Finding Your Purpose

Employee to Entrepreneur: 5 Tips for Transitioning from Your 9-5 to Entrepreneurship

There’s are moments in life, epiphanies, when we realize the status quo isn’t making us happy and something has to change. They can sneak up on you, building for months or even years, before you finally have a moment of perfect clarity and see something that should have been obvious for a while.

But sometimes, there’s no warning.

They hit you out of nowhere.

And once you’ve had that moment, there’s no going back.

One of these moments happened to me when I was working as a lawyer. I’d spent years building my career and following a certain path. I really thought I had the whole ‘work thing’ sorted. Until suddenly, I realized I wasn’t happy in my job.

And because I wasn’t content at work, I wasn’t happy in my life.

There was so much I wanted: happiness, freedom, love, but none of it was happening because the ‘work’ section of my life was totally out of alignment. What I was doing didn’t match what I wanted to be doing, and it was throwing everything else off-kilter.

Once I realized this, I knew it was time for a change.

But change is scary.

Super scary.

But it can be so goooood.


The First Stage Of Transition

When you come to one of these revelations and realize that you aren’t happy with your current life or career, the next challenge is to decide to do something about it.

Once you’ve set upon this course, you need to start working towards achieving it. The decision itself is the beginning of this, but the follow-through is committing yourself to a course of action.

You may have been in your current position for years and finally feel like it’s time to change.

Or you may have made a move that doesn’t feel right.

Either way, your life doesn’t have to feel this way. To make a life transition that’s capable of getting you out of the 9-5 grind and into a life of freedom, and transforming the way you feel, you need to gain momentum.

Momentum is what will take you from that first stage of deciding what you want, and committing to taking action, to actually realizing your dream career or life.

Follow these steps to start creating the momentum needed for your own transition...


Tip 1: Use Your Creativity

If you’re stuck in a 9-5 job and dreaming of a different way of working and living, the odds are what you’re considering doing is a big change.

This may just be in the place you work - doing roughly the same thing but from home and for yourself, rather than in an office for your boss.

But it could be something wildly different.

For me, it was shifting from the world of law to life as a coach.

Huuuuuuuge transition!

Look at it this way. Simply changing from one job to another, in which you do exactly the same thing, but for a new company, can be a big shift.

You don’t know the people, the business culture, their methods of doing things, or the rules. It can take a while to get into the swing of things, develop working relationships and friendships with people, and understand areas where you have room to be yourself, rather than rigidly sticking to the corporate game-plan.

Transitioning from a 9-5 to a job you have created for yourself is every bit as much of an upheaval as a simple job change would be, but it comes with a lot of other adjustments on top.

The odds are, one of the things motivating you to make the change is a desire to unleash your creative spirit. To break free from the somewhat analytical world of everyday work and embrace something a little more right-brained.

Even if your new career isn’t a creatively based enterprise, you’re still going to need to harness all the creative potential that has driven you to want this change in the first place.

By switching up your career path and transitioning out of the 9-5 environment you are literally thinking outside the box: the cubicle box, the office box, the corporate box.

Somewhere in there is a box, and you’re standing squarely outside it, looking back in and thinking something like, “I can’t stand it in there a second longer.”

Boxes, by their very nature, are stifling!

So the first thing to do to drum up a little momentum for your transition is to apply all your creativity and out-of-the-box-thinking to ensuring you aren’t accidentally trading one box for another.

Is the dream you have set upon genuinely following your passions, or have you curtailed it because your true dreams don’t feel like a viable career choice?

Because I’ve got news for you: everything is a potential career once you find the right way to look at it, and dedicate yourself to creating it!


Tip 2: Pinpoint Your Power

Everyone has a lot more power at their disposal than they realize. The block standing between you and seizing your power is probably really simple:

You’re not acknowledging it.

Often the things that make us most powerful are things we don’t consciously consider to be a form of power.

Power comes in many forms.

Intellectual power, creative power, bravery, tenacity, resilience…

There’s a deep well of untapped power and potential within you. All you have to do to unleash it is pinpoint exactly what form your unique brand of power takes.

When you do this, you will open your mind up to the transition before you, and find a way to lead yourself down the path that’s right for you.

Perhaps you’re exceptionally good at finding the heart of a problem quickly and really clearly defining it. Or maybe you’re a truly empathetic listener, able to put people at ease and ensure perfect efficiency.

Whatever your form of power is, don’t ignore it during this crucial transition. It will almost certainly play a big role in your new career, but it can be suuuuuper helpful in smoothing out the time before you fully step into your new role.

Uncover your gift and focus on it to help you improve upon and refine your vision for the path you're embarking on. Use it to fuel your motivation and keep that momentum going!

