In her new book, Now What?, FOF career coach Laura Berman Fortgang offers a 90-day plan for taking your life in a new direction. We’re always a little skeptical of “life coaching,” but one phone call with Ms. Fortgang has us singing her tune. Here, she shares 10 very smart tips for finding your passion—at any age.
- Make a list of everything you hate about what you’re doing.
- “Many clients have difficulty articulating what makes them happy. They only know what they can’t stand about their current jobs. But, on the flip side of what you hate is what you want. When you say, ‘I hate my commute,’ the positive side is, ‘I want no commute.’ Or, ‘I hate my boss’ is really ‘I want a boss who respects me.’ Add to the list until you shift your energy away from how miserable your state is to ‘I actually need to take action to find these things.’
- You may not have to leave your job.
- “Nine out of ten people don’t have to leave their jobs to be happy; they have to change the rules. For example, if meetings make you miserable, you can say, “It’s no longer okay for me to have 3-hour long meetings. If we don’t have agendas for meetings I’m not coming anymore.” Or choose some of the tasks you like least, and delegate them. Don’t be afraid to redraw your boundaries, especially if the alternative is to quit.”
- Forget your resume.
- “When clients sign up for the Now What program, they always want to send me their resume. Believe it or not, I don’t want to see it. Locking into your past jobs closes your mind to possibilities. I approach job search from a place of intuition—not logic. I don’t look at your resume until you’ve made up your mind about what you want to do.”
- Tell your own life story.
- “While I don’t look at your resume, I do look at your life story. One of my clients was unhappy in her banking job. When she told me her life story, there was a clear pattern of philanthropy: she did the McDonalds backyard carnival as a kid and loved making cards for charities. All her spare time was spent in non-profit causes. She realized, she’d love to head up a non-profit. But, logically, how is she going to pay the mortgage with that reduction in pay? She eventually found a job running a non-profit for a corporation.”
- Don’t choose a career based on a trend.
- “Is the media reporting that healthcare is the best field to get into right now? Who cares?! I don’t believe in choosing the careers by the trends as much as I believe in choosing careers from what’s calling to you.”
- Don’t stay in a job you hate for security.
- “Yes it’s tough for a 55-year-old woman to give up a guaranteed paycheck and a 401k, but we’ve seen in the past 2 years, there is no sure thing. My in-laws lost so much money in this recession they had to sell their house. They thought they were set for the next 30 years. The idea of a company that takes care of you for life is gone, so you might as well be happy.”
- It’s okay to dabble.
- “You don’t have to quit your job and start a full-time search. Just start talking to people in the field you’re interested in. You’d be amazed how your little quest starts revealing information and sometimes opportunities…awesome opportunities. And you may learn that your fantasy of a job was better than the reality, and it’s just not for you.”
- Stop complaining.
- “Get a group of people together who are in the same scenario as you and just start holding each other accountable to take action. Declare, ‘We are not going to complain anymore–we’re going to do something.’”
- When everyone else around you is telling you you’re crazy, that’s when you are on the right track.
- “I always make people aware of this feeling; I call it the free-fall. If you chose to jump out of an airplane, you’d be totally excited and terrified. It’s the same thing with some career leaps. But if everyone tells you you’re nuts and you still want to keep going, that’s a good sign. Ignore them; they’re just projecting their own panic on you.”
- It’s never too late.
- “If you’re sitting there thinking, ‘it’s too late for me,’ then you might as well pick a burial plot. Instead, go out and find someone twenty years older than you who is doing something really cool. My husband had an aunt who never worked a day in her life. In her 60s, she started throwing little fundraisers for local musicians she liked— right in her living room. These salons became so well known that she was featured in The New York Times and famous people started fighting to get in. She raised thousands of dollars and continued into her 90s.”
Laura Berman Fortgang is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the personal coaching field. She is the best-selling author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction, Living Your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top. Through her company, InterCoach, Inc./Now What?™, Laura has provided coaching to diverse clients ranging from homemakers, celebrities and Fortune 500 companies to NASA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Her company was voted one of the “Top 100 to Watch” in New Jersey.