by Fern Gorin, M.F.T.
Director, The Life Purpose Institute and
Nicole Olivier-Degere, CLC, OTR/L
A recent survey found that eighty percent of people are not satisfied with
their work. Most people wanted a more meaningful life — do you?
Are you confused about what you want? Perhaps you are facing layoff or
are in transition.
Maybe you are considering starting your own business
or, you'd like to bring more success and fulfillment to your current work.
The following will guide you through a process to clarify your career
direction and obtain the results you truly desire. During the past decade,
we have facilitated over a million people in using our life and career
clarification process. We invite you to begin your own journey of self-
discovery. The first step, regardless of your present situation, is to clarify
what you want. This seems like a very simple thing. In reality, it is very
complex for most people.
Often, we feel caught in our survival needs and the stress of a situation,
especially if it involves our livelihood. In panic, we revert to “fixing” the
problem as fast as possible. That usually means looking in the
newspaper and applying for job openings by fitting ourselves to the
position offered. After months of personal disappointment and rejection,
we are gratefully back to work. Ah, and again, here we are back in a
familiar, but non-satisfying position. It hurts so badly, yet feels so safe.
Oh, and here are the familiar headaches, upset stomach, anxiety,
Are there alternatives? Yes, self-evaluation — determining
what you really want and going after it — is one positive alternative.
Through self-discovery, you will identify talents, gifts and natural abilities
in very specific ways, and determine careers that most utilize these
unique components. All accomplishments, knowledge, interests and
experiences are considered in the process.
Creating your ideal career is like putting together a puzzle. First, you need
the pieces. At a certain point, the pieces come together — integrate —
and you're looking at the whole picture. This is when you arrive at your
life's work. From this point of strength, you design your career and
continue the process.
Here are seven steps to help you clarify your ideal career:
The first and most important step is to undertake a thorough self-
exploration process. You'll want to determine who you are as a unique
individual and what you really want in your ideal career. A key is knowing
the right questions to ask.
You can begin this process by asking yourself what components you
want in your ideal career. Example: flexible schedule, creativity, work with
people, type of environment, skills utilized, interests. Be as specific as
possible. If you'd like to be creative, how would you like to be creative?
There are at least 60 ways to be creative. How do you like to help people?
There are at least 101 ways to make a difference. (Call us if you would like to receive this specific information.)
2. Tailor-Make a Career
Taking into account what you want and key aspects of your personality,
design a career for yourself. Look at all the options — standard career
options and creative alternatives. Do you prefer finding a new job, staying
in your present job and making it more ideal, or starting a business?
There are 12,007 occupations listed in the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles. Are you aware of all your career options? If not, you may want to
obtain more information or seek professional guidance.
3. Overcome the Blocks to Your Success
Often, we have blocks and obstacles to achieving our goals. Usually a
block or obstacle is a signal telling you that you need to attend to
something. These blocks can be internal feelings, such as fear of failure,
fear of success, self-criticism or self-doubt. Or they can be external facts,
such as lacking necessary business skills, a plan of action or information
about possible career choices.
What is your block or obstacle telling you? Identifying and overcoming
these blocks is a necessary part of making the transition to work you love.
At this stage, you will identify one to five career options that you wish to
explore further. Gathering information by reading books and meeting with
people in your fields of interest will help you be certain about the best
career choice and help you to develop an effective plan of action.
5. Strategic Plan
After researching your career options, you decide on short-term and long-
term goals and develop a step-by-step strategy to obtain these goals.
Many people start with a dream and want to leap immediately from A to
Z. In having an effective plan of action, you learn how to move from A to
B to C to D, building gradually toward your goals. No matter what your
circumstances, there is always a way to get started toward what you
6. Master the Skills to Get Your Ideal Job or Start a Business
In order to find work or develop a business, you must learn how to play
the job/business game. Since only 10 percent of available jobs are listed
in the want ads, learning to play the job game will greatly increase your
chances of getting the job you want.
Job skills include developing contacts, having an effective resume,
learning to present yourself as the best candidate, mastering the art of
successful interviewing and discovering “back-door” approaches to
getting the job you want.
For those seeking to start their own business, the skills include
developing a strong business idea, doing effective marketing/marketing research and developing a sound business plan.
7. Continue the Process
Clarification and achieving results is a continuing process. Keep referring
to and using this process. You may, for example, need to continue self-
discovery — redefining what truly matters to you.
In which of the above areas do you need to build your skills?
All the seven steps outlined above are important in a successful career
search. Finding work you love through this process takes effort and
courage, yet it is a wise investment in yourself and your future happiness.
For most people, I recommend professional support, as it makes the
process faster and easier. There are thousands of career options you
may have never considered. Also, a professional can assist you with
coaching to keep you focused and on track. People who are focused in
their search for meaningful work stand the best chance of success in
Fern Gorin, M.A. is the Director of the Life Purpose Institute in San Diego,
California. Nicole Olivier-Degere is a Life Coach, and is certified to provide The
Life Purpose Process© by the Life Purpose Institute. She is also a licensed Occupational Therapist. This process has been successfully utilized since 1984 with over a million people worldwide. Nicole Olivier-Degere may be reached at www.dragonflylifecoach.com.