If you’re rooting around looking for your superpower and have no idea what it might be, try asking your family and friends. This is likely something that they are very aware of in you, and greatly appreciate about you, but have never actually verbalized because there was no real need.

People often assume we know our greatest strengths, because they seem too obvious when you’re viewing someone from the outside. It doesn’t occur to people we don’t know we’re amazing at a particular thing, because it seems so obvious to them!

Someone in your life will know what your unique brand of genius is, you just have to ask.


Tip 3: Thin-Slice

A common ‘tactic’ we use when we’re trying to deal with any transition is to wait to make changes. We feel we won’t be ready until we have accomplished a specific thing, got something we’re dreading out of the way, saved X amount of money, or otherwise done something fairly major.

It’s not unusual to fixate on a certain thing and believe its the one thing holding you back.

You can’t move forward until you’ve dealt with this huge, insurmountable obstacle.

For example, you’re lonely and desperate to find the love of your life, but rather than dating and putting yourself out there, you obsess over your diet.

You don’t feel you can find that special someone until you’ve lost X amount of weight.

Then you’ll be in ‘the perfect place’ for the transition into a life of love and happiness!

While you may be onto something in terms of your confidence increasing when you feel you are ‘ready’ for that big transition, the truth is that there is nothing stopping you from dating right now.

Career transitions are much the same. You’re embarking on a new relationship, with a new career and a new life, and you want to be at your best when you do it.

So you put it off, waiting until you’re ‘ready’.

This is really just a delay tactic you’re using to put off facing the upheaval that comes with the transition, and the various fears you have surrounding it.

If you feel like you’re not ‘ready’ to explore your passion and start making big steps towards that new career, start small.

Decide what matters to you and make space for a small part of it in your life.

Thin-slicing.

Slice the tasks that you want to take on in the teeniest-tiny chunks you possibly can. Then take them one thin-slice at a time.

Bonus point if you commit to doing a thin-slice task EVERY day. Extra bonus points if you do it before 10am. That way regardless of anything else that might happen in a day, you’ll know that you’ve taken action to move you closer to your goals.

Be sure to take the Focus Formula Quiz so you can learn which activities you should be focusing on first.


Tip 4: Take The First BIG Step

The more you work your way through those small things you feel ready for, the more you will realize that you really are READY.

Ready to kick it up and take the first BIG step in your transition.

For me, that step was spending time on the side of my 9-5 job, training with a coach of my own, and learning everything I needed to know to become a coach in my own right.

That was a big, huge, scary step. When I first thought about coaching, it felt like I really wasn’t ready for it, that there were a million things I needed to do before I’d be able to start a coaching business.

But after spending time doing small things I was ready for, like researching, following coaches I admired, thinking about the type of work I’d like to do, and how I could help people, I realised that huge big step of committing to a coaching course wasn’t nearly as massive as it first seemed.

I wasn’t giving up my job as a lawyer. I wasn’t burning any bridges or walking away from my 9-5.

I was simply dipping my toe in the water and seeing what it felt like.

There was no pressure to actually do anything with my new coaching skills once I achieved them. I knew that, if I decided it wasn’t for me, I wouldn’t have lost anything but a little time and the money I’d invested in the course.

And that was fine.

That was comfortable. Because my momentum had built enough through small actions to accommodate a bigger one.


Tip 5: Release Resistance

The funny thing is, once you start that momentum going it snowballs. The next step in your journey always seems a little easier than the last, until suddenly you’re quite comfortable with the idea of doing something that, a few weeks or months previously, filled you with dread.

That being said, it doesn’t matter how far you go on your journey, there is always the potential to encounter resistance.

All creatives are bound to experience resistance at one time or another. The point is to create anyway. If you want more support overcoming creative resistance, then check out my posts Create More: Tips for Entrepreneurs and 8 Reminders for Entrepreneurs Feeling Stuck.

One part of the climb is a little harder than expected, and you find yourself lagging. You’re struggling to move yourself any further forward, either because you’re tired, or fed up, or simply because you really don’t want to face the bit that comes next.

It’s really helpful to remember that, even when you’re fully committed to the road and have been traveling down it for a while, it’s never too late to turn back.

If you find it’s not for you, nothing is keeping you from pausing, shifting direction, or turning around and going right back to where you were.

The amount you will have learned along the way will ensure that, even if you end up back at square one, it will be with a much deeper understanding of yourself, and the path that might eventually lead you to that happiness you crave.

Remembering this makes it a lot easier to accept that resistance when you encounter it along the way. You’ll still feel it, because it’s there and there’s no avoiding it; you’ll have to face it eventually. But rather than having this massive pressure to ‘do or die’...to deal with it or fail completely, you know there’s a safety net.

