animation world and has numerous connections in the industry.

I thought it would be so cool to connect with a guy like him and to learn from him. It had been bugging me for two years that a resource like him lived just 20 miles away and I’d done nothing to try to make that connection.

So, in March, I finally got up the nerve to reach out to him.

I sent him an email explaining my passion for character design and told him how I’m trying to transition into the industry. I asked him if he was open for a discussion and he agreed to meet with me.

It turns out he’s a very kind, generous person willing to help aspiring artists as best he can.

I asked him if it would be possible to audit just one of his classes at Lipscomb. He said yes and after coordinating it with Lipscomb’s admission’s office, I registered for his character design class that would begin in August.

The Inevitable Obstacle

I was so excited!

However, there was one huge problem.

The class was held mid-day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This of course conflicted with my work hours at my job in Hendersonville.

I would have to be away from the office a few hours three days a week, just to take a class that has nothing to do with my job. I knew my company would never approve such a request for that much time away from the office.

So, my wife and I started praying about what to do.

Having a mentor is absolutely essential for an artist to fully reach his potential. I’d already been praying for two years for such a mentor who could help me grow as an artist.

It looked like God was providing an answer and an opportunity for me to learn from the best of the best, but there was the obstacle of my job. Lots of prayer and discernment ensued.

A Fork in the Road

By July God was still putting it on my heart to not let this opportunity slip by.

At this point I decided to sit down with my boss and explain my situation to see if there was anything that could be worked out with my company.

My boss is a very understanding guy and he knows art is my passion, so I knew he would get how big of an opportunity this was for me.

I asked him about the possibility of working remotely on the days I had class. I’d read the book The 4-Hour Workweek you suggested to me when I was asking you about how to pitch working remotely to my company, so I was using what I learned because it was my only chance of keeping my job and taking the class.

When I pitched my idea to my boss, he was supportive, but HR was not.

This didn’t surprise me.

It seemed clear at this point I wouldn’t be able to keep my job and take the class. I was at a fork in the road. I was going to have to choose between my job and my dream.

And I was going to have to make a decision soon because the class was starting in a few weeks.

A Paycheck Isn’t Worth the Unhappiness

My wife and I continued to pray and we talked about it until we were blue in the face.

Through all this prayer and discernment, I realized the only thing keeping me at my job was money. Everything else about my job was not worth staying on for.

I realized it was a dead-end job because if I stayed, I’d be stuck doing the exact same thing ten years from now.

Literally I was showing up every day just for a paycheck.

The most interesting thing I realized though was the paycheck wasn’t as important as I originally thought.

Yes, everyone needs money. But being constantly unhappy was not worth the money.

My wife and I discussed our finances and figured out with her income and our combined savings, we’d be fine for at least a year. She gave me her blessing and support.

She’s the most loving and supportive woman I could’ve possibly found in this world. She told me if God was calling me to pursue my talent in art and we had enough money to make due, to go ahead and leave my job for my passion.

So I gave my boss two weeks notice.

My last day of work was August 17th and my first day of class was August 20th.

It’s a Faith Journey

Now, I’m free of my soul-sucking job and I’m finally getting to do what I’ve been dreaming of for years! (In fact, I’m writing this email from a computer on Lipscomb’s campus!)

My plan is to spend the semester taking the class and practice my skills to get them to a professional level while also building my relationship with the instructor.

Then, when the semester ends in December, I’ll assess my next steps.

The instructor is known for helping connect his students with other people in the industry. I’m hoping he’ll do the same for me even though I’m only auditing his class.

Since starting the class a few weeks ago, I’ve been making the experience my new full-time job.

I arrive on campus every morning at 7:00am, whether I have class that day or not, and I stay until 4:00pm. I spend my time honing my craft, taking the class, networking with other artists, and building a professional relationship with my instructor.

It’s been great but it’s also been a challenge spiritually and emotionally.

The devil is trying to break me down every day by telling me I’m wasting my time, I’m a selfish, irresponsible husband and it’s ridiculous for me to chase my passion while my wife works.

I expected this to happen because I knew the devil would do this.

And most days it’s hard not to let it get to me. But that’s what comes with the territory of a faith journey.

And this is definitely a faith journey.

No Longer a Slave to a Paycheck

Now that I’ve settled into my new schedule, I’m going to start advertising around campus my Spanish tutoring skills. I think it would be a confidence boost to earn at least a little money while also helping others.

I find I work best when I move between two different things rather than focusing on just one thing.

This will allow me to make my own schedule and charge what I’m worth instead of working part-time waiting tables.

