Love Lesson #9: Getting Clear on Career and Expanding into Joy
How do I get started learning to use the laws of attraction?
How do I manifest what I want?
How do I manifest career opportunities?
Ask yourself the following questions and take time to write your answers.
First, make a list of what you hate to do:
What you complain about at your current job
What you never want to do again
What you feel uncomfortable or inept doing
Next, and more important: Get clear about all the things you have done in the past that you enjoy doing:
Make a list of everything you enjoy doing and would do even if you didn’t get paid for them.
Make a list of what you feel you are good at—those thing you feel comfortable and confident while doing.
Make a list of the things you do that are a contribution to life, the things that are helpful to others and the world.
Now, start writing a story about your perfect job opportunity, what you will be doing, how you will be using all your best skills, what kinds of people you will be attracting to work with, and how you will be supported and trained during the beginning process.
Years ago, I read the very first book that took me down a new path, that began to change my way of thinking and, therefore, my life (it was a training manual from the Jaycees called Leadership in Action). I was doing the exercises in the book and some were similar to the exercises written above. I remember so clearly…the process began as I was writing about what I didn’t like about my jobs, my current job and former jobs:
I hated being cooped up in one room all day.
I hated feeling trapped.
I hated working with the same few people everyday, people who were always complaining about the same old things.
I hated doing accounting tasks—I have anxiety around numbers, and those tasks stressed me.
As you can see it is so much easier for people to begin writing about what they don’t like—and even hate—than it is to start identifying what they enjoy or feel confident at.
As I continued the process, I began to feel a cleansing and a clearing of my dislikes and anxieties. I began to see clearly that I hated everything about what I was doing and that it was time to move on.
I had very low self-esteem at that time so it was nearly impossible for me to acknowledge anything that I was good at, so I began asking other people what they thought. To my surprise they all said that I made people feel good, that I was always a bright spirit, buoyant and energetic. I was pleasant; I had good words to say to everyone; I got along well with others; I was good at resolving things in a peaceful way.
Well, never in a million years would I have had the awareness of myself to acknowledge myself for any of those things. So, I thanked them and wrote them down. The natural question then posed itself: How can I get paid for doing these things, for being my best self?
Everyday I gave myself time to process more and more such questions and to go deeper into the discovery of myself, what I was good for and goo at. As the “hating” lifted, I started looking at different jobs in the newspaper and questioning other people about their jobs—why they liked them and how they got them.
I started writing in a journal daily:
My new job values me for what I am good at.
I am surrounded by people who are helping humanity and I am doing something valuable in the world.
I use my skills of inspiration and uplift to make a contribution.
I just continued to write every single day, and as I wrote I became clearer and more confident about what my next opportunity would look like. One day while walking on my lunch hour (I was choosing to walk every day to avoid the negativity of the normal lunch talk at work), I passed the American Red Cross. Hmmmm. I used to be a Red Cross volunteer when I was in high school and I felt like I was doing something good for humanity when I worked with them. I liked that feeling. I’ll bet they could use someone,like me, I thought.
The very next day at lunch. I marched myself through their front door and asked the receptionist if they had any openings for someone who was good with people and had a desire to help humanity. She was rather shocked at my boldness, but she invited me to speak with the director of the Racine–Kenosha Red Cross. He was also rather surprised when I clearly told him why I wanted to work for the American Red Cross and what I was good at and that I was trainable, and then asked: Did he have any openings? I had nothing on my resume indicating previous work experience relating to this type of job, but I had gone to college to become a teacher… (I found out I couldn’t stand classroom teaching after just a few weeks of practice teaching. My other work experiences had been in accounting offices, which I hated). He considered it briefly. I guess my courage and brightness won him over because he offered me a job as director of volunteers. (The former director had died and there was no one who could train me in what she did.)
Well, I dove fearlessly into managing the volunteers for 152 programs! The adult programs were staffed with those who had been active for years, so they didn’t require too much except keeping track of their volunteer time. On the other hand, there were over 150 schools in the Racine–Kenosha Area and I was responsible for visiting them and working with students—connecting them with volunteer opportunities at local nursing homes and mental health facilities, doing fundraising activities with high schoolers so that they could attend the leadership programs. No one on staff knew anything about what the former director did. She was a controller and totally competent and had done it for most all of her working, 30 or 40 years. She had been dead for about a year when I arrived and no one was following up on the programs she had instituted. It was daunting.
The director of the Red Cross I worked at came from a military background; he was new in his role and new to Racine. I had no one to turn to for help, and so I designed a new wheel and made it work, all for a salary of $400 per month. I was happier than I had ever been in a job. I had complete creativity, I could be out of the office a lot. I worked with many different types of people, and all ages, and I grew. I had complete independence and I discovered that I could set and meet my own goals, create my own programs, use my charisma to attract people to get involved, train volunteers, and keep track of it all. Every day I grew. I had to grow in my own self confidence because there was no one on staff who ever acknowledged or congratulated me on a job well done. I had nothing to compare myself with, but there were a lot more things happening after a year than there were when I walked in so I guess I was doing something good. I was using everything that I was best at. I was free and I was feeling competent. This was good.