Persevering is considerably easier when you have that safety net.

So take a moment, feel the resistance, acknowledge what it is and what it means to you, and then release it.

The more you’re able to let go of the thoughts and feelings making you resist, the easier it will be to find the path of least resistance.


And Finally…

Remember, you’re not in this alone. Help and support are there if you need it, and you’re in charge of the pace you set during this transition. And you don’t need to figure everything out immediately. You’re better off getting focused and taking massive action.

Not sure what you should be focusing on?

Be sure to take the Focus Formula Quiz so you can get your customized formula to lead you to business success.


"I'm Such an Eff-Up" 7 Lessons I Learned from a Big Mistake

I am so ashamed of how badly I effed up.

“I am a horrible person and a horrible coach, of course, I don’t deserve a business that goes well. “
“I’ve ruined everything — how could I be so stupid?”
“I’m such an F-up. I just can’t believe myself.”

This was the thought process after I took one of the most significant missteps of my career.

One of my clients was telling me how much our work together was changing her life. That she would love to help me because of all I’d done for her — was there anything she could do?

I told her the truth — “all those lovely things you just said about me would be great in a testimonial.”  

End of conversation.

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She did write me a beautiful and glowing testimonial all about the transformation and results she experienced in her life and business from our work together.

So, what’s the issue?  

No, she didn’t change her testimonial saying I had pressured her to write it.
No, she didn’t lie and make up results that weren’t true.
No, I didn’t do any of the other things you’re imagining…

I made the mistake already. In the comment about testimonials being valuable in my business.  

This particular woman was a client who another coach referred to me.  
A coach who had been my coach and mentor.
A coach who I adored, admired, and respected immensely.

This coach — when we finished our coaching relationship asked me if I’d be open to taking referrals from her. She was up-leveling her business with a focus on group programs and courses and didn’t have time for all the one-on-one inquiries she received.

I was ecstatic! This was at the beginning of my coaching career, and my lead flow was *ahem* not at the same level as hers.

It seemed like the perfect situation.

(Narrator voice over: “It was NOT the perfect situation.”)

But I signed on the dotted line. Amongst other things, I legally agreed not to ask any of the clients that I served, that she referred, for testimonials.

And then I did the thing I said I wouldn’t do.
And it caught up to me fast.
Three days after I’d spoken to the client, she posted her review on a review site.
Later that day, I got a call from my former coach and mentor.

She said that her team saw a “flood of reviews” come in from clients that she had referred me.

She told me that when her team told her this, her response was, “No, I don’t believe it! I know that Crystal wouldn’t do anything like that. She wouldn’t tear other people down so that she could get ahead. I can’t imagine her trying to destroy my business as she works her way to the top.”

Her words burned my chest, and I felt a sting as tears sprang to my eyes. Even writing it several years after the fact brings a dark, dense, lump into my chest that I paused my writing to feel.

This wasn’t just any person saying this words. This was a woman who I felt deeply connected to…

...who I respected
...who I admired
...who I loved

Whose relationship was incredibly valuable and meaningful to me. I was concerned less about the money and our contractual agreement, but about potentially losing this relationship that felt sacred to me.  I mean, coaching relationships, ARE sacred and this had been my first one. I had shared things with this woman that no one else in my life had ever heard.

And she was telling me that she saw me as a backstabber. An ungrateful, sneaky, climber who would do what it takes to excel.

That was painful.

But what was worse was when I allowed myself to believe it.
It’s like I thought I knew who I was…
I thought I was a kind, smart, loving, caring person.
Ambitious? Yes.
Determined? Yes.
Hard-working? Often enough.
Disloyal? Uhh, not generally.
Untrustworthy? I mean, I don’t think so.
Unkind, ungrateful, deceitful, sneaky backstabbing climber? Well, I never thought of it that way, but maybe.
That was the story I began telling about myself. Because that was what I perceived from this woman I so admired. But what I know now is…


1 | YOU DON’T NEED ANYONE TO BE YOUR SAVIOR

I hired this woman initially as my coach and paid her around $7,000 and was determined to get the most out of the experience. I took a lot of action. I did exactly what she told me. I started seeing results immediately. I was excited to see my fledgling business stand on its wobbly new legs.

Yes, her guidance was tremendously valuable.  I LOVED having her as my coach. But I attributed ALL my success to her.

When we finished our coaching relationship and she talked about sending me leads, I felt like this was exactly what I needed. That this would “save me.”

But I didn’t need any saving.

And what I *actually* needed was to keep doing the work I had started and focus on building my own business.

