“My Career Is All Over the Place” – That’s OK.

Career Confusion Maze

Is it a messy maze or is it a beautiful image when seen from above? I see the beauty.

I hear this a lot: “My career is all over the place so how do I find my next step?”

The good news: Everyone has a messy career path. Life is messy, at best. You’re not alone.

The bad news: It’s still confusing in there and you’re still needing to find your way in a dark confusing maze.

More good news: You can get help to find your way through the maze. There are people with lanterns and maps to turn to. And people who can see the big picture from above the maze. Really.

My So-Called Messy Career Path

In my own experience, I thought I was “all over the place” too. I didn’t want anyone to see that wacky résumé. On some level, with each turn, it did make sense to me, because I was following what was in front of me. But I thought that picture of “meandering” would look funny to others.

In reality, people never seemed to care about all those so-called turns on my résumé, and it wasn’t a roadblock for new jobs. I couldn’t see the thread connecting the dots, but I see now that it was there. Maybe it was the exact path I needed to end up helping people with career clarity, since I’ve dabbled in many areas. It wasn’t simple and it was confusing at times for sure, but the path had a purpose, it turned out.

“What Can Help Me Find My Way?”

Just using exercises in a book or a quiz online is not enough for something like deep clarity and choosing your own specific steps on where you want to go in life. You wouldn’t be reading this if you could have figured it out on your own.

Most people can’t figure it out alone. It’s like a fish who doesn’t see the water she’s swimming in, but the water is obvious to us as outsiders. Funny how that works. A little help goes a long way, and seeing what’s right there can bring huge relief. Continue reading

Self-employment Myths and Reality. It’s OK To Be Wobbly.

When the topic of self-employment comes up, I hear two common responses:

  1. “That’s too hard so I won’t even try.” or
  2. “I should be able to get something going within a few months, or else it’s a failure.”

Neither is grounded in reality. There’s such an odd mythology around self-employment, perhaps because people don’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors.

Here’s what I think is true about self-employment, in a nutshell.

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From SOLOpreneur to SOULpreneur

You’ve probably heard the word solopreneur to describe a one-person business. But does the word inspire you? It certainly doesn’t inspire me. It’s feels so… lonely, lifeless, and businessy in a negative sense.

Now compare it to how you feel when you hear the word SOULpreneur. Are you starting to smile, or at least feel intrigued?

When I switched to seeing myself as a SOULpreneur, I felt inspired. For instance, it reminds me to let creative inspiration come from a deeper soulful place. Not just from an income-need place. And things work so much better from this angle, for my happiness and my wallet.

To give you a closer look into what I mean, here are my associations that can naturally arise with each word, and this seems to be true for many people:  Continue reading

Meet SOULpreneur Diana Chaplin

Let’s Meet Some SOULpreneurs

Most of the examples we have of successful entrepreneurs are focused on the external benchmarks like fame and fortune. But what about the inner measures like staying true to your heart? The SOULpreneur journey is about harmonizing the needs of your heart and your wallet.

It’s hard to stay the course on this counter-cultural SOULpreneur journey if we don’t have enough role models for it. But they are out there! So I’m going to feature them on my blog, starting today.

Because the most visible business models are of white extroverted men, I’m going to try to balance that out with having a preference for sharing stories from women, introverts, people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds, and others who are underrepresented in the public eye.

I hope you’ll feel supported and inspired as we gain an inside view of the SOULpreneur journey. I’m asking them some juicy questions about the ups and downs and how they are making it work (including money stuff).

Meet SOULpreneur Diana Chaplin

The first SOULpreneur I’d like to introduce you to is Diana Chaplin who is based in Western Massachusetts (USA).

Diana-Chaplin

Diana is a Copywriter & Content Creator who I admire for bringing such a positive and thoughtful approach to everything she does, whether welcoming a new member to her coworking space, or providing warm and confident guidance to a copywriting client who is feeling overwhelmed by their website content.

I’m excited for you to get to know her and learn from her SOULpreneur journey. Her answers to my questions went deep!

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Is It Self-employment Induced ADD?

The most unexpected thing about becoming self-employed was how much trouble I had focusing once I was working alone. I wasn’t great at focus before, I admit, but it became a huge challenge without the structure and community of a workplace to go to.

I started thinking I was going crazy or that I’d suddenly gotten “self-employment induced ADD.” I would do housework when I needed to be working, to avoid facing that scattered mind, only to find that the head-spin would get worse and worse. Sound familiar? (C’mon, raise your hand. It’s so common.)

In our push-push culture, we think the cure for focus problems is to push ourselves harder, get more disciplined, learn better time management, etc. Right? But I believe a more effective cure is to get some co-workers… in a way that works for us. We need camaraderie to keep our minds sharp.

I know, introverts like me who love the peace and quiet of working alone will resist this idea, at first. Hear me out.

[Image: Humans are pack animals too.]

We are pack animals, just like wolves. The lone wolf success story is a myth. (Click image for source and Creative Commons license.)

It’s a big shift to go from working in a company with co-workers all around you, to working on your own. Even when you’re thrilled by the freedom, the shift away from the workplace community is stressful for anyone. I see it all the time with my clients after leaving a job, and I can honestly tell them and you: You are not alone in that stress.

I’ll explain how I have found my balance between people time and alone time, which has mostly cured my self-employment induced ADD. (I mean, I still need some other focusing tricks but the people connection has been the core solution for me.) Continue reading