Subhan explains his four-step approach which has helped himself and many others find the work they love.

happy and unhappy workers

So, you are finding your work to be a bit tedious, unsatisfying or even suffocating?
Your primary reason for doing your work is to get a paycheck? Or perhaps it isn’t that bad, but you are looking for a change and want to get out of this situation but you don’t know how to do that. As a result, you keep getting up in the morning and going to a job that does not fulfill you. What to do?

Virtually everyone wants a job that fulfills them, as well as pays the bills.

I have had many experiences exploring the area of ‘work’, and in finding work I enjoy. I’ve also had twenty-eight years of helping people in their exploration of what they truly enjoyed and wanted to do as their ‘career’. From these experiences, I have created a four-stage approach to finding a job or career or business where they thrive and not just survive!

The four stages are:

  1. Finding what you enjoy doing, what fits with you; perhaps what ‘touches’ you or ‘makes your heart sing’.
  2. How to translate what you find into a career or business that you can realistically do in the marketplace. While doing these two stages, you may begin to feel the resistance that the mind is creating around them. This resistance leads to the third stage.
  3. What are the obstacles that are stopping you from creating your career or business? Here you can begin writing them down and fleshing them out, so that they are more visible.
  4. How to effectively deal with these obstacles.

These stages aren’t necessarily chronological. Often obstacles become visible early on and need to be dealt with before you can translate what you enjoy into your new work.

Let me give you two examples – starting with me – which will show you how this four-stage approach works.

About thirty years ago I created a “Collectibles and Antiques” business with my wife Shanti. (But it was only after I created the business that I recognized the four stages that I had gone through.)

The story starts with me out of work, and having $2200 in savings! So the need to make money was immediate! Still I was adamant that I had to do something I really, genuinely wanted to do (first stage)! I had already done enough work that was primarily for a bribe – in the form of a paycheck. I knew it had to be something that would support my creativity, and that would be satisfying and enjoyable. And, of course it had to support me financially as well.

When I began looking into all the possibilities, I unearthed a childhood love of collecting, and realized that I had always had a certain knack in finding old things. I remembered that at age ten, I created a fictional coin store in my bedroom and stocked it with my coin collection, some of which I had purchased at a coin store, and others were gotten by constantly sifting through my father’s change. I never had a customer, but I loved pretending to buy and sell them! I also had a large sports card collection that I cherished and often traded cards with other collectors!

So the dream was born: I envisioned having a collectibles and antique business in a high traffic volume storefront space, filled with delightful things! Taking stock, I realized that I had the dream and the passion to make this business a ‘go’. The immediate questions became: how to source the inventory, where to sell it, and how to find prospective customers?

I began making decisions and acting on them to create the dream into a business (second stage). Remember, this was before the internet was around! I scoured the newspapers for yard sales and went to flea markets to find inventory. On a hunch, I contacted a wholesale candy seller and found older baseball cards they had stocked away and were glad to sell to me cheaply. After weeks of purchases, with inventory in hand, Shanti and I began selling at flea markets. We did well enough to be able to buy more inventory and to pay for our living expenses. But our market was very limited and only produced a small income!

We both realized that there were obstacles that we needed to deal with if we were going to accomplish the dream (third stage)! We needed money to continue buying things and to pay all the bills. And if we were to grow the business, we would have to find a better venue for selling more items so that the business could grow. We understood that the main obstacle was that we did not have a brick and mortar location.

The fourth stage (how to effectively deal with this obstacle) became our priority. We recognized that we had to continue selling things at fleas markets as our only financial resource and, at the same time, find a store space that we could afford. And we would need some help from family and friends in getting the store readied for customers!

I began looking at newspaper ads for a workable business space, and drove around looking for “For Rent” signs. I became discouraged at the high cost of rent for stores in good locations, and even more discouraged by cheaper spaces in someone else’s store. Those spaces were just not suitable for our business. I was almost ready to give up, but then thought to place a “Space Wanted” ad in the local paper. And then…”shazaam!” Within two weeks, someone offered to rent us their 1300 sq. ft. space, located on a very busy highway, for a ridiculously low amount!

Shanti’s aunt and uncle contributed display cases, and friends painted signs and did whatever was needed to get the store in shape. We had our inventory priced and ready to sell, and the store was finally opened! It was slow at first, but we did build up a customer base. And then more and more customers kept coming, as we developed a reputation for being honest and having reasonable prices. The store also became a prime way to purchase inventory because people brought things in to sell to us! Within nine months, the business began to boom! And, within three years, we had built a solid, successful business that I genuinely loved being involved in!

I realized that just by taking concrete steps out there in the marketplace – regardless of how small – I was moving in the direction of my dream! And looking at other businesses, I recognized that one small step at a time had produced every fulfilled dream that once may have looked as impossible as mine!

Here is another example of how the four stages can create a container that supports the birth of a new, fulfilling career or business.

A man named Tom did my workshop five years ago. At the time, he owned an insurance agency, his wife of thirty years had recently died, and his three grown kids were away at college. He felt devastated and had no idea what to do next. The only thing he knew was that insurance was not it!

We did a number of processes to discover what dreams were there, hiding ‘under the table’ so to speak (first stage)! He had worked on boats as a young man, but had forgotten about his love for being on the water. Once this remembrance was awakened, his dream was to be on boats on the high seas!

He wasn’t sure exactly how that would pan out, and he found that his mind was throwing out reasons why this couldn’t happen. Again, with the help of other processes (third stage) he began to understand that there was a critical part of his mind that was trying to stop him as a protection from what it perceived as danger and the possibility of failure.

He was then able to challenge the things that the mind was saying to stop him (fourth stage) and he realized that what he needed was to take small steps in the direction of his dream (second stage) and to deal with whatever obstacles the mind came up with, by challenging them (again fourth stage).

We did a brainstorm about his dream and how to translate it into the marketplace (second stage). Since he had received an engineering degree in college, and enjoyed working on engines, he decided to become a boat engineer and that his next step was to obtain the necessary certifications. He finished the workshop on a very high note, realizing that he could take more small steps and make the dream a reality.

He contacted me a couple of years later and said that he had become the Chief Engineer aboard a private luxury adventure yacht that travels to Hawaii and Alaska! It was truly his dream job! Here’s what he wrote me: “I see whales, dolphins, bears, tropical fish, amazing nature and wildlife almost every day, along with getting to know and work with some of our very interesting passengers and crew. Thank you so much, Subhan! Life is good when you don’t listen to the critical mind!”

It is important to remember that everyone’s path will be different! But the four-stage approach can be a reference point to make the inquiry more productive and easier, regardless of the differences that we face as individuals.

I also recognized that if I was to help people fulfill their dreams, I would need to assist them in dealing with some very basic obstacles. Over the years I have seen many obstacles, as well as variations of them! Here are a few: a disconnect from their passion; unable to recognize and name their obstacles; not knowing what they enjoyed; having too many things to choose from; and, not having enough money or not being able to make enough money to have a successful business or job doing what they enjoy.

Facilitating this work has been very satisfying to me. In fact, so much so that a portion of the ‘work’ I love is in assisting people find the work they love!

SubhanSubhan is a certified counselor in Seattle, WA, USA. He facilitates many different workshops around the globe, including the workshop “Finding the Work You Love, Finding the Life You Love.”

The next workshop will be on March 10-12, 2017 – worldofmeditation.com

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