Excerpt- P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day

I would like to discuss this month some practical thoughts on how to align and put together your plan to move towards more of what you want in your vocational life. First, as you start down the path to your perfect vocational day, it’s important to eliminate the things in your life that are not adding value. You have to decide what they are.

These are the little things in life that seem to eat up one, two or three hours a day on a regular basis. Maybe these are trivial tasks that just don’t need to be done any longer. Perhaps these are unhealthy behaviors that are no longer useful for you. Eliminating unhealthy behaviors (only you know what these are) will both lift your spirits and move your energy back into more useful areas. Your energy level will increase. Just as the memory on your computer freezes when there are too many files open, so do you when there are too many things going on in your life.

Where you place your focus each day is where you will see progress. It’s also important to examine your processes. Establish a routine for yourself each day. Perhaps you currently have a demanding job and schedule and only have an hour a day, or even less, to focus on your vocational passion journey. It’s important to establish a pattern and process for this. Whatever time you reserve, make sure it’s consistent and protected. That is, figure out a time and place each and every day when you won’t be distracted.

I believe it is also important to select a few people who already are living similar perfect vocational days. If you can actually talk to them, that would be ideal. Otherwise, perhaps you can observe how these people spend their day so you start to have ideas how others who are already living their perfect vocational days are doing. It has been the focus of my doctoral studies to understand how people who have followed their vocational passions are actually spending their days and how this has impacted the quality of their life experiences. Knowing this can help give you the extra motivation on those challenging days which you will experience along your journey.

Find a strategy to measure your progress. It’s doesn’t have to be a sophisticated method, just something which helps you gauge whether you are moving forward or not. That’s the beauty of written plans; you have something to constantly refer to. One of the nice things about aligning your long term, short term and daily goals with what you prize most, is that you constantly have meaningful and relevant plans to measure yourself against.

There will be days when your internal language does not benefit you. You’ll wake up in the morning and ask yourself questions, which are not helpful. Questions like, “What will happen to me when this plan fails?” or “Maybe everyone else is right when they tell me I have gone off the deep end”. Your mind does not like a vacuum and will rush to answer these questions with equally negative statements, which are not useful to you. You’ll find answers like, “Well, when this plan fails, I’ll feel completely worthless and hopeless”. “Now that I am indeed off the deep end, what will I do?”

Of course these ideas are not useful. Remember, on those particularly challenging days, ask yourself questions like, “Why is this journey important to me and how can I enjoy more of what I already have along the way?” You might find yourself getting more useful answers. You might respond with, “Because I know what it’s like to experience a boring job and I need to move beyond this to experience more of my life.” I can make sure to take the time each day to enjoy the world and those around me, content with myself that I am on a path toward greater meaning and purpose in my life”.

As you start to create your new path, it’s equally important to develop confidence. Think of yourself as a product with great features and benefits. In this economy, it is very important to have this free agent mentality. By thinking of yourself as a product with services to sell, you’ll begin to focus more on what you already have which is uniquely you. If you were to make a list right now of what your best features are and what the benefits of these features would be, what would you write?

Finally, once you have this list, it’s important to match up these features and benefits with the right niche audience, who will not only buy but also appreciate and find these services useful. This will help as you begin to align what’s most important to you in your vocational life.

The more you can define and talk about what’s important to you, and act out your new vocational role, the faster you will begin the transformation. If your plan is to own your own pet store but your current job is a clerk, that’s OK. Start to think about yourself as a pet storeowner and start to experience how this will feel. Make following your vocational plan one of your top daily priorities. Make sure not a day goes by that you haven’t at least thought about it. Over time, you will develop a quiet confidence that what you are doing is right for you. Each day you will have less fear, more meaning, and more fun.

When I arrive at the start of a marathon race, it’s that quiet confidence which brings me to the starting line. I know I have done the right training, followed the right diet and have the right mental attitude to give it my best. The same is true for getting to your perfect vocational day. It takes practice.

With practice you can begin to align all your parts in vocational harmony.

I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines as you go!

Dr.Craig Nathanson

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