Regardless, I don’t know if she even thought about it after it happened. But I did. And I kept telling myself the story I created based on what I imagined she felt about me…


2 | FORGIVE YOURSELF

I was punishing myself long after we ended the contractual relationship and I stopped getting leads. I was maybe more pissed at me than she was. I was saying these horrible things about myself, even as the other people around me were reflecting that I was not a bad person.

But here’s where the rubber meets the road…

I’ve read The Four Agreements
I’m a lawyer and now coach
I put a ton of value on my trustworthiness and integrity.
And then I did an action that was out of integrity.

So I punished myself harshly…
...any challenges I had in business I chalked up to not being worthy or deserving of a well-working successful business because I’m an untrustworthy person without integrity
...I kept myself small for fear that I would come on her radar and she would have venomous hatred towards me
...I connected with fewer people within my industry in case they knew her and she felt inclined to tell them to stay away from me because I’m a horrible person

I could go on, but you get the idea.

It’s worth noting, as far as I know, this woman is a kind and respectful person and would never intentionally hurt someone else or their business.

I’m projecting my guilt, shame, and worst fears onto her.

Which doesn’t serve me. What I needed was to extend forgiveness to myself. We all deserve at least that.

I’ll never know if the thoughts I've attributed to her are real or not and the truth of the matter is it doesn’t matter because it’s not my business.


3 | IT’S NOT YOUR BUSINESS WHAT SOMEONE ELSE THINKS OF YOU

The truth or falseness of the story I created in my mind about her is irrelevant and as Byron Katie says, none of my business.

Katie says there are three types of business in the world.

First, there’s G-d or the Universe’s business. This is natural disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, earthquakes, wars, etc. Things that are out of the control of any one individual. That’s G-d’s business and we’d do best to keep our noses out of it.

Then there’s other people’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions, behaviors, words, etc. That’s their business, and not ours.

Then there’s our own business. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. That’s where you need to keep your energy and attention. ‘Cause much of the individual suffering we experience comes from being in someone else’s business. Plus, when you’re in someone else’s business, there’s no one to be in your business and running your life.

I was causing myself so much suffering by holding onto all this stuff.
I hadn’t intentionally done anything.
I did what humans do.
I made a mistake.


4 | YOU’RE ALLOWED TO MAKE MISTAKES

I’m a human. If you’re reading this, you’re a human. And as humans, we’re allowed to make mistakes. We aren’t required to be perfect.

As someone who is actively *overcoming* perfectionism...well...I’m struggling to understand that perfectly.
Some mistakes are bigger than others and will have much further reaching consequences. But you’re still allowed.

I really made two mistakes in this story — of course, going against the contract, but also agreeing to the contract in the first place.


5 | DON’T SIGN SOMETHING YOU’RE NOT IN ALIGNMENT WITH

If you sign a contract, abide by it.
If you don’t want to abide by it, you’re not in alignment with it.
If you’re not in alignment with it, don’t sign it.

There is always another opportunity available to you. There is more coming to you. If you want something, then you receive something that’s close, but not quite it.

It’s ok to say, “close, but not quite. I’ll wait.”


6 | HAVE ANOTHER LAWYER LOOK OVER YOUR CONTRACT.

If you're aligned with an opportunity that requires a contract, have a lawyer (other than yourself) look it over, and listen to them. I had to make that caveat for those of you who are lawyers.
‘Cause I am a lawyer.
But it’s not enough for me to look over my contracts.
There’s no objectivity.

If I were advising someone else on the contract and she had the concerns that I did I would have told her, “don’t you dare sign that without some changes.”


7 | LISTEN TO YOUR LAWYER. AND YOUR MOTHER.

Now, I did seek out another lawyer. My mother.
She looked over the contract.
She told me, “don’t you dare sign without changes.”

I didn’t listen to her.

I wanted it to work. I needed it to work. I felt it was the only way for me to get what I wanted.

Also known as scarcity mindset.


8 | DON’T MAKE DECISIONS FROM A PLACE OF SCARCITY

Fear and scarcity can block your best judgment. If I had been operating from the state that’s most natural to all of us — open to and recognizing the abundance that’s always available, I wouldn’t have signed the contract as it was.

I would have told my mentor, whom I adored, that I didn’t think the arrangement was best for both of us...
I would have recognized that I have infinite creativity and capability needed to build a biz...
I would have known that I can be, do, or have whatever I want without compromising my alignment or integrity…

But coulda, woulda, shouldas are wasted energy. Because everything is happening in our lives as it’s supposed to. I created this experience, as did she.

Do your best Forgive yourself for being. That’s all you can do.

