books of interests

Your interests are clues to your right life. Pay attention!

What are your interests? What do you find yourself thinking, talking, or reading about in your spare time?

Whatever they are, maybe you should be paying a little more attention to them.

Back when I was desperately trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I spent all my free time reading self-help books and blogs. I thought if I just did enough journalling exercises, I’d stumble across the right path. Maybe you’ve been there, too.

When I wasn’t reading books with titles like Finding Your Own North Star (an A+ read, by the way), I was checking out books on neuroscience and psychology. I was also weirdly drawn to marketing blogs, even though I didn’t have a “thing” I was trying to market at the time.

In retrospect, it’s kind of surprising that it took me as long as it did to figure it out.

I’m sure you’ve guessed the big reveal already:

Eventually, I realized that nothing made me happier than thinking and talking about…what makes people happy. Where they get stuck. Why they do the things they do.

From there, I just had to connect the dots to find a way to do that as a living.

So, let me ask you:

  • What interests could you spend all day doing or talking/thinking about?
  • Where are you already spending your free time, attention, and energy?
  • If you woke up tomorrow with no responsibilities, how would you spend your day? (Let’s assume you’re already well-rested and don’t need to catch up on sleep.)
  • If you could become an expert on anything, what would it be?

I’m not saying that your answers to these questions are The Answers to what you should be doing with your life. But they might have some valuable clues you’re overlooking. Maybe your love of legos will reveal something deep and profound about yourself!

Hint: watch out for thoughts like, “But isn’t everybody interested in [X]?” or “[Y] is just a dumb thing I’m into, there’s no way I can make a career out of it.” Give your inner critic a rest and let yourself be curious about what comes up. Let me know how it goes!

If you’d like some help sifting through the data, sign up for a chat. As you already know, talking about this kind of stuff is my happy place. Who knows what we might discover together?

What are you doing to feed your soul?

What are you doing to feed your soul?

What are you doing in your life that’s just for you?

Me? I walk. I like taking pictures, too.

I wear a lot of hats in the course of my day. I’m a coach, a cat-mom, a spouse, and a friend (not to mention a housekeeper/cook/financial manager/general adulting person).

There’s a lot to keep track of, and I’ve learned it’s necessary to my (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) health to get outside and ramble on a regular basis.

Going for a walk in the middle of the day sometimes feels like a luxury (especially when I’m busy), but I know from experience that it’s vital to my sanity and optimal functioning – especially when I’m busy.

I’m sure you have a lot on your plate, too.

It’s easy to get into the habit of talking about how busy, overwhelmed, and overcommitted you are. It seems like you just don’t have any time for yourself!

I do it, too, and then I have to remember all over again what I wish I could beam directly into your brain: taking that time for yourself makes everything else work better.

If you are in the process of trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, this time becomes even more crucial. Who are you when you’re not a helper or a worker? When you’re by yourself and all those labels fall away?

If you can’t connect to those things that bring you joy, it’s much more difficult to find your path.

My invitation to you, if you’re willing:

Take 10 minutes today to do something that feeds your soul. If you have no idea what that might look like, try something, anything, and see how it feels. Do it again tomorrow.

Pay attention, take notes, learn what lights you up. Find your way back to yourself, one step at a time. Take my box turtle friend here as inspiration.

Let me know how it goes!

Back to the Article Library

Designing Your Life Review

Book Review: Designing Your Life

If you’re trying to figure out your career direction and you only read one book this year, it should be this one.

Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans came into being when two Stanford School of Design professors asked, “What if we take the tools we use to solve design problems and use them to create a roadmap for life satisfaction?”

I honestly can’t say enough about this book. I recently listened to it as I was driving across the state and I kept wanting to pause and take notes. Over and over again, I felt that spark of mingled admiration and envy that happens when someone puts your ideas into words and does it more elegantly than you could.

Your Powers, Combined

One of my main annoyances with the world of career planning is the dichotomy between what I’ll call the Dreamers and the Doers. You’ve probably encountered both: one person tells you to follow your passion, the other tells you how to hone your networking skills. You’re either floating in fantasyland or bored by 101 interview tips.

In my never-so-humble opinion, the best sources embody the Talking Heads lyric of “feet on the ground, head in the sky.” They emphasize the importance of a dream and a plan, teaching you how to effectively combine emotion, intellect, and action. Designing Your Life does this better than almost anything else I’ve come across.

Start On the Inside, Work Your Way Out

The book starts out by introducing some basic concepts and mindset tips. You’ll learn the value of staying curious, trying things (instead of getting stuck in endless analysis), and asking for help. It encourages you to start where you are and gather data about your current situation to see what’s working and what’s not. Then, it takes you through the process of generating possible directions to explore.

The second half of the book encourages you to take what you’ve learned and put it into action. It walks you through road-testing your ideas through a combination of information-gathering and test experiences. Finally, it concludes with some last words about effective decision-making (because they know that even after all this work, it’s still possible to get stuck in second-guessing).

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…

If you’ve participated in a program with me before, this process will sound familiar. It’s very similar to what I do with my people and if you had enough focus and motivation, you would get just as much from this book as you would from one of my 1:1 coaching programs. That’s right – this book is good enough to potentially put me out of a job, and I’m still recommending it.

If you’ve read Designing Your LIfe, I’d love to hear what you thought! Leave me a comment below.

Get the Guidebook

Upgrade your career search with my free guidebook.

Anatomy of a Dream Job: Bring Focus and Direction to Your Career Search is a free resource that will help you identify the essential elements  you’ll want to be looking for in your next career. You can get it here.

Use your past to plan your future.

It’s easy to look back at an experience and say, “that was pretty fun,” or “oh man, I hated that.” But what actually goes into that assessment?

  • Was it the people?
  • The environment?
  • What you were doing?

The guidebook takes you through the process of looking at past experiences with new eyes so you can get clear on what worked for you and what didn’t.

Save time and energy during your career exploration.

When you’re finished with the guidebook, you’ll have a list of things to look for and things to avoid. What can you do with this list?

  • Is one of your problems feeling like you have too many options to explore? You now have an easy way to rule out the ones that don’t fit.
  • Do you have a hard time seeing all the possibilities out there? Your list is a great way to generate ideas for some new avenues to explore.
  • Do you have a tendency to either jump into or over-think decisions? This will give you a good foundation for moving forward without getting stuck in endless reflection.

You can’t get much simpler than this.

Anatomy of a Dream Job is a great first step if you’re looking for a place to start thinking about where you’d like to take your career.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

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