I’m also going to start using the Passion Planner you gave me at paNASH’s client mixer to better structure my day and maximize my time.

For so long my job was holding me back and I was just a slave to a paycheck.

Now I’m finally doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m not doing it full-time YET, but I am still receiving commissions for my artwork as a side hustle which is helping fund my dream while I learn from the best.

Thank You!

I write all this to say your help is partly what enabled me to arrive at this major career decision to pursue my passion.

The skills you’ve taught me, the encouragement you’ve given me, and the resources you’ve connected me with have all played a huge role in getting me to this point.

And you don’t know this, but your blog posts have really been an inspiration to me as well.

Specifically, the one entitled “When Is the Right Time to Leave Your Job?” was published the exact same day I had to make my final decision about quitting my job, and it helped me know for sure I was doing the right thing.

And the one you wrote the following week about the ropes course also reassured me I’d done the right thing.

Those two posts were divinely orchestrated at just the right time for me.

I really wanted to thank you for the help you’ve given me and especially for being available on occasion even after our coaching sessions were over.

I wanted to share all this with you so you could see the fruit of your diligent work with me.

Thank you!

Robert

Robert’s Art

Reading Robert’s email made my whole week!

He’s such a talented and gifted artist, and I believe in him so much last fall I commissioned him to do a drawing of me as my childhood hero, Wonder Woman. (I’d always wanted to be Wonder Woman when I grew up!).

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Illustration by Robert Hughes

And he’s also taking commissions from anyone else who’d like something similar.

In fact, he’s currently taking pre-orders for personalized holiday cards in which he’ll do cartoon characterizations of your family members! (See samples below.)

To submit your own pre-order, email Robert at rchughes2@gmail.com.

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Illustrations by Robert Hughes

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Sunday Inspiration: Why You Shouldn’t Take On Something You’re Not

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly blog posts. Enjoy!

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Matthew 11:28-30

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to take up His “yoke.” A yoke is a harness made of solid wood that fits on an ox’s neck. The yoke is attached to the plow the ox pulls. Yokes were considered good if they were made to fit the ox comfortably without hurting it.

There are some people who believe it’s irresponsible or selfish to pursue work you’re passionate about. They don’t think it’s smart or practical to find a job you love, especially if it pays less than most other “practical” jobs. They think work shouldn’t be joyful or fun, because, well, it’s work.

But I think there is truth in what Jay Cormier, author and deacon in the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire says.

“God has ‘fitted’ us with our own ‘yokes.’ God has given each of us some talent or skill, not just for our own use but for the benefit of all. The ‘ease’ of it’s ‘burden’ is that God asks us to give what we have and not take on something we are not; it is ‘light’ in the joy and satisfaction we experience in contributing the work we love and excel at – all for the good of our families, our church, our community.”

So, don’t worry about what others think of your career choice. Boot up your laptop, pick up your hammer, tune up your guitar, or wipe off your paint brush. With joy take on the work Jesus has inspired and equipped you to do for the betterment of your life, those around you, and God’s Kingdom.

I can’t think of a more HONEST day’s work!

How to Make Money, Stay Fit, and Be Creative: Combine Your Passions

Combine Your Passions to Create Opportunity

When helping my clients, one thing I like to encourage them to do get creative and brainstorm ways they can combine their passions.

An example of this is someone with a love for sports and for photography. They could parlay those passions into a part-time or full-time job as a sports photographer.

Or, someone who’s studying music but also loves children and helping people. They may want to consider focusing their career plans toward music therapy at a children’s hospital.


Taking Your Hobbies and Passions a Step Further

I recently saw this quote and totally agree…

“Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.” Extramadness.com

…but I also like to ask the question,

“How can you take this a step further and find some overlap between the three?”

What if you found one passion or hobby that made you money AND kept you physically fit?

Or one that let you earn money while exploring your creative hobby?


My Own Example

I’ve worked hard to try to do the same for myself.

It’s taken a while to make each of my passions (spirituality, coaching, writing, and stand up paddle boarding) fit in a way that makes sense. But it finally came together for me.

Four ago I discovered a passion for stand up paddle boarding. This is a fun way for me to keep in shape in one of my favorite places: on the water!

While doing this, I started seeing a parallel between the lessons I gained from stand up paddling and the lessons in Scripture. I decided to use my creative juices for writing to start recording those parallels in a blog, and later in a published book.

But I still had a desire to figure out a way to incorporate stand up paddling in my work as a career coach.

This took the longest to come together. But eventually it became very clear how I could accomplish this.