Onward and upward — I know magic is available for you.

Let me know in the comments if this resonates. Have you ever made a mistake in your biz? How did you deal with it?

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How to find your purpose in 3 simple steps

 How to find your purpose in 3 simple steps

Mark Twain famously said that, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Many of the people that come to me for career coaching are looking for their purpose. Looking for purpose is a challenging concept, so I want to give you a couple of steps to help the way you approach this.

Before going any further, I want to give a couple of definitions for job, career, and purpose.

Job – something typically done from 9-5 for pay.

Career - system of advancements and promotions over time where rewards are used to optimize behavior.

Purpose – something that we feel compelled to do regardless of fame or fortune; the work is the reward.

To find your purpose – stop looking for it and become active instead. You’ll never really know with absolute certainty whether your work is your purpose. You’ll get some clues, but full on knowledge may be reserved for the after life. Looking for your purpose has an inherent risk because its only about you. Meaning and purpose come when we focus on others. I invite you to stop looking for purpose and start living with purpose.

Here are three simple steps that can get you on your way to living with purpose:

Ask – what am I needed for?

Not what do I need or want. Look right in front of you – family, community’s, and friends. Start by asking what you can do for them. Or what do they ask you to do?

Start to do the things that can contribute to those around you.

Whatever it is that people want you to do for them or ask you to do, just trying doing it!

Review – was that the best use se of my time.

Can I do more? Can I delegate or should I spend more time.

If you start doing this, now you’re learning by doing – you living with purpose. Your purpose may consistently change.

I can use myself as an example of this because this is exactly how I was able to go from working as a lawyer to coaching – which I believe is my purpose. – I asked/people asked.

I started doing it, evaluated and did more.

What you do versus who you are

 What you do versus who you are

In my career coaching practice I often notice patterns in the things that my clients are dealing with.  This week the issue seemed to be identity. 

In a perfect world, we would all have a solid grasp on our identity before we ever entered the work force. Why? Because having that firm handle on who we are as people would allow us to entirely avoid the lure of becoming our work.

For most people, unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many young people join the work force at 22 – fresh of college, at a time when their identity is still developing and evolving. Much of our identity is formed in relationship to who we are to others: a daughter, a brother, a friend, a boyfriend, a student. These are titles that describe both who we are and what we do. We’re students, so we spend time learning in a classroom. We’re daughters, so we love and take care of our parents.

So when many of the 20somethings I work with enter the work force and are given their first work titles, they struggle to disentangle their identity from their work.  For the first time in their lives, who they are is not synonymous with what they do. It’s easy for things like the process of pursuing knowledge as a student, or being a good friend to someone to feel like it has greater meaning behind it – because, well, it does. Finding the greater meaning behind a boring role in a field that you aren't interested in however, can be a bit more challenging. In some cases, it can be impossible.

Most people feel like they are alone in the struggle to choose a meaningful career path to pursue.

They think that they must be behind, or that there’s something wrong with them for not having it all figured out yet. If ruminated on for too long, this feeling of not knowing can turn into a full-blown panic attack. It’s important for 20somethings to realize that this feeling is actually completely normal. It’s okay to not be sure of what you want to do right out of school. Like any big life change that we face, there needs to be a period of adjustment. Most millennials need to spend time exploring life out in the real world before they can determine what their career path should be. 

In our 20s, we spend much more time thinking about what we do, rather than who we are. This can motivate some people to settle for work that isn’t meaningful or what they love to do because it pays the bills, or sounds good on paper, or makes their parents happy. Which of course, is discouraging.

Millennials often find themselves asking, If I’m wrapped up in work that doesn’t fulfill me, then who am I? 

This becomes an internal crisis, and causes them to be extremely unhappy.

To have the greatest happiness in our lives, careers and relationships, we first need to establish a strong identity – a sense of self that is not defined by external factors such as our work or relationships.

To get a stronger sense of yourself, you’re going to have to ask yourself some tough questions.

For starters:

  • What do I most value?
  • What lights me up?
  • Who am I as a friend?
  • How would my friends describe me?
  • How would my parents describe me?
  • How would I describe me?
  • Is there a disconnect between how others describe me and how I would describe myself?
  • Who am I when I’m angry?
  • Who am I when no one is looking?
  • Who am I to strangers?
  • How do I act when I’m frustrated?
  • What do I love doing?
  • What do people consistently tell me I’m good at?

The answers to each of these questions can provide key information to who you truly are.  I invite you to go through the above questions and actually allow yourself to answer them and see what comes up for you. 

If nothing else, though, at least stop equating the work you do with the person you are. You are so much more than your work!

