When I finally got up the nerve to leave corporate life it was like finding the off-switch on a perpetually-talkback-tuned radio. Realizing I could have silenced the maddening demagogue and his band of yokels all along was a shock – I’d become so blinded by the daily scramble of desperate deadlines, so trapped into thinking I needed the overblown paycheck and accoutrements to survive, that I’d lost sight of what made me happy and how much power I had to create it for myself.
It’s not easy to shake off a mantle you’ve worn for a long time – even if it no longer suits you. And that makes it hard to re-connect with any passion lurking below.
For me, the answer to the question What work would bring me happiness? came with time, and from reading books. Books always seem to have the answers I’m looking for.
But you might prefer a different approach – perhaps using exercises, writing and active self-exploration. If that sounds like you, I’ve found a resource you might like.
Cheryl Richardson has suggestions for locating your latent love in her Passion Path of Development. This is a four-stop journey to finding where your ‘deepest delights’ lie:
Stop 1: Make space
Stop 2: Be an explorer
Stop 3: Find the gold
Stop 4: Take action
Along the way she suggests specific exercises, activities and journal-writing tasks as tools for helping you move toward your passion.
I remember being in that post-corporate limbo, trying to recall what my likes and dislikes had been before I’d sacrificed them to the God of suck-cess. Along with clarity about work came other realizations: that the music I liked was classified as alternative; that I wasn’t, and never had been, a people person; that I much preferred fun costume pieces to real jewelry, and that I was inordinately fond of anything pink and sparkly.
So if you’re committed to uncovering rather than imposing, be warned that your natural inclinations may be less polished or sophisticated than you’ve been telling yourself all these years.
But whatever you do – please don’t discover you like talkback radio.