Time for Expansion
I was loving the American Red Cross. When I started working there I wanted to learn everything about its origins and its purpose. I went to the library and read every book I could get my hands on about the American Red Cross and Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. I was particularly moved by a book that included many of her personal letters and diary writings, and I felt compelled to bring more attention to her story. Somehow, over the years, the passion of Barton’s intention had been lost and I felt driven to change that. I continued to read and gather information about her until the time was right.
I was challenged to overcome my fears of public speaking, because fundraising and volunteer recruiting were critical as the programs grew. I realized I had a fear because I didn’t feel competent, and I asked myself how could I become a better speaker and overcome that. A few days later, a gentleman at a business meeting invited me to a Toastmasters meeting. My fear was that people who belonged to Toastmasters were already experienced speakers, but he assured be they got that way because of the wonderful training they received through the Toastmasters programs. And so, I attended the meeting and joined. I grew and excelled and looked forward to (and yes, at the same time, sometimes feared) every meeting because they were challenging me to grow and become more comfortable with every aspect of public speaking and running a meeting.
Toastmasters also gave the perfect opportunity to develop and fine tune my emerging “Clara Barton speaks” program. I performed a first-person presentation in costume of the amazing Clara Barton and I retold her story and completely felt her energy as I related the tortures of the Civil War and the tenuous beginnings of the humanitarian efforts of the early American Red Cross.
I loved the American Red Cross. I loved what I was doing. I was now happy every day. I felt like I was making a real contribution. But, I couldn’t live on $400 per month. As I began to do more public speaking, I realized that I did not have a polished look. I felt very inadequate and frumpy compared to women I was now meeting at fundraising activities. I was only 23 and had been raised on a farm. I was a practical, low-key dresser of a young woman, with no budget for clothes. Even in 1971, $400 was not enough for rent, a car, and food. There was no extra money for entertainment or clothes. It was survival-level money.
Soon I was turning again to the teachings in my Leadership in Action book. I began to evaluate how I looked and how I felt about how I looked—and I realized that I usually didn’t pay much attention. I focused all my attention on doing a good job and working hard, usually 60 hours a week.
I realized I always felt so insecure around women who dressed beautifully and had their hair done and their nails polished. I used my journal again to explore how I wanted to create a better looking me and what that would take.
How about you? Make a list of everything you notice about a well put-together woman:
How do you feel about yourself when you are in her presence?
What can you do to change how you look?
What can you do to change how you feel about yourself?
I began to really pay attention to what I was attracted to, acknowledging that I wanted to learn and what I wanted to learn. I had to let down my defenses to open up fully to learning. And I prayed…for a way to learn about enjoying my life as a woman, to enjoy dressing and feeling feminine. I became aware that I had been angry about being born female for many years. Men always got better jobs and could do what they wanted. I opened my eyes wide, looking for my next lessons in loving my life.
The next Sunday I was visiting my elderly uncle and met a bubbling, beautiful, energetic woman about 40 years old who was also visiting. She was the daughter of my uncle’s new wife, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was what I would call “put together.” Rita was to become my new mentor, though I didn’t know word at that point in my life. She complimented me and told me I would be great doing what she was doing. She invited me to attend a Mary Kay meeting with her and she picked me up the next Monday night. I was totally intimidated being in that room full of beautiful, affirmative, energetic women, all of whom seemed so happy and doing positive things with their lives. I was blown away with the energy. I felt so frumpy. By the time I left that meeting, I loved the way I felt, yet, I was still intimidated. I wanted to go back again because it felt so good to be around these radiant women. Rita graciously picked me up a future Monday. I objected—no, I couldn’t possibly sell make-up, I don’t even wear it. I don’t know anything about it. No, never, not me. Yet, I would go home and think…these women look like, talk like, and act like who I want to be. What have they got that I can’t have for myself? Besides I needed some extra money in my life and I didn’t know how to say no to working 60 hours a week at Red Cross. If all I knew how to do was work I might as well do something that can teach me what I want to learn and give me an excuse for not staying at the office until 9 p.m. every night.
I joined and I will never regret a moment of it. It was the best thing I ever did for my life up until then. I promised myself that I would sell $200 per week and attend every Monday meeting for a year, and if I wanted to quit after a year, I could. Within a few months I was making much more than my salary at the Red Cross and was experiencing expanded personal growth and social enjoyment. It turned out to be the best training and finishing school for a woman like me. I did become confident as a woman and I also became confident as a business woman. I became a director and won a pink car and earned ten times more than I earned at any other job I ever held. I was thrilled with my life in every way. I had learned to set goals and achieve them and to support and encourage other women to become successful in their own businesses. I learned how to balance my life and take time to play and relax and nourish myself and do my nails every week and give myself permission to buy and wear beautiful clothes every day of my life and not just save the good clothes for special occasions. I learned to appreciate the beauty in every day and the beauty in every person. I learned to see the light in every person and help them to see and experience the light and beauty within themselves. Every woman who sees and claims her very own light becomes a guiding light for her children and her family and other business associates and friends. I felt the contribution that I was making in the world and I was joyous. Yes, truly joyous for the very first time in my life.