The Power of Commitment

 The Power of Commitment

Recently I had a call with my coaching client Laura who wants to start a blog but is having a hard time getting started. She has an incredible message to share. I asked her, "what is keeping you from just starting?"

There was silence on the other end. Finally she said, "I don't know. I'm just scared."

"Laura, pull out your calendar.  Block out 2 hours of time this week to work on it. Mark it however you would mark a very important meeting," I told her.  She did it.  

"Now, you have an important meeting.  Its 'set in stone.' Would you consider re-scheduling a meeting with Oprah?" I asked.

"No, of course not." 

"Good! Who's more important to you than you?"

Its amazing that we'll prioritize someone else or some other thing over what we want and need most for ourselves.

Very few would consider flaking on a meeting with Oprah, but would do it without much thought when it comes to something that feels scary, but could move you forward personally or professionally.  It doesn't make any sense! What could be more important than the commitments you make to you? 

The word commitment comes from Middle English meaning "to bring together." It creates a bridge between the present and the future.  A commitment is a pledge to do something -- making a promise to others and yourself to bring something new into existence. Sometimes there is no getting past the fear; you just make the commitment and take action anyway.

Seeking your purpose? Look to your favorite hobby

 Seeking your purpose? Look to your favorite hobby

Many of the clients that I work with are seeking greater clarity around what their purpose in the work force might be. Most of them come to me saying that they have no idea what they want to do or are meant to do, but with a bit of digging, I find that they actually do have some hints that they hadn't realized.

One of the easiest ways to identify these hints is to think about what you enjoy doing most outside of the office. Ask yourself:

What activities do I take part in that make the time fly by?

What can I do for hours on end that makes it feel like only minutes have passed?

Once you've got your list of activities that make the hours feel like mere minutes, it's time to take a look at what characteristics those activities involve, and the qualities that you possess while doing them.

What do I mean by that?

For example, take my client Alyssa, who absolutely loves to travel.

The qualities that she would express through traveling were adventure, variety and even organization, since she loved to spend time creating thorough itineraries for each of her trips. Traveling also involved spontaneity for Alyssa, since she would sometimes veer off her carefully planned itinerary in favor of something that seemed more interesting. In doing so, she was experiencing a combination of freedom and structure, action and activity. She was exploring new places and interacting with new people. She was showing sensitivity in dealing with other cultures, honing her people skills and expanding her ability to connect and learn.

Based on the things that she most loved about traveling, I suggested that Alyssa speak with a high-end travel consultant. At the time, she was working in the corporate world and earning a six-figure salary. The only roles Alyssa was familiar with that would so intimately involve her love of traveling were careers as a travel agent, travel blogger or writer -- none of which appealed to her. I recommended that she look into high-end travel consulting -- a position she had never heard of.

It didn't take Alyssa long to find several high-end travel consulting boutiques that offered the services I had mentioned to her. Alyssa reached out to these companies requesting informational interviews. After speaking with several people, she realized that although it was going to take a huge amount of dedication and self-motivation to establish herself in this new field, this job would encompass all of the elements she most enjoyed doing -- and it held huge potential for financial success as well. Alyssa had never imagined that a job that existed where she could earn a good salary while doing the things she loved most.

Alyssa got to spend a great deal of time traveling and exploring different places so that she could give detailed and accurate information on these destinations to her clients. She also had the opportunity to use her people skills. Being able to deal with different personalities, expressing sensitivity to people's differences and having a certain amount of flexibility were all a benefit to her in this role.

The moral of this story?

Even if you don't know what the exact title of you dream job might be, you can still use the elements you imagine it would encompass and begin to search. Once you have a couple of ideas, the key is to find some people who are doing that job, and ask them what the job actually entails on a practical level.

Some jobs seem much more fun and glamorous than they actually are. It's important to find out what this role actually involves day to day before deciding to make the switch -- from people who are currently working in that role. What part of the job do they most enjoy? Least enjoy? What has allowed them to find success?

When you're trying to find purposeful work, it's important to think a bit outside of the box.

Of course, there are many traditional career paths available, but the work that might be the most purposeful and meaningful for you may be a bit off the beaten path. Taking the opportunity to really think about what you want to do, and then finding out if that job already exists can be a great starting place for many.

3 lessons from Pope Francis on how to find meaningful work

 3 lessons from Pope Francis on how to find meaningful work

Navigating a job search is tough enough as it is. But when you're not exactly sure what kind of work you're meant to be doing, it can feel nearly impossible.

But, what if that inner struggle were completely eliminated? What if you felt so certain of the work you were seeking out that you actually felt a higher power had called you to do it? That's likely just how Pope Francis felt when he made the decision to dedicate his life to the church. He has since become the most beloved pope in decades - admired for his humility, warmth and progressive views.