I could actually conduct occasional coaching sessions with clients on the water (using my spare SUP board), while translating the SUP beginner lessons into the things they’re dealing with in life and work.

For instance, how to achieve not just physical balance (obviously necessary for SUP), but also work-life balance.


The Results

I sometimes take clients out on my board and I’ve received great feedback from them.

One said that because she did crew in college, going out to the water felt familiar to her which eased her nervousness about trying SUP.

She said in turn, the career coaching helped ease her nervousness before job interviews.


Another client said,

“Just being on the water left me feeling rejuvenated both physically and mentally, and ready to take on life’s next challenge.”


For me, it’s awesome that I get to use my passion for stand up paddle boarding and my skill for teaching a new hobby to make money.

All while helping others, introducing them to something new, and getting a little exercise in at the same time!


How can you combine your passions?

Whatever your hobbies are, I encourage you to start getting creative about how you can combine your passions for maximum benefits.

Whether that means earning a profit, getting more exercise built into your routine, getting your creative juices flowing, or all three!

Use the examples above to spark your own ideas.

Talk to people who already work in one of your passions and find out what their other passions are. Ask them how they’ve found ways to overlap and combine their passions.

Another way to start getting ideas is by completing the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. It’s available for free when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.

Related Post: 13 Life and Career Lessons Uncovered in an Unexpected Way

combine your passions

13 Life and Career Lessons Uncovered in an Unexpected Way


The weather is finally getting warmer! For me, this means it’s the beginning of stand up paddle boarding season.

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paNASH owner Lori Bumgarner with QuickBlade owner Jim Terrell

Just last week I had the opportunity to train with former canoeing Olympian and pro paddle boarder, Jim Terrell, also owner of Quickblade Paddles.

He taught me advanced level paddle techniques so I can increase my speed and perfect my paddle stroke.

If it’s not already obvious, stand up paddling (SUP) is one of my passions.

In fact, I love it so much, I’ve found a way to incorporate it into my passion and career coaching business.


How, you might ask?

Well, every paddle season, I take my clients out for a beginner SUP lesson. This is easy to do since I have two paddle boards and have previous experience teaching beginners.

The purpose of taking clients out paddle boarding is to get them out of their regular environment which gives them a different perspective on their current situation.

It also melts away their current stresses and rejuvenates their thought process.


The session starts with about 20 minutes of basic SUP instruction for them to start feeling comfortable on a board.

At first they’re worried about falling off the board into the water. It’s all they can think about as they attempt to stand up on the board for the first time.

paNASH client

Once they start to get the hang of it, we begin our typical career coaching discussion to go over the client’s current needs as we paddle down the river.


When we head back toward the harbor, I usually ask the client,

“When was the last time you thought about falling in the water?”

They suddenly realize they haven’t thought about it all. It’s kind of like a light bulb moment where they realize they accomplished something they weren’t sure they’d be able to do.

At that moment I can see a huge boost in their confidence.

They begin noticing all the nature surrounding them and realize how much the water has calmed them from their worries and stresses about their career troubles.

That’s when they usually say to me,

“This was wonderful. It was just what I needed. And it was fun!”


I love to hear that from my clients.

What they don’t expect though are all the parallels between the beginner SUP lesson and the life and career lessons from our coaching sessions.

At the end of the paddle session, I give my clients a copy of those lessons for them to keep and to remember.

career lessons

© paNASH | not available for republication


13 LIFE AND CAREER LESSONS FROM SUP

SUP: Always be safe – use proper equipment, stay out of boat traffic, know when to return to lower your center of gravity.

Life and Career: Prepare and plan for potential life and career bumps and crises.


SUP: Select correct fit for board size and paddle length.

Life and Career: Understand the importance of fit for career choice.


SUP: Hold the paddle correctly.

Life and Career: Use the tools you’ve been given to succeed correctly.


SUP: Place your hands on the paddle at 90 degree angles, keeping elbows/arms straight, allowing you to dig the paddle deeper into the water. (Biggest mistake for beginners: Not putting their paddle in the water deep enough.)

Life and Career: Reach further and dig deeper. You will learn more about yourself.


SUP: Keep your paddle close to the board’s rails so you can paddle straight.

Life and Career: Keep close to your core values to stay on the straight and narrow path.


SUP: A wider stance on the board makes the board more stable.

Life and Career: A wider network and a wider set of skills equals a more stable career.


SUP: Keep your head up and yours eyes straight ahead when standing up. (Don’t look down, look straight ahead.)

Life and Career: Keep your eye on the horizon. Don’t look down and don’t look back.


SUP: Once up, you will stabilize as soon as you put your paddle into the water.

