Savor your career and you will savor life

My Context

When I got out of school, people didn’t think much about their purpose or fulfillment in a career, we thought about “how much will I get paid”. My peers and I started careers looking for one-thing; money.Along the way, I found I didn’t like what I was being served, it didn’t taste good. I find another place, only to find that it eventually didn’t taste good either. The only criteria I had when moving positions was will this next place result in more money? Therefore, I continued to leave because I was unhappy with what I was being served.

We all have our favorite food, right? When we eat that food, we are content. We tend to savor the taste more. We don’t complain so much about the other food that accompanies it. We choice to make our favorite food a meal, a snack or perhaps combine it with other foods we enjoy making it a true experience.

After 30 years of ignoring the “food I was being served” and making my choices solely on money, I quit! And I blamed the chef for my situation!

Truth be told, I didn’t quit to become a coach. Becoming a coach was a result of searching for what I was missing all along, my path. A path doesn’t have to have a grand purpose, it is simple moving forward in a direction on purpose. My past focus on the end result of money, rather than the journey which would movr me towards something I could savor was a complete mind shift.

I went from thinking I had to eat what was served to me, to understanding that I get to choose the restaurant, the food and it doesn’t serve me to blamed others for my choices. Is it the chefs fault you ordered something you don’t like to eat?

Learning to Choose

As my awareness grows, I am continuously learning about my own behaviors and the choices I make.

I discovered recently, that I have been avoiding some foods. These are the very foods, or as I now know to be my own behaviors, I associated as not tasting good in my past. I had some great food over a 30-year career. Ignoring it left a lot of potential enjoyment on the table.

How did I discover this insight? I was asked to take on a role that required me to use skills from my past corporate career. It was a rather simple request, yet I was extremely tentative to use these well-honed skills. I was afraid the experience wouldn’t taste so good.

I thought about why I was afraid. It came down to a simple truth, I like the person I am becoming, and I am not very proud of who I was in the past. Letting go of this is a subject for a future post.

When you are doing work with the sole mind set of making money, you may not be showing up as your best self. When you approach your work with the mind set of savoring the experience, everything shifts including how you behave. We see even the challenges as opportunities to savor new foods; expand your palette so to speak.

I realized that just because the skills I used in the past were accompanied by foods I didn’t like. I could use my new food choices in combination with foods I haven’t tasted in years to make a delicious meal. In other words, I combined new behaviors with skills and experiences from my past. The experience was very rewarding and completely took me by surprised at how positively others responded.

What are you not savoring in your life and/or career? Are you simply chewing what you have been served, simple to make money? How can you have savor what you do and have the same results of making a living? Here are some things to consider:

Finding Your Path

Not the path of becoming someone that you believe others expect of you. I am talking about a path of becoming someone YOU expect of yourself. That means being real with yourself.

What would you do in your ideal day, if anything were possible? What would you do if you had all the money you needed? Write it down, all of it, without worry about grammar, structure or even if it makes sense. What is the benefit of doing this? When you allow yourself to just open yourself up to all possibilities, you unlock what’s most important to you. Hidden in your ramble are patterns, clues and your true values.

Once you begin to uncover your inner self, you will not be able to ignore what you find. It’s like the first bite of a new food that surpasses your expectation. It is unforgettable.

Now you are ready to consider your path. It is a path, because it should be an aspiration of a better version of you. One that never ends and continuously evolves.

A path is uniquely your own. You may choose to be of service to a mission; such as making the world more diverse or improving your community. You may choose to contribute to others through creativity or innovation. It doesn’t matter, it ultimately is your reason to savor while you move forward in life.

Finding Alignment

Now that you have some thoughts about your path. How do you connect this with making a living? Money is also relevant to your unique values. Let’s assume, I simply mean it is enough money for you.

Just like before, get the pen and paper out. Write what you are good at doing? What you enjoy doing? Who are you being when you are savoring life/work? What makes time disappear? Don’t limit yourself with the thought of that is not relevant to making money. Just write until you can’t think of anything else you do on purpose, not because you “have to”!

Do you see possibilities emerge? Do you see others disappearing? For example, I had a client do similar work and it was revealed that they didn’t want to work in an office every day. When that is exactly the work they were applied to do. Now my client knows how important it is to seek work that provides a variety of environments.

Likely what you discover is both what you value and what others value in you. This clarity creates the possibility to get curious with your current employer, as well as future employers, about shaping the position to align with your unique path. There is also the possibility that other areas in your life can fill in the gaps to enable you to seek less from a position.

The result for the employer is a better you will show up fully every day, justifying better pay! For you, the result is the opportunity to savor more in your life and work.

Are you ready to start savoring your life?

I work with my coaching clients on similar challenges. There are times I feel like my clients are facing the same challenges I face, which gives me empathy. It is irrelevant in the end, because my clients are on their own path. They are the one to define the path. I am there to support their choices in finding their alignment to become the very best version of themselves and savor life.