Pope Francis didn't decide to become pope because it would look good on his resume, or for monetary gain. He did so because he felt called to the work that is required of being pope - from helping the less fortunate to working to shape a better future for our world.

A calling happens when you find work that you are compelled to do, regardless of the compensation or accolades it comes with. The primary reward is the work itself. Historically, the term "calling" has been most used when referring to someone who is called to do religious service. Regardless of the area of work, there are lessons that can be applied to your job search that draw from being "called."

As a career coach, my millennial clients are constantly faced with the desire to be a part of something greater. They reach a certain point in their careers where they're earning good money and finally have stability. But ultimately, they're not satisfied with the work they are doing, because they feel that it lacks purpose.

So, how can you go about finding a job that fulfills you? Here are a few cues that millennials can take from Pope Francis when it comes to being called.

1. Seek out a job that is serving people in some way.

Although most of us don't have intentions that are as pure and noble as the pope, at our core, most people desire to serve. When you're researching potential job roles, take a look at the company's mission statement. If the role is at a PR agency, are they serving clients that offer help to others? If you're an editor, are your pieces working to aid a community of people who need the information you're publishing in order to better themselves in some way?

One of my clients made a shift from working at a fashion company that was serving a target demographic of rich businessmen, to a fashion company that had a social mission built into its corporate mission from day one. Even though she was doing similar work at her new company, the company's contribution made her feel that her work was making a difference to others in a small way.

2. Ask yourself, what am I needed for?

Pope Francis saw work that needed to be done, and felt a calling to do it. Take a look at the work you're being asked to do in your daily life. Sure, there are likely some mundane tasks that are given to you, but make it your business to get to the bottom of why you're asked to do them. Why does your boss give you that spreadsheet to reorganize instead of your coworker? Is it because you have an eye for organization? If so, how can you apply your knack for reorganizing into work that is meaningful for you?

Ask yourself how your talents can be of service to other people. You don't have to end world hunger in order to be of service to the world and others. Whatever your gifts are, that is what you should give. Find a role that allows you to do so.

3. Find work that aligns with your beliefs and values.

Pope Francis believes that there are ways to improve the lives of the less fortunate around the world, so he's made it his mission to do so. If you're out of alignment with who you are at your core, it's going to be difficult to enjoy your work and impossible to feel fulfilled.

Get clear on what your values are and make sure that the actions you're taking in your life are reflecting that. Start just by thinking about what you value - you can even write a list. Measure that list against how you're actually living your life. Is the work that you're doing in line with your values? Does your work life balance allow you to spend time on the things that matter to you? If not, you can see that a shift needs to be made.

Don't be afraid to seek out more meaningful work, especially if your job is no longer fulfilling you. Think of where we'd be if Pope Francis had ignored his calling to serve our world. Listen to the voice inside you that's urging you to make a change.

3 tips for creating a more fulfilling work life

 3 tips for creating a more fulfilling work life

So many of my clients talk about this elusive things called “work fulfillment.” They often feel like they’re lacking it and really, really want to find it.

 When asked, they can’t put their finger on exactly what it is.

Why are we so intent on finding this ambiguous thing we can’t even define? Because we trust that feeling fulfilled will give us the contentment and satisfaction we’re looking for in our work lives.

While that might be true, many of us are looking in the wrong places. Here are three steps you can take to experience greater work fulfillment.

1. Recognize that nothing external will make us feel more fulfilled.

The first step to greater fulfillment is to be able to recognize that nothing outside of you will make you more fulfilled. Many people search for fulfillment outside of themselves. They think that more money, better co-workers or more stimulating projects will make them feel more excited about their work.

If we’re looking for some external thing to fill us up, we’re never going to find it.

There are many changes that can take place externally that could positively affect us—but for a more fundamental change, we need to start from the inside out.

All of our emotions originate from inside us. Sometimes we look at our emotions as if they are caused by external events, but in reality, everything that happens outside of us is neutral. We assign meaning to our experiences, which in turn makes them feel “good” or “bad.”

This is why two people can share the same experience—like looking at a piece of art—but have completely different feelings about it.

Everything is subject to personal interpretation. If we think that a particular situation was bad, it may make us feel angry or sad.

If we think that our work is boring and meaningless, we will never really feel fulfilled.

2. Get out of your own way.

We all have huge potential energy that remains untapped because we allow our egos to get in the way. Our egos stop us from doing the work we’re drawn to because we fear we’re not good enough, smart enough—or simply not enough. These internal blocks prevent us from experiencing fulfillment. When we’re able to get out of our heads and just focus on serving others, that energy is able to flow through us more readily. It’s only then that we can serve the people we work with (and work for) more fully and completely, allowing us to have a greater sense of fulfillment.