Life and Career: You have to stand up and risk feeling insecure before you can feel secure again. A little fear, discomfort and unstableness can be a good thing.


SUP: If you fall, you should fall away from the board. Get back on the board in the middle from the side, never from the back of the board.

Life and Career: If you fall, get back up. There’s no need to start all over. Just pick up in the middle where you left off.


SUP: Stay on the sides of the river (10–20 yards from river bank), do not cross in front of boats or barges, and do not paddle in middle of river when there’s boat traffic.

Life and Career: Stay out of the middle of unnecessary drama.


SUP: Pay attention to the river’s current – when it’s stronger, go upstream first so you won’t be too fatigued coming back.

Life and Career: When feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to deal with the bigger/tougher issues first so you won’t have to exert too much energy when you’re already tired at the end of a task.


SUP: Handle wake by paddling straight into the waves or return to your knees to lower your center of gravity.

Life and Career: Face challenges head on, and know how to pick your battles.


SUP: Pay attention to headwinds and tailwinds. Tailwinds are easier; headwinds are good training to make you a stronger paddler when done safely.

Life and Career: Struggle doesn’t always equal failure, and ease doesn’t always equal success.


One of the reasons why I love sports and recreational activities like SUP so much is because of all the life lessons they provide us.

What are your passions? What life lessons have you gained from them? Please respond and share!

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career lessons

Don’t Quit Your Daydream (Or Your Day Job)

I used to have a full-time job with benefits with a very prestigious university. I later quit to pursue my own business. However, it wasn’t so cut and dry. There were (and still are) a lot of layers to pursuing a dream of working for myself.

The process I went through looks a lot more realistic (and doable) than some of the mythical stories you hear these days about making the jump from working for a boss to becoming your own boss. This process can also spark some ideas for you to realistically make the jump too. It may even help ease some of your fears and concerns preventing you from taking the leap. Here’s my story that began about 10 years ago.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

For the first time in my career as a college career adviser, my creativity was being stifled under new leadership. I was also experiencing a lot of micromanagement under this new leadership. I couldn’t continue to work under both conditions and had to start planning an exit strategy.

This strategy wasn’t to quit my day job. First, I started where most people start, looking for another job working for someone else doing the same thing elsewhere. Of course I wouldn’t leave my current job until I found my next job. But, I never found the right fit. Instead, I found opportunities that only served as an escape from my current situation. Not opportunities I could truly thrive in.

Ask yourself:

Are you just running to something that could possibly be worse than your current day job?

Don’t Quit Your Daydream

Next, I started listening to what my friends were telling me. They kept telling me I would be good at wardrobe styling. This was something I’d been daydreaming about for a long time. Wardrobe styling would definitely provide a creative outlet for me. But I still wanted to use the skills I’d developed as a career adviser over the previous eight to ten years. Those skills included interview coaching.

After giving it much thought and doing some research, I decided to start branding myself as an image consultant since image isn’t just about how you dress, but also how you present yourself in an interview. Specifically, I branded myself as an image consultant for up-and-coming recording artists here in Nashville. I knew there were a lot of young artists moving to town to pursue music who didn’t know how to present themselves to a label (which is basically a job interview) or in a media interview (I’d also had some past experience in media coaching too).

I went and got a business license. This is when it became real for me. But I still didn’t quit my day job. Not yet anyway.

Ask yourself:

Is there something people tell you you’re good at? Is it something you enjoy? Do you see a potential market for it?

Making the Shift

I worked on my branding efforts part-time while still working my day job as a career adviser. Following my own advice to my students, I also spent my spare hours networking with the few contacts I had in the music industry and growing my network. I attended as many industry events as I could and conducted informational interviews with several people in the music business, always asking for the names of two or three other people I should talk to.

For nine months I did this and my efforts began to pay off. I slowly began getting clients. I worked with those few clients on weekends, evenings, and any time I had off from my full-time job. Then, one of my networking contacts approached me about a part-time temporary job at his small label. This opportunity gave me somewhat of a safety net to leave my full-time job and pursue my business full-time. (This is just one example of why networking is so important!)

However, I still wasn’t hasty in my exit from my day job. Instead of giving two weeks’ notice, I gave 30 days’ notice because the policy was I could work for the university again in the future if I gave 30 days’ notice. But not if I’d only given two weeks’ notice. I wanted to keep as many options open in case things didn’t work out.

I used the three months for the temp job to increase my networking efforts in the music industry and promote myself to potential clients. This way I would have more lined up once the contract was up.

Ask yourself:

What are some small steps you can start taking toward your daydream? Are they things you can do around your day job? Who are some people you can start meeting and connecting with? Can you come up with some ideas for an eventual exit strategy from your day job? Do you have a potential safety net you hadn’t previously thought of?

Don’t Let Fear Overwhelm You

Once I was on my own, I was already getting used to working for myself and there wasn’t as much to fear as I would if I’d left my day job and then started a business. This isn’t to say I had no fear at all. A few days before giving my notice at my day job, I experienced my first (and luckily my only) panic attack.

Then, when the economy tanked in October 2008, less than two months after I’d left my day job, I started to get nervous. But, what I saw happening all around me was people being forced into becoming their own boss with no real planning or preparation. I was way ahead in that department because I’d already been preparing for nearly a year. And I already had some clients.

When I was short on image consulting clients, I supplemented my work with resume writing and career coaching services for those who’d been laid off and were looking for a new job.

Ask yourself:

Are you still having some fears about pursuing your daydream? Are these fears real or perceived? What are some ways you can calm your fears or put them into a different perspective? What would be the worst case scenario if those fears proved true? What’s the best case scenario?

Rely on Connections to Supplement Your Income

Throughout my time as an image consultant I continually made connections through networking which turned into additional ways to supplement my income with my growing business. While attending a fashion show, I met the president of a small design college who hired me to teach a class on image at the college for a semester. He also ended up publishing the 2nd edition of my first bestselling book, Advance Your Image, through the school’s small publishing company.

While attending an event at the Entrepreneur Center, I met someone who needed a contract employee with career advising experience to do outplacement counseling for his clients. I still do this work to this day because I get to make my own schedule and it’s the complete opposite of micromanaged work. I love it.

The connections I’d made through my original day job led to a part-time (10 hours/week) temporary job at another university, which unexpectedly turned into a part-time permanent position. I was hired to fill in for one semester while one of their employees was on maternity leave. But when she returned, they asked if I could stay on indefinitely. I got to make my own schedule so I could work it around my business.

Eventually they asked if I could work 20 hours a week. As much as I loved working at this university, I’d already put in so much blood, sweat and tears into my image consulting business that I couldn’t afford to take that much time away from it to work for someone else. So I decided to be fair to both myself and the university and leave so they could find someone who was able to give them the number of hours they needed.

Ask yourself:

Are there connections you have now in your current situation which could benefit you in the future? Are there connections you’d like to start making? What are some things you can fall back on when your daydream business is slow?

Be Willing to Shift Gears When Necessary

After leaving that part-time job, I realized I was burned out on seven years of image consulting and wanted to do something different. But what? I had no idea. I just knew I didn’t want to lose all the work I’d put into developing my brand.

Then a year and a half later I realized I still wanted to do career advising, but this time on my terms. (Click here for the story on how this realization came about.) I still wanted to be my own boss. And I wanted to keep the same name of my image consulting business. I was able to do both with a slight shift in my mission and an overhaul of my services.

Now, I offer unique career coaching services focusing on helping people discover and pursue their own passions. This includes helping them either find a new day job they’ve been daydreaming about, or helping them take the steps (not the leap) to becoming an independent freelancer or business owner. Whichever they’re most passionate about.

My business became more successful once I was willing to make this change. I was also able to see how the experience I gained and the tools I developed in my image consulting business fit nicely with my new mission and offerings.

Today, I don’t have to supplement my income anymore. Now, I get to do it simply for the love of the variety in my schedule and the love of the creativity it brings me. Unfortunately my time only lets me do one additional gig to my full-time daydream. But I’ve never been happier in my work.

No one is micromanaging me or stifling my creativity. I get to choose who I take on as clients and which projects I want to invest my free time into.

Ask yourself:

How can I start planning my exit strategy for my day job and my entry strategy to my daydream?

How I Did It

I started setting goals and then taking small steps toward achieving those goals. You can do this too with the on-demand program Don’t Just Set Goals, ACHIEVE Them. It’s the same plan I created for myself that can be easily adapted by anyone regardless of their own goals, passions, or daydreams. You can also get the complimentary hand out for the program when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.howtoachievemygoals.com.

I felt the need to share my path to where I am today as a Passion and Career Specialist after reading Brad Stulberg’s article on “hybrid entrepreneurship” and something called the “barbell strategy.”

Bottom Line:  You may want to pursue your daydream as your own boss but think it’s impossible. And it may be impossible for you if you simply quit your day job to follow your daydream. I want to serve as one of several examples of how doing it with an alternative strategy can now make it possible even for you. Probably more so than you ever imagined.