3. Make a contribution.

If you’re not doing work that you think is benefiting other people in some way, not only are you unlikely to feel fulfilled, but you also may feel unhappy or discontented—especially if the work is out of alignment with your values.

People feel the most fulfilled when they recognize that they are making a meaningful contribution to the world. It’s possible to do this regardless of your line of work. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you work for a company, if you send the message that you’re providing something of benefit to the world, it’s going to be much easier to feel fulfilled by your work.

For example, I worked with a young clothing designer who had no interest in leaving fashion, but was seeking a company that had a greater mission than just making clothing. She ended up finding a job with a company that had a social mission, so that in a round about way, her work was providing some good for society as a whole. Her work didn’t significantly change when she switched companies, but her new company’s focus was enough to make her feel like her work had a greater purpose.

Starting to generate even a small amount of fulfillment on your own opens up more opportunities to feel fulfillment in your work and life. Don’t wait for outside factors to bring you the feeling of fulfillment that you could be working toward on your own right now.

5 reasons why enlightened entrepreneurs are the most successful

 5 reasons why enlightened entrepreneurs are the most successful

When you think of the word “enlightened,” you likely picture a Zen, peaceful yogi in deep meditation. A stark contrast to what comes to mind when you picture an entrepreneur – a type A, ambitious person likely rocking a power suit and juggling many things at once.

When you put these two words together, it might sound like an oxymoron. But in reality, an enlightened entrepreneur not only exists, but is actually the kind of entrepreneur that will end up succeeding.

Becoming enlightened, or at least raising your self-awareness is key for most people who leave a position as an employee to become his or her own boss.

Here are five reasons why becoming enlightened is essential to being a successful entrepreneur.

1. Becoming an entrepreneur will bring up lots of self-doubts

Doubts, fears and beliefs about yourself that you never knew you had stirring deep inside you will be brought to the surface during this transition. You’ll need to be prepared to fight back against these negative thoughts in order to run your business. Take the time to explore the fears related to beginning a new business venture. Often times, they go far deeper than you might expect. The surface thought may be, What if I don’t make enough money? But the underlying belief could be something far more jolting. You may fear that you don’t deserve to make enough money, because if you make enough money, you’ll be safe, protected and secure – all symptoms of being loved. But you feel that you’re unlovable, and therefore don’t deserve that. 

Seeing it on paper or hearing it said out loud may seem extreme, but I’ve found that tends to be the theme of the subconscious thought.

2. There will be activities that you don’t enjoy doing

Of course, the goal is to be able to hire help to run the parts of your business that you don’t enjoy doing. But when you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, you’ll likely be doing it all. Being able to tap into your inner self, and feel Zen rather than stressed as you’re crunching numbers or building a budget will leave you with more energy to cross the rest of the things off of your day’s (very long) to-do list.

3. You’ll stay focused

Speaking of that to-do list, it’s likely really, really long and ever growing. With so much on your plate, it’s easy to get distracted, and once you’re off task, there’s an opportunity for those negative feelings creep back in. Instead of thinking, “I never remembered to finish that, I’m terrible at this,” the enlightened entrepreneur will know that it’s just a matter of learning this new groove –  that although there are challenges, he or she can overcome them. Rather than having a meltdown, getting in touch with those positive affirmations will bring the enlightened entrepreneur back to the task at hand.

4. You’ll do your absolute best work, because you won’t be afraid to fail

My client Kyle started a small business and was supporting herself, but was unable to earn a profit. When I asked about her obstacles she initially responded with standard, but surface level responses. Then we went a little deeper. I asked her what she thought might happen if she just sat down and did it.  Her response: “I may fail. Then there will be proof that I’m not good enough.” When she heard herself say that out loud, she began to cry. The awareness of what was really holding her back was where the transformation could truly occur. Once she understood the beliefs that were really stopping her from taking her business up a level, I was able to help her question those beliefs and put more empowering convictions in place.

5. You can tell your true story

What kind of stories are you telling yourself about how much money you can earn? Should earn? Deserve to earn? Are the stories you are telling yourself true? Are they serving you? As an enlightened entrepreneur, you’ll be able to disempower and limit the incorrect, negative stories about your business – the ones that are not serving you. What is creating our experience? Our thoughts. Ergo, your thoughts are running your business, which is why it’s essential to be in control of them.

We all have the ability to become aware. Our willingness to be aware – to be conscious – determines how we experience life and all its